Thursday Evening On The Veranda — Yellow

The yellow glistens.
It glistens with various yellows,
Citrons, oranges and greens
Flowering over the skin.     WALLACE STEVENS

 

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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.

 

 

Is There Soccer In Heaven?

Happy Saturday!

I just got home  from sweating my caboose off at my grandson’s soccer game. I remember going to every soccer game for both of my sons.  That turned out to be 13 years for one son and 11 for the other. I have sat in sweat, rain, wind, and frost. I have shouted “good job” or “move in! Move in!” more times than Bayer has aspirin. It has been a great run. And I love that I now have my oldest grandson (7) and someday his little brother (2) and maybe even their little sister or brother (2/18) to go and watch and yell “Move In!”

I wonder if they have soccer games in heaven.

And if they do, I wonder if it’s a perfect 65 degrees with a slight breeze from the south when I sit facing north, or a westerly wind when I’m watching the game from the east. I wonder if they’ll have cushioned seats instead of the sack chairs I’ve carried for the past 20 years.

Since time would be irrelevant in heaven, I’d be able to watch my sons and grandsons and great grandsons kick the ball back and forth over and over and over again. I could move from one soccer game to the next, no one ever getting tired, no one getting sunburn, no one getting soaked from the torrential downpour that started at kick off.

The fields would be enormous — large enough so that my ever-expanding family could picnic and play volleyball and drink  Piña Coladas without getting drunk. Each family member’s game would be at their own special separate time — no running from field to field to catch parts of each kid’s game.

In heaven I wouldn’t be chubby, giving in to sweating in all the wrong places as I cheer my grandkids and kids and great grandkids on. I’d be tall and thin and my flowing shift would match the kid’s uniforms. There would be more than enough treats and drinks for each team, everyone getting their favorite juice box and granola bar or Capri bag and bag of Cheetos. No arguing. No pouting.

If there are soccer games in heaven, there will be a balance of winners and losers. Except in heaven, there really is no losing, is there? There would be no obnoxious parents telling the ref he’s blind, no cheap shots at the goalie, no broken ankles or concussions from being t-boned on the field. No one will feel like a loser, because in heaven everybody is equal and happy and good natured.

Now there may be a question about which of your kids’ age groups you want to watch. I mean, I watched my youngest from kindergarten through high school. He was amazing all 13 years.  I watched my oldest almost as long. Do I want to watch my grandson at age 7 (now) or when he’s 10 or 15? I figure God will have figured that out by the time I get there. I mean, She’s/He’s omnipotent and all. And in heaven everything is possible.

My only dilemna is….what if 2/18 wants to play football?

Take The Long Way Home

Don’t you just love when you start out facing north and when you look up it’s really west?

I wrote a blog earlier today — something about BoHo and gypsy and wrapping my wardrobe around that feeling. Blah blah and I don’t remember exactly where that was going, because I rode home from work tonight with the windows open, the fields shimmering with yellow soybean leaves and stalks of corn turning crisply brown, their tassels dancing in the evening breeze, Elton John rocking at full blast on the radio, my thin, flat reddish-brown hair flying helter skelter in the wind, thinking about my evening ritual of playing fetch with my dogs, then a bit of dinner, a bit of cleaning, a bit of TV, then digging into a good book.

Wherever I was going with my previous story, whatever wrappings I thought I needed to be who I was, whatever depressing thoughts tried to bloom from a day of data entry, whatever politics played out during the four cement walls of my workplace,  whatever aches and pains follow me day in and day out, none of that mattered. None of that matters.

Life is good. Love, in whatever form you find it, is good. It’s here and it’s now and it’s all you’ve got. Damn the job and the family members that don’t get you and the pounds you want to lose. Open those windows. Crank up the radio. Sing at the top of your lungs.

Take the long way home….

Does it feel that you life’s become a catastrophe?
Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy.
When you look through the years and see what you could
have been oh, what might have been,
if you’d had more time.
So, when the day comes to settle down,
Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
You took the long way home
You took the long way home
Supertramp…Take the Long Way Home

 

Gettin’ Jiggy Wit My Emotions

Human beings are nothing but emotional barometers. Hot one day, cold the next. And I don’t just mean menopause.

I have always been an emotional person. An overly emotional person. I love till it hurts. I resent even though I shouldn’t. I am jealous over things that I have nothing to do with. I listen to my favorite music and am in heaven. Yet the next minute I drive home from work .shouting “Fuuuccckkkk aaaallll of yooooouuuu!!” out the window.

As I get older the emotions flash way up and way down. And I have to say I don’t care for it.

Yes, there are Meds. There is meditation and fresh air walks  and alcohol and chamomile tea and church. There are many ways to deal with that over-active amygdala. But that doesn’t stop the knee-jerk reactions to everything from too-salty food to pink sunsets. Everything bothers me. Everything thrills me. Thoughts and dreams and desires flood my brain at lightning speed, confusing me with their urgency. Hence, I want to edit, write, read, sew, watch movies, go for walks, throw the ball for the dogs, cook, sulk, scream, and yes, even clean.

One thing I know. I really am at the end of my working career. Instead of going out in a career choice blaze of glory, I’m going out as a fill-in-the-spreadsheet-blank kinda girl. The writing career I wanted will have to fill my days of retirement, for there’s nothing really left at my job. All that’s left of my waning career is the sad click of the keyboard as I fill in number after number after number.

See what I mean? That’s the out-of-control amygdala babbling away. For I really don’t mind my job. And my personal life is so full of family and grandbabies and oatmeal raisin cookies and evening walks that I’m not really that strung out.

But these days I find myself alot more reactionary. I “hate” a lot more people, places, and things. Something I never did in my youth. I also “love” a lot more things than I did when I was 20 or 30. Not only the obvious things like children and husbands and friends and homemade spaghetti, but smooth jazz and classical music, taking pictures, my art blog, Game of Thrones, corn fields, and even…dare I say it…country music.

I wish my highs could stay longer than my lows. That my outlook on myself and the world would lighten up. I hate myself for wasting precious emotions and energy on things I can do nothing about. After all, my future is shorter than my past. And that very thought saddens me.

