Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The View from the Edge

The summer of 1973, I was 15 on the verge of 16 full of all kinds of teenage drama and angst. I had my first serious boyfriend and he was older, heading to college.  My parents brought him along on our annual summer backpack trip in an effort to keep me interested because truly the only thing I was interested in was him. And being kissed.  

Our trip that summer involved a 10 day camping and backpacking trip in and around Yosemite.  And the highlight was to be a night spent on the top of Half Dome.  I wasn't super excited because I was 15, almost 16 and I wanted to be anywhere but with my parents, family friends and a younger brother.  But because I was 15, I had no choice.  I honestly do not remember too much of that trip except like our other backpacking trips it was hard stuff. Because to get to the really great places you have to travel hard trails, walk loads of miles and it isn't always fun. (Can you see where I'm going with this story?).   So after 8 days of lots of hard stuff  with me rolling my eyes and kissing my boyfriend through some of the most beautiful back country anywhere, we hit the switchbacks that lead to the bottom of Half Dome.  8 days of hauling what I needed and some of what other people needed on my back, my 100 pound body carrying 35 pounds of stuff and I wasn't impressed at all with the steep and never ending switchbacks ahead of us in the afternoon all. I was pretty pissed off at the ridiculousness of those switchbacks and in my defense, those things go on FOREVER.... At the top of the switchbacks we saw before us THE CABLES......

Awesome, more hard stuff although this held my interest because I loved to climb trees and things, I loved being up high in the sky and possibly more important, my mother is deathly afraid of heights and I wasn't.  I knew I could haul myself and all that stuff up the side of that rock and I did. My mom did in spite of her fears ( I never gave her the credit she deserved for all that, she was facing hard fears) and my brother did it by hanging onto the pack of our other male friend because he was too short to use the cables.  We all did it. And that alone should be an amazing story. But this is about what's at the top, the reason for the planning and hard work... At the top, you take off your pack of stuff and see how HUGE the top is. It's football field and more big....and then there is this...The view you cannot see from anywhere else in the world.   The view that feels like it's the whole world...

I mean really......even my 15 year old snotty high school girl self knew that this was a life changer. I let myself feel what it was like to have done something spectacular. I didn't think about my mom and one upping her, I didn't think about how much I hated these "family trips", I didn't think about my boyfriend and his kisses even though he was standing next to me. I for once let myself feel all my tangled and not cool self and I took in this crazy amazing moment...but then what I did next was where I found myself the most....

There is an outcropping on the top of Half Dome, a place where sheets of granite hang out over the edge of the face.  A place where there is so little under your feet and then nothing at all. Where the best views, the best air and the best of everything are found. On the edge of everything. A place where my breath was taken away, where I walked out and sat by myself and was totally okay with being 15 and awkward and unsure. Where I was suspended over everything and everything was mine. I could have stayed there forever letting the breeze cool my face. It felt like forever, it felt like everything..

Of course my mom with her deathly fear of heights about lost her mind with her only daughter sitting on the edge of nothing, hanging over the valley a bit precariously. So I came back to the safety of the football field size smooth rock top.  We unrolled sleeping bags and had a meager dinner of uncooked foods and a sip of brandy in our Sierra Cups which at that altitude and me being 15 went straight to my head. And slightly tipsy, I watched the full moon rise and light up the whole world. I made wishes on a million shooting stars and I looked down on all the campfires in the Valley below. All in a night spent on the top of Half Dome.   

I did sneak back to the outcropping a few more times before we climbed down the next morning. I hated to leave, wondered if ever I would experience anything so amazing as the edge of that rock...I wondered if I would ever feel that whole again. I wondered if ever I would feel like I fit in like that anywhere else. I wondered ifmaybe that was where I was leaving myself, on the outcropping looking down or instead I had found myself. Maybe both.

I returned to school to be a cheerleader, my boyfriend went away to college and dumped me and I resumed my slightly awkward but fun journey through school. But I knew that I was changed through the hard stuff, the switchbacks, the carrying of things, by the view from the top. For a moment, I wasn't just a girl at my school doing what looked like normal stuff, for  I had stood on the edge of the world and it was mine.  I held that knowledge and power in my heart for a while and then I put it away, not sure what to do with it.  .   

That summer, that trip came back to me in a dream the other day. I felt compelled to sort it out and figure out why after 42 years, I woke up in tears feeling once again changed but not quite sure why. It occurred to me that I've been doing the switchbacks for a good 5-6 years, personal switchbacks but switchbacks non-the-less.  The hard stuff, carrying what I need and what other people need on my back.  And I'm here at the base of the mountain with cables before me and I am good for the climb.  Because I need to stand on the edge and see what the world looks like again. Because I need to be suspended over nothing, over the world, see that view that you only see from the top, have my breath taken away and feel the power in my soul of all that. Remember that I am whole, that sometimes just leaning into the stuff that scares you most is when it gets super amazing and oh so real. Trust that the ground underneath will hold me. Go to  where I will feel the breeze cool my face and travel to where I am just me, a girl on the edge of everything.....


p.s. these are not my photos. I found them by doing online searches of Half Dome and the Cables.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

I miss.......

I miss hugs
I miss my hand being held
I miss caring and being cared for
I miss being held and reaching out
I miss being part of something special and important
I miss the pat on my butt
I miss belonging

I miss kisses......

I love kisses, I love kissing. I love knowing there is someone who wants to kiss and be kissed. I miss quick pecks, I miss the long deep against the wall, I miss the in the car at a stoplight kisses, I miss the passing in the hallway kisses.  I miss them all.

I miss saying I love you, I miss hearing it, I miss feeling it... and I miss kisses and all they mean...


