Where In the World Are You?


Today I want to show you a couple of pictures. I’d like to know what you think of them — where they’re from, what kind of people live there. Houses just down the block from you and me.

How about this one?

And a third.

Are these the homes of terrorists? Hostile Politicians?

Is the mother divorced? The father cheating on his wife? Are they Democrats? Republicans? Independents?

You see — you know nothing about the people who live in these houses. You have no idea of their problems, their dreams, their struggles. You have no idea if they’re African American or German or American Indian.

And you know what?

It shouldn’t matter.

I may be naive, but I tend to believe that most of the people in the world are good. They work, they love, they cry. They buy groceries, they take their kids to soccer, and stay awake at night.

We’ve got to get rid of this hatred of other people … hatred towards people we don’t know, never knew, or will never know. We have to fight the prejudices our parents and grandparents passed along to us. We don’t have to LOVE each other, but we certainly don’t need to HATE each other either.

Let them plant their flowers, mow their lawns, and wish upon a star at night. They deserve that chance free of hatred. So do we.

As for the pictures…?

The first one is from Poland, the second Greece, and the last Australia. All done with Google Earth.

Right down the road….

 

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Cartier

Louis-François Cartier founded Cartier in Paris in 1847 when he took over the workshop of his master.

In 1874, Louis-François’ son Alfred Cartier took over the company, but it was Alfred’s sons Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who were responsible for establishing the brand name worldwide.

Cartier created unique and individual creations for celebrities and royalty alike.

Their revolutionary ideas, such as using platinum in jewelry, earned Cartier the title of ‘Jeweler of Kings, King of Jewelers’ from King Edward VII.

Cartier is considered to be one of the top names in luxury products globally.

But. Cartier has never forgotten their history of producing custom-made or one-of-a-kind beautiful jewelry and wrist watch creations.

Come Sail Away

Back on January 4th I wrote a blog about not making New Year’s resolutions. (in case you need a refresher course, it’s https://wp.me/p1pIBL-2Cm). I still believe in not making resolutions — they are merely commitments you can’t always keep. No offense.

But I have had an altered experience that makes me redefine the word “resolution.”  

I was driving home from work today and the song “Come Sail Away” by Styx came on. What did I do? Cranked up the song and sang along at the top of my lungs. It felt great. Like a release into the atmosphere.

So I started to think what it would look like to the outside world if I did the same thing in the summer. Windows wide open, through the countryside and citywide as well. This 65-year-old granny of 2-1/2, singing like there’s no tomorrow.

I have been self conscious most of my life. The reasons don’t matter, but I am not comfortable when people watch me. (Watch me, as opposed to look at me when we talk/laugh etc.). I always wonder what other people think of how I look. Do I match. Do I dress like a teenager. Do I sound stupid when I talk.

Well, I have made a decision. Besides trying to not care what others think, I’m making a point of doing this same driving stunt during the summer. This 65-year-old woman driving around with the windows down, singing with my  favorite songs at the top of my lungs.

Honestly. What have I got to lose?

Will it matter to me if the college kid in the car next to me or the lady waiting for the stoplight or the kid riding his bike think I’m nuts? Will it matter 20 years from now that I gave my favorite songs my “all”?

I think all of us have wasted too much time worrying about what the “other guy” thinks. We are all unique individuals. No one else has our DNA. No one else felt the things we felt and went the places we went or cried the tears we cried.

I am going to make a point of sharing my love of music by singing along with it and cranking it up and sharing my excitement, my transformation, with anyone who listens. I will be a 65-year-old inspiration for whomever wants to be inspired, and a good joke for those who could care less.

No  resolutions. No commitments. Just making a point.

Be who you always wanted to be but were afraid to be.

 

A gathering of angels appeared above my head
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said
They said come sail away, Come sail away
Come sail away with me….

Have A Mishmash In Your Head?

A mishmash of thoughts this Monday evening….

It has been five days since I made the vow to dump sensationalized social media. I am happy to report that I haven’t a clue as to what Trump is tweeting nor what Kim Kardashian is saying about her mother/sister/husband. It is refreshing.

I am watching the movie Gladiator. It is an epic production, but all the killing makes me sad. Oh, it’s only a movie, but it’s based on a truth. How many people have died in one war or another? And I’m not just talking about the United States. The Mongol Conquests took 34,641,016+; Spanish Conquest of the Aztec World, 24,300,000+, and back home, World War II, 36,696,798+. (statistics from Wikipedia.) There is no glory in war. When will the world learn this?

I have lost the buzz to write. Is it the weather? Is it that I’m tired when I get home from work? Have I given up? I would say this happens to everyone now and then, but at this moment, I don’t care. And that’s what’s not good. I’ve left my heroine on a parallel planet pregnant with the king’s child, not married, someone trying to kill her, and the edge of the world is crumbling. Why can’t I get going on this? 

I love my cats and like my dog, but I have been a crazy person lately babysitting my brother-in-law’s yappy dog. And over the weekend my son’s dog, too. I am feeling so anti-pet lately…is that because I’m getting old? Tired of dogs and cats sleeping on my bed so I can’t turn over? Tired of their meowing because they’re hungry or bored? I do admit my patience is thinning the older I get. Just trying to keep my cool. .

Do you go through grandparent withdrawal? Do you pace the floor and count the days until you can next get together? My heart hurts for those of you who live far from your grandbabies. Even if they’re in high school or college, they’re still your grandbabes. What wonderful, naughty, childish things you do when you are together! Sit on the floor (and can’t get up), ride a bike (better get a helmet and shin guards), play baseball (can’t catch but, oh well..), eat ice cream cones (one scoop or two?) I’m rested and ready.

Do you like the winter? The gentle sparkle of falling flakes, the laughter of children playing in the snow, fireplaces and hot chocolate, snuggles and cuddles and crisp cold air that brings a hard blush to your face?

I don’t either. Come on Spring!

 

To Thine Own Self Be True

How are you this fine evening?

Are you sitting on the veranda, a soft, warm breeze encouraging you to watch the stars come out? Are you cuddled under a soft, velvety throw, your features softened by firelight, as you read your book? Are you dancing and laughing and making love to minds and bodies and future promises?

I am watching the 2009 version of Hamlet with Mel Gibson. Beautiful eyes aside, he has done the Bard proud. 

Most people ask, “How can you understand Shakespeare? His words are so flowery!”

Oh, would today’s writing have such flowery.

I have found the longer I listen to Shakespeare the more I understand. At first the words are tilted and gilded and wraped around each other with magnificent curliques.

But the more you listen, the richer the text becomes. If the actor, the actress, truly understand exactly what William was saying, they become one with the character. And their oneness transcends all language.

I suppose you could say the same with any good writer, with any good actor. Some leave the words back in the book; Other take the beauty, the harmony, of the written word and transcend both worlds.

The purpose of this evening blog is to encourage those of you who use your words to use your words. Don’t just jot down the first rhetoric that comes to mind. Get into your characters. Feel their pain, their confusion, their undying love. And speak as if you were them.

Take a good read or watch a good video of Shakespeare. Know he is of another time, another world, another language. But learn how he says so much with such curly and sweetly scented words. And then take to heart what you learn and make it part of your writing. Perhaps you are not Mel Gibson speaking Hamlet, but you are a gifted muse speaking your own words.

Who knows — maybe one day they will make a movie out of your words!

 

 

 

Stop The Madness!

I’ve been thinking about writing this for some time now. It’s not a life review statement or a manifesto. It’s just common sense for me.

Every day I enjoy reading the headlines of Yahoo. Well, I used to enjoy them. But it seems as the news and social media have galloped away into the madness of the sunset that never ends.

What in the hell is wrong with people?

Do I come from such a whitebread background that I can’t identify with murderers and thieves? Am I so far from the bright lights of Hollywood that I can’t appreciate every wardrobe change of a nobody?

I might not have voted for the president, but I’m tired of all the nonsense that keeps filling up the news. This last week I’ve read about him not singing the entire national anthem, that he has a cheeseburger in his bed at night, he cant pronounce Nazi and he won’t let housekeeping clean his bedroom.

Who in the Hell cares?

I’m so tired of nonsense news that I’m going to do my best to stop reading Yahoo and any other headliner agencies.