See what I mean?

Life is all about finding balance. About letting the good into your life. And when the bad comes along, oh well. That’s life. Not holding onto to jealousies and grudges and bad memories. There’s nothing you can do to change anything in the past, and the future is uncertain. So just get jiggy wit it. All of it.

I just wish I wasn’t so moody about getting jiggy……..

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Debra Mager

Debra Mager is a self taught mosaic artist.

She developed her craft by learning from the best mosaic teachers in the country, reading many many books on the subject, and by practice.

 Debra’s art is an expression of the joyful, beautiful happy things in life with a touch of whimsy.

She considers her art, in the words of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert,  “souvenirs” of her artistic journey.

Debra read every book on the subject of mosaics, took classes, and practiced incessantly.

She learned quickly, discovered a tremendous passion for the craft, and has been at it ever since.

Debra’s mosaic art is whimsical, technical, and magical — just what you expect mosaic art to be.

More of Debra Mager’s art can be found at http://cinderellamosaics.com,

Every Moment Is A Kodak Moment

I have been on a photography kick for the last seven years or so.

Oh, I took pictures when I was young. First married. Family, my brothers, my dad. With my kids through school and high school. But they are all sitting in a box somewhere, waiting for my A.D.H.D. to slow down enough to go through all of them.

Then came my first Smartphone.  And my learning about Picasa (which has turned into Google Photos).

I am hooked.

You would think I were a master photographer the way I run around taking pictures of everything. Of course, grandkids take up the majority of the space on both Google and my phone. Kids walking. Kids laughing. Kids falling down. Kids in daddy’s shoes. Kids standing on the picnic table. Kids Kids Kids.

None of those would win a photo contest, but to me they are unique moments in time that will never happen again. It’s like driving down a deserted road and watching a leaf fall from a tree. You are the only one in the universe that saw that leaf make its final journey to the ground. How special is that?

Of course, life is made up of special moments. 16 hours a day (the other 8 for sleep, a special moment all its own), 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

That’s a lot of camera moments.

I’m also the nature picture girl. I’ve got a thing about taking pictures of clouds, woods, water, animals (when I find them), plants, old houses, old barns — anything that looks like an elf or a faerie could be just around the corner. My husband chuckles at all the path-through-the-woods pictures on my phone. I mean — how many cool paths can there be?

At my age, EVERY path is a cool path. I imagine the turn in the road, the path not taken, the path that leads to Hobbiton and Brigadoon and Diagon Alley. That barn covered in ivy and disrepair might be the gateway to Neverland. That flower in all its unique glory could just have been danced upon by faeries. Pictures of unusual places and things tickles my imagination, and the most wonderful things come out the other end.

Maybe all this is nothing more than wanting to retain images of the things I love before the end. That when I’m old and gray I can look at these pictures and remember when — if at all. For we all have a “when”. And it flies by too fast.

Don’t be afraid to use your camera/Iphone/Android. Create worlds of your own with just a click. Delete the ones that don’t take you to Avalon, Asgard, or to your family and friends. Then let your imagination take you where it will.

Get the photo bug today!

Sunday/Monday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Latchezar Boyadjiev

Latchezar Boyadjiev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and educated the the Academy of Arts in Sofia and the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he studied with Professor Stanislav Libensky, one of the most prominent glass artists of our time.

Boyadjiev came to the United States in 1986, where he taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Boyadjiev begins his sculptures by creating clay sculptures with perfect smooth surfaces and details

Next follows a series of positive and negative molds, a time-consuming and detail-oriented process that leads to the final plaster positive that will determine the outcome of the sculpture.

These  new glass sculptures are cast into yet another mold, and later annealed, partially ground and polished.

Boyadjiev creates amazing glass sculptures that are sensual and fluid, a true joy to behold.

More of  Latchezar Boyadjiev‘s glass sculptures can be found at http://www.latchezarboyadjiev.com/.

But for the Grace of God (Go I)

This has been an emotionally charged and confusing time in my life, triggering memories of other past situations that I can do little about.

The trigger this past week has been Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it wreaked upon an unsuspecting public. Deaths, destruction, desolation. Every day it’s another heartbreaking story.

But like so many others, I am settled safely in the Midwest, far from the water and the grief. And that makes me feel like a slacker. I have sent money to help the victims, but I am employed full-time and have family and financial responsibilities, so I can’t go and help those in need. And even if I did go down to Houston, I am in no shape physically to help out.

This feeling of helplessness is the same feeling I got when Katrina hit. Or the Twin Towers. Massive devastation thousands of miles away from me. It’s almost surrealistic, because in all cases I have not known one person who was affected by these tragedies. I feel like I’m a cheater — reading the stories of the victims and the survivors, then turning around and making a grilled cheese sandwich like it’s nothing special. It is a shameful feeling.

Do you ever feel like you’re reading a fiction novel instead of really grasping the truth?

Yet around me are situations that can (and have) taken turns for the worse. Not only my cancer (which has not returned, thank goodness), but cancer in friends, triple bypass surgery, arthritis throughout one’s body, mothers and fathers and wives and husbands passing away, ill health and bankruptcy and all kinds of situations that hurt the heart as well as the body. Are these any more important than what is going on in Houston?

Are we any less of a feeling, emoting human being if we keep on working on our side of the window?

On the other end of the scale is the decadence of the wealthy. A world I cannot even imagine. Beyonce once spent $100,000 on a Balanciaga bra and leggings and $4 million for a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sports Car. The Beckams spent $240,000 on a nursery for their son, while Elton John bought the apartment next door for  $2 million so his son could have a place to play in.

People are starving. People are dying. People’s homes have been washed away. Their children will have nightmares the rest of their lives. Yet there is a section of society that can buy a teacup sized Pomeranian for $10,000 (Paris Hilton) or a $250,000 bottle of champagne (JayZ) or a $2 million dollar bath tub (Mike Tyson).

What is wrong with the world?