<3 B

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


"We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness."  ~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

I'm in the midst of something big...standing up....  I guess that doesn't sound so big, however it is the bravest thing I have ever done and  it feels huge.  I've spent a great deal of my life trying to build a place that keeps everyone happy and safe. I've taken care of people and I've nurtured dreams. Tolerated let downs with a smile and a story to protect those who do the letting down and kept the lights on in a broken place.  When my kids stumble and they do, I wrap my arms around them and fall with them, protecting them from the hard ground and cushioning the blows, harsh words and opinions of those who aren't looking out for their interest. I've lived in horrible run down unsafe houses but painted the walls and made white curtains to make them feel like home so everyone feels safe and loved. I've spent my life being and doing what is expected. Worked jobs and pursued a career that looked successful but I felt like a phony, going through the motions.  And in the process. I got lost.  I excused away the voice inside of me until I became a porcelain doll face with a frozen smile instead of the real girl, the messy, funny,  tangled, emotional, intuitive, longing, creative girl, the one that doesn't really fit in most places.  I declared myself to be one thing but knew deep I was selling out and being the very thing I was afraid of, broken and invisible.  Asking for nothing in return and pretending it was okay but truly getting a bit pissy about never being offered anything..just because I am here.  I built this little brick house but now I don't want to live in it. 

Don't get me wrong.  My kids, they are the world to me...just right the way they are.  I love them just like I want to, with my WHOLE HEART....And maybe it's the fact that they are grown or on their way to grown and they have left some big spaces empty in my world. Maybe I'm adjusting to what it feels like to be alone with myself and my truth.  Maybe it's my age and I'm not as inclined to be what everyone else is expecting or needs.  And I'm okay if they aren't okay with it.  Maybe I just want to fly a little bit and find out what fresh air in my face feels like.  Maybe I don't want anything less that what is absolutely real and authentic.  Maybe.....I just want to stand up, be seen and heard.  Maybe I just want to be me unapologetically.  Maybe I have learned to be compassionate and loving to me.  Maybe that makes me whole for the first time....

I can feel the ground swell underneath me.  I can feel the energy crackling off my fingertips, I can feel the fierceness of my heart as the rumble grows almost like the beat of a drum from down deep.  Every day a step or two taken in the direction I choose.  Looking at what is broken and crumbling and using it to build a future on or letting it go, whichever is the truest thing...It's personal and it's visible, this rumble of mine.  I spent a great deal of time crying and lamenting and wondering when I would understand the suffering and brokenness but never did I run from it, I stayed knowing it was important and it was.  At long last I do understand it.  I'm not forgetting or wishing away the harsh truths that I fought so hard to look at without blinders.  I'm gathering what the truths taught me as that is where the rumble came from......I am not afraid of the rumble as it is my story,  rather,  I think I will dance to it .. 

Be wildly you....


Friday, August 14, 2015

Ta Da !......

 When I was a young girl, my dad liked to be silly in the middle of ordinary things. One my favorite silly things was when he would get eggs out of the refrigerator while my mom made breakfast and against her protests he would toss them one at a time. Like a circus performer and he even said "HUP" with each toss. She would protest and tell him to stop and he would just keep saying "HUP" and tossing the eggs.   I would giggle at her frustration and his circus tosses and when all the eggs were thrown and caught both he and I would throw our hands in the air and shout "TA DAAAAA!".....  A small circus act in our kitchen on a Sunday morning and it was worth celebrating.  

I find myself still throwing my arms in the air and shouting "TA DAAA!" for so many things, a well made dinner, a big project finished, a great idea or even a well mopped floor. After all those things worth celebrating I would think.  But lately as I tackle harder stuff, the inside stuff that is hard to even look at let alone out to play, I am ready to celebrate even those kind of little victories. Boundaries set (boundaries are totally a badass move for a girl like me),  saying no when I would have said yes but wanted to say no, being a parent when it's not a popular parental moment in the eyes of your child.  Cutting off my hair fearlessly, saving $5 instead of getting an iced coffee,  learning a new craft or technique....facing a fear (not like swimming with sharks, that will never happen).  I love my Ta DA moments .

In my handmade business world there are people I follow, people I have come to know and love and people who are in the same type of business as mine.  Each of us are forging our way because our vision and passions are too great not to do so. We are navigating uncharted waters and pioneering our way through the wilderness on our own.  There are days that are not great, some that are totally sucky and some that are amazingly wonderful. Small victories ...I also see them in people who aren't trying to create a business but creating a life that works for them, navigating their own kinds of passions and truths. More sweet small victories. And thanks to social media we get to see all of these moments. Don't forget that we should be celebrating with everyone in their moments of success and sitting down next to them in the moments of figuring out what to do with failure or setbacks.  I just think it would be so wonderful if we all became the Ta Da girls and guys for each other. When we can't see our own bits of victory and growth, hopefully someone we love will see it for us and become our celebrators and encouragers.    We just should all have our arms in the air and give a little Ta DA for all the victories and successes. We all need a little circus act in our lives and for sure we need some celebrating. Amaze yourself, amazing the world, throw your arms wide open and cheer...TA DA!

artist Unknown: found on  Pinterest

 Happy Day 
<3 Barbara

Friday, August 7, 2015

Riding Dragons.

 "We're all afraid. We just have to get to the point where we understand it doesn't mean that we can't also be brave."
~Brene Brown~

I've been waking up at night a lot...actually for the past 4-5 years...And when I'm doing my best to put the drunken squirrel party in my brain back to sleep, the dragons show up.  You know the fears and worries of life, my dragons. At 2 am they are pretty big and scary. I wanted to run and hide and keep the dragons out of my house, out of my life. I didn't want to have them there because they are HUGE and frightening.  And they don't leave even if you cry and beg them to leave you alone. I've tried all that. Whining doesn't help with things that scare you. Trust me on that.....

As it turns out....the stuff the dragons brought are probably the very things I needed to face and stop running from ..... And I needed to find a way to make peace because sleep deprivation was not the way to get through life. I needed to turn around and face the dragons right in the eye.  It isn't easy for me to do all of that but seriously...I was too tired to live like that. Chronic exhaustion sucks. Chronic fear sucks more.

I decided to entertain the dragons..Welcome to my bedroom, have a seat and let's talk a bit.  Stop being scary and just let me get used to you so I can stop running..... And they did. With my heart beating and my brain screaming RUN!  I let the fears settle in and put them in an order I could deal with one at a time. As I loosened my grip they got a little less scary.  And my time spent wrestling with them in the middle of the night shortened. The less I fought, the easier the struggle became until it was just truths wanting to be heard and accepted.  