Easier said than done. A big goal, seeing as I’m a social media kinda gal. But I’ve got to curb my free time and stop wasting it on things I can do nothing about. I’ve said this in other blogs. My heart breaks for mudslide victims and hurricane victims. But there is nothing I can do to change that flow. I also can’t help rich and famous people who are getting busted for everything from drugs to sexual harassment or athletes who sit for the national anthem.

I admit I do like to read the good news. The positive stuff. But you have to dig far to find it. Somewhere behind politics and nuclear relations is a story about a dog who saved a child or a mother who was reunited with her baby. But those stories are hard to find these days.

I know there is pain and evil all around us. Respectable journalists report this kind of news to the public to inform, to warn, and to reward. But it gets way out of hand when they are reporting about this starlet’s underwear or this public figure’s eating habits. It seems writing news stories has become nothing more than one-upping the story before.

So I will stick to my blogging and reading my friend’s blogs and sharing news on my Facebook account. I will write poetry and finish my fantasy fiction novel and read a few new books too. If I need gossip I will go to a site that specializes in that. But I’m done with the madness on the levels above.

My psyche takes it all too personally, and that’s not good for my heart — or soul.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Izumi Akinobu

Tokyo-based artist Izumi Akinobu creates amazing miniature worlds encased in tiny glass bottles.

 

Izumi is an architectural model designer by day and a craft artist in her spare time.

She has been creating these wonderful bottles since 2010.

More of  Izumi Akinobu‘s tiny creations can be found at https://www.etsy.com/shop/tinyworldinabottle. 

 

What Are You Doing This Friday Night?

It’s Friday Night.

What are you doing? What are you watching?

Friday night is the crash point of anyone who works full time Monday through Friday. Somehow it’s become the psychological barrier between work (madness, determination, exasperation) and freedom (creativity, socialization, family and friends).

We all deal with Friday in our own way. Some go out on the town. Some go to the movies, some to the local bar. Some make a pizza and beer night (I have been known to participate in such). Some just jump into jammies and watch whatever is on TV. Others run to the book they’re reading to catch up on the next chapter.

Does Friday night mean anything to you? Is it a change from one world onto another? Is is psychological change, a metaphysical change? Do you turn from Dr. Jekyll during the day to Galileo during the night? Do you turn from data clerk or accountant to a creative entity worth mentioning?

I always have felt like a different person during the day. Methodical, calculating, creative when I need to be. It’s nothing like my science fiction, cerbrial, not-making-sense sort of person. I always thought I was the same person day in and day out. But the last few years have proven otherwise.

It doesn’t matter what your creative field. Painting, crocheting, writing, calligraphy. Rarely does your day time job allow your muse to come front and center. That’s why it’s always amazing that an accountant becomes a poet. Or a stock trader becomes an internet and Food Network sensation.

We all do what we have to do to make a living. We may be cement contractors during the day — a director or an accounts payable clerk or a cashier

But that is not who we are.

Pay attention to your inner voice. THAT is who you are. Your basic skills may be typing or graphic design but your real self is so much more.

Don’t ignore what your inner voice is saying. If it is screaming to paint a thought or moment on canvas, let it out. If it is telling you there is a poem in your daily grind or in a sunrise, let it out. Life is too short to be limited to one column, one state, one being. You all know what I mean. The way the world rolls, we usually are one singular person during the day and someone totally different afterwards.

Back to the original question — what are you doing this Friday night? Are you vegging, dreaming, writing, painting? Are you watching your favorite TV shows? Science fiction? Reality shows? Game shows? I believe we all are drawn to that secret part of our personality.

Happy  Friday, everyone. Get moving with those dreams!

Make A Difference, Not a Resolution

For those of you brave enough to start New Year’s Resolutions, how are they going? I know its only January 4. But resolutions have been made and broken in less time.

Those of you who read my blabber blog know that I do not make resolutions. Why put all that heart and soul into promises you might not keep?

One of my friends and followers Jane Gealy from The Planet According to Dom commented on my no resolution blog thus: ” I’ve not made a NYR for 30 or more years, but from this point on I will make an exception: to reduce the amount of plastic I buy/use and to be more ‘earth conscious.'” And I replied thus: “It doesn’t have to be “NY resolution” — let it be a lifestyle change!

And that got me thinking. Resolutions are made for shorter periods of time. Six months. A Year. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything say they were making resolutions that would last five years.

But I have heard of people making life style changes that lasted five years — or more.

People with diabetes (my husband) or high blood pressure (my friend) have to change their way of life — eating and drinking and exercising — if they want to live. Period. They have to make a lifestyle change. Maybe it’s not eating a hot fudge sundae every day. Maybe it’s learning meditation. Maybe it’s taking a walk after a busy day.

I wanted to lose weight. That was all health-related, of course, but one day I just decided not to eat every treat that was brought into the office. Not to eat potato chips while I watched TV. Not to have cookies and ice cream before bed. I might have “resolved” to change my eating habits, but I didn’t NYEve them. It was a day to day thing.

Of course, I’m 65 and have this thing about premature death. I believe I should live until at least 96. The thought of not growing up with my grandkids kicks me in the chest harder than any football tackle. So one step at a time I’m doing something about it.

Another source of stress is my daily job. It’s not what it used to be, and I’m ready to retire. But I need to get my finances in shape first. So I don’t have a NYEve resolution to retire in a year — I have a lifestyle goal.

Your lifestyle goal can work for anything. You want to get published? Put it on the lifestyle list. Want to move to a different neighborhood? Visit Paris? Be able to jog around the block? New job? Don’t resolve to do it — just work every day towards those goals.

Jane hit it on the head when she said: “I will make an exception: to reduce the amount of plastic I buy/use and to be more ‘earth conscious.” To be more of something. More aware. More active. More inquisitive.

Anybody can make a conscientious effort to change their life. Don’t draw the line in the sand and say all or nothing. Do what you want to do — need to do — one day at a time.

You’ll be surprised how far you will go in a year.

Winter Is For Ice Sculptures

The weather is evilly cold in Wisconsin. Whipping winds, below freezing temperatures, all make for long nights under the blanket.

It also is a marvelous time for ice sculptures. So this fine winter’s evening I thought I would share a couple of images from my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog — Ice Sculptures. (https://wp.me/p5LGaO-zg)

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (on Monday) — Randall Henry Riemer

Randall Riemer is an award winning metal artist from Wisconsin.

 

His works include architecturally inspired sculptures and furnishings for residential and commercial environments.

His metalwork is modern, eclectic, and magical.

I found this marvelous artist at the Art Fair on the Square in Madison, Wisconsin. What a marvelous vendor.

More of Randall Henry Riemer‘s amazing work can be found at www.rhenrydesign.com

 

I Want To Be A Mixing Engineer

A few blogs ago I stated that in My Next Life I was “going to be very smart…high IQ and all, tall, thin, pretty, funny, bright, popular yet grounded, excelling in Math, Science and Witchcraft. I will cook like Bobby Flay, dance like Ginger Rogers, and chat like Ellen DeGeneres. I will work out, travel around the world, and be a best selling writer.”

Scratch most of that. I’ll keep the smart and thin and pretty, but I’ve decided I want to be a mixing engineer for concerts.

Let me backtrack.

Last night I took my grandbaby and son and husband to see the Transiberian Orchestra. Their website categorizes them as an American Progressive Rock Band. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen or heard of them, but they are amazing musicians that put flash and fire and laser beams in with their rock-style Christmas (and other themes) show. This year they were a little more high tech than in previous years, and I sat in Section 315 row 2 with my mouth wide open throughout the whole concert.

Maybe it’s an old person’s lament, but I look back at my life and, removing family and friends,  see boredom most of the time. I’ve had vanilla jobs all my life. File Clerk. Secretary. Internet Data Analyst Specialist. Safe, boring jobs that didn’t take a lot of creative brain power.

Whenever I attend a live performance, I can’t help but be amazed at the amount of talent that it takes to pull a gig like that off. Forget being the star of the show — that’s first row talent. But you stop and think about all it takes to make Mr. Star Mr. Star, and it’s amazing. No linofilm typists there. No dictaphones or typewriters there.

The people who create the magic that the average Joe-sephine sees are experts in their fields. I mean experts. Mixing engineers. Sound engineers. Someone has to come up with lighting maneuvers that are programmed into a computer. Someone has to mix the live audio so that every piece of sound-creating equipment onstage comes through loud and clear and perfect. How do they do that? What kind of training did they have? 