I know I know — kings and queens and popes and oil monguls have been spending buko bucks for centuries while the poor ate potatoes and worse. There has never been a balance in the world’s economy. It’s just the nature of human beings.

I don’t know why I feel like I’m ignoring the woes of the world.

We are all caught in the middle, lost somewhere between tragedy and comedy. The only thing we can do is acknowledge where we are, what we have done, and be prepared to handle the best of times and the worst of times.

 

The Path Not Taken

Today, like any other weekday, was a work day. Filling in spreadsheets with numbers and relationships and variants. I used to do a little writing for my company, but with personnel changes and new directions and new horizons  to be discovered, it’s mostly the data routine.

Yet I wonder.

How many of you work full time? (show of hands)

How many of you like your job? (fewer hands still up)

How many are doing what you want to do? (only one or two still up)

Why is it that so many people in the work force have issues with their jobs? Admit it. Most of us fall between the “I can barely stand this place” to “this is a pretty darn good job.” But do any of us really enjoy what we do day to day, week to week?

Tell the truth. The main purpose of any job is to make money in order to live. To pay our bills. To have a few extra dollars so we can order a pizza or go to the movies once in a while. A means to an end. Sometimes we are lucky and land our dream job in the world, in the field, we love. We get a job doing something we’re good at, something we’ve trained for.

But more often we get stuck in jobs that really don’t fit. We think it’s a side step to where we really want to go, but we get stuck in that sideways direction so long that we don’t recognize the road ahead. The job turns into a routine, our future prospects narrowed by our present occupation. The field we really want happens to be pretty saturated at the moment, so we stay where we are for just a little longer, and when we do apply for something we want they focus on our current experience, not our intent.

Suddenly we have been a secretary or a truck driver or a warehouse worker for most of our lives. Now we’re invested in three or four weeks paid vacation and 401K and co-workers we’ve gotten to know. We didn’t mean for our lives to take this fork in the road — it just happened. And we were so busy making money to feed our kids and pay for our house and to make car payments that there was no time to “take a chance” on that perfect job.

I am lucky to have had steady work in fields that were pretty decent. I’ve owned my own business, been a coordinator/proofreader, secretary, and salesperson. I am now at that point where my vacation and age leave no room for turning around, for the end game is in sight.

But as I sit and put numbers on a spreadsheet and copy and code catalog information and send and track emails and waste away hour after hour in silent calculations, I wonder if things would have been different if I’d gone to college. If I’d worked in an advertising agency instead of a savings and loan association. If I’d started writing professionally at 20 instead of 60.

I’m at the point in my career that I’m working hard to get to the finish line. To retire and really start my  new life. I’ve been preparing for it for over 47 years. And I am so ready.

But I still wonder…

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Lucy Clark

Lucy Clark calls herself a “Hand Built” Potter.

Each pot is built in the coil method, one layer at a time.  It is then embellished or carved and set to dry for a month before it is fired.

The firing process involves bringing the kiln up very slowly to a temperature of around 1300 degrees and then it is turned off and watched until it hits 990 degrees.  After the firing, the piece is lifted out with Kevlar gloves and placed in sawdust to “smoke” the pot in the old Pueblo style tradition.

Lucy uses no glazes in her process –the sheen comes from burnishing (polishing) the piece with a small quartz stone until it is smooth and silky to the touch.

Lucy pulls from her many years as a massage therapist and touching people to listen to what the clay wants to be and how it wishes to be transformed into shape in the physical universe.

Lucy Clark explains her talent best. “To me, life is a work of art, always in progress and only finished when we take our last breath. It is through this belief that art informs all that I am and all that I do. Even within the daily routines that consume so much of our time, art is alive and only waits for our notice.”

More of Lucy Clark’s marvelous pottery can be found at http://lucyclarkpottery.com .

Eye Saw The Eclipse

Alright all you T.E.G.s — Total Eclipse Geeks —

Did you all go outside the other day with your glasses and try and catch a glimpse of one very cool astral happening? Tell the truth — how many of you tried to catch a peek at what was going on without your protective glasses?

It was pretty cloudy here in the Midwest United States. We were scheduled to see the moon/sun thing about 1:10 pm. I must admit I did sneak outside (at the end of my lunch time) only to be greeted with bumpy clouds. Alas…about 15 minutes later there was this little uproar throughout the office — the clouds had parted! It was happening!

So I, along with a dozen of my co-workers, went outside (after our scheduled lunch time) and gazed at the phenomenon through eye-protecting glasses (although I have to raise my hand…I did for a NANOSECOND peek at the sun without said glasses…just to see…)

So I figured I would share some old-world explanations for what today’s scientists so flippantly explain with exact detail.

According to TimeandDate.com:

In Vietnam, people believed that a solar eclipse was caused by a giant frog devouring the Sun.

Norse cultures blamed wolves for eating the Sun.

In ancient China, a celestial dragon was thought to lunch on the Sun, causing a solar eclipse. In fact, the Chinese word of an eclipse, chih or shih, means to eat.

According to ancient Hindu mythology, the deity Rahu is beheaded by the gods for capturing and drinking Amrita, the gods’ nectar. Rahu’s head flies off into the sky and swallows the Sun causing an eclipse.

Korean folklore offers another ancient explanation for solar eclipses. It suggests that solar eclipses happen because mythical dogs are trying to steal the Sun.

The Pomo, an indigenous group of people who lived in the northwestern United States, tell of a story of a bear who started a fight with the Sun and took a bite out of it. In fact, the Pomo name for a solar eclipse is Sun got bit by a bear.

The ancient Greeks believed that a solar eclipse was a sign of angry gods and that it was the beginning of disasters and destruction.

According to Inuit folklore, the Sun goddess Malina walked away after a fight with the Moon god Anningan. A solar eclipse happened when  Anningan managed to catch up with his sister.

I don’t know about you, but I’m rather amazed at the explanations the ancients had. After all — what did the poor sun do to get bit by so many animals?

Sunday/Monday Evening Art Gallery Blog — David Martin Stone

Illustrator David Stone Martin  (1913-1992) was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, creating over 400 album covers.