I started to eat better, exercise and that helped but mostly I just listened to the fears and told them we would be okay.  I stopped running from, fighting with and being afraid of the dragons.  I decided that all these things that scared me the most were the very things I needed to embrace.  I decided to stand strong, to be brave and to ride my dragons. To let them become part of my strength. To fly. 

And ride them I have. I'm not saying fear doesn't come creeping in at night anymore. It does, there are some big scary but amazingly honest things ahead, that is how life works. Big scary amazing things and I'm okay with that. I don't have all the answers and I never will, it takes a bit of faith, bravery and trusting your dragon to face what is coming your way.  Don't be afraid of what frightens you, don't fight dragons in the night, don't run from anything. Get some sleep, be brave and for goodness sake ride your dragon through the night sky.  


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Unraveling.....

It's been a while because there is so much in my heart and head, I didn't know where to start or what to say for a while. So I stayed a little quiet while I gathered my thoughts and did some sorting...I want to warn you...this is a personal one, more than usual.

For nearly 19 years I set my alarm for 30 minutes before his, so I could make breakfast and often a lunch and a cup of hot chocolate that he called "coffee".  I did this to show my appreciation for his hard work at a hard job in all kinds of hard weather and my appreciation for him....And I did it when there was no work and he had no place to go except in front of the TV.  I did it on weekends and holidays. I did it when things were good and I did it when things were horribly wrong. I did it when I questioned and was up all night in tears with confusion and ache.  And I did it when I had work to go to.  Breakfast and "coffee"....Until about a year  ago on a Saturday when I was getting ready for work and didn't have time and he had all day, I told him I couldn't make it on time if I didn't finish getting dressed. And as I headed to the bathroom to dry my hair...... I heard it down the hallway from the spot on the couch where he was watching TV.... "Lazy Bitch"..... and that was the start of the unraveling. When the fight to save this stopped.

 I'm not a "this isn't working for me" kind of girl, I do NOT give up easy on anything I feel is important and I take marriage very seriously. I don't throw around words I don't mean, words like divorce and leaving until and only until I mean it. 19 years of pushing aside what I know isn't okay and hoping that the stuff I believed in was enough to help us rise. I LOVED this man deeply and without a thought for what I knew was  the hard truths about our relationship and huge differences.  I loved him, fought for that love, shouted out about that love and wore it like a favorite tee shirt. I did this until I couldn't do it anymore. What I said and felt wasn't a lie, it was my everything and I was letting go like pushing off from a life raft in a storm.   In the depths of agonizing, it became clear that what I had identified as love was at times something totally different. Love simply cannot hurt so much of the time.    And there  was some horrible horrible stuff about me that I had to wade through (that was fun) until I realized I had to love myself to stop fighting the fight to save something I couldn't and didn't want to save. It was beyond hard to admit I had failed.  I carried the weight of my children and their happiness.  I carried the weight of how it looks to family and friends. I carried the weight of not loving any longer. I carried fears and lost hopes and good memories along with the bad ones. I carried the weight and I was drowning, I simply had to start to swim towards the light, back up to the fresh air and breathe again.... If that is selfish then call me selfish.  I've heard worse.

I am writing this post this morning after a very long night and day of no sleep and lots of tears, this stuff, the unraveling doesn't and SHOULDN'T come easy.  So now this... I also feel the need to address something..... As I have shared my stories about many things, with an open heart and tendency to share truth that are a bit prickly and not so pretty. Because I know I am NOT ALONE in my experiences and truths. I hope by speaking out and being real that connections and uplifting will happen. I am a story teller and that means the ugly stuff too (I'm so ready for the good stuff y'all).  This not so easy bit of life, I have tried to keep it extremely  authentic, sometimes that will bite you in the butt. I believe I have talked about my fears about how I will live, the financial part of all of this which is a very real concern and I'm being very careful to ensure that I have a plan in place so that I don't end up in my car on the streets. One of my posts were read by a young woman in my husband's office, I don't know her.  She had him read that particular post ( he has "NO INTEREST" and doesn't follow anything I do in my handmade business or with this blog and has never read any of my words before, good or bad) and together they surmised that I was asking for people to fund my "freedom".... This was thrown at me last night, that I was begging through my blog for money.... Let me be 100 percent  real with you.  I will never ever ask for or beg for money for ANYTHING...AT ALL.  I am a DIY, gritty, figure it out, make shit work, creative, resourceful girl and have managed to turn a box of old sheets into a business that I am super proud of and love dearly. That is what I believe in and that is what I expect to fund my life and provide for my family. Hard work and more hard work.  If ever anything has come across as a plea for you all to fund my "freedom", I want to make it completely clear that is not and never will be the case.   I have faith that money is money, it is much easier to find than happiness and peace. I have a plan to ensure that our needs are met and that's all I need to know. I will make it in this world because I can. I don't doubt that and in no way expect anyone but me to support myself and my kids, I truly wouldn't want it any other way.  I got this.....

So as I unravel this life I've known with this man amidst some very real sadness and loss,  I face an unknown, totally TERRIFYING yet hopeful and happy future at an age when an unknown future is probably more terrifying than I can tell you. But....for me, I think it's important to grab what you can that is good and right in life. To chase the best of things because your time here is precious, way too precious to be sad and live on a battlefield all of the time.  The ONLY thing I ask for is good wishes, prayers, kind words and some understanding. I appreciate the time you all take to read my stuff, I have so many good stories , I LOVE to write and share slices of life and what it looks like from here and I hope you stick around for the good's coming my friends. I remain Barefoot and Tangled. I'm off to clean out another closet because there is a move coming.....I adore you all.

<3 Barbara

Friday, June 26, 2015

What About All Those Moments?????