The person who created the graphics on the three screens behind the musicians were amazing. Where did they come up with such a mixture of snow and trains driving through snow and clocks and marching nutcrackers and photos of deep space and castles and dragons and fireplaces?

I have no idea how those people landed those jobs. I don’t know what their childhood was like, if they were a genius in third grade or if they lost a mother or father or if they did drugs. I DO know that they found they were very good at something and worked their a$$es off to get where they are today.

I suppose a lot of us suffer from cool-job-syndrome.  Some of us managed to have cool jobs somewhere in our past….maybe some of you still do. I took the path my personality set out for me. It wasn’t bright lights or screaming guitar solos or graphic magic. I’m okay with where I am, with what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with.

But sometimes the thought of having become an astronaut or a famous painter or the head of a movie studio because of my God-given talent brings  a soft sigh from my lips.

My only hope it to write one kick-ass story about it all…..

My New Year’s Resolution is No Resolution

Well, that “Hap..Happiest Day….of the Yeaarrrr..” is over. No more baking cookies, no more wrapping presents, no more Christmas carols blaring over the work speakers.

Hopefully you all had a great holiday with all you did and did not do. If you wanted to be alone, I hope everyone left you alone. If you wanted to be with family and friends, I hope you pushed your way into their Christmas parties.

But now comes that tenuous time of the year. That week between celebrations when you know you’ve eaten too much and drank too much and talked too much and the only salvation left for you is….New Year’s Resolutions.

Everybody makes them. Everybody breaks them.

I myself don’t make them.

Too many years of disappointment breaking the vows I swore I would keep. Lose weight. Exercise. Get organized. All that nonsense that pumps you up one minute and bums you out the next.

I started re-adjusting my eating the beginning of 2017. No more half pies, no more packages of Oreos. No half pound of spaghetti noodles on my plate.  It has worked nicely, but slowly. So no need to vow to lose. It’s working all by itself.

Exercise? Too much snow to walk the dog that I can’t control and never walk anyway. There are two pieces of exercise equipment downstairs…now that we have a bigger TV there’s no excuse. We’ll see.

That’s why I don’t vow to change my ways every December 31st. It’s taken me 65 years to get this way, and if I’m not smart enough to get out of my own way that’s my own problem. I knew I needed to lose weight for my health, not for a bikini. I knew I needed to clean out the hoarder’s stuff in my downstairs, not for seeing what I had but so that I could walk to the bedroom without falling over something. Exercise is now on my list of to-dos, because the other day I knelt down and couldn’t stand up on my own. I am starting to have problems with tall steps, and walking to the bathroom and back at work isn’t on the list of exercise options.

So don’t promise yourself to do something for the New Year. Don’t feel you have to start on January 1st. If your goal is too far you’ll never reach it. Too high and you’ll never see it. Plan one thing one step of the time.

This is for your creative projects, too. Don’t say, “I”m going to write three novels this year.” Say, “I’ve got an idea for my first novel…let’s give it a go.” Don’t plan on painting your whole house…buy two gallons of paint and start with one room. And when A is met, you go to B. And on and on adnausium. Because that’s what we creative, tired, stiff human beings do. Just take one day at a time and give it all you’ve got.

Eventually you’ll be giving back the pounds you put on at Christmas.

 

A Small Reminder

This was written by one of my blogging friends…it rings so true in my heart…it will ring true in yours too. Please take a minute to read her post.

 

 

As I wrapped presents yesterday, my first thought was “Did I buy my daughter enough?” Seriously. Pile of boxes and gift bags, and I thought, is it enough? My Mom left me a voicemail the other day. Christmas is at my house this year, which means I’ll be cooking. You know- cooking a meal, like […]

via Everybody Matters — Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

Can You Afford the 12 Days of Christmas?

The holidays are here! Thoughts of baking cookies and singing songs and long walks through the snow twinkle everyone’s thoughts this time of year.

One of Christmas’s favorite songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a light-hearted attempt to give the one you love extraordinary gifts. But what if you wanted to buy each of the 12 days for your own loved one?

For more than 30 years, PNC has calculated the prices of the twelve gifts from the classic carol.  The result is the PNC Christmas Price Index, a unique and whimsical holiday tradition that makes learning about the economy fun.

Here is what they had to say:

A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

$219.95  (+4.7%)

This gift’s spike in price can be fully attributed to the Pear Tree’s increase (+5.2% from $189.99 to $199.95), while the Partridge remained flat. The Pear Tree spiked due to increased cost of living for workers and limited supply of larger, more mature trees.

TWO TURTLE DOVES

$375.00

These birds had no love lost, as prices remained steady, after a hefty increase of 29.3% in 2016.

THREE FRENCH HENS

$181.50

It’s been a quiet year for the French Hens. There was no change in their price or pecking order, due to steady supply and demand in the past year.

FOUR CALLING BIRDS

$599.96

It was business as usual this year for these feathered friends. Their price was unchanged, selling right at market value. No need to call for a discount to stimulate sales.

FIVE GOLD RINGS

$825.00  (+10%)

After five years with unchanged pricing, Gold Rings are shining bright, jumping up 10% since last year due to increased demand and popularity.

SIX GEESE-A-LAYING

$360.00

Despite a slight increase in food prices, geese just laid back this year as the goose market remained stable and their pricing, unaffected. In years past, the goose market had fluctuated due to the avian flu.

SEVEN SWANS-A-SWIMMING

$13,125.00

Although historically the most unpredictable gift of the bunch, the swans swam in a straight line in 2017, staying the same price as last year.

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

$58.00

The Maids-A-Milking are chugging along at the same price as last year, reflecting the stagnant federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009.

NINE LADIES DANCING

$7,552.84

Despite a growing economy and rising demand for dancers, dance companies did not raise wages (and thus, prices) for the fifth year in a row.

TEN LORDS-A-LEAPING

$5,618.90  (+2%)

The price to hire high-flying men to entertain your true love rose after two years of stagnant growth.

ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING

$2,708.40

No price increase in the pipeline for these musicians. After their wage increase last year for the first time since 2013, the cost to hire Pipers in 2017 remained the same.

TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING

$2,934.10

The Drummers kept the beat steady with unchanged pricing after a much-anticipated wage and price increase last year.

 

TOTAL CHRISTMAS PRICE INDEX (CPI)

$34,558.65

(+0.6%)

The cost of this year’s CPI rose ever so slightly, driven by the cost increases for the Pear Tree, the increased demand for Golden Rings, and wage increases for the Lords-a-Leaping.

 

So as you can see, the price of true love just might cost you a pretty penny or two.

 

 

The Weekend Before Christmas – Repost

I got a notice on Facebook today about this past post from a couple of years ago — and it’s fun! Here it is again…

It was the week before Christmas

And all through the house

The kitties were running

In search of their mouse.

They tore through the kitchen

And under the chair

Then disappeared down the hallway

As if never there

The stockings weren’t hung

I’m nobody’s fool

For all that’d be left

Would be shredded in drool

The doggies were eyeballing

The goodies I baked

They had full intention

of sharing my cake

The tree stood by waiting

for garland and lights

The statues and santas

Were stacked way up tight

Christmas cards were patient

For pen and for stamp

My list just kept growing

There under the lamp

I was cooking, I was cleaning

I was staying up late

Worrying about strudel

And empty Christmas plates

The kitties were wrestling

And howling at night

They were drinking milk from glasses

And causing a fright

Then what to my wondering

eyes should appear

But a Food Network magazine

And a bottle of beer

The recipes flowed

Like snow in the hills

With last minute tips

For stove and for grill

On Candy! On Cookies!

On chocolate pecans!

The holiday planning

Had only begun!

Another beer or two

And I was planning gourmet

Pot-au-feu and remoulades

And salmon pate

After the six pack

The tree decorated itself

The dogs baked a meatloaf

With the elf on the shelf

The cats were all dancing

To Jinglebell Rock

The ornaments were hung

On the dining room clock

The beauty of Christmas

Shown brightly that night

My head did a spinneroonie

But that was all right

The turkey and stuffing

Could wait one more day

I took two more aspirins

And called it a day.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Remedios Varo

 Remedios Varo  (1908-1963) was born in Spain. Remedios always struggled to combine the mythic with the scientific, the sacred with the profane.

Remedios decided to evade the civil war that was going on in Spain and moved instead to Paris where the art movements were in vogue.

In Europe she was influenced by the surrealist movement and metaphysics studies. She was motivated by ancient studies and literature, but also by physics, mathematics, engineering, biology and psychoanalysis.

