Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Traditions

This year on Christmas Eve, we hiked Runyon Canyon and ate Sushi.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time.  It was actually the perfect thing to do.  Somehow hiking to the top of LA, being near heaven, and then eating completely holiday-neutral food brought us closer together with the right amount of unconventional twist to have an upbeat day.

Here's to climbing the mountains, new traditions and being together in 2012.  Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

From the Palindrome home to yours
May you have a joy, peace and love-filled holiday season, straight into the New Year!

And because it wouldn't be Christmas without us taping the cat:

Merry Christmas!

Lots of blog love,
Jason, Melinda and Oliver

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Oliver Loves to Eat, the Reprise

This series of photographs gives some good perspective on exactly how much this stinker has grown.  He's just about tripled in size (from 3 lbs to 9 lbs!) and his love of food is only increasing.  Now he bypasses the bottom shelf straight for the good stuff! :)
*Sniff*sniff*sniff . . .
If I just put one paw here . . .
Then jump! Yes!  *Sniff*sniff*sniff  Something smells fishy!
Maybe it's this jar?
Ick! No!  I was right the first time - the tin foil salmon is where it's at!
As soon as we open the fridge he's inside. I had thought I'd teach him a lesson one morning and leave him in there, but I forgot after a minute and I could have come home to a kitten popsicle if I hadn't heard him meowing.  I scared myself straight and now resorting to fishing him out every. darn. single. time. I open the fridge door.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Discovering the Sun Rise

It's more than just the sun rise.  It's a moment of calm when I'm alone with my thoughts.  I  feel simultaneously like the smallest being in the universe and the most blessed as my little audience of one takes in the grandeur.  There's usually a coffee in my hand and I take a breath while enjoying the peace before opening my lap top and prepping for an East Coast call in the morning.

I've discovered that it never looks exactly the same breaking over the horizon.  The sun sometimes warms the entire sky before peering over itself.  Other times, it directs rays onto the water guiding the ships.  Even when I can't see it, it has risen.  And it always comes out tomorrow.

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was: What did you discover (big or small) in 2011?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Create: Bringing Italy Home

I was inspired.  It would have been a lot of work to not be inspired in Florence.  Love was in the air as we giddily explored the streets, drank espressos at the bar, and managed to perform a lover's quarrel on the stairs to the Uffizzi.  I daresay that my husband became more Italian and I pretended to be.

To celebrate our first anniversary, I promised Mr. Palindrome a large scale painting immortalizing our honeymoon.  I hadn't picked up a palette since college, but I started a study with wild abandon.  Then I let the study and my large blank canvas sit alone in my makeshift garage studio for nearly 5 months.  With our move impending and knowing that the canvas must have a few weeks to cure, the pressure pushed me in the right direction.  What started as a dream, led to a picture and culminated in a painting. 
It only sat unframed in our apartment for a few months. *Sarcastic eye roll*  Then this procrastinator figured I'd better finish the gift before our second anniversary.  We gathered two prints and another small painting of Italy that we've collected and curated them together in our living room.
I'm quite happy with the texture and color on the dome itself, but I also pick it apart every time I look at it.  Mr. Palindrome wondered about the sky, and I agree that it could use more interest as far as clouds, but the fact is there wasn't a sad lone cloud in the sky that day and I faithfully painted it.  My artistic license is somewhat restrained.  Perhaps the colors of the hills could use more attention.  But it's up on the wall now and it reminds me of my Italian stallion lover boy.  *Shoulder shrug and sheepish grin*

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was: Share a creative project you undertook this year (art, writing, DIY, cooking, home decoration, crafts, photography ... whatever comes to mind). How do you use your creativity to express yourself?

Friday, December 16, 2011


We chose to adopt through the ASPCA of San Francisco.  We chose to adopt a cat.  We chose to adopt a sweet little cherry blossom (feral kitten) who they said would need lots of love and patience to coax out of his shell.  We chose to name him Oliver after a few weeks.  We chose to share our lives with this furry ball of joy.  We chose to keep him after he quickly blossomed into a rambunctious and naughty, but still handsome and sweet boy.

Actually, he chose us. :)

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was: What was the biggest choice you made in 2011? What caused you to choose what you chose?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wine and Gratitude

I am grateful for the vine and the harvest.
I am grateful for good and dear friends who brought us comfort this year.
I am grateful for the sunshine and the shade.

I am thankful for the cask and the chemist.

I am thankful for cows and fruit bearing trees.
I am grateful for this guy.
I am grateful for a weekend to enjoy friends, wine and the country.

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was: In which moment did you find yourself flooded with gratitude?  How will you rally around gratitude in 2012? We visited Jericho Canyon, Grgich Hills Estate, Cakebread Cellars and Imagery.  I hope to rally around gratitude without the help of wine in 2012.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Finds - Dickens Christmas

We have a bit of an affinity for Dickens over at the Palindrome home.  Just ask this little fellow:
Please sir, may I have some more? - Oliver Twist

Don't be surprised if future family additions sport names such as Pip and Scrooge.  Speaking of Scrooge, what's Christmas without a reading of A Christmas Carol?