 Yesterday.....sitting in the waiting room for traffic court with my teenager (he likes to go fast), there were other parents and teenagers waiting with us.  For a couple of hours or more.  And the room was really really quiet....because EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE was head down looking at their phones.  Aside from a  couple of unruly girls who were making fun of their mom, all you could see was the top of everyone's head.  Except me, because my phone is about to be retired and runs out of battery fast.  So there I was in room full of people, my son included who were on their phones and I had nothing to occupy my mind.  Or so I thought.. (a little panic happened here)

I didn't know what to do with myself because I hadn't brought any other entertainment for myself such as my knitting or a book because...I had my phone.  As my battery died and I was left without being able to peruse Facebook or Instagram I found myself a teeny bit frantic which is ridiculous. I got itchy and anxious at the lack of anything to keep my attention.  So I did a bit of thinking about the situation  (I've actually been thinking about this a whole lot lately) and it occurs to me that perhaps with all the marvelous technology and social media that is constantly available and in our hands... we have lost the ability to have Moments.  You know, the  moments between activities, moments of silence and calm, moments to reflect or gather ourselves.....Moments to talk, carry on a conversation that is more than one sentence before we put our heads back into our phones.  Moments of Life.  We do not know what to do with them without some form of stimulation.  

So I decided to be there with my son.  Which meant he would have to put his phone down and be there with me.  Seriously, have you ever tried to get a teenager to invest in some awesome parent's not easy.  So I went with guilt... "you are leaving in a week and I am going to miss you like crazy".  Okay it wasn't intended as guilt, however I am sure that was how he heard it and it was a start.  It wasn't easy at first because I was clearly annoying him with my attempts to engage him in conversation right there in front of a room full of people we didn't know, but, I didn't have anything else to do so I persisted and soon he stopped taking pictures of himself while endlessly snapchatting  and he looked at me.... in the eyes!!!!! and then he responded!!!!  Soon ... we were talking, actual conversation together!  SHUT UP!  We talked for over an hour before his name was called.   And we talked sitting in the hallway outside the courtroom.  And we talked on the way home in the car.   Or actually, he talked and I worked hard at listening without judging or criticizing because I seriously wanted him to keep talking.  This would not have happened if we had both stayed in our phones, sitting next to each other but not with each other.  The four hours we spent down at the Superior Court became some of the best moments of this week.  Because we stopped using something else to fill our moments and started letting the moments with each other be real. 

I'm the first to admit that I  pick my phone up too many times a day, justifying it by saying "I need to check on an order"...but then 45 minutes later I'm still looking around just to see what everyone else is doing. And sometimes I'm annoyed that I have to get off Facebook or stop watching animal videos so that I can do things like make dinner or fold laundry. And I lose more time than I should, all because being absorbed in everything and everyone else's postings is easy, like fast food for my brain.  I lose the real good stuff by living while I look down in my hands at what other's are posting and saying instead of looking at the work I can do with my own two hands.  I'm as guilty of wasting moments as any teenager.  Documenting things that could just be left to living and experiencing, more concerned with taking a picture to post than being there.....I get the irony.  I want moments but I'm not good at making the most of them.  As if  my mind wants to be entertained at all times and without the constant input of social media and texting, it feels lost and restless. 

Restless moments are a good thing, that is where ideas are born, that is where conversations happen, that is where truth lives.  In the space between the scheduled events of our lives.  I see it in my sons, their phones are where their eyes and brains go every chance they get as they crave the constant bombardment of information and nonsense that stop them from remembering how to just be human and alive.  I've challenged my younger child to hours without our phones and we are looking for hobbies to entertain his mind, push his creativity and imagination....but....more than that, I want him to train himself to have moments for himself to recharge, refresh and think.  Oh what a mind can do with a moment or two not spent soaking up what's thrown at it from a phone in the hand...

 This summer has presented itself as an opportunity in so very many ways.  There have been events and changes the last few months that have rocked my soul and my heart .... some have been a bit tangled and hard, while others have been happy and full of grace.My life is taking some turns that are exciting and terrifying as lives tend to do.  It seems like the perfect time to pay attention, put down my phone, turn off the computer and keep my mind and heart busy with what matters most. Shoot anytime is actually a good time to do just that. Time to retrain my mind and the minds of the young men I love so much so that we don't feel the pull of need for constant influx of things to fill our bits of free time. Time to gather moments and weave them together so that they will keep me warm ; so that I will know that I lived the heck out of this life, these days and these moments. Remember to connect rather than disconnect.  Create, read, swim, rest, eat, travel, sing, dance, laugh, talk, be with people in real life  and breathe.... To spend some moments every day before I forget how......


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

When Expecations Bite You in the A#$

I'm warning you now, this post may contain some cussing..... In fact I am sure it will and if you are offended, I totally understand but this post requires a bit of cussing to tell the story. And I'm here to tell some stories.

I'm not totally sure of where to start except I do need to apologize for being gone so very long.  I didn't mean to be but life sort of became a river of rolling rapids, one after another and just keeping afloat took everything....

Let's start with the show I did.   I love doing vintage shows but truly they take complete and total absorbing and immersing of the process.  Every moment is full of lists and making of things and display creation and that all starts with a BIG VISION!   I tend to think and dream in large scale and then get myself into a frenzy of trying to meet that vision. All by myself, one girl with no support team or anyone to help create this crazy big vision and usually no budget for the vision creating because well....nobody in my household supports the doing of shows and there is a whole lot of undermining and sabatoge going on especially with time for the vision making.  So I had a show scheduled for the first weekend in May, it's a big wonderful show and a couple of hours from home. I was excited to share a booth space (only half a vision was much easier than a whole vision) and set about starting in late March to do my show prep.   Well things happened/everything unraveled when an incident (next part of this story) happened in mid April.... But I reduced the vision and kept going. I made some AMAZING new items, was ready to debut my new Wild Daisy clothing and I was sure I would KILL IT as my kids say..... I loaded my stuff into the truck , drove myself west for a couple of hours, set up my space myself and was feeling pretty spiffy with myself the day before the show. I just KNEW I was going to sell everything and could bask in the glow of what a big success I was....The show opened and people poured in to the venue and the energy was amazing.....and I stood there ready to talk to people, meet them and sell all the wonderful new things I made. I'll keep it short, sales were dismal. The first day I sold 3 of my wonderful new things and some last minute fillers I had grabbed when packing. I didn't even make my booth fee.  But, there was still Sunday and I was sure it would go better. It didn't. I woke up Sunday with what I knew was a horrible stomach flu, I had a show to do all day and then a long 2 hour drive home and I was not good. An hour into Sunday, I fled the scene.  My darling booth mate sold my goods and packed up my stuff and my lovely business friends  from my area loaded my crap and displays their trailer and brought it home.  I drove away defeated, fighting a fever and in tears.  Heading home to admit failure to the very people who predicted and expected my failure. I had expected to do well, that my goods would be well received, sell out and I would come home with some dollars in my pockets...Expectations...bit me in the ass and I was crushed..I barely covered my expenses which was hard but worse, I was called a failure and I may have even done a little shaming of my own self. 