After some years, she decided to move to Mexico with a friend she met in Europe. In Mexico, her real journey as an artist started.

Her characters are mystical and solitary; most of the times involved in scientifical activities. They often have almond-shaped eyes, and androgynous features.

Diverse characters emerge in her painting with unusual attitudes: contemplative, passive, highly symbolic; reflection of the instability which can be overcome or changed.

All of them are part of a unique world which involves developed concepts of magic and imagination.

 

More of Remedios Varo‘s fantastic works can be found at http://www.remediosvaro.org/ and http://www.angelfire.com/hiphop/diablo4u/remedios.html

 

In My Next Life

In my next life I’m going to very smart…high IQ and all, tall, thin, pretty, funny, bright, popular yet grounded, excelling in Math, Science and Witchcraft. I will cook like Bobby Flay, dance like Ginger Rogers, and chat like Ellen DeGeneres. I will work out, travel around the world, and be a best selling writer.

Oh — and I will make pigs fly.

I think it would be fun to see how the other life lives. Not that my life is bad — no way, But I think it would be a little easier if I were all of the above, instead of short, pudgy, flat hair, boring job, achy body, the only one to think I’m funny, and a non-published author who is not the sharpest tool in the shed. I cook like the Swedish Chef, dance like a bowl of jelly, and I suffer from Italktoomuchitis.     

I’d give anything to flow gracefully into a room, know the answers to all the Jeopardy questions, or whip up Coquilles Saint-Jacques on whim. I’d do anything to be taller so I can reach the things on the second shelf of my kitchen cabinets. And as for coming back being smarter — well, I’ve never been top in my class, let’s put it that way. And the older I get, the more I forget. Sometimes it’s something important like filling the car with gas or calling the insurance people, but more likely it’s where I put my phone, did I turn on the porch light, or did I put salt or sugar in the cookies.

The memory thing bugs me the most. Although I’m still young and can remember how to get to work or grocery shopping, finding my car afterwards can be challenging. Think of how much better grocery shopping would be if I were tall and thin and beautiful while picking Cheerios off the top shelf?

I think it’s my cold that’s making me stressed. I mean, how many times can one blow their nose before it turns red and falls off? I’m clogged and stuffed, sitting on the sofa, wanting to be anywhere but.

Of course you all know that I wouldn’t really trade where I am and who I am. If I would have been tall and lanky with hair that flows sensually down my shoulders I wouldn’t have met my husband and had two great kids and a great daughter in law and grandkids.

I guess I will just have to live that kind of life in my stories. And I admit I do. What knockout women I have! They are strong, independent, not bad looking, and sharp as a tack. They hold their own against kings and matriarchs, and are sexy in their own way. What more could a girl want?

But still — come on — don’t you once in a teeny weeny while wish your person was a little smarter, more agile, or thinner?

And wouldn’t you like to see pigs fly?

 

Christmas is Every Day

How are you handling the holidays?

I myself am not yet “into” them. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrouge bah-humbuging everything. Not that I don’t make the birth of Christ a big deal — it’s just that his birthday has become so commercialized. You wind up feeling like a loser if you don’t buy kids the hottest and most expensive things TV can offer. Ok, I’m really not that bad — but I do think the pressure to perform over the holidays is too much.

You see, I would give my grandson that Nerf gun next week. I’d give my cousin that movie tomorrow. I don’t need a reason or time frame to give gifts.

I guess that’s built up on my ramjam belief that Christmas is every day to me. I see my youngest grandson smile up at me and feel that is a gift. I watch my deskmate conquer a tough project and that’s tinsel on my tree. I go to the doctor and get a good checkup and that is every gift anyone could put under my tree.

I don’t like that there is a special day set aside for eating together as a family or singing songs together or wrapping and opening presents. Christmas is a celebration of new life. Of new hope. It’s about a baby and a mother who had a hard time finding a place to stay and an ethereal figure who made her with child.

The problem with celebrating this or that religious holiday is that none of them match. Was He Jewish? Muslim? Anglo-Saxon?

Celebrate Christmas every day. Thank God, the Goddess, Allah, anyone you want that you have been given another day to make someone smile.  Give the gift of yourself. Help those who need your help. If you have the means, buy gifts for your loved ones on December 25 and August 14 and February 2 and July 23.  Don’t save your love and family dinners and presents for one day a year.

Because that “day” is every day.

65 Is Not Just A Number

It’s Monday evening;  it is quiet around the house, which is good, seeing as I threw my own birthday party Saturday.

I have a hard time saying I’m 65…there are so many memories strung out behind me, three-quarters worth I can’t remember. I am in the second half of my  life, making memories  every day, forgetting memories every day.

You can say 65 is just a number, but so is 21. 49. 1,204. In theory, that is correct. But that’s over 520 million breaths. 65 birthday parties. Over 268,000 hugs. 500,000 bites of chocolate. Its that and so much more.

I threw myself a party because I wanted to…dare I say I was afraid that no one would remember this momentous occasion? That my day of turning old enough to retire would be brushed over like an ant on the table?

It’s hard to admit your own insecurities…especially when they sound stupid in your ears.

I wanted to celebrate making 65 years of life. Good and bad. Up and Down. Two kids, 2-1/2 grandkids. Friends. Traveling. Camping. Working. So much has been packed into these 65 years — how I wish I could remember them all. My kids as babies. My kids as teens. My mindset at 30. 40. 50. Different from where I am today, no doubt different from where I’m going.

I’ve outlived my mother by 11 years, and am aiming at my father’s ripe old age of 86, and adding 10 to that. I don’t want the memories to end. The friendships to end. The dreams to end. I’ve got so much to do that there’s no time to feel bad about what has been.

So throw your own party. Celebrate your life. Every day of it.  Don’t wait for someone to come along and validate all the years you’ve given to mother earth. Do it yourself.

Even if you can’t remember half of it.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Chrissy Angliker

Chrissy Angliker is a Brooklyn-based Swiss/American artist who was born in Zurich and raised in Greifensee and Winterthur, Working from controlled subject matter, she quickly loses herself in the chaotic magic of the process.

 

Her first painting did not go as planned. “I thought I would begin with a self portrait,” she explains. “I began to paint the eyebrows, and the paint began to drip unexpectedly. It was beyond my control, and I had a very strong emotional reaction.”

The beauty of her method of drips is a connection to the chaos she finds in her art.

More of Chrissy Angliker‘s art can be found at https://www.chrissy.ch/.,

The Last Full Moon

Tonight is autumn’s final dance. The temperature here in Wisconsin is a balmy 55, the night is cloudy, the wind is making my windchimes dance the tarantella. It is a night for dreams, for wishes. The last full moon was rising at 5:48 p.m. It was to be a spectacular ending to an enchanting night. It was cloudy, but I was going to go to the back fence and watch it rise.

But I didn’t.

I hate when I don’t follow through on what I dream about. There were excuses, of course. It was very dark. It was very overcast. And I had to walk through this little path through my back woods. My property is half woods, half open fields. It’s all actually “fenced in”, but the fences are so far spaced it seems like its all free around me.

I can brush off most of the excuses as lame. The moonrise may be bright enough to burn through the clouds. I could use my phone as a flashlight. The one excuse I could not get over was walking through the woods. At night. In the dark.

I’ve written blogs before about this (some say irrational) fear of walking through the woods at night. My husband and boys are hunters and walk through strange woods all the time. And besides — this is my property! Not in the middle of nowhere — there are families on either side, barbed wire in the distance.

I know mother nature is with me. Faeries protect me. Elves watch over me.

Blah Blah Blah.

It’s still dark, you can’t see three feet in front of you, and I’m a short, wimpy granny. I’m not a match for deer, dog, or demon, or a wayward creep hiding by the back gate. My imagination takes me all over the place. You can imagine where it takes me when I’m by myself.

If I can imagine creepy crawlies and djinns and spirits in my stories, you can imagine what awaits in my own backyard. I envy those free spirits that walk the fields and valleys and watersides all alone, one with the Earth, the stars and the mysteries of life. I have to do all of that looking off the deck.

So I pass on the things that creep me out, especially when I’m all alone. I’ll wait until spring when the sun sets at 7 or 8 to watch the moon in all her glory. I will continue to read and write and use my imagination to its fullest.

For now it will be from my livingroom sofa.