Much of his work spotlighted jazz, with his signature hand-drawn, calligraphic line perfectly capturing the energy and spontaneity of the idiom.

Born David Livingstone Martin in Chicago, he later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career as an assistant to the social realist painter Ben Shahn, designing murals during the 1933 World’s Fair.

Martin spent the remainder of the decade as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served during World War II as an artist/correspondent for Life magazine.

After returning to the U.S. he mounted a career as a freelance artist; in 1948, he also began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, followed in 1950 by a year at New York City’s Workshop School of Advertising and Editorial Art.

Martin entered music illustration through his longtime friendship with producer Norman Granz, designing hundreds of now-classic cover paintings for acts including Count Basie, Art Tatum, Gene Krupa, and Lionel Hampton.

Martin’s work has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and others.

More of David Stone Martin’s magnificent album covers can be found at http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/stonemartin.htm

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Finale

I wish I could keep this celebration going on forever! I follow a lot of fun, interesting bloggers, each deserving a direct link for you to dance along.

There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. You may follow three or three hundred. The purpose of this made-up week is to encourage you to interact with those who write/paint/travel/share with you. If you like what you read, click that little LIKE button. REALLY like what you read? Drop a comment! We/you/they love to hear back from you!

I love reading your blogs Leah, Ann, Ray, Jackie, Jan, Crissouli, Blue Settia, Walt, d Marie, Suzanne, Patrcia, Mary J, Nick, Marion, Patty, Dawn, Annette, Denise, Jeremiah, CJ, Joel, Jan R, Marie, Norm, Alan, Waterdove, Glorialana, Tess, Gwen, Craig, Pirate Patty, Doug, Craig, Austin, Peter, Anne, and all those names I’ve left out. You all rock! Keep it going! I look forward to following more bloggers, and you should too.

BE a part of the creative world. Appreciate your creative friends this week — and every week!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek Part 6

Darlene Foster writes the kind of blog that plays to the voyeur in me. She travels, she writes, posts on other blogs, does book signings — what is not to envy?  I have been following her blog Darlene Foster’s Blog for a while now, and am loving her excursions since she moved to Spain. Darlene turns her sight-seeing jaunts into experiences we all can relate to. A little history, a lot of pictures, and I’m walking through the beautiful Ta´Pinu Sanctuary on the Island of Gozo or through the streets of Cordoba.

Looking for a little getaway that is more in line with your lifestyle (rather than the latest magazine)? Take a walk with Darlene and tour the countryside at your own pace!

*********************

Three Days in the Charming City of Cordoba

Posted on: July 13, 2017

During the visit of my aunt and her friend, we took a bus trip to the Andalusian city of Cordoba, about five hours from where I live in Spain. Originally built by the Romans, it became an important location during the Moorish occupation. The ancient city of Cordoba held some of the world´s first known universities and medical schools. The fascinating architecture throughout the city reflects the Moorish, Jewish and Christian cultures.

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More of Darlene Foster’s wonderful blog can be found at https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/. You’ll love your journey!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 5

My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.

I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)

Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)

 

 

 

 

 

Katzenworld (https://katzenworld.co.uk/)

 

 

 

 

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 4

One of the easiest kind of blogs to follow — and the most fulfilling — are poetry blogs. I know there are a zillion of them out there…poetry is just one of those techniques that speak straight from the heart. It’s not as easy to master as you would think. But those I follow have mastered their crafts well.

I know you have your favorites — I hope you will share back — but here are just a couple that I have enjoyed through the years.

If you love love poems you must have heard of Maxima. Stefan Maxima has a way of wrapping love around his fingers and pouring it upon the page. His poetry is full of affection, awareness, and sensuality. Find his work at https://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com/

In The Morning

The morning is bathed in
the scent of roses.
To be silent wounds.
To voice our thoughts,
speak our mind,
is the better way.

I see your face in dew drops
clinging to the edge of yellow petals
I want to sing to you your favorite song,
it is better that way,
but this morning you and I are silent.

A morning:
The sun’s ray stirs the imagination
Your smile leaves a trail to my corner
of happiness where I am
a victim of your charm.

I’m speaking of this morning
with the breeze so gentle and caressing
here on the terrace where you sip
your first cup of coffee.

I love you my only one,
this I know,
and I know that you love me too,
but this morning we are silent.

 

Friendly Fairy Tales (https://friendlyfairytales.com/) makes me want to dance with the faeries in the moonlight. I am very much a unicorn/faerie kind of girl, and Brenda Davis Harsham’s poetry zings straight to my heart. Hers is the kind of blog that I go directly to and read post after post after post, liking them all!

Freckled Lily

Rippled pond,
dew-strung lawn.
Yawning moon
welcomes dawn.

Freckled lily,
dappled light.
Brindled dog
barks away night.

Rising songbirds,
snuggling owls.
High-strung cat
fusses and yowls.

One eye open,
I view the day,
hear caterwauling,
push sleep away.

Tea and oatmeal,
plump blackberries.
I paint with words
and dust of fairies.

Freckled Lily

 

One of my favorite poets is a newcomer to my world. Ivor.Plumber/Poet (https://ivors20.wordpress.com/). Ivor is a relatively newcomer in the WordPress world (I think), at least with this blog. His poetry is the kind that touches your soul. Sometimes it’s sad, often it’s reassuring. Ivor’s way of writing is everyman’s way of writing. Do check him out.

 

Everlasting Smile

My eyes, narrowly cracked.

My cheeks, slightly etched.

I rest here, retracing every mile.

Remembering, your everlasting smile.

My lips, already dry.

My tongue, trying to say goodbye.

I wonder, was it all worthwhile.

Remembering, your loneliest smile.

My throat, lumpy and sore.

My chest, heavy as never before.

I look back, recalling your life-style.

Remembering, your younger smile.

My lungs, empty and tight.

My legs, weak and light.

I relive, your personal exile.

Remembering, your generous smile

My head, spinning from fright.

