Still reading all the Squam posts…2 weeks since the day of arrival and what I wouldn’t give to create some of that magic here today. The well’s been drying up lately and I can’t wait for NBOS this coming weekend. I really should be writing vintage bathing suit descriptions, and a gazillion other things in preparation for a big event this coming weekend and our upcoming move to a gritty whaling port of yesteryear, in its heyday the wealthiest city in the world.

Exciting but also overwhelming. So I escape back to Holderness by reading the journal entries of others. Love it, because they all capture so many different aspects of it that together recreate the entire experience for me.


For the longest time I wanted a DSLR like “everyone else” had, so I finally bought a brand spankin’ new Nikon D60 last June. Funny thing is, while I’ve used it a bit, I don’t use it as much as I thought I would. I am a bag lady who never goes anywhere without a notebook and pen, something to read and something to knit. I am apt to forget my purse, which I’ve managed to trim down to the smallest medium-est Baggalini, but I rarely leave without a notebook. Or my mug of tea, for that matter. Unlike my camera.

The journey to my camera started with a tiny seed of desire back when Superhero first got hers. It waxed and waned for years until I just finally went for it. And quite frankly, like much of what we think we really want, it was rather — anticlimactic.

I mean, yes, I felt cool, walking around with my professional looking camera (it’s really not, well yes it is, professional looking, but it’s easy to use, trust me). It takes great pictures — yes, IT takes great pictures. Me, I just snap away. Because as has been said, the only good camera is the one you use. It’s not really about the camera.

And I’m not really interested in learning to use the DSLR. I’ve never been very good with too many choices — they overwhelm me. And everything moves so fast these days, especially our lives. I can’t keep up. I try to cram everything in fast, just in case I miss something. Crazy thing is, I’m always gonna miss something. That’s life. And do I care about ev-er-y – lit-tle – thing – I’m – go-ing – to – miss? Truthfully? In the grand scheme of my life, yes and no. But, that’s life and it’s another post (that maybe someone else can write?). Personally, I want to get over the things I feel I’ve missed and move on. Beyond stuck. So, for me it means letting go of anything extra that doesn’t serve who I am and who I want to be. I’ve been hauling vintage sewing notions, craft supplies, clothing, housewares and more off to the swap shop, but some things I have to just plain sell, my camera being one of them.

┬áIf you’re in the market for a barely used, like new Nikon D60 totally set to go (including a case, the Tamrac Express Bag 6 in Black)), have I got a deal for you (without giving an exact quote it’s well under $500 and a bit over $400). So email me at michelleshopped at gmail dot com if you’re interested. Because I’m trying to follow rule number one of Gretchen’s Happiness Project and that rule is be yourself — Be Patricia (makes sense that it would be the first step to being happy). So, first up in eliminating what isn’t Patricia is the camera (plus I could use the money). Because my way of connecting and seeing people is through language rather than a lens. Because I’m Patricia. At my new job the other day, I said to my boss, “for me, it’s really not about the job, it’s about the people.” (Translated to mean, it’s really not about the camera or the clothes or the house or the…it’s about the people. Something else I’ve learned about myself).

Just Another Manic Monday

It’s always somethin’
~Roseanne Rosannadanna

PIMA. Pain in my arse. Figured I’d do my taxes today online like I did last year. Should be simple since my income barely registers on the poverty scale, right? The job I was “let go” from in the fall paid me with a 1099 instead of a W-2 which complicates things slightly. Add to that a couple of small retirement funds I cashed in for living expenses, and blah — yuk!

Finally gave up and have decided to go to the IRS for help doing my taxes this year. After spending most of the morning struggling with two different e-file programs and accomplishing zilch I am a bit grouchy to say the least. Especially when I look up and it’s already 1 bloody o’clock! So much for Mondays and accomplishing anything. I could just sign off now but while I’m on a roll grouching why not continue? (Because I’ll regret it — so I won’t — I’ll get over it).

But it’s now February 1st and the 20th is the deadline for BEAR registrations. Funny thing is, while I love the whole retreat path and would so love for BEAR take off, there’s a part of me that’s okay if it doesn’t. One thing I’ve learned through feedback that I wasn’t sure would be a problem or not (it appears to be) is the shared beds. And that’s okay because I wondered about it myself. But Overbrook’s such a beautiful spot, and while I’ve seen other retreats with shared beds fill up, I also recognize that I am not a known persona yet, a proven “winner”, or whatever you might call it. And I’m okay with that too. Getting to this point where I can share it here is rather liberating. I’m not feeling so self-conscious anymore.

Some things I’ve learned for me:

1. establish a large enough platform for yourself first that can support your endeavor (a dedicated blog following, a book, a reputation so to speak, something that lets people feel like they’re getting to know you and lets you know they are resonating with you) before you start shooting your mouth off

2. try to determine whether you’re the star or supporting cast (I found this out partway into the process — while I loved doing the work of setting everything up, I’d just as soon let someone else have the glory or take the fall (I’ll be there to catch them, I’m strong like that).