PS  The moon’s not out. And it’s raining. I voiced all this angst for nothing.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Kris Kuski

Born March 2nd 1973,  Kris Kuski spent his youth in rural seclusion and isolation along with a blue-collar working mother, two much older brothers and absent father.Open country, sparse trees, and later alcoholic stepfathers, perhaps paved the way for an individual saturated in imagination and introversion.

His fascination with the unusual lent to his macabre art later in life. The grotesque to him as it seemed, was beauty.

 His work shows the corrupt and demoralized fall of modern-day society, a place where new beginnings, new wars, new philosophies, and new endings all exist.

Through his intricate 3-D sculptural work, we see both the beautiful and dark side of our minds.

Kris’s work is intricate, fascinating, and incredibly mesmerizing. Look close, look often.

More of Kris Kuski‘s work can be found at http://www.kuksi.com/ 

 

Music for Every Mood

I love music. I really do.

I don’t think there’s a state of mind, a physical or mental condition, social gathering, or house cleaning job that isn’t enhanced with music.

My first love of music (that I can remember) is my love for the Beatles. My parents weren’t much music affectionados, although my favorite memories are my dad listening to polkas Saturday and Sunday mornings while working in the garage, and my mom listening to Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.

My love of music has only grown and matured and exploded in the last 40 years. From orchestras to acoustical guitars, there is always something to fit my mood.

Today I had a headache, and didn’t feel like sitting in total silence, so I put on Easy Instrumentals. Nothing like a slow, sultry orchestral rendition of Midnight Cowboy or The Way You Look Tonight to massage my temples.

Cleaning house? 70s-80s rock, of course. There’s nothing like  Lynyrd Skynyrd or Motley Crue or John Mellancamp or Rush to get your cleaning bootie moving.

Early morning wake ups? Light classical fills the bill. Work? Upbeat classical or New Age Jazz. Melancholy for my mom and/or ol’ Ireland? Gaelic Storm, upbeat Irish band, or the High Kings. Irish balladeers at their best. Can’t sleep? Aura or Spa, two meditation-type bastions for cosmic wanderings. Meditation? Electronic music, especially the space travel ones. Feel like I’m soaring past Jupiter when I get into the groove.

Late morning still trying to wake up? Swing Bands Big Bands. I have that on my flash drive for work, too. Nothing like Artie Shaw or Fred Astaire or Glen Miller. Writing? Smooth Jazz. Love those minor chords. Driving home from work? Semi-Oldies will do. Nothing like belting out Livin’ on a Prayer or Come Sail Away to shake the bad aura. Up north at the cabin? Polkas on Saturday morning, of course.

I have some friends who don’t listen to music much. I don’t know how they get through the day. There is something inspirational, celestial, about becoming one with the song and the singer and the band. You let the aura of the music world take you somewhere happy and safe. Oldies? My teenage years. Gaelic Storm? My Irishfest and Irish heritage. Rock and roll? My life. Big band, Sinatra and all? Days of future passed.

Let the music tempt you, grab you, and take you away. Explore new musical worlds, new bands, new interpretations of old classics. No one cares where you go when you listen to music — everyone goes to their own place, anyway.

The talent of the musical world is unmatchable anywhere else. TV and movies don’t let you choose your world –only music does. Go and listen to some tonight.

Elvis will be proud.

Who are you, really?

Thanksgiving is now a memory, the extra pounds an effort.

But I am happy to report that along with an extra pound or two I also regained my enthusiasm for writing.

Do you ever go through those dry periods? Not necessarily that you don’t have anything to write, but that you don’t feel like writing.

Shame.

In search of my creative ways, I have gone back to basics of magic and sky and moon and night and the belief in elves and dragons and alternate realities. Not that I ever left that space — I just feel like embracing it more these days. No one knows if there is anything after this life. Heaven, reincarnation, inner-galactic rebirth — take your choice and go for it.

Get past the barriers of proof and direct experience and karma. Take a chance and believe in something that makes you feel whole. Do unicorns exist? Does it matter? We can’t see sub-atomic particles either, but scientists and the world believe in them. Why can’t we believe in time travel too?

Too often we live under other’s expectations. What we should wear, what we should say, how we should act, what we should believe.

I believe at 64 I am old enough to believe in whatever I want.

So I’ve decided to work on my second set of novels — not the simple time-travel ones, but the ones where the heroine gets transported to another part of the galaxy to help discover what happened to the king’s sister.

I mean — why not?

We can write and paint and dream anything we want. And I’ve decided I’m not going to let any correctional unit tell me different.

Don’t let those around you, from society to your girlfriend to your teacher, tell you what you are. What you should be. Want to be a bard? Be a bard. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Want to be an abstract artist? Be an abstract artist! You can be a pirate that day jobs as a sales clerk, or detective who works in a warehouse during main hours.

Don’t wait until you’re 64 to decide who you are.

What are you?

 

 

I’m Thankful For YOU

I have a story or two to tell you, but it will have to wait until Sunday or Monday. Gotta have turkey with the grandbabies — twice — and  I can’t miss the love.

So for now, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving — give thanks for who you know, how you got where you are, and the lessons you learned along the way. Be thankful that you are able to dream and imagine and create. Give thanks for those who have passed — be thankful that they came into your life and gave you so much of themselves.  Give thanks for sunrises and sunsets and Tchaikovsky and Monet and Harry Potter.

Eat some turkey, have extra gravy (it’s only one day!), and know that I’m thankful for all of you. For your writing, for your art, for your stopping by and saying hi.  Somehow I feel we’re all friends in here.

And that’s something to be thankful for.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Donatello

Italian sculptor Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (c. 1386 -1466) , better known as Donatello, was the greatest Florentine sculptor before Michelangelo, and was the most influential individual artist of the 15th century in Italy.

He was one of the forerunners of Florentine Art, which also paved way for the age of Renaissance Art.

Donatello drew heavily from reality for inspiration in his sculptures, accurately showing suffering, joy and sorrow in his figures’ faces and body positions.

His fascination with many styles of ancient art and his ability to blend classical and medieval styles with his own new techniques led to hundreds of unique pieces in marble, wood, bronze, clay, stucco and wax.

Donatello’s legacy as the most accomplished sculptor of the early Renaissance is well deserved. With his work he ushered in an era where artists could feel free to interpret the emotion inherent in their subject matter without being tied to outdated legends.

More of Donatello’s history and works can be found at http://www.donatello.net/

Never Give Up Hope

I have a secret to tell you.

First a disclaimer: if you are a workmate of mine, don’t tell anyone. I don’t want anyone at the company to get the wrong idea.

Most artistic people hone their skills at home, alone, evenings and weekends and days off and vacations. The 9-5 gig that we all adhere to tends to take over any creative urges we have. You know — accountants by day, abstract artists by night.

I am one of those who have, after 47 years of working, finally gotten a glimpse of what it would be like to do what you love.

I may have told you before, but I’m a data conversion specialist by day. Fancy title for working with my company’s database. A good job, a boring job, a busy job. Just like everyone else’s.

No one had written on the company blog for a year, and when there was a post it was every three months or so. Being a writer, I saw an opening and I jumped at it. Since it originated from my department, I asked if I could write a blog now and then. After all, I was a writer.

Although no one at work really knew that.

My boss took a chance on me and let me do a blog now and then. I would pick a theme and talk about it and throw some product in. What started as once a month turned into every two weeks to every week.

I was in heaven.

Then new bosses came in and the blog stopped.

I was so excited to have been able to write a casual, friendly informational blog, as my own blog is also casual, friendly, and informational. I wanted to write more, but I was a data person, after all.

This is where I emphasize don’t give up…if there’s a hole in the wall somewhere, jump through it.

The new boss must have liked my infomercials, for we started the blog again. The door was propped open, and opportunity teased me from the other side. In working with the new bosses, I was given some suggestions for story ideas that I jumped on. I interviewed managers to see what they wanted the world to know about. I scoured catalogs and publications for ideas that were fresh and relevant.

And now I write two blogs a week.

Our company blog isn’t big, isn’t famous, isn’t global. It’s just another niche in the world of social media.

But for two years it has been mine.

I don’t know the future of my writing contributions to the company. For all I know they could hire a media writer tomorrow. But that would be okay too, for I have been able to turn my love of writing into a positive contribution to my employer.

If I hadn’t kept insisting that I was a “writer”, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I didn’t believe that I had the talent and the voice they needed, I wouldn’t have written more than one blog.