So this all happened the wake of another crushing expectation shattered event.  My son as I've shared, is about to graduate from high school. He attends a big school with big expectations of the kids. There is no room for making mistakes and he made one of those stupid teenage mistakes that because there is Zero Tolerance in our district, that mistake cost him everything. He was sent to a continuation high school, is no longer allowed on his old school campus, didn't go to prom, didn't go to Grad Night, wasn't able to be a part of the All League Football awards or photos and most devastating of all, will not walk at graduation with his class.  One quick stupid decision and his status as big guy on campus was revoked and everything as he knew it was gone.  And then all the people he thought and I thought were in his corner said "oh wow, I'm so sorry"...and then silently took 5 steps back and turned away.  My boy who was king of the school, king of his world   one day and the kid nobody wanted to know the next.  All that wonderful stuff he was looking forward to and admittedly so was I...gone along with the expectation of how it was going to be. 7 years in this district talking about the day he would graduate in the stadium and counting the days til we put on that royal blue cap and gown to take pictures with his friends and listen to the band play the fight song and the entire crowd and graduating class sing the Alma Mater.... All of that gone in an instant.    Expectations had a tight grip on us and even though the mom in me kept assuring him that he would be okay and that he was not a bad person, I admit I cried hard in the shower for a week...I was heartbroken over losing all these things that felt were so so so important to his appearance of success and perfection. The stuff that everyone else could brag about. And I was a bit pissed off because I wanted to take those pictures with him and celebrate at the big ceremony in the stadium.  

So shit....all of this expectation crushing stuff at once had to be some sort of lesson and oh boy it was.... I realized that for all my tangled and messy nature, I have a death grip on expectations (can you say AVOIDANCE) because there is stuff in every day that kind of suck. Maybe because there are things in my world that drag my heart down and I pin all my good thoughts and hopes on events and happenings instead of just being okay in this moment.  Maybe because I invest too much in what I want to happen instead of just taking life as it comes and knowing that it will in the end be okay. I don't know but this certainly has made me re-evaluate how I approach things.  Maybe projecting forward keeps me from really being in the moment when the moment seems too much.

We had to do a whole lot of meetings with people after the school event as you can't make a kid leave a school without a process.  But luckily for us the last person we met with was Hank's new counselor.... And if expectations kicked our asses hard , this woman  was the truth and bright light we needed....she waded through the shame we had wrapped ourselves in and forced us to let go of what we thought was going to happen and embrace what was our new reality.   A school of kids who all needed a little redemption, 6 weeks to get through and then as she told us, a diploma that looks like everyone else. A more intimate and probably meaningful graduation and OH what a story my kid will have.  His future college football coach assured him that people do indeed make mistakes and it was time to move on and learn something and come play football.  And soon what felt like the end of the world will just be something that happened. Let go of the expectations because that was then, let's stay in now and take this new path for what it is...Let go of the expectations because they don't serve you well.  

I'm pretty sure I am not the same girl I was a few months ago, I still have a plan and big visions of what I am working for but I am certainly a whole lot less inclined to trust those darned expectations the way I used to. I don't let myself live in "the way it will be" anymore. And guess what?   I don't miss that shit at all.   What I trust is what I see and experience but not what I'm trying to make be the truth.  What I do know is life holds oh so many twists and turns and being a bit unruly and unsure is totally okay. We get up, tackle the hard stuff, embrace the curves , let loose of the grip just a teeny bit, throw our hands in the air and feel the wind on our faces.  I listed my stuff on Etsy and it sold in hours.  I'll do another vintage show in 6 months, but will not let sales dictate how I feel about myself or what I do. My son will graduate in 2 weeks and I'll take pictures with him in his cap and gown, smiling as big as if it was in that giant stadium with fireworks. We have not failed, we have grown, that kid and I, knowing that expectations will kick your ass if you let them. But I will not again let that happen, because I know life holds lots of amazing surprises and if I am so busy looking at the photo album of expectation, I may just miss some shooting stars .

“it is a serious thing // just to be alive //on this fresh morning // in this broken world.” 
― Mary Oliver

Love wins

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sailor's Daughter

My dad, the original hipster. Bearded and  inherently cool without trying. Laid back and gentle but also manly and tough. He handled life with an honest authentic approach. He was adventurous and creative...kind and truthful even when truth wasn't easy. He was a woodshop teacher and builder with wood, more like an artist at times.   He loved a good joke and he really really loved Three Stooges movies. Like they made him laugh so hard, tears ran down his face. I never really got all of that but I loved watching him watch those movies.

But what my dad loved most of all (besides his family) was to sail. He loved being on the water, the wind in his face and hand on the tiller.  I'm the oldest of his three children, the only daughter and my brothers inherited his love for sailing and boats. I love the feeling of the wind in my face and going fast but I prefer it from the back of a horse than from the deck of a sailboat.  But it's the same thing. The going fast.... 

I have loads of memories about my dad and I could tell you about him forever. He liked to go get doughnuts from the local doughnut shop, Courthouse Creamery where they had a doughnut making machine and we would sneak away and have a doughnut at the counter on special mornings. He also loved a cherry slurpee on a Friday afternoon.  He could fix anything as it always seemed something needed fixing. And he whistled like nobody else. But his singing voice, oh my, it was rich and deep and when we sang together, I knew what harmony was all about.

When I was about 5, we used to travel on summer days on his Vespa scooter, he on the seat, me standing on the floorboards in front of him wearing sunglasses from the dimestore to keep bugs out of my eyes. Our dog Ginger sitting on the floorboards in front of my feet. His arms around me making sure I was safe and shouting things in my ears and I yelled "Wee Bye Bye"...going fast.....My dad  knew interesting people and would spend time listening  to their amazing interesting stories and told some of his own. And he loved my mom like people should be loved. From the time he was 13 she was his best friend, partner in wild adventures and his safe place. And he was hers.  He was a good man, a man unlike anyone I ever known or  ever will. 

