Rhapsody in Blue VI

Laugh

I used to be the world’s worst — or most flagrant — impulse-buyer. Whenever I ‘saw’ something that appealed to my eyeballs (whether I needed it or not), into my cart it went. Sigh… live and learn.

A few decades (and several budgetary revelations) later, I recognized the error of my ways and eventually figured out that happiness wasn’t the result of the latest greatest gadget, handy-dandy doodad, or “shiny, sparkly, pretty, ooh ahhh” frill or froufrou — it’s the accumulation of meaningful moments… a compendium of conscious choices… and often, a mirror of what’s going on within.

The void isn’t filled with ‘stuff.’

There were times when my self-esteem was sooooo lacking I almost cried thinking about it — but I didn’t. Know why? Because what matters most is now. In the past, shopping and fill in the blank here ___________ were temporary fixes, and on those occasions when I took myself (and less reliable second parties) waaaaaay too seriously in an attempt to make up for my supposed lack — well, I was taking unsolicited advice to heart — and second-guessing myself.

When it comes down to what (and who) you ‘believe,’ please put yourself first in line! Take the Truth into consideration — you’ll know in your heart-of-hearts what it is — and don’t let anyone dissuade you or convince you otherwise!

Old Boy close up

A few mornings ago I was sitting on the deck when I happened to glance to my left. (FYI, I don’t think it was a coincidence.) There, perched on a tree at the edge of the bluff, was my lake buddy, Old Boy. He wasn’t doing anything special or spectacular, other than hanging out — like me. In that moment of soul-searing self-awareness, I realized that I was smiling. Broadly.

There wasn’t a single ‘worldly good’ in front of me, except for my new coffee mug (above) purchased for a buck off the clearance rack at the Dollar Store. (I still allow myself such frivolities occasionally, albeit within my budget.) It dawned on me for the thirteen-millionth time or so in the last five decades that this is what it’s all about — small graces and huge blessings!

Your worth is not equivalent to the contents of your shopping cart!

If I ‘valued’ myself by the size of my purchases these days, I’d be pretty small indeed. How easy it is to succumb to the more/bigger/better mindset (been there, done that)… prompted by heavily marketed ‘wants’ and anxiety-producing illusory ‘needs.’ Stop!

The next time you’re tempted to add ‘one more thing’ to your shopping cart (or life) — especially a ‘not-on-your-list’ item — take a moment to interrupt your reverie and ask yourself: “Does this add value to my life — or am I trying to create artificial value? Reality check — how much do you value yourself… truthfully?

If there’s any doubt as to the answer to that last question, proceed with haste to the nearest full-length mirror (forget about your place in line!) and take a good long look… then smile at your reflection. You’re worth soooooo much more than an ‘impulse buy.’ Get what you need — give yourself what you need on occasion (without guilt) — and get rid of the rest!

As if to affirm my present state of ‘older & wiser’ contentedness, Old Boy turned toward me with this ‘look’ and I couldn’t help but laugh!

Old Boy 5

See yourself through the eyes of a true friend.

Folks (and Great Blue Herons) who appreciate you — who value you, quirks and all, with their honest insights are worth more than shopping-carts-full of temporary fixes. Allow yourself those rare moments of grace and good humor — believe those sincere, supportive, heartfelt estimations of your worth (can we say discernment with a capital D?!), shore up your own ‘self-worth’ to match asap if need be, and, most of all, be as kind to yourself as you are to everybody else!

Our human frailties, the uniqueness of our weaknesses and how ‘fickle’ we tend to be (depending on the latest input and what we choose to ‘think’) — as well as what we think of ourselves — are entirely a matter of perspective.

Sometimes all it takes is a friend looking you straight in the eye to see the Truth.

Believe it!

It’s amazing to me (and a lil’ bit disconcerting) how quickly we complicate the simple things — the important things! — and how prone we are to believe the worst — especially of ourselves. Please take a non-critical look in another direction — if need be, through the eyes of a true friend — then decide to be your own best friend!

Enjoying unabashed honesty from trusted friends (including myself) after all these years,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

When Life Hands You…

Skewers 1

Hello there! Didn’t mean to fall off the face of planet blog-world, but I’ve been off-line more than on lately. In our neck o’ the woods, my only connection to humanity is via satellite; when the skies bust loose and dump buckets, I get no signal. Or as The Man Of Few Words says: “We don’t get rain, we get monsoons.” (Who’da thunk it in Oklahoma?) Anyway, it gave me plenty of time to think, and here’s what I’ve been thinking about.

Nature’s colors repeat themselves.

As I was savoring this tropical medley on the deck yesterday (in between monsoons), a pair of mango-colored orioles fluttered overhead, followed by a strawberry-red cardinal and a kiwi-hued hummingbird. Sheer joy!