Find a way to get your passion into your day job. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, or a calligrapher, find a way to edge your talent into the working world. Don’t give up.

And if you don’t get to get your toe wet on the creative side of work, you can always write one hell of a story about your co-workers.

Just change their names to protect the innocent..

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Anthony Howe

The first thing to do when viewing the work of Anthony Howe  is to CLICK ON EACH IMAGE.

That way you can see the fascinating movement of each wind sculpture..
In Cloud Light III

Oingo 2014

 

Sky Spiral or Leaving the Lollipops

 

Di Octo and Sculptor 2015


Kweebee

 

Azion Prototype

The movement of each of these sculptures is mesmerizing. The perfect balance, the perfect swirl, the perfect twirl.

More of Anthony Howe’s amazing wind sculptures can be found at his website, https://www.howeart.net.

The Gallery Is Reopening on Thursday Evenings!!

Well, I guess today was the last day I can wear my heavy-duty sweater as an outer garment. With temps hanging around 25 to 30 degrees, even my hot flashes won’t hold up against the chill and wind.

And speaking of chill, and cold, and snow, and sleet (were we really talking about all that?) I have been searching for a new name for my sometimes-Thursday evening art gallery. I am finding so many fantastic artists that I just can’t help sharing them more than once a week.

I hope you don’t mind.

So thinking of the depths of winter that is soon to arrive, I thought of soft music, crackling fires, and rooms full of art. Cinnamon and apple and spice potpourri and mulled wine or shots of Rumchata. So with thoughts of snuggling and armchair tours around the gallery, I’ve decided.

Art Around the Fireplace

Or should it be…

Thursday Art Gallery Around the Fire

Or maybe…

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursdays In Front of the Fire

You see why I have trouble with subject lines for emails at work…

You all are a delight. I hope you enjoy the unique art as much as I do. And if you ever want to see more of these artists, THE gallery is open 24/7.

Here is a preview of what’s in store this winter in the Gallery….

Faerie Houses

 

Kris Kuski

 

Rick Satava

 

Eiffel Tower

Hope you keep visiting the Goddess AND the Gallery!

Binging in the Dark

We all have our guilty pleasures…dark chocolate parfaits with whipped cream, bubble baths and massages, a third helping of Thanksgiving stuffing.

As the cold wavers into the early evening and night, I am enjoying my own guilty pleasure…binge watching.

Come on — don’t tell me that you haven’t watched the same movie two or three weeks in a row. I remember when A Hard Day’s Night with my forever loves the Beatles came to the theater — I watched it three times a day, Saturday and Sunday, two weeks in a row.

Now that’s binging.

I’m quite a bit older than that innocent girl of yore, but I still enjoy watching episode after episode. A bathroom break or cookie break is all I allow when I’m caught up in love triangles and alien invasions and different factions fighting for the Throne of Swords.

I get in these — moods is too soft a term — spells is more like it — where all I want to do is see what happens next. I’ll watch one episode of Stranger Things and find myself saying “one more episode” then “one more episode” until its 1 a.m. and I’ve watched the whole series. Or Game of Thrones. I mean, how can I not find out who captured who? Who stabbed who? Who fooled around with who? The next episode just might tell me!

I look at it as visual books. Okay, so the texts aren’t as deep, as verbose, as a book. But there is character development (what about the shadow monster in the young boy?) There is romance (will Jon Stark and Daenerys ever get together?) There is mystery (is Redington Liz’s father?) There’s enough to keep me awake for hours!

I suppose I really should be writing or cleaning, but I am convinced I am learning something by binging on my favorite movies/TV shows. I have learned so many things…like don’t feed a creature that looks like a slug because it’s probably an alien; don’t walk into dark tunnels; don’t become involved with a Dothraki, and don’t be the first to have sex in a horror movie.

These are things that I might need on future quests. Future stories. Future time travels. You know — all those things us senile old women do in our spare time.

I tell you — it sure beats the hell out of the 9-5 gig….

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Rita Faes

Rita Faes is a photographer who lives in Belgium. The details she finds and brings out in her images is amazing.

The colors and the flowers she finds are remarkable.

You can find more of Rita’s marvelous work at her old blog (which is inactive but full of beautiful photography) , https://gwenniesworld.wordpress.com), but definitely sign up and follow her at her new site,  https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday Evening on the Veranda is Closing for the Season

Here in wonderful Midwest Wisconsin, the weather is taking it’s usual dive into the chilly pool of pre-winter. No gathering on the veranda with a chocolate milk in a wine glass, no tinkling of windchimes from the summer breeze…let’s just say the weather sucks.

So as we sweep the leaves off the porch and put away the easels that showcased the wonderfully unique art I found, I will leave you with a smattering  of non-gallery images that I think are just cool. I did not create nor take the pictures…that’s a gallery for another day.

I will undoubtedly create a winter-themed gallery — after all, my pre-gallery folders are bursting with great art!

Any ideas for a winter-themed gallery name?

What is a Soulmate?

A little philosophy this Monday evening….do you mind?

I was wondering…what is a soulmate?

According to the Urban Dictionary, a soulmate is: “A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet — a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior.”

Okay. I see how that fits a couple. The love of your life and all. But can friends be soulmates? Grandkids? Cousins? Aunts and Uncles?

I always hear people saying that they “found their soulmate.” That their connection is so intimate, so strong, that nothing else can compare. That the two of them are synchronic in every way.

Well.

I’ve been married 36 years and hope to be married 36 more. I love my hubby. I enjoy hanging with my hubby. He knows me and I know him. He doesn’t get my need to write, my desire to walk the streets of Paris or my love of science fiction and time travel. I don’t care about his hunting escapades, his golf score, or his football pool. 

Are we soulmates?

I love my kids more than I love life. Double that for my grandkids. When I’m playing on the floor with the 2-year-old we bond over Hot Wheels and the contents of my purse. The 7-year-old and I share the magic of looking for elves and rhinos in the woods and read Pete the Cat books with fervor.

Are we no less soulmates?

My best girlfriends have gone to hell and back. My girls and I share pain and laughter, confusion and daydreams. We cry together, we dream of going to Ireland together, we share our love of writing and crocheting and scrapbooking on levels mere mortals dream of.

Are we no less soulmates?

I have had friends in my life who shared the secrets of my alter ego, the mad writer. They have come to me in their darkest moments, and opened their hearts to me in mine. We shared magic and coffee and secrets and encouraged each other’s wild and crazy dreams..

Are we no less soulmates?

I think the definition of soulmate is way too narrow. There is not just  one soul for you — there are dozens. Because it’s more than great sex, dancing till dawn or making babies. A soulmate loves you for who you are, for your mistakes and your triumphs. They make you feel like a million bucks and you make them feel like two. 

Soulmates meet in that sacred space where emotion and thought wrap around and through each other like a Celtic knot until you can’t tell who is who and what is what. You both meet and part and meet again in the most wonderful ways.

When I look for rhinos in the woods I am in that sacred space. When I rub hand lotion from my purse on tiny hands I am in that sacred space. And when I say good night to the man I love I am in that sacred space.

And when you come across those moments, remember — they are your soulmates, too. 

 

 

The Yellows

Well, it’s a few days later, and I’m embarrassed to reread my whine-a-thon the other day. We all get into the funk now and then — the reasons don’t matter. Usually they pass as quickly as they come. The point is, though, is that most of us don’t take to public media to share that whining.

Perhaps that’s the curse of the writer. Confused? Write about it. Excited? Write about it. Tired? Write about it. That’s the problem with writers. We are so used to emoting on paper that we don’t know when to stop.

So in order to make up for pouting and venting and making more of the blues than of the yellows, here are a few photos to make you (and me) smile.

 

 

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues….(Elton baby)

How do you deal with the blues?

You know — those navy, cornflower, turquoise kind of blue days where nothing seems to go quite right. Not even the lure of editing and/or writing something new seems to interest me. TV? Blah…too much drama. Reading? Not in the mood. Writing? Not inspired.

I’ve changed my diet, walk a little more, try and get to bed before 11 pm (another story), and yet I sometimes get these hates coming on. Now, I don’t hate anybody (well..maybe just one person). Hate is a wasted emotion with nothing but bad side effects and conclusions in the toilet.

Work is changing big time, and I’m lost in the shuffle. I’m not close enough to retirement to retire, but I hate the idea of sitting at a desk putting data in the computer 8 hours a day for the next 1-1/2 years. I come home from work and the grumpies follow. The stupid Netflix keeps timing out. There’s a sink of dishes to do. Blah Blah Blah.

