Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sightseeing in Vancouver--Part I

It has been a whirlwind last few days, starting with Jon's dad dropping us off at LAX before 9:00 Monday morning for a flight at noon up to Vancouver, Canada.  Even though the flight was short and WestJet service was good, we were pretty drained by our day in two airports and 36,000 foot altitude, plus a bonus surprise visit to customs.

We were picked up at the airport by Jon's cousin, who took us to the place we are staying / house- and cat-sitting.  On the 28th floor, the view looks out over False Creek and Granville Island.  Verrrrrrrry nice--see?

On Tuesday, we walked through downtown Vancouver to Stanley Park.  It was a little cold, but not rainy, so I was able to take plenty of pictures.  You can see the full slideshow here.

Wednesday we decided to hit the Farmers Market on Granville Island, which was lots of fun, but dangerous--we had some serious sensory overload!  We started out by taking the False Creek Ferry over, then just walked around and looked at all the shops.  Finally, we went inside the market and did some grocery shopping.  Gorgeous pictures of our day are right over here.  We finished up our afternoon by walking to the Vancouver Central Library and being amazed by the grand architecture and massive collection of books.  An unplanned stop at JapaDog made our evening complete!

By Thursday it was raining for pretty much the whole day.  We went to visit the University of British Columbia (UBC), planning to see the botanical gardens and other features, but instead decided to spend the whole morning indoors at the Museum of Anthropology, which gave us plenty of opportunities to practice our amateur photography skills.  Nice that they have a pass that covers all the different sights and you don't have to use it all in one day!  Enjoy my slideshow of pictures from the museum--I hope I selected a nice representation of the 1000's of artifacts and objects they have from all over the world.

So today is Friday, and we decided to take it easy, giving me a chance to catch up on my vacation blogging!  I hope you enjoyed a vicarious visit to the north with me.  Check back soon for part two!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sale

If you're in the mood to start your holiday shopping today, but don't feel like dealing with throngs of people at the malls, this is your lucky day!  Today through Monday you can receive a special discount in my SusanNeedlehands Online Boutique without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Just enter the coupon code BGBFCM2010 at checkout and you will receive a 15% discount on your entire purchase!  And don't forget to let me know if there is a charity of your choice that you would like the proceeds to go to.  The list is below.

Thank you and Happy Shopping!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Terms of EnJOYment

As the end of my first week in the InsightLA class, Deepening Joy, draws near, I find myself scrambling to put my thoughts together reflecting on the theme of setting a joyful intention.

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Based on the book, Awakening Joy, by James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander, this first assignment is to reflect on what the word "joy" means to me, the images that come to mind, and how I most naturally express or experience it.

Mom, Joy, and Kay

My first reaction to the word "joy" is actually a sorrowful one.  Joy was the name of my mom's older sister, who died when she was in her late 30's or early 40's.  I feel sad that I never had the chance to know her.  But when I picture the moment when my grandmother first held her baby daughter in her arms, and said the name, "Joy", I can't help but feel a warmth and purity of love that my grandmother always radiated, only this in this moment, it is stronger and more intense, enveloping all I can see, hear, and feel.  It makes me happy to picture my grandmother in this moment.


Another image of the word joy is the feeling I used to have when lying in bed, on my back, with my big, heavy, cream-colored cat perched on my chest, purring away, vibrating my ribcage and filling my heart with warmth and peacefulness.  The weight--instead of being stifling--is soothing, as if saying, "There is absolutely no need to get up for anything.  Stay here, rest, and relax.  Everything you need is right here in this moment."

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How do I express joy?  I guess in a quiet way, with a gentle smile.  I haven't danced around the room in ages, and that was mostly when I wanted to get something out, not when I was happy.  The same goes for writing, and most of my other creative ventures.  Usually I create when I want to get something off my chest, not because I feel joyful.  The act of creating something usually brings about a change in my emotional state, from chaotic to calm.  A catharsis....  Maybe this is why I haven't done anything creative in so long--nothing to get off my chest.  That can't be true, can it?

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I am supposed to say, "I want to be happy," and see what happens.  I feel like I already am pretty happy, like joy is already part of my daily experience, but am I really hiding unhappiness away?  Is there something I am burying inside?

Surely, I will find much more in the coming weeks' investigations.

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I end with stating my intention: I intend to be positive and encouraging, with both myself and others.  I see everything as an opportunity for joy, peace, and happiness.

Monday, August 9, 2010


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I honestly can't remember the last time I just sat at home and watched a movie all the way through.  Especially a French movie, with subtitles.

My pilates instructor, Margaret, had been on me for ages to watch the movie Serafine since she saw it last year, and I finally signed up for Netflix this morning, so what was the first thing I watched?

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A quiet, slow-paced movie, that gives you plenty of room to question and infer, Serafine was anything but tranquil.  No, it reminded me too much of other artists' stories, Camille Claudel for one, Van Gogh for another, and the too familiar, sad, tragic, lonely end of these peoples' lives that really bums me out. (Pardon the terrible, cheesy movie trailers; I remember both movies as having actually been much better than these make them seem.)

It brought me back to the age-old question, do the artistic temperament and mental neuroses/psychoses go hand in hand, or are they completely separate issues?

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Can one be truly inspired (imbued with spirit) without there being some kind of imbalance or instability in the mind?  Send me your two cents on this, if you like. I'd be interested to know what you think.

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Well, needless to say, this was not a movie for answering any of those questions.  But I do hope you enjoy a look at this woman's unique and colorful art.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Showing Off my LovMely Headband

Just wanted to show off my new LovMely turquoise feather headband.  She does beautiful work!  You can see more of her lovely pieces and shop for them here.