And then… a seed got stuck in my teeth. (Sorry for the visual, but I figured you could relate to that feeling.) After dashing into the house for a toothpick to extricate the offender, I meandered outside again to ponder life’s lil’ analogies.

During the past week I’ve felt happiness, despair, joy, grief, love, heartache, laughter, tears, empathy, anger, relief, and concern as the special folks God put in my life shared their hearts with me. These feelings felt very familiar — like déjà vu.

Emotions repeat themselves, too.

Whether triggered by good news or bad — past memories or present-day realities — involuntary circumstances or voluntary circumspection — the truth is plain and simple: we’re meant to feel a fruit salad of emotions.

Fruit Salad

Dealing with them is another matter.

At one time in my life, I opted to ‘not feel’ when things got dicey. I wasn’t equipped (then) to meet my emotions head-on and I believed it was better to feel ‘nothing’ than to feel anything. As a result, I spent a lot of time ‘wishing’ things were different. (Funny how life still happens while you’re avoiding emotions — and decision making.) I finally figured out that ‘not feeling’ is a decision, and that life is the result of every decision I’ve ever made — intentionally or not, emotionally or not.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be situations without quick solutions (or any resolution at all), as well as moments so vibrant and colorful they take my breath away — and everything in between! They’re all in the salad bowl — including ‘seeds’ — and I shortchange myself when I don’t experience every single one of them.

Sometimes it takes gritting my teeth to power through.

Anger and injustice still catch me by surprise — so does grief — but (for me) they’re rooted in ‘caring deeply.’ Out of the ashes rises the Phoenix.

Then there’s elation. I love feeling elated! (Who doesn’t?) Yet it comes with a double-edged sword: the air gets pretty thin up there, clinging to mountain-top moments. When I climb down from the fantastic and live what’s in front of me — which is pretty darn good — life is better. (Or at least more balanced.) There’s nothin’ wrong with reviewing stellar moments now and then, but elation tends to elicit comparison and it subtly edges out gratitude. Nothing will ever be as wonderful/marvelous/woohoo as ‘that’ time, so smile and let it goooooo.

As for the rest of the emotional medley — well, I’ll take it as it comes. Like fruit salad. And, sometimes…

I just use a bigger toothpick. ;)

Swizzle 1

Enjoying fruit salad,

~ Kim

How (and what) are YOU feeling today?

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

Random Playfulness

Time To Play

I won’t bore you with further details of my recently all-too-busy-life (insert maniacal laughter here), but things are finally starting to slow down and it’s time to play!

Everybody deserves a break now and then, especially a playful one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a random question & answer type post, but my friend, Nolita from M*O*R*G*A*N*I*C – another Oklahoma blogger, woohoo! — tagged me… teased me… tempted me to break out of my ‘profound’ writing rut. (Thanks, Nolita!) Sometimes ya just gotta bust loose.

Before I get to that, I have to add a lil’ girly infusion (thanks for bearing with me, guys) and an explanation for my “you deserved it” dinner — which I thoroughly enjoyed! I figure every woman/wife/mom/girlfriend (and yes, guy!) can appreciate the “busy” background in my photos. Such is our lot in life at times. (And I was hungry.)

It’s not every day I cook up a seafood fest for myself, but I felt the need… especially since The Man of Few Words (TMOFW) stance on Mother’s Day is/was/and always will be: “You’re not my mother!”

Yup… no card, no flowers, no dinner out. (Gotta love that man, xo.) That holiday and a few others continue to be an entirely on-my-own affair — and what better way to celebrate “my day” than with goodies that don’t often cross “our” table? By the way, I was nice and shared. (Except for the lobster and drawn butter…) Bwahahaha! ;)

Time to Play 3

First up was shrimp cocktail. It may surprise you to learn that I didn’t like shrimp until last year. (Gasp!) For some reason these succulent crustaceans didn’t appeal to me taste-wise, texture-wise, or otherwise until I made an umpteenth batch of Shrimp Scampi for my beloved (his favorite) and finally tried one. What do ya know? I liked ‘em!

Better late than never.

Next up were the fabulous crab cakes shared by my friend, Jeanne. (Forever in your and your son’s debt, my dear.) Your three-ingredient dipping sauce was to die for, too!

Not to be outdone by an abundance of butter and mayonnaise (did I mention I have naturally low cholesterol?) I had to make Easy Curry Hollandaise Sauce with Asparagus by my Chef pal, Larry Fournillier… soooooo tasty. (Thanks, Larry!)

Belated Mother's Day Dinner

Now… back to those random questions. Here’s the deal. If you want to participate, do. If you don’t, don’t! I totally understand time crunches! (I think I was supposed to make up some new questions for you, too, but I kinda liked these… and if I started tagging folks, this post would be ten times longer than it already is.)