My dad has been gone too long, it's hard to believe there is a world without him in it. Cancer sucks and took him away long before he should have been gone. But today I won't think about all that. Today is my dad's birthday and he remains the coolest guy I have ever known and is still so  loved.  I wish I could get to the ocean and sail fast today, I wish he was here with me. Goodness knows I could use his gentle wisdom and  how I would love to sing Michael Row the Boat Ashore with him one more time.  I am grateful for my days on this Earth with my dad and so proud to be a sailor's daughter.  Sail forever and go fast Dad...I love you endlessly

Love wins

Sunday, March 22, 2015

This is my story

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” 
― BrenĂ© Brown

When I started this blog, I had a choice....I could write about the surface stuff like how my business is doing or the shiny version, the one with the pulled together outfits, clean house, I'm so awesome in everything I do kind of stories. You know the version that makes other people think I'm something I'm not.  I decided that if I was going to do this blog thing, I needed to do it on my terms, with my story being woven through the shiny stuff.  I could have just told you all funny mom stories or talked about what is easy to talk about but I'm not that kind of girl. I have an intense need to be authentic and tangled because I'm sort of over doing what I should, saying what others are comfortable with and trying to be something I'm not. I'm a girl with a story and it's not always pretty, but it is real and it is me.

Trying to figure out where to draw the line about what to share and what not to let out of my heart, I'm not sure can do that. So I speak and write my truth. My story. We all have them and we should tell about them, at least that is what I believe.  It's not easy to unmask ourselves and show the grit along with the good stuff. I think they go hand in hand and I think that nobody has it 100 percent together. I don't think we need to. And in the telling and listening of stories, I truly believe we should respect and honor the authentic, raw stuff that we are handed by others. I just do.

Recently, a blog post was  read to  someone who doesn't respect or care for who I am and has no respect for what I have to say. And then my words were twisted and thrown back at me like a weapon. I got scared and defensive and found the unbrave girl in me scrambling for cover and wishing I hadn't said anything that was real and offensive to the word thrower. And I took the cowards way out, I deleted a few blog posts.  And as I write that last sentence, my heart actually feels like it's breaking because I let myself down. I betrayed my promise to myself to live with my truth and vulnerability shamelessly. Because I got scared. After the brave acts of sharing my truth here in a public way, I stopped trusting myself because one person shamed me about speaking my mind.  Dude...this so isn't the way I mean to be.....

So first of all I'm sorry I wimped out and deleted my posts. I regret it because I can't get them back and I was proud of those posts. They were the most difficult and raw things I have ever written and I thought they were beautiful. Words flowed in a way they don't often flow... that part of the story telling was  magical and hard.

Second of all, I won't get scared again. 

Third of all....I do have a pretty life, there are wonderful, amazing things going on, woven into my story which happens at this moment to include some things that aren't so pretty. But that is where clarity and joy are found. Underneath the worry that people don't want to hear your story down where the truth is. Under the shame and fear are beautiful things. I won't keep them hidden.  This isn't about the person who turned my story on me, this is about me staying brave and true. This is about the fact that I get to tell it the way I see it. Tangled truth..this is my life, this is my story.

By the way I heart Brene Brown....

Love wins

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bits and pieces

I do love to write and post here. Truly, I wish I could find a way to write and make enough money so that I would never have to wonder how I would buy groceries or find a place to live ever again. Because I would have enough money for my simple little life and it would happen while doing what I love to do. Make things, live life in a happy place and tell stories. But that isn't how it is right now (I'm not giving up on that sweet  thought) and my daily life comes at me so daily and I don't make time to post like I should...That's not to say I don't have stuff to say, I just haven't made the time and I sort of feel like it's not sensational enough. Just regular stuff. So I decided to just gather a few of the things on my mind and do a post. Seems better than not posting at all. So in no particular order here are the things I've been thinking about.

1.  Hank picked a college...After a couple of official recruiting visits he picked Ventura College. A gorgeous Junior College in Ventura California and let me tell you all, it's a stunning setting... The football field looks out at the ocean and the Channel Islands and the coaches were really great to talk with and super excited to have him. The academic support is great. I think he knew in 10 minutes this was the right place for him. I will be doing a longer post on the road to college choices and athletics and why for my son a Junior College was a perfect fit. Plus he is close and I get to watch him play and visit him (not too often I promise).  More about all of this later.  By the way, they put this jersey on him with his high school number. #4.... at that moment it all got super real. The growing up and going to college and leaving...all of it...pride and tears, relief and a mom heart that cracked in half although I didn't tell him that...

2. It's a bit crazy busy for my sweet little kitchen table business right now. Wildflower 57 will be returning to Three Speckled Hens in Paso Robles, CA May 2 and 3.The Three Speckled Hens Show has been ranked as one of the nation's top antique shows in publications such as Flea Market Style, Flea Market Decor and Romantic Homes."  
I have done the show before but it's been a couple of years because of scheduling issues. But I'm super happy to be going home.  Seriously, if you can get there, I recommend it, not just so you can come say hi to me but so that you can see all the AH MAZE ING vendors and their over the top setups and displays.  I'm sewing every spare moment to bring new products. Of course it's not easy to stay focused on creating 20-40 of something when the squirrel party in my head is throwing ideas around day and night. I haven't started the panic state yet but I do admit that even early show prep work is a little chaotic and fun.  I love the beat of my heart as I figure out what my "look" for the show will be and I'm super happy to be sharing a space with the inspiring and gorgeous Polly from  I can tell you that I'm just all about Pretty...that's my look, pretty. Lots of florals and pretty color. Doing a little bit of furniture redos and I'll have a sneak peek on that soon too.  Quilts, bags, aprons, accessories and housewares galore. And clothing...I'm working hard to make my Wild Daisy collection of  clothing debut at that time.  more pretty... 

3.  So I took my mom to the Quilting in the Pines Retreat weekend put on by my lovely employers at .  4 days away from real life spent sewing all day long and enjoying the gorgeousness of Bass Lake California. I'll post more about that too. (OMG I keep saying I'll write about it later. talk about procrastination)..Here is a picture of my cute mom and I and one of our work table with wine, jellybeans and zipper pouches (Three Speckled Hen's here they come) . Believe it or not, we got lots of great sewing done...we also ate and laughed a lot. 