My heart, deep and out of sight

I sleep alone, crying like a child.

Remembering, your everlasting smile.

https://ivors20.wordpress.com/page/2/

 

I have followed  Catherine Arcolio and Leaf and Twig for the longest time. Her poetry never ceases to amaze me. She calls her style Ekphrastic poetry” which is the verbal representation of visual representation.  Writing in short staccato notes has to be one of the hardest forms of creativity. Matching this form of poetry to amazing images is truly an art. You must check her out. https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/

Humble Abode

unassuming bloom
calling
monarchs home

 

 

 

 

Support your poets. Try writing poetry yourself. Your soul will thank you for it.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 3

I love following Dave Whatt because he has a quirky sense of humor that can only be found in the UK. I must admit there are times I don’t quite understand the lingo, which makes his blogs all the more appealing. Dave says he is “… a grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil…” Being not so much a brainiac as a researcher, I had to look up plectrum and learned a new word to boot! (it’s a guitar pic, so to speak). I love to listen to local lingo, and Dave’s posts are full of them. Throw in a British accent, and reading suddenly becomes more fun!

Some overheard and misheard snatches of cafe conversation…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is – He was as happy as two sandboys…
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
‘No, I think it is plom David…’
‘It was a non-G bear?’
‘Join in a while with a leading heart!’
‘Eye-vade, eye-vade, and ill lucid!’
‘And the sauce easily drips out.’
‘I studied it for ears…’
‘Dometzy-doos!…’
‘Na na na na! In a pig’s eye!’
‘It was wire thinking Tom!’
‘But how grazing is it?’
‘What?… Tremors this day?’
‘We are all juicing out our world again.’
‘A weekend car-wave! Oh my god!…’
‘Whereas everything is boyfriends now!’
‘Me, I love the grey shots!’
‘You need to grow new parts David.’
‘Never say enough is words!’
‘Not even wiggy?…’
‘Sunny nay-gish, that’s only roughly though.’
‘Have a word with Donna Dominoes tomorrow.’
‘She ass me in tens you know!’
‘But I feel as though we aren’t aren’t.’
‘It was two more with that on the flight!’

https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/some-overheard-and-misheard-snatches-of-cafe-conversation-46/

If you want a bit of the Brit and walk away with a smile on your face, go check out Dave and his blog at https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 2

A number of you may know (and follow) my second creative friend. David Kanigan creates his blog Live and Learn with thoughts, quotes, research, and philosophy. I mean he’s amazing. I have no idea how he finds the quotes he does. All are thinkers and feelers. He is light and he is deep. I can see his feelings and thoughts through the pictures and stories he shares.

*   *   *   *   *   *    *    *    *

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The love a parent feels for a child is strange…

It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to someone who’s lived their whole life in a dark room.

It sends the soul flying.

~ Fredrick Backman, from Beartown: A Novel (Atria Books; Tra edition, April 25, 2017)

Notes:

  • Photo: Kristy G. Photography (via Newthom)
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

 *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Ethereal and fun, I look forward to his writings every day. You will too.

Check out David at https://davidkanigan.com/.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek – 1st Day

Roses are Red

Violets are Green

Writing and Painting

Is More Than A Dream!

 

This is a made-up celebration, of course — but is it?

We all are jealous of other’s creativity. In a sweet, supportive way, of course. As shown on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I am always in awe of what magic comes from creative hands, minds, and souls.

I follow a number of poets, artists, sculptors, and everyday wise men and wise women, and am always in love with their offerings. So I am going to celebrate my friendly creative friends with my own #AppreciateYourCreativeFriends week! Check them out, follow follow follow (if it tickles your fancy), and have a great time doing it!

My Monday recommendation is Carsten Wieland, an amazing watercolor painter who lives in Essen, Germany. His site is full — and I mean full — of fantastic watercolor paintings. Houses, landscapes, weather — every post he shares is yet another glimpse into a very accurate eye and a very open palate.

Check out Carsten Wieland out at Brushpark/Watercolors. https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/. 

You check in, you may never want to check out!

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Johannes Stoetter

Inspired by nature, recognized body painter Johannes Stoetter turns living models into animals, fruits, flowers, or blends them with the surroundings.

 

These impressively detailed paintings take up to five months of thorough planning and up to eight hours of work to complete.

 

The winner of the World Bodypainting Championship in 2012 says that the key to success is to love what you’re doing.

Stoetter says, “I think I observe the world, nature, colors and shapes with very clear eyes and an open heart. And painting is my big passion.”

Looking at his compositions, you can see just how passionate he is.

You can find more of Johannes Stoetter’s work at johannesstoetterart.com .

Watching TV My Way

It’s actually kind of funny that after 36 years of marriage (plus a few more added on for living together first), I have to re-adjust to being around my significant other.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Indeed it does, but it also makes our shared time a confusing mess.

The last couple of years my other has been working the night shift. Not a big deal for most couples. Not a big deal for us. Except just as get into my girlie routine being by myself, he’s home an extra night and I’m thrown off base.

The first 2/3s of my life I spent every evening with him. Kids, dogs, family. Mowing the lawn. Doing the laundry. Playing video games. Reading books. Like synchronized swimmers, we did a lot of things either in tandem or complimentary to each other.

His work hours  these days are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and every other Saturday night from 5pm to 5am.  So I do Japanese Movies with English Subtitles on Monday, Horror Movies on Tuesday,  binge watch series and write on Saturday, and watch dramas and tearjerkers and do Art Gallery pictures on Sunday.  I throw in a little pretzel housework between movies or chapters — it’s a little dizzying but it works for me.

You say, why don’t I include him in my pretzel activities?

He thinks I’m nuts already for the Japanese movie part. He thinks B horror movies are a waste of time. Breaking Bad didn’t interest him, nor did Stranger Things, both of which I power watched. I text, write, surf, watch, fetch and wash at my own speed. I eat what I want when I want, not fearing eyes watching me have a bowl of ice cream before bed.