You know who you are!

Leave your answers in my comment section or start a whole new trend on your blog. ;) Mostly, have fun!

1. What has been your favorite vacation to date? My initial answer was “every day TMOFW and I spent on the road together while we were trucking,” but let’s not mix business with pleasure. Final answer? Our trip to Niagra Falls. When we got married (almost 15 years ago), we were both ‘starting over’ if ya know what I mean, and we couldn’t afford a proper honeymoon.

On our 5th anniversary we made up for lost time and did a “Great Lakes Tour” — I’m talkin’ drive around, over, and past every one of the Great Lakes in a car — which was a welcome change of pace from our semi(s) — and it included the long-awaited stop at Niagra Falls on the Canadian and U.S. sides. Corny, hokey… and entirely memorable!

2. Do you prefer big city life, suburban life, or life in the country? See header photo.

3. What is your favorite type/genre of food? Edible — preferably home-cooked.

4. How would you typically dress for a weekend night out? We don’t go out very often (see header photo…) but when we do, I tend to “fancy up.” (TMOFW not so much.) The pearls in my photos serve more than one purpose. :)

5. Do you like to wear accessories? If yes, what are your go-to accessories? I’m not much of an “accessories” person, but I do like scrunchies (in every color of the rainbow) to doll up my ever-present pony tail.

6. How do you typically fix your hair? (Blow dry and straighten/curl? Air dry? Wash and go?) See #5 above. The less time I spend on my hair, the more it leaves for other stuff.

7. What makeup do you wear on a daily basis? Do you have a preferred brand of cosmetics? I’m a “wash your face and get on with it” kinda gal, but I have a weakness for mascara and lipstick. (My eyelashes and lips tend to disappear without them.)

8. What is your preferred workout? (Gym? Outdoor running? Yoga? Group classes? None?) Stirring vigorously, chopping food like I mean it, and running back and forth between my kitchen, computer, and piano. (Walking also ranks right up there.)

9. Where is your favorite place to shop? Thrift stores and flea markets.

10. Do you enjoy entertaining guests in your home or would you prefer to be a guest and leave the hostessing to someone else? I love to entertain, but if anybody wants to invite me over, I’m game…

11. What quality do you really value in your significant other? His ineffable ability to be himself (even if it means cooking for myself on holidays now & then…) and his quiet encouragement for me to be “me.” Life doesn’t get much finer!

And this?

Random Playfulness

This is the flower he picked for me yesterday… for no reason at all.

Enjoying random playfulness,

~ Kim

© 2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch

My Third Annual State of the Blog Address

Moon Set

Like the colors that subtly usher in each season, this post always sneaks up on me. One minute it’s March of last year and the next it’s March right now. (Almost April!) Has it really been twelve months?

Recap-wise, my year could be summed up in five words:

In transit or in transition.

I spent a lot of time away from the lake. On the road or in the air… leaving and returning… packing and unpacking… settling in again. (Necessarily so.)

With each successive journey, I felt like the shoreline moved farther away and close friends became tentative ones — not on purpose, but because that’s the way it is. Aren’t we always making adjustments? Part of being a grown-up is realizing that nothing ever stays the same, no matter how much we want it to.

Life. Relationships. Food…

One of the challenges I faced last year was getting it through my thick skull that no, you can’t eat gluten unless you want to suffer for an untold number of days. Old habits die hard, but you can teach an old dog new tricks — and I kinda favor positive thinking. While it’s not my intent to become a gluten-free blogger (and I’m greatly indebted to those who are) there’s been a radical shift in my cooking, grocery shopping, and eating. I probably won’t bring it up again… ’nuff said.

This year’s advice? Listen to your body.

Speaking of canines… one of the reasons I haven’t shared more photos (or posts) in recent months was because I was attacked by a stray dog. While I was out snapping pictures one day, Cujo decided to assert his Alpha male-ness. Thankfully I was wearing cowboy boots and my favorite Levi’s, and my Jeep was ten steps away, so the chunk he attempted to take out of my leg was foiled. I ended up with fang mark bruises on my calf for a week though… ouch.

Normally I’m a carefree and trusting soul (and I love dogs), but it never occurred to me that I could be in danger while I was out appreciating Nature through my lens. I’ve become accustomed to lizards and scorpions and snakes (oh my!), but stray dogs not so much — especially when they’re almost as tall as me. That incident shook me to the core and forced me to take refuge until Animal Control apprehended the random offender. To date, I’ve only told a few close friends (including the lake), but I’m feeling much braver now… and I carry a big stick.

Home, Sweet Home… or prison?