4. And lastly, I just want to touch on how the healthy life stuff is going.  It's going...results are slow it seems but I have admittedly not been as diligent with my eating and it's showing. I'm still losing about 2 pounds a week, I still am moving my body more and I'm still feeling better. I could be doing better, but I really really feel this isn't a race, it's change and health and  brave acts  all going on at the same time and patience is key.....  My personal stuff is still hard, I have amazing days and really sucky days, part of the deal I know. But I work really hard to operate from an open and happy place, to find joy when it really would be super easy to wallow. And sometimes I wallow but only for a few moments and for me that is a victory. Healthy life is healthy inside too and I know that I am asking a lot of myself to tackle so much all at once, but then I sort of love the challenge. Like these hills I did while at Quilt Camp. They were hard, they hurt, a lot.... but it felt like such a personal victory to haul my body up and down this hill twice each morning. I love the feeling of sore muscles, it tells me I am making progress. I am learning to love the feeling of standing tall in support of myself when my heart is hurting, I know that is progress too...And yes ..I will write about all of this more later. I promise because you know how much I love to tell stories and share truths. But for today, some bits and pieces because I am in show mode and the squirrels are screaming my name...

Oh ....I wanted to show you my new shirt. A teeny reward for a good month of brave acts and because I love it. Giraffes on a tee. I got it from my friend Laura at and it made me ridiculously happy. Soft clothing, treats once a month and loving every step of this road. And a little sass... we all need some sass.

Until I can think in longer sentences and write more about all the stuff I want to tell you, I am off to sew and make things. I can't wait to show you the pretty for the show and tell you more stories. I love you all like a tee with giraffes on it.
<3 Barbara

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brave Acts- The Tale of the Tattle Tail

I have Brave Acts on the brain these days. I see them in every day life, every time I don't allow what I may have allowed before because I wanted to "be nice" or just keep things calm. I find myself looking for and valuing Brave Acts and holding onto the lessons learned like they were pennies I need to save. I want to tell you about Brave Acts, some ordinary, some big. And because I love to tell stories of good things. With my daughter Abby's permission, here is the Tale of the Tattle Tail.

Abby is the oldest of my five children. She was and still is kind, funny and sensitive. She wasn't a rule breaker or misbehaver at all. She was and still is a delightful and considerate person. At preschool the teachers and staff adored Abby and she adored them, especially her teacher. She was shiny and lively and would often burst out in song like a happy Disney movie in real life, the whole class would join in and she brought a sweet unfettered joy to the school. Every day I would be met by the teacher with a story of how Abby was kind or made everyone happy with her skippiness.  

Until one day, I was pulled into the Director's office and then heard the words that parents dread ...."we had a little problem today with Abby"....As I listened she rolled out the story of the "incident".... It seems that the staff had attended a conference the previous weekend where they discussed among other things, the way to handle what we all call Tattling. You know, when kids tell on other kids for small things, it's annoying and everywhere in a preschool and early school setting.  The conference (taught by Puritans as far as I could tell) suggested that when kids were Tattling, that way to handle it was to pin a "tattle tail" on the offender. Much like Pin the Tail on the Donkey. The intention was to humiliate the kids into keeping quiet.  Yes, humiliation as a technique, why not just put them in stocks in the middle of the playground and throw fruit at the little tattlers?

Abby it seemed had been a victim of our neighborhood bully (who also attended the preschool) ...(trust me, he was a jerk in the making, I can say this with confidence because he lived on our block and rode his bike past our house to yell things at my kids daily, I already didn't care for the pisshead)  He had been tormenting her at school as well. So on this particular day after the Humiliation as a means for controlling students Seminar, Abby was again being followed and taunted by this kid so went to her favorite teacher to get some help with the situation. But instead of receiving any help, my sensitive daughter who was until that moment the bright light of the pre-school was pulled into the office and told she was now considered a "Tattle Tale" and her punishment would be to wear a long piece of cloth pinned to the back of her dress, a tail for a Tattle teller. My girl fell to pieces, terrified, humiliated and betrayed.  She became hysterical, distraught and begged for them to call me. The director saw how upset Abby was but instead of backing down, she brought in Abby's favorite teacher to force the punishment on her and pin the tail to her. It took 2 grown women over an hour to stop her sobs and get her calmed down. And at the end of it, they put that tail on my girl's dress and sent her out to the playground.  Betrayed by the people she had counted on to protect her.

And then that sweet sensitive girl did a brave thing. She curled that tail into a ball and sat on it. She wouldn't budge from where she was. She couldn't stop them from doing their cowardly act and she was far from defiant, she just got super creative and didn't let them humiliate her in front of the whole school. 

I know that the director was expecting me to jump on board their crazy train idea but that didn't happen either. I let them know that they should be ashamed of using humiliation as a tactic, I told them that if ever a child of mine required 2 adults to calm her down for over an hour, they had better make a call to me. And I told them they had no business being around children.  I wrote a letter to the newspaper which was printed and one to the Licensing Board for preschools in California and that preschool was investigated and closed for multiple violations including the use of what was deemed to Corporal Punishment as it seems the Tattle Tail was much like the Dunce Cap not allowed in preschools...Thank goodness..

In every brave act there is a lesson and this one has stuck with me. Abby is a grown up bright light, she has a strong sense of what is right in this world and remains one of the kindest and most considerate people I know. She is raising a couple of bright light boys which is good news for this world. What I learned from my girl and her brave act is that  you always always have some power in any situation, even if you are 5 or 57. She didn't let the bully win, she didn't let the adult bullies win. She was braver and smarter than they were. It's taken me many more years to get this than it took Abby but lately I have thought about what courage it took to say "enough." ...Brave Acts every single day.....  That's the deal, be brave because you don't have to wear the tail people pin on your dress.... 

Love wins


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Love and Strength

WARNING...I'm going to talk about some body parts....