Then I talk to friends who have real issues. Illness, custody battles, unemployment, and I refocus. I’d rather listen and help them than listen and help myself. It’s a tough world out there, and we all deserve medals for making it through with the battle scars we have.

Maybe it’s just the changing seasons that are trying to pull me down. I’ve never been affected by the seasons, but hey — I’ve never had these many hot flashes, either. Anything is possible.

So my question to you — what do you do when you get the blues? I’ll take any and ALL suggestions!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Remedios Varo

Remedios Varo  (1908-1983)  was born in Spain. She fled the Spanish Civil War and headed to Paris to further her artistry in Surrealism

. The surrealist movement was strong there, and she honed her skills along with painters who received more notoriety.

Remedios always struggled to combine the mythic with the scientific, the sacred with the profane. She was influenced by the surrealist movement and  metaphysics studies, along with ancient studies.

After some years, she decided to move to Mexico with a friend she met in Europe, where her real journey as an artist started.

Her characters are mystical and solitary; most of the times involved in scientific activities.

 As an artist, she liked to use symbolism and hidden elements such as animals (mainly cats) in her paintings, along with diverse characters who are contemplative, passive, or highly symbolic.

More of Remedios Varo‘s artwork can be found at http://www.remediosvaro.org/

 

 

I’m Getting Published Part 2

The wonderfully exciting and exhausting adventure of printing my own book goes on.

As many of you know, I’m planning on publishing 4 of my novels. I want to give them to my family and friends so they can see what my writing is all about. I’d also sell them through Amazon and WordPress and any which way if someone was interested in the time-travel thread.

But I have started the process three times and have stopped dead in my tracks every time.

I am thinking of going through CreativeSpace. It’s a division of Amazon, and you can publish your book with no  bells and whistles for a very reasonable per-book price.

But then the bells and whistles start going off.

Pick a size –6×9 is most popular. Well, of course, I knew my page count would increase. No biggie. But then I flash through the pages and wonder — should I cut some copy? Are there any mistakes hidden between the pages? Now this is a book that’s been around in one form or another for over 15 years. I think by now if there were any typos I’d have found them. But the thought of putting those words down permanently in a book forever and ever just gives me the heebee geebees. Like I need to proofread it one more time. Well, if I want to get this and another book done by Christmas, that ain’t happening.

Then you have to pick a cover. Sounds easy. But suddenly I have to figure out what kind of impression I want my book to first have to readers. Like WordPress, I can’t afford a custom design, so I go through the free templates a dozen times. Dark blue in a circle? Field of wheat? Flowers?

And what if it’s a series (which it is)? Do  both covers look alike? If it’s a set of two, how will anyone tell them apart? It’s not like there’s a choice of shades of same here.

Should I go with the name Claudia Anderson? C.A. Anderson? A pseudonym? If I go with a pseudonym, how will my friends and family know it’s me? Who is Dream Regret, anyway?

Then there’s getting my book out there. Do it with Amazon and they will list my book. Great. But for an extra fee they will send out notices to libraries, book stores, etc. Is my book that interesting that a library in Montana will want it?

So although I’ve made the decision to publish my book, now that I have to put my foot in the water I’m afraid of an alligator biting it off.

In a day and age such as we live in now, that should be the least of my problems.

Let me know how your publishing dreams went — or are going.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Thomas Arvid

Thomas Arvid  captures our wonder with his over sized still life compositions of wine and the rituals surrounding it.

Arvid astounds viewers with the intricate details of his images and with his mastery of light, depth, and reflection.

The magic of his painting is in Arvid’s ability to visualize and chronicle an entire scene beyond the frame – to tell a story of enjoyment and the good life –using lush color and adroit composition.

Arvid is passionate about art and wine: a collector of both, he strives to capture the pleasure of a life well-lived on each canvas.

Arvid’s approach to wine and painting is surprising, given his background as a Detroit native raised to parlay his inherent artistic talent into a secure job in the industrial complex.

According to Arvid, “Wine is a great subject because people are familiar with it; they really connect to it. My paintings are really the landscapes between people sharing wine – it’s amazing that my collectors find personal fulfillment in my work, especially when I’m just doing what I love.”

More of Thomas Arvid’s amazing paintings can be found at http://www.thomasarvid.com/

A Virtual Art Gallery at your Fingertips!

Friday the 13th. Spooky for some, lucky for others.

My black (and white) cat and I are taking the opportunity this day to promote my other blog, SUNDAY EVENING ART GALLERY.

I have added a lot of additional images to each artist’s base. When I first introduce the artists here on Sunday nights, it’s often hard to pick just 5 or 6 of their masterpieces.

That’s what the Gallery is for.

So when you are in need of that “wow…how do they DO that?” moment, pop on over to the other side. Better yet, sign up to follow the blog. It doesn’t fill your mailbox full of fluff junk mail; just notices when I open a new gallery. Which is at least once a week.

Come on — take a chance. It’s a fun world to explore.

(www.sundayeveningartgallery.com)

     Latchezar Boyadjiev

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doors                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Unusual Hotels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stilettos                              

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Stained Glass

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earrings                                        

Retirement Comes For Us All

A good friend of mine retired today, with a little pomp and circumstance and an overly-sweet retirement cake.

Cal is my work friend. He was the director of our Science catalogs, I was his coordinator for 11 years, meaning I put his product numbers into Filemaker, proofread his catalog pages,  and generally helped keep his p’s and q’s in order.

Somewhere between the p and the q we started talking about writing. Not many people at work know I have a blog, nor do they know about all the writing I’ve done. But somehow Cal and I found a common ground outside of work and started talking about writing, then shared our stories and writings.

As you all know, it’s hard to find someone who shares your passion. Whether it’s fishing or golf or writing, not everybody is in tune to what you’re tuned into. So to find another writer within the vanilla cubicle confines of my daily abode was a gem in the making.

Like any company, mine is in flux. Growing, expanding, taking new directions. The old guard is leaving and a younger, fresher version is moving in. What worked 5, 10 years ago doesn’t work today. So the prospect of retirement is sweeter for many of us over the age of 60.

We are not getting squeezed out as much as slowing down. I am as bright, as creative, as I was 20 years ago. But I must admit that at 64 my processing computer isn’t quite as fast as it used to be. So by the time I retire I will be so glad to let corporate America pass me by.

You don’t always think about retirement — hell, until recently for me it was something that was far, far away. But since I can’t fight time, I might as well embrace it.

That’s what my friend Cal will be doing. I’m sure he’s had plenty of ups and downs in his life. But finally things are coming together and the doors have opened to his “next” career. Maybe it will be writing. Maybe he will travel and become a professional traveler.

Maybe he will just enjoy the next 30 years of his life.

In the end, that’s what we all hope will happen to us. Isn’t it? A chance to spend another quarter of our life waking up when we want to.  A chance to spoil grand kids, work in your garden, paint paintings, meet friends for lunch. Eating breakfast at noon and lunch at 5. Finally doing whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do.

Cal, I wish you open roads, low scoring golf games, and a writing career that rivals J.K. Rowlings. There’s no doubt your stories will rival those of Asimov. After all — you are the Science Guy —

I’m Published! (Kinda)

I like to say I’m a writer before anything…except being a wife, grandmother, friend, mother-in-law….you know what I mean.

I finished my final edit on my first novel yesterday.

I should be screaming HUZZAH!!

But all I can say is….are you sure it’s the final edit?

Now, that book has been around for 15+ years. Do you know what you were doing 15 years ago? Ha…me neither. Except writing this book. Which was inspired by a role playing world I was involved in 20+  years ago.

Now, less you think I’ve been dickering with this book and this book only for 15 years, I’ve also written its sequel, plus a brand new novel and its sequel.

Why don’t I send it out to publishers/agents?

I’ve been there done that. And the truth is….who knows…maybe in this world of a thousand new books being published per day it doesn’t exactly float the right person’s boat.

So I’ve decided to self publish. Not the big, pay-up-front deals, but some of the smaller pay-as-you-go gigs. I don’t anticipate selling a lot of books, but the reason I want to see my words in print is because I want to give my novels to friends and family so they can see who I really am.