Another thing that influenced my writing (or lack of it) was an overwhelming feeling of being ‘housebound’ for most of the winter. Following yet another snafu with TMOFW’s ancient pickup — and despite his best efforts to fix it — he finally took it to a shop. “Nope. Ain’t gonna happen. Best bet is to haul it to a junkyard and scrap it out for parts.” That meant my Jeep went into full-time service as the hubby’s work vehicle, and yours truly has been wheel-less. (Been there, done that.) However, public transportation wasn’t an option this time with Cujo roaming about.

So, I’ve stayed home. And home. And home…

After awhile I didn’t feel like going anywhere or writing anything — nor did I have anything to write about. Mild case of agoraphobia or depression? Your guess is as good as mine. Whatever it was, I was a mess. (I love Southern euphemisms.)

Thankfully my friend (the lake) started kicking up its heels about the time I was ready to hit bottom. (I may write about it someday — or not.) Although I’m no stranger to pain, I’m also mindful of yours.

We can only take so much at one time.

Wild & Windy

Here’s to colors, cohorts, and confidence…

In case you missed my first and second annual musings, they’re here and here. And though this stretch has been a bit tumultuous, life is still good at the lake.

Heartfelt gratitude to you for reading and commenting on a little lunch. I appreciate it more than you know… xo.

Enjoying Spring on the horizon at last,

~ Kim

© 2011-2014 Kim Bultman and a little lunch.

The Movies — More Than Just Entertainment

Oscar night nibbles

When was the last time you really listened to someone’s story?

In a previous post I mentioned the snack tray I put together to accompany the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards — nothin’ fancy, just a few “made-with-love” goodies to enhance Mom’s escalating excitement surrounding that event. (And please bear with the photo above scanned from one she sent me — hover, people, hover… I’ll be rectifying that soon.) Anyway, Mom loves parties.

She loves movies even more.

I heard her story often while I was growing up — no electricity, no running water, a mild-mannered Mother and a domineering Dad. Nothin’ against my grandparents — life was tough in the post-Depression era and apparently they came to an amicable compromise before I was born. (I honestly don’t remember their relationship being so “volatile.”) But, recall is subjective, and for my Mom (a sensitive — and may I add sensational — human being despite the odds), it meant bearing the brunt of hard times and folks trying to cope. I’m so glad I listened to Mom’s story again, and that she felt compelled to tell it once more.

Enter Hollywood…

Saturday nights during the late 1930′s and early 1940′s, my Grandpa favored visiting the local pool hall after a hard week of tilling the soil. For whatever reason — I’m certain Grandma had a hand in it (she wasn’t as meek as she made out to be) — she and my Mom (from age 5 onward) rode into town with him to be deposited under the marquee of the local theatre. While Grandpa enjoyed his libations around the corner, they watched movies. And, depending on how long he fancied to stay, they gladly sat through the second show.

Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn, Greer Garson, Vivien Leigh, Celeste Holmes, Judy Garland, and countless others (not to mention their handsome leading men) appeared larger than life and yet somehow “real.” Whether they realized it or not, their performances sparked a young girl’s imagination and made an indelible impact on her ability to reconcile life as she knew it. Movies weren’t just entertainment, they were a means of survival. And possibilities…

The big screen provided more.

Movies filled Mom’s heart with hope. (Still do!) Bonus points for costume designers — Edith Head was her favorite. I suspect she was the inspiration for the many, many home-sewn garments Mom later expertly designed and constructed for my sister ‘n me. Side note: A few years ago I was honored to view Edith’s creations (and Oscars) in Bartlesville, OK… breathtaking! I thought of Mom the whole time…

For those of you who snored through the “technical” and other obligatory categories during this year’s Academy Awards, I wish you could have seen the look on my Mom’s face. Rapt attention. Respect. Darn near reverence. She appreciates each and every facet of movie-making — and no wonder why.

We should all be so mindful.

A brief word to aspiring (and veteran) actors… please know that your performances contribute more to life than just momentary amusement. Somewhere “out there” a young lady (or gentleman) may be desperately yearning to be transported from “reality” into a world they can only imagine in the dim lights of a movie theatre. They’re dreaming of the future — their own! Follow your heart, and Lord willing, they’ll follow theirs.

My Mom’s life (and mine) have been inexorably altered by “the movies.”

After my last visit home, I don’t think I’ll ever feel the same about watching them. “I’d like to thank The Academy… and my mother. Her life story (and yours ‘n mine) are etched in history — forever.

My advice? Listen to stories even if you’ve heard them before. (Tell your own, too!) Who knows? One day a Best Picture nomination or a better life (the stuff dreams and movies are made of) may result.

Enjoying real-life screenplays,

~ Kim

What’s your favorite movie — and why?

© Kim Bultman and a little lunch