Back in August I saw a horrible picture of myself that made me cringe.....okay I'm totally lying, it made me cry. And cry hard for a couple of hours and again when I looked at it the next day. In addition to a haircut gone wrong (blame that on a Pinterest picture of a skinny model with an insanely cute haircut), I was unable to slip on my son's football jersey for the annual Parent Night. Because I was too curvy which is my soul saving way of saying, I am overweight.  I had spent a great deal of time convincing myself that it was okay and I was accepting of all the curviness and it didn't change who I was.  I'm here to say, it does change who I am. I don't shop for clothes (the dreaded dressing room mirror situation) I don't like to go out because I can't seem to find anything I love to wear to dress up in. And I couldn't bend over to tie my shoes..There I said it..I couldn't tie my own damned shoes and that wasn't okay...I could tell you all the stories I told myself about how I was indeed healthy and it was a metabolism thing, a menopause thing, a having 2 babies after 40 thing. I could tell you stories about half hearted efforts and failed plans of mine but really who wants to talk about all of that.

But I do want to talk about making peace and making plans...With where I am starting from, with the process and yes. with my body...My fat body....I didn't know how to do that except the way I am tackling all hard things these days...with honesty. So.....another warning...I'm going to talk about body parts a little bit, I'll be gentle but here goes.

I got naked...and I looked in the all of that curviness.  And I cried, a lot...but I didn't leave the mirror or cover up. I cried until I couldn't cry any longer and then I made myself tell myself some loving things. Not easy to do when all I felt was shame and embarrassment and confusion. Like how did my body and I get here. So all I could come up with that was loving is..."you have great hair", "your eyes still sparkle" and "the best part about being this big is you have good boobs"....(I warned you, body parts).  And I'd love to say there was instant acceptance and the shame disappeared, but that isn't the truth. I didn't feel much better, in fact I felt a little worse having spent all that time with a body I couldn't love.  So I did it again the next day, and the next and the next...Every day after my shower I gave my body some love.  But I didn't leave it there because nothing changes unless you change something. You want something, you have to do something to get it. End of story.

I wanted to be strong. So I started doing squats, 5 the first day, 10 the next, 15 the next and so on. I added in jumping jacks, push ups and other floor exercises twice a day. Then I added in some weight stuff for my arms. All done in 15-20 minute sessions at home before I went out for the day and before bed at night. I moved more, stretched more and my body responded.

I changed my eating. I'll write a post about that sometime soon but I started with the Whole30 challenge on January 2 (  No grain, No Dairy, No sugar.  Just like that. I read some blogs, gathered information and jumped in.  I ate better. And my body responded.

And this is me now. 14 pounds lighter, sleeping better, more energy. I feel better but more importantly I feel stronger and I am working towards something I want. And isn't that really the deal. Don't complain, do something. Don't cry, do something. Be patient, stay the course, don't give up, believe in the change.

And now after my shower, I talk to my naked body with less shame and more admiration. I also give my body some love with a handful of warm oil that I rub on my damp skin every morning. I can feel the shrinking and tightening of my thighs, my butt, my hips, my arms and yes my boobs (they are always the first to go, am I right?) I can see my body responding to the way I am treating it, the way I am treating myself. We have a long way to go my body and I . Patience has never been a strong trait of mine but I'm making friends with patience. I know health is coming because I am doing what I need to in order to be healthy and oh how I love it. I love how it feels, I celebrate each new day because I can see and feel progress and results. And I'm learning that as I get a little stronger and more healthy in one  part of my life, I am stronger in other parts of my life.  I love how I feel even when I look at my curves, I am able to love them too and be gentle with them.  I am friends with my heart, I am friends with my soul and I am friends with my body. We will negotiate this adventure with strength and love, not shame . Just love and strength.....

<3 Barbara

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Slip Away

My 4th child, my son Hank is making college decisions.

 This boy, the one who from the beginning hasn't been afraid of a thing, not the first day of kindergarten or tracking down runaway roosters. He rode a big horse, he walked farm roads with his dog Buddy and faced down bullies bigger than he was. He  doesn't back down and when he does wrong, he owns it and takes what comes for what he does. This  wild child of mine born with wirey hair that felt like it belonged on a grown man not a smooth faced baby and never wanted to be held too tight. The football player who plays bigger than his measured size and doesn't do a thing the way everyone else tells him but does it the way his heart leads.  He is stubborn, impossible, bossy and so confident you could think he was arrogant if the confidence wasn't so warranted. He tolerates no half truths and will charm the shirt off his brother's back if he thinks he will wear it better. He has style and fire and he is as frustrating as he is loyal. He loves loud music with words no mother should have to hear and he navigates situations with straightforward truth. He doesn't always do what he should but he always knows why he does what he does. I tell him not to drive fast and he gets a speeding ticket. Until he knows something is right for him, all the advice and parenting directions are of no use, he will find his way and do it with enthusiasm even when you think he is down and out, he is  rising. He is emotional and strong, he is messy and neat. He is a rule breaker, boundary tester, charmer, all in, whole hearted participant in life. He doesn't lie and he isn't fake. He is wonderful and difficult and he carries my heart in his hands.

He is talking to college coaches and dreaming dreams. I am filling out forms and applications. He is thinking about where he wants to go and who he will meet. He is thinking about girls and dorms and football, teammates and new adventures. I am awake at night wondering how I will breathe and calculating miles between here and where ever THERE might be. I am proud and I am scared and happy and sad. He is wondering how soon it will all get here, I am hoping it stays months away but knowing it will feel like minutes. I practice not crying when we talk about it, I practice my calm mom face when I am anything but calm. And I do everything I can to make sure this all happens for him. Because I love him enough to want him to go and find his way in the world even though it means I won't have his loud music in my house or his friends spread across his bedroom sleeping on a Saturday morning after a late night of loudness and video games. I want him to go even though setting 3 places at the table  instead of 4 seems impossibly hard.   Mostly, I want him to go because it is time, it is his time and he wants to go more than I need him to stay. And soon we will have an answer to the WHERE question and I will calculate the miles between here and there. Not that I will travel those miles too often because I know that this journey doesn't always have room for me. A phone call away just like his brother and sisters before him and like them I will cry more than a few times as he slips away with one last hug. We will adjust and grow but oh how much I will miss Hank.