Clockwise from Top L:
Cursive Arts - Bah Humbug Card
A Novel Amore - A Christmas Carol Snowflake Confetti
Stitch in Time Designs - Cranberry Skirt
Okifolki - Dickens Christmas Ornament

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Learning and Acceptance

I think I have an unpopular belief.  It may be popular in some circles, but I think it's counter cultural for most Americans.  I believe in destiny and fate, but more specifically, I believe that those things are visible portions of a plan that God has for us.  I think it's unpopular because bad things happen to good people and we like to think our individualism drives us.  God planning it doesn't bring a lot of comfort in tragic situations and in some cases seems actually insulting.  I understand that.  In my faith rubric, I make the make the choice to believe that the awful things in this world will be made right in the next.  

In the classroom, the meaning of life is up for long debates and controversy.  In life, but especially in death, the answer is urgent.  Nobody wants to debate over a casket.  I could explore the questions of what causes the universe to go around in the classroom, but near a grave I needed a truth.  

It's a step of faith.  The mechanics of placing one foot in front of the other to take the step can be analyzed and reasoned, yet the step itself is far from mind.  In the face of the suffering, could I tell myself that there was a reason? I could easily acknowledge that I did not know the reason, but could I also concede that my blindness to the reason didn't void its existence?  The end of a dear life taught me that my soul believes even when my mind wavers.
I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was:  What lesson did you learn in 2011 from “The School of Life” rather than a classroom?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Five then Seven then Five

Deciduous leaves
Corn fields, purple mountains, salt
Desert and the fog

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was:  Sum up your year via Haiku.  I combined it with another prompt: Where did you travel this year? What was your favorite part? If you didn’t get to travel, where do you want to go next year?  The most significant trip we took, moving cross country, was also a metaphor for our life journey.

Monday, December 5, 2011

In My Ears

Music, art, wine ... I think appreciating any of them is about finding something you love and being unapologetic about it.  Who cares if it's cheap?  Who cares if it's mainstream? or offbeat? or imperfect? simple? lavish?

Adele sits at the top of the charts, with music snots looking down at her listeners for bandwagon jumping.  "Overplayed!" They cry.  But the truth is that her voice hits me in the gut. I cry.
Someone Like You isn't my trail of ex-boyfriends anthem, though I imagine that I would have identified with it almost a decade ago.  During my heartbroken-over-a-boy time, my song was Cheryl Crow's The First Cut is the Deepest.

No, Adele doesn't speak to man woes, but she does touch my sigh filled heart.  The moving melody validated my sorrow and I felt solidarity in her pain.  Through the symbiotic nature of music, the empathy passed between us.  I played it on an endless loop, settling in with the lump in my throat until it felt normal.

Then I stopped.  I heard Moves Like Jagger.

For a few seconds at a time, I forgot the tears.  I crooned about mooOOOOooooOOOOoooOOOves.  My head bobbed with the beat pulsing through ear buds at my work station.  I taped my cat's smooth moves.  The correlation was a coincidence, but my mood changed.  The soulful ballad lost ground to my inner dancing queen.  Both chart toppers, popular and decidedly not Mumford and Sons.  I'm unapologetic.

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was: What song did you listen to in 2011 to completely change your mood?  Think about ways you can you add more music to your life in 2012.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Finds - Pine

They say smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory.  I think they're right, because when I smell my Mrs. Meyer's Iowa Pine candle filling up my apartment, I'm taken back to my childhood house.  There, we lauded the "swearing in of the Christmas tree."  We took turns placing the angel at the top of the tree, lifted by our dad in our early years and on our own in our taller years.  The candle takes me back to the time when we found our presents in my mom's closet.  I hear her favorite, Manheim Steamroller, echoing through the halls. I feels strings of lights through my hands as we wind them around paper towel holders determined not to have a tangled mess next year.  I remember pride in handmade gifts, hard earned dollar store presents and heavily scotched tape wrappings.  I taste the hot chocolate on my lips.  The pine takes me home.

Clockwise from Top L:
Lunashineshine - Brass Pine Cone Necklace
Kzanno Art - Christmas Garland
Be Something New - Rustic Bridal Crown
Nancy Lee - Coastal Shores Wreath

Thursday, December 1, 2011

One Word


Reflecting on 2011 makes me sigh.  I remember sighing throughout the year.  Sighs lifted up in exasperation, pleas of grief even.  

The first sigh sounded through job frustrations.  Another sigh reverberated during the challenge of selling most of our possessions and packing the rest for our 12th move.  Then there was a deep sigh, almost a groan when faced with life without Harry.  Since, I've found myself at my desk aware that each breath I take ends in a sigh.  The rush of air from my lungs expels every non-verbalized thought while my rib cage clutches the grief inside.

I could use a win.  Some joy in the morning.  Some relief.  So I sigh again in petition for a satisfying breath.  For 2012, my word will be breathe.  For in breathing, void of painful sighs, there is peace and contentment.  Perhaps, a happy sigh or two might be nice as well.

I'm participating in WEverb11 this year, a series of writing prompts focused on reflection and future.  Join us and learn more at WEverb11!  Today's prompt was:  Choose one word. Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?

Oliver Loves to Drink from Glasses

I should have named him "Oliver Goldilocks Twist."

Hmmm, is this water temperature just right?
Apparently, this time, it's acceptable.
And everything tastes better out of a glass.