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Tonight, I took a rare night off, and did NO work. Lately, that just never seems to happen and I was long overdue.

I came home from the shop, bagged up the library books from under the coffee table, and piled on the kitchen chair, and next to the bed. I walked the two blocks to deliver them – intending to head right home like a good girl and get to work.

The moment I stepped through the door, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. They called to me like they always do. All the books, all the shelves upon shelves of books. All the stories. And I walked down each aisle, not really on a mission for anything in particular. Just enjoying the silence, and the atmosphere. And I decided to check out only fiction – only completely frivolous books. No philosophical tomes, no spiritual texts. No art books. No books that had anything, whatsoever, to do with work – I haven’t done that in too long.

I meandered home, enjoying the heat and watching the people sitting outside the restaurants and walking from shop to shop.

I plopped the books in a glorious pile on the end of the kitchen table, and made myself a tall cold glass of extra-chocolatey milk. I took my time reading the book jackets, choosing which would be my first.

I curled up on the couch under my favorite blanket – the thin blue one I bought at Summerfest one year, and used as a ground cover for the Tom Petty concert. For once, our cat chose to let me have some space instead of immediately leaping up and demanding attention. I sank into the story, losing all track of time, every once in a while shifting position. Riveted.

I left the book half-read (I’m a fast reader), and pulled out my art supplies. The story triggered something, and I finally knew how to finish an art journal page I’d been mulling over for a week. I yanked stamps out of binders, lugged the ink case onto the table, poured gesso onto a plastic bag, grabbed a brush, and started working. After all the mulling I’d done, it came together quickly now…just how I wanted it to look. Just how it looked in my heart.

I didn’t make dinner. I ate spready cheese and Ritz crackers and a dark chocolate candy bar. I pulled out another art project that just needed a few finishing touches, and added them, trying not to think too much. Just letting it come.

I never really write about this kind of stuff – these small things, small rituals that make up my days – not even in my personal journal. Today, it felt important – I’ve been busting my butt, and immersing myself in the work that goes into bringing a dream into being. Today, it was important to do what I wanted to do for no other reason than I felt like doing it.

When I get so focused, I get so much done, and it feels really good. A line of checkmarks marching down a to-do list is one of my favorite sights. But one of the parts of walking the path of mastery is to recognize areas of imbalance – and all work and no play makes Carolyn a dull girl.

For the rest of the night? I’m updating this blog (cause I feel like it) and my art blog (cause I feel like it), and then I’ll watch the rest of Two Mules for Sister Sarah with Jeremy and the cat, and head to bed. Cause I feel like it.

Here’s hoping that all of you make time for play – too long without it, and the joy leaches out of life!

I am a confessed bibliophile. I am sick. I am not allowed to enter Barnes & Noble or Half Priced Books without supervision.  I’ve established this in earlier posts.

What you may not know is that I am also a huge music lover. (I know, it’s astounding. Who’d have thunk it? Call Guinness). I have binders and binders of CDs. My 80 gig IPod is almost full. And I love all kinds and sorts of music – from Incubus to Chopin, from Alison Krauss to Death Cab for Cutie, from Pink Spiders to Korn, from Secret Garden to Bob Marley.

I can thank my father (mostly) for encouraging me to love and appreciate a wide swath of music. I can remember sitting beside him in one of the (many) second- or third-hand used station wagons we owned throughout my childhood, singing along to Pink Floyd and Led Zepplin, or playing alongside him as he worked in the basement and singing along with Gordon Lightfoot or Marty Robbins.

I have a deep emotional reaction to live music – I just cannot even sing along. I start to get that chokey, constricted feeling that comes when you’re going to cry. I just feel the music so deeply. I cry as I belt out my favorite songs in the car. There are songs that I cannot even listen closely to, because I am so moved, that the tears just start.

So, I thought I’d share an utter favorite or two! Enjoy!

Here’s my (current) favorite fun-dance-when-no-one’s-looking song:

MGMT Electric Feel (an awesome funkadelic-y kind of band)

 Gordon Lightfoot always, always makes me cry (but in that good cathartic way): Sit Down Young Stranger

This is another feel-good favorite. Picture me kicking back, drinking lemonade and feeling oh-so-sassy, listening to Jimi Hendrix’s Red House:

Enjoy your Friday everyone!!

Come have a look through my kaleidoscope eyes. Come walk with me, as I make my way down the Path of Mastery (complete with fits and starts and pitstops and potholes). Our very impermanence is what makes us burn so brightly, and struggle so valiantly, and feel so deeply – it’s what makes us seize the day, and the moment. Come in, settle in, share a moment with me.

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"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then." (Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 5)