Yet when we do spend the evening together and we’re not working on some “project” we crash on the sofa and…watch TV. I don’t care for the Ultimate Fighter or  the Beverly Hillbillies and I cringe watching anything with commercials, so I usually pull out my laptop for a couple of hours.

I’ve worked 64 years on developing this wonderful, quirky personality. Or rather it’s taken me 64 years to accept this wonderful, quirky personality. Either way, I like things my way. The pretzel way.

I’m sure my hubby doesn’t mind it either, otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed with me for so long. But when the day is done and the two of us are together and we’re not going crazy with grandkids or mowing or other lovely pastimes, I say —

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it myyyy wayyyy…….

 

Make the Love

I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated both grandkids’ birthdays. We laughed, spoiled, loved, gossiped, and enjoyed the company of parents, grandparents, great grandparents (grandpa is 90 next month!) my grandkids, friends with their kids and grandkids, plus a couple of dogs thrown in.

Today I read the following column at Ask Amy (http://tiny.cc/za2wmy)….

DEAR AMY: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 2.5 hours away and have very successful, fulfilling lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. They usually call every week or so and I send an occasional text or email. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.

We want to see more of our grandsons but we are not permitted to babysit, and if I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).

I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing. Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.

I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him. The boys love to see us and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa and Mom always says no!

This made me very sad.

I don’t know the daughter’s side, I don’t know the grandparents’ side. But to keep grandparents from enjoying the best time of their entire lives —

What happens to families?

I know I take for granted the love and affection I share with my two sons and their kids. Love, friendship, all come naturally for us. We’re not all like two peas in a pod all the time, mind you, but we enjoy each other’s company and get together whenever we can.

Grandparents are the old souls, the old angels, leading the innocent young angels through the mess we call life. We try and lighten their burdens, play their games, listen to their secrets. We give them a safe space their parents can’t, just because they’re parents.

It’s a parent’s job to protect, guide, and teach their precious packages to ensure they make it through life with a good head on their shoulders.

It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil, cuddle, play and dream with those same packages, ensuring they make it through life with good dreams in their heads.

I look at Dear Amy’s question and my heart breaks for everyone involved. The grandkids will never have that close relationship with two people who love them so much; the mother will never find peace with the mother and father of her husband; and the grandparents will have to deal with empty arms and empty dreams.

Like I said. I don’t know the whole story — I never will. There is nothing I can do to change that family and their sorrows.

But what I can do is share this story so that you will go home tonight and hug your kids and grandkids and when you see your friends or your sister hug their kids and grandkids. Play catch or Chinese checkers with them. Tell them a story of when you were a kid.

Don’t just take the love — MAKE the love.

 

 

 

Give It A Rest!

Does this ever happen to you?

You work hard on finishing your project. The afghan you are crocheting (a couple of my friends are into this). Your last piece of art for the craft show. (In my case) finally finished my/your novel. You’ve worked hard on your projects. Creativity may flow, but it does need a bit of focus and control to be useful.

Now comes the hard part. That last thing you need to do before you can truly show off your work of art.

But you don’t want to go anywhere near it.

For someone who loves writing, I’m actually pretty tired of it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read the story a thousand times. I know the ending before I even start. There is no magic in it — no surprise, I’ve pumped my heart and soul into this piece and now it’s just old news.

Oh, there are surely other projects that could use my attention. A poem here or there, a couple of short story ideas. The third novel in my set. It all sounds so inspiring. Yet all my creative energy has been zapped.

I know I’m always encouraging my friends and reading public to keep pushing to make your dreams come true. And I do so believe that. You cannot improve if you are not doing. But I suppose with all the pushing there has to be some give. Some yang to your yin. If one goes full speed ahead without slowing down that same one will get burned out in no time flat. And you know what burn feels like.

So here is my Monday Evening Advice. Like you need it.

Work hard on your passion. Work hard on your project. When you finish, let it rest. Let it breathe. Give both you and it space. If you are finished with it you are finished. Let it be. If not, give it a second go around. Or a third round.

I find that after I walk away from my written words for a bit they feel new upon my return. I can see my repetitions, my overly-active adjective gland, my dangling participles — everything. I then can approach the same old story with a fresh perspective.

I myself am letting my novel rest. In the meantime  I’m having a wonderful time watching Japanese movies with English subtitles.

Happy Saturday!

It is a beautiful Saturday afternoon outside. I have done half of my chores, and am thinking about the rest of them as I pop into Word Press.

A mistake?

Depends on what I pop in here for.

I’m sure it’s the same with you. You work a full time job, either outside of the house or in. Or full time school. Or full time mother. Dog sitter. Whatever. You do what you have to do to buy groceries, maybe a bottle of wine now and then. Society dictates you not only sparkle at your job, but that your house is immaculate and your clothes tailored, children behaved, and your books read.

Good thing you and I aren’t following the dictates of society. You and I live by the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants rules.

Finish the big things, like switching the laundry or turning off the stove. Oh…and make sure you have clean plates for dinner and vacuum the cat hair up at least once a week.

But who wants to do that on a beautiful Saturday afternoon?  My interest wanes in anything physical (except if I’m running around with grandkids) long about mid day.

Except for writing.

Funny how we find excuses for everything we don’t like,  but offer no explanation for those we enjoy?

Ack — with a wave of the hand it will be tomorrow. All your chores will be waiting for you — they won’t have gone anywhere.

But think of how great it would be to finish that painting? That poem? That crocheted sweater? Or, in my case, that novel?

I  love when I read that someone has learned something, discovered something. Finished something. They sound so alive! So sparkling!  So awake!

Here’s to you. And all you do. Have fun!

 

We Never Know Whom We Touch

When people connect in blogs and in tweets and on story boards, you never know who’s listening. Words and images can be so powerful, especially when they come from the heart. So choose your words well.

I was touched that my Wordless Wednesday pic (that I took down one of the paths by my house) would touch off such a beautiful poem. Please check out Ivor’s post.

Thank you, Ivor, for inspiring us all.

Feature Image: Courtesy, “humouringthegoddess”, thankyou Claudia, for permitting me to use this beautiful photo, I’ve tagged the picture, “Smiling Leafs”. My eyes, narrowly cracked. My cheeks, slightly etched. I rest here, retracing every mile. Remembering, your everlasting smile. My lips, already dry. My tongue, trying to say goodbye. I wonder, was it all worthwhile. […]

via Everlasting Smile — Ivor.Plumber/Poet

We Are All The Gambler

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.

 

It’s a precarious ledge we stand on, isn’t it?

Do you know when to hold your ground? When to give in?

When to walk away? When to Run?

It’s not as easy as it seems, is it?

We want to run away, we want to stay and fight.

We say it’s not worth it, yet sometimes it’s all there is.

Pick your battles.

Fight the fights worth fighting for.

Blow off the rest.

A stay in a hospital isn’t worth it.

Nor is a broken soul.

 

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away
And knowin’ what to keep
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep.

~Kenny Rodgers

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Seung Hoon Park

Seung Hoon Park, an artist from Seoul, S. Korea, is creating the most unusual images with the use of a camera and threading the film to mimic the look of woven textiles.

Born in 1978, Seung Hoon Park lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.

Part collage, part photography, part tapestry, these fragmented interpretations of iconic buildings and landmarks are truly something to ponder over.

 Each image begins with 8mm or 16mm camera film strips which he lays down in rows to create a larger surface that effectively acts as a single piece of film.

Park then exposes two images in a large format 8×10″ camera using sets of vertical and horizontal strips which are woven together to create a final print.

The final image is a blend of mediums: both photograph as well as woven textile; by threading the film together, Park creates beautifully captivating scenes with textured distortions.

Park has traveled to locations around the world including Rome, Milan, Venice and Prague to shoot images for his ongoing series titled Textus.
More of  Seung Hoon Park’s fascinating photography art can be found at      https://susanspiritusgallery.com/artist/seung-hoon-park/ . and https://theartling.com/en/artists/seung-hoon-park/ .

The Power of the Mind

The mind is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

It’s amazing how much control it has over each and every one of us.

Magazines and TV and movies depict women as skinny and beautiful. We look at them and think of how much less we are then they. Everyone around you has sweet, adorable children. It puts our choice of not having kids in doubt.

We KNOW we are right in most — if not all — of our decisions in life. Yet our mind tries to second guess our determination. Our mind tends to go off of emotion and not common sense.

And we let it.

Now many of us have some control over our minds. An impulse to punch someone in the face or stab someone in the back is quickly dissolved and rationed away as PMS, bad mood, stress, or just Tuesday. Our desire to take off to Paris for the weekend is tempered by keeping our job and our bank account.

Why are we so weak on defending the rest of our spirit?

It’s probably easier for some than others to shut your chattering, wandering, judgemental mind down. To put it in its place. I know it’s a constant battle in my head. I’m not young and blonde and beautiful. I’m 64 and short and pudgy. I’m not a CFO or CEO. I’m more like UFO. But to tell the truth,  it’s an uphill battle to shut off and shut up my comparison psyche.

Look at what happens when we “put our mind to it.” We create masterpieces. We decorate our homes, paint pictures, make fantastic quilts and shawls and jewelry. We become writers and teachers and financial experts. We save money enough to vacation, tour, lecture, and learn.

Yet our minds tell us we’re not good enough because we’re a couple of pounds overweight or our hair is starting to turn gray or our job is merely a waitress or a data clerk.

We let our wandering minds wander all over our goals and dreams.

I see it time and again. In blogs and social media, at work, at the gym, at the playground, in shared whispers with friends and family. If only I were… If only I could…We look to an altered version of ourselves to be happy. To be successful. To be in love. Like true peace of mind and soul is out there somewhere.

You all know what I’m going to say. Because you know it’s true.

True happiness isn’t out there — it’s in HERE. In your head. In your aura. Look at how easy it is to take a situation and turn it around. Half empty or half full.

It’s all your choice.

Choose to be happy. Pick positive over negative.

Think it’s hard?

Just try it. Just CHOOSE.

Your soul will thank you.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Darryl Cox

Artist Darryl Cox fuses ornate vintage picture frames with tree branches found in the forests of central Oregon.

Cox uses many different woods:  central Oregon manzanita, juniper, aspen, Willamette Valley filbert and California grapevine are a few of his favorites.

The branches serve as a simple reminder of the materials used to build picture frames, but also create an unusual form factor where clean lines and ornate moulding patterns seem to naturally traverse the bark of each tree limb.

Each piece involves many hours of woodworking, sculpting, and painting.

Darryl Cox says it perfectly:  “I enjoy seeking out unique frames, wherever they may be. And, I love being outdoors reclaiming extraordinary tree branches and roots. Especially when most of the time it involves spending a day or two in the forests of Central Oregon, but other wonderful places, too.”

More of Darryl Cox’s gorgeous frames can be found at http://fusionframesnw.com/

 

 

 

 

Not ANOTHER Idea…

Here I am, Friday morning, reading posts and surfing the Internet during my break time, thinking about yet another topic I can blog about. I’m getting so A.D.D. about wanting to post something, blog something that I want to share with the world.

Part of me wonders — who cares?

It’s not like I’m sitting around with nothing to do. I have a busy day job, then most nights I’m either working around the house, writing, or spending time with family and friends.

It’s not like I have hours and hours of down time.

With WordPress telling me daily that there are billions of blogs to check out, why would I want to start a new chapter of this one?

Am I stifled? Bored? Creatively stunted?

I think about all the blogs I follow, and all the blogs I peek in and read — life stories, poetry, artists, travel. They are varied but in the same vein. Just think of all the ones I DON’T follow — cooking, parenting , single life, quilting — the line goes on and on. Wouldn’t someone rather follow an expert in writing or publishing than someone who dabbles in a half-dozen pursuits?

All this jibber jabber means nothing other than I’m thinking of a weekly Friday edition to my never-ending flow of oddities and irrelevance.  So what should it be?

Fat Friday —  Pictures of great looking food.

Fabulous Friday — Unique places to visit

Food Friday — Same as #1

Faerie Friday — Pictures and Poems about Faeries and their Kind

Fashion Friday — Strange hair, nails, shoes — anything you wouldn’t wear going out on Friday night

Free Friday — apps, websites, anything that’s fun and free

 

Do you see my dilemma?  I think I’ve got too much space in my head. It’s filling up with silly stuff.

P.S. If you like any of the above ideas, let me know. I’ve got to put my Creative Muse to work somewhere...

Hot Moms at the Playground

The first thing I have to say is the truth. I am Jealous. Envious. Covetous. Wanton. Wistful.

Okay. Now that that’s over…I took my grand kids to the park Saturday morning to encourage their Adrenalin dispersion. So here is granny, an average-looking 64-year-old, scrubbed, puffed, a touch of makeup, a decent pair of Capri’s and fun t-shirt, feeling good, feelin’ hip, keepin’ up with swings and slides and Jungle Jims. There were two baseball games going on in the background, middle-school types, lots of cheering and hoho’s. Then I looked around at the other mothers.

These women were knockouts. I figured these moms were leftovers from the games, watching their toddlers on the swings and slides and Jungle Jims. Now, I live in a small town. A college town. I’m not saying we don’t have attractive people here, but to have the playground filled with them is an eye-opening experience.

They hung out in pairs and trios, the same short-shorts, long hair, small waistlines, all tossing their hair as they bowed their heads down to read their cellphones, watching their precocious kids talk about their magic beads or ninja moves or playing zombie tag.  One of the moms was pregnant, and even her awkward bundle looked great in her top and Capri’s.

Now you must wonder why I chose the word ‘jealous’ to describe my feelings at the time. I mean, there was a time when ~I~ was a young mom taking my kids to the park with ~my~ girlfriends. My friends and I laughed and talked about the kids, our husbands, going out on Saturday night. We’d party at each other’s houses, spend a weekend shopping and stay the night in a hotel, drinking and eating and confessing our secrets to each other. Our kids played together, our husbands told stories together. It was a wonderful circle.

But that seems so long ago.

I think I’m jealous because I remember looking like that. Thinner, thicker hair, clearer complexion. I’m also jealous because these girls have theirwhole life ahead of them. They still can be executives and fashion designers and doctors. Their kids are still little, with soccer and baseball games and field trips and prom still to come. Their children still worship them, still love sharing snuggles and hugs and cuddles.

I know the best medicine for this unreasonable bout of jealousy is to share the snuggles and hugs and cuddles of my own kids and grand kids. To go watch their baseball and soccer games and take them camping and shopping and stay up late. I can touch the memories of days gone by by making new memories today.

I’ll always wonder, though, how I made it through all those younger days without a cell phone.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717), a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator living in the Netherlands, was an extremely enterprising and independent woman who managed a successful career as an artist, botanist, naturalist and entomologist.

At a time when natural history was a valuable tool for discovery, Merian discovered facts about plants and insects that were not previously known, such as insects did not spontaneously emerge from mud.

Merian was the first to bring together insects and their habitats, including food they ate, into a single ecological composition.

Merian published her first book of natural illustrations, titled Neues Blumenbuch, in 1675.

In 1699, following eight years of painting and studying, and on the encouragement of the governor of the Dutch colony of Surinam, the city of Amsterdam awarded Merian a grant to travel to South America with her daughter Dorothea. Her trip, designed as a scientific expedition makes Merian perhaps the first person to plan a journey rooted solely in science.

She then proceeded to publish her major work, Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium (de), in 1705, for which she became famous. 

Merian is considered to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology — an amazing journey for an 18th Century woman.

More of Maria Sibylla Merian‘s amazing story and images can be found at https://www.britannica.com/biography/Maria-Sibylla-Merian and https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/01/the-woman-who-made-science-beautiful/424620/. 

How Do You Satisfy Your Creative Cravings?

I am of the belief that writing is as much fun as painting or photography or sculpture or any other Creative Art. Yes, it’s frustrating, time-consuming, methodical, stressful, and more.

It’s also inspirational, spiritual, cosmic, and thrilling.

My problem lately is that I’ve gotten in the driver’s seat of my fourth novel, and although I’ve worked out the story line and am loving writing about my space traveler, I miss writing a short story now and then. I have been perusing various contests and publication opportunities, and I find areas I’d love to try. This one wants a creature story. This one wants supernatural fiction. This one wants pirates and ghosts.

What fun! What adventure!  But what do I write about?

I think I hang out in novel land because the writing is long and real and I can keep the same idea throughout the pages. Short stories require separate thought, separate ideas. Unique ideas. And eventually my love of writing starts slipping on the confusing bed of ideas and plots and endings.

Do you hide in one genre over another? Do you have a desire to paint something totally different yet stay within your safe and more experienced area? Or draw something totally out of your comfort zone?

I have a folder of stories, some finished, some barely started. Few would fit into the guidelines I so fawningly follow. Most of my good pieces are written more on a whim of the moment — an impression on the drive home, an interlude between two or more people at the bus stop. My short stories are based on a bolt of lightning that directly hits me. It’s a lot harder if I’m out searching for that bolt.

I often encourage my blog readers to break through your self-imposed sanctions and to go for it. Reach for the sky — or dig deep into the cavern.

I still believe in that.

But I sometimes think it’s getting harder and harder to dig into that fertile creative ground and come up with something new. Something that will fit within someone else’s parameters.

How do you juggle all your cravings? Do you stick with what works or do you find time to experiment and go off in left field now and then? I’d love to know that there are other seasoned and non-seasoned writers who are as confused and excited as me.

Let’s see now…as the website says…think adventures and hauntings at sea, shipwrecks and buried treasure, treacherous waters, sea spirits, ghostly galleons, giant squid, kraken and sailors gone mad.

I can do that…can’t I?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Colin Batty

Artist Colin Batty puts an amusingly strange spin on photographs of the past.

Taking cabinet cards from the early 1900s, he uses acrylic paint and crafts entirely new and surprising