3. If it’s an overnight venue, single beds are preferable.

4. Scheduled dates: make sure there’s not another well-established retreat already happening

5. This I’ve said before: putting together a wee retreat like mine was a hell of a lot of work and time — I’ve learned Squam is one of the biggest retreat bargains out there, so if you want the biggest bang for your buck and you’re into restoring your spirit, soothing your soul and mucking it up creatively, then I say: “Get thee to Squam!” Registration begins today.

To My Sister

Dear Betsy,

I was too embarrassed to tell you why I was backing off from going to Squam with you. I said I was feeling ambivalent and I was uncertain about whether or not I would go right up until the Friday before, and that was partly true. But the whole truth is, I can’t handle curve balls.

I had a certain idea of my Squam overnight in mind — my plan was to drive Molly’s car, stay here (it was a dream and the Liepers are the best and an inspiration, in their 80’s for Goddess’ sake), catch up with Thea at 5 for my photo shoot (didn’t happen, me after 6 hours on the road, her after several days at Squam — it was just too much), skip into an art gallery before supper at the Corner House, catch the art show, and head home Sunday.

So I did go, but with Marty instead. With Marty I can do things my way and I don’t have to explain myself (too much). He loves me anyway — unconditionally, with all my quirks. I can be totally comfortable in my skin.

With my family, I always seem to lapse into explanations about my feelings which start feeling like excuses, paranoia, my phobias. So I am neurotic. I become self-conscious. Stumbling over my words and what I want to say. For fear of judgment.

The first curve was taking Vincent’s car, then it was staying at Lynn’s condo nearby, then it was Lynn might be going to her condo for the weekend too — I couldn’t handle it. I just wanted my little overnight my way, a way I was comfortable with.

I needed to stick with my original plan — I get overwhelmed and nervous otherwise. I wanted Squam to feel special, the little piece I experienced of it, and it was. I would have liked to have shared it with you as I know you would have been blown away, but this year it wasn’t going to happen.

When I was planning your 40th birthday party, Jacqueline was throwing me curves too. When I called Joyce to discuss the curves, she said, “Keep it simple, stick with the plan, Stan.” She was so right. I try to remember that advice when I feel myself uncertain (curve balls do that to me). So, I decided to stick with the plan, if I went. But I couldn’t tell you my feelings, my discomfort with the curve balls. I was sorry and didn’t want things to be all awkward between us as they sometimes can be. It’s our family way sometimes, huh?

But I want things to be all right between us and for you to understand.

“I yam who I yam.”
–Langston Hughes

Love from your big sis,

The NH Woods

Years ago I was driving through a part of NH during one of my Vermont camping trips and I excitedly popped off a postcard to my mother, who is from Claremont. She is from the southwest corner of the state, this was the north — Woodsville and Haverhill to be exact — the western border along the Connecticut River, across from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

“I feel this soul connection, here Mom, yet I’ve never been here! It’s like I know this place.” I tried to explain.

Later when I called her and mentioned it again, she snapped, “Well, my grandmother was born there.” She gets testy about family history for many reasons I won’t go into here. And her grandmother is my great-grandmother, you know?

I have always felt magic in the woods, talked to spirits and worshiped deities amongst the trees since I was a small child. The woods are alive with spirits and they are where I am most at home. And so it was in the woods at Squam this past Saturday.

I only went to the art show but I understand now why it is too hard to write it all out in one post too soon. It is an experience that must be absorbed first, savored, to be shared, yes, but to be held onto before letting it go. Like a spirit in the woods.

Learning to Fly

“What goes up, must come down…and coming down, is the hardest thing.”

Day before yesterday, I was flying after making reservations at a nearby bed and breakfast for Squam Lake. When I learned Stef was going to be there at the art show, that decided it for me. I actually committed.

I can’t do the retreat this year, but I can go to the art show, and catch up with Thea for a mini photo shoot. My sis is going with me, and we are so looking forward to it. Last time we went off on a distant creative venture together was when we went to Renegade several years ago. I wrote about in a long ago blog.

Of course, I knew after being so high the day before, I was gonna crash yesterday and crash I did. But I’m better today — in a more even space.

And September is shaping up to be a great month. It’s one of my favorite months and not just because it’s my birthday month (I share the actual date of my birthday with this lovely lady and this charming gentleman). And this Virgo is now selling cards in her Etsy shop.


While I can’t afford SAW yet again this year on my birthday (my 50th fell right during Squam last year), I am excited about the art show on Saturday. I am hoping to see many “rockstar” bloggers that I read including Denise, Pixie, Susannah and I think she is going too. Oh yes and the divine Thea with whom I must book that photo gig I won on this lady’s blog this summer. I hope to someday meet Stef, McCabe and Lea.

** when I am blocked and can’t write I move — my hands, my feet, whatever it takes to release the block — when I was stuck over the weekend, I made tree charms, walked and biked. Yesterday I blogged and edited photos (I started shooting in RAW — no idea what it is, I just listen to people who know more — so my learning curve with photography continues to creep along), today I visit my middle school girl pal for an organic breakfast.