I’ve been a mother, a wife, a secretary, a bed and breakfast owner, an Internet data conversion specialist, a soccer and baseball mom, a grandmother, a sister, a friend. I’ve raised two kids and five dogs and four cats, lived in 7 houses, and two states. I want those I know and love to see my “other” side before it’s too late.

So what is the purpose of today’s blog?

I am not discouraging those of you who have found agents/publishers and been able to get your books out there. That’s what it’s all about. I am not saying don’t keep submitting. The big publishing houses are the way to go if you can get them to notice you.

But what I am ALSO saying is not to wait 15 years like I did to see your work in some place other than a computer screen. Whether you print it out and photocopy it, or go the professional self-publishing route or the simple self-publishing route, don’t wait until your novel is perfect. It’s never going to be.

You are a writer because you love to write. You know you want others to see your passion — that’s why you wrote the damn book. Show it off! Get it out there! Give some copies away for free then talk about them everywhere! Blogs, Twitter, church — it doesn’t matter. FIND A WAY TO GET YOUR WORDS OUT THERE!

Don’t wait for your descendants to publish your work.

They might just change the main character’s name from Anna to Osama.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Alexander Khokhlov and Valerya Kutsan

Using models’ faces as canvas, Russian make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan recreates famous paintings in collaboration with photographer Alexander Khokhlov,

The artists were inspired by two-dimensional posters.

The key-idea of the project was to turn the models faces into the 2D images.

Valeriya used different techniques of face painting so you can see a lot of variations….

This is a combination of interesting make-ups, studio photography experiments and careful retouching.

 

You can find more of these fantastic artists on their websites http://www.kutsanvaleriya.com/ and  http://www.kutsanvaleriya.com/.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I wrote this blog for my work’s website today  — I thought it perfect for this blog as well….seeing as I AM a survivor….

 

Most people today know someone who has had breast cancer.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a chance to raise awareness about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. According to the website Healthfinder.gov, breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is thanks to earlier detection through screening, increased awareness, and better treatment, a woman’s risk of dying of breast cancer dropped 38 percent between the late 1980s and 2014, translating into 297,300 fewer breast cancer deaths during that time.

Most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.

We all know women who, for one reason or another, never seem to make it to the doctor for that yearly mammogram. This is where you come in. Encourage each other to get a yearly check up. Explain all the positives of early diagnosis. If you or someone you love is concerned about developing breast cancer, has been recently diagnosed, is going through treatment, or is trying to stay well after treatment, there are plenty of ways you can find the answers you need.

Here are several websites that can help cancer patients every step of the way:

American Cancer Society — https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer

National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.  — http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

American Breast Cancer Foundation — http://www.abcf.org/

BreastCancer.Org — http://www.breastcancer.org/

Most people today know someone who has survived  breast cancer. Be a supporter. Be a participant. Be aware and be pro-active.

Monday….Yes, It Is

Monday, for most of us, is Monday. I suppose that’s a good thing — heaven forbid we wake up after a wild weekend and find it’s Thursday.

But seriously — it seems that if we have a great weekend we pay for it somehow on Monday. Not hangover-wise, but, I dunno — karma-wise.

This morning at work my bff almost wiped out the database. No biggie. Driving to work I waited my turn to turn and almost smacked the car that crossed the intersection because they were just movin’ too  slow. Spilled lunch on my pants and burned my tongue on my coffee.

And that’s all before noon.

Now I know that stuff happens all week and weekend long. Life isn’t smooth. Just ask it. So I try not to complain and make my way through the madness the best way I can.

Someone once asked me why I don’t blog about the terrible things in the world.  I believe writing about these tragedies should be done by those who have more facts than I.  We are all horrified by the crazy Vegas shooter and the terrorists that drive down people on the boulevard in France or the nutcases that walk into schools and shoot up the place.

I have no idea what’s in the head of nutcases like that. So what insight could I give a reader? Gnashing over the same feelings everyone else has is often not very satisfying for a reader or a writer. Few of us understand the dark that dwells in the human mind. There’s a lot of the world I don’t understand, so I don’t try to explain it.

This weekend I went to a birthday party for a grandfather who turned 90. Say it. 90. Born in 1917. There was no TV back then; no computers, no cell phones, no social media. No tollways, no Big Macs, no penicillin. He made it through two world wars, the depression, landing on the moon, 9/11, plus raised three children. He lost his wife some years ago, yet is still the stronghold of the family.

That’s the kind of person I like to sit and write about.

So write your blogs, play your music, talk about your friends and family. Bring sunshine into your readers’ lives.  Laugh, teach, share. Feel the grief then move on. Bring a good feeling with you everywhere you go.

And don’t worry about the tomato spot on your pants. A spot in the vastness of the galaxy is not a spot at all…

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Yulia Brodskaya

Yulia Brodskaya, an artist and illustrator born in Moscow, creates stunning works of art using the quilled paper technique.

 She uses two simple materials, paper and glue, and a simple technique that involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper to make lush, vibrant, three-dimensional paper artworks.

Soon after discovering her passion and unique style, Brodskaya has swiftly earned an international reputation for her innovative paper illustrations.

 

According to the artist, “Paper always held a special fascination for me. I’ve tried many diferent methods and techniques of working with it, until I found the way that has turned out to be ‘the one’ for me: now I draw with paper instead of on it”.

Yulia’s art is time consuming and meticulous, yet the results are amazing.

 You can find more of Yulia Brodskaya’s amazing quilling art can be found at https://www.artyulia.co.uk/.

Beautiful Art From France

My friend Gwennie posts the most fabulous pictures…enjoy! And if you like, follow her .. https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/

This one is about some of the art we saw on our travels through the Provence. MURAL OLD ART IN A CHURCH AND NEW ART IN GARDENS In France you find art where ever you go, old, new, you name it , they got it ! Thanks for visiting, have a great day […]

via LA DOUCE FRANCE(3) — GWENNIESGARDENWORLD

Letting Go

Some sad reflections today.

My dog of 13 years passed away yesterday.

Now I’m not telling you this to wring out sympathy or other reactions. The reason I share this with you is that whenever someone or some thing close to you is taken away, there is a little piece of you that leaves with them.

Worse than that for me, though, is that sudden, albeit unwanted, connection with my own mortality.

I know a dog is only an animal. They don’t think and reason like we do (although sometimes I beg to differ). But Dickens’ passing makes me think of those I have loved who have passed before, and those who will pass in the future.

And my own passing.

I have to admit something. Many people find solace in religion. That there is an afterlife, a heaven, a chance to be reunited with loved ones. They believe this fully and adamantly.

I’m not one of those people.

I look for signs of those I love who are in the afterlife, but I always come up empty. In my heart I feel my mother or father or brother with me, but common sense says it’s nothing more than an emotional overload. Wanting is getting. I hope to be proved wrong in the end…that the guardian of the afterlife will chuckle and say “I told you so.”

Dickens had 13 great years. She fetched, she went swimming in the lake, she went on walks with me.We buried her in our field (I live on a hill surrounded by wild fields) with her mom, her bfdf Rennie, and my cat. In my selfish dreams I see all of them running around through the fields, sleeping, eating, climbing and swimming together.

I see her with all the dogs and cats I have lost during my lifetime. How are they all together, when they didn’t even know each other in this life?

My love, my spirit, connects them all.

I believe the same is true for human beings. Our love, our spirit, is what connects us. Whether on this side of the cosmic divide or the other. Whether we live in Australia or California or Midwest Wisconsin. Sometimes that string that connects us is pulled, and we all feel unified, if only for a moment.

Keep that string connected, my friends. It doesn’t matter what’s on the other side — that will be decided for all of us in due time. It’s what we share today and tomorrow and every day we are able to see the sunrise that counts.

Have fun, Dickens. See ya ‘all when the time comes.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog – Kevin Zuckerman

Kevin Zuckerman was born in St. Louis and grew up in Japan, Thailand, and Greece.

Following his art study in the U.S., Kevin lived and painted in Spain and Switzerland, travelling throughout Europe, studying the great Masters.

Kevin is a multi faceted artist, having mastered many mediums, from oil painting (his primary medium) to sculpture in bronze, pastel and watercolor.

He has also worked in many styles along his journey as an artist, from classical to total abstraction to the place he has now arrived.

Utilizing and integrating all the various techniques and ideas he has collected and invented along the way, Kevin brings something fresh and unique to the art world.

More of Kevin Zuckerman’s colorful and creative art can be found at http://www.kevinzuckerman.com.