I’m not sure where I got the energy, but today was pretty productive. One big job was getting the 17 yr old to help me clear abundant weeds and tree growth from our alley driveway. Since we don’t put our car in the garage, it’s been nearly a forest back there. I’d like to plant berry bushes and rhubarb there, since we don’t get full sun anywhere else on our property. That area looks so clean now… it was worth it, despite the grumblings of my son.
More fun was making bottles of raspberry cordial and cranberry liqueur, and then 6 jars of raspberry freezer jam (we do have some raspberry bushes growing on the side of our garage in the alley). The liqueur will be ready in 3 weeks, the cordial in 6 weeks, and the jam will be ready when it’s cool. Seeing all those pretty red jars and bottles on the counter is just so satisfying, and it reminds me once again that I love Makin’ Stuff.
Cooking and baking is one way– trying out new recipes, baking bread, cooking from scratch. For years I’ve made most of our cleaning products– a “wonder spray” for cleaning surfaces, vinegar and water for shiny stuff, and I recently ran across a laundry soap recipe that would be fun to try. In the last year or so, I’ve been exploring how to make natural body products– I took a class where I learned to make some lotions, lip balms and salves, and I’ve made my own deoderant. And I never thought I would get into knitting– I saw other people do it and thought it might be too hard or too boring, but then I gave it a shot, teaching myself the basics with a knitting book for kids. I made a l-o-n-g red scarf, and it wasn’t boring but more meditative for me, and utterly satisfying to have made something! And then I discovered how much fun yarn shops are… all the colors and textures.
I could go on about all the phases I’ve been through in my desire to Make Stuff, but for now I’ll just say, this is one of those things that makes me tick and thrills me. Maybe it started with popsicle stick sculptures in first grade, I don’t know, but for now, I’m grateful for the library (all kinds of books on Makin’ Stuff!) and the Internet (where you can find out how to make anything so easily). Oh, and my family, who put up with my experiments, even the ones that don’t turn out quite so well!
Naming a website is a little tricky. There are a lot of questions to ask yourself– do you want to just go for your real name? What is easy for people to remember, or spell? What will the name bring to mind and say about you?
I debated all these questions for awhile. A lot of writers just use their name… but my name isn’t the easiest to spell out, especially when my nice Polish maiden name “Jarosz” is thrown in there. I wanted to make it easy, keep it simple.
My former website was called “The Sapphire Pen,” and I still really like that. I have been identified with “sapphire” on the web ever since my husband gave it to me for my computer handle back when we were first getting online before there really was an Internet in 1990 or so. Sapphire is my birthstone, and he has one on his wedding band. I like it, and I really thought hard about keeping The Sapphire Pen… ultimately and ironically, it was my husband who discouraged me. Sapphire ends up being a little tricky with the double “p”s. It’s just better to have something simple.
After brainstorming and playing around with combinations, I came up with Pen and Moon. It certainly is easy to spell, and I like that it brings up an image, so maybe it can be easily remembered. I still have a love affair with pens and writing by hand, even though so much writing happens on the computer now. I feel connected to writing in a different kind of way when I’m doing it with a pen on paper.
The moon… well, I have a love affair with her, too! The moon is featured in several of my poems (read a moon poem here), and I just feel a connection and a surge of excitement when I spot the moon in the sky. There’s a big ol’ moon on the cover of my poetry book too (thanks to my daughter who painted that beautiful art for it).
I’m hoping the moon is out tonight for the Northern Spark event… a bunch of artsy and techno activities happening all over Minneapolis throughout the night. Maybe I’ll bring along a pen and notebook to record some of it, too!
Well, well, well! Back to blogging after quite a hiatus. I had started my old site, The Sapphire Pen, back in 2002… my daughter was 11, and it boggles my mind to think of it now, but she taught me how to build a website. We were using rocks and sticks and pieces of flint– something like that, and I honestly can’t even remember how we did it. Thanks to her, that site kept me flying and blogging for several years until something crashed and I could no longer edit pages. Ah well… I knew I needed a new site anyway, using more modern tools, with a more professional look (I’m still working on that). Thanks to the help of a wonderful friend who took a class on website creation, I’ve got this site now, coming together. It’s exciting for me, a step forward and put myself out there as a writer.
It feels a little like getting up on new legs, a bit wobbly, but I’ll get in the swing of things soon. I want to blog about a bunch of stuff, and maybe a pattern will eventually emerge, but for now I’m thinking or writing about my interests, in the hopes that some of it will interest others out there– like writing, cooking, life transformation, health & fitness, parenting, gardening, and we’ll see what else.
And now to see if I’ve figured out how to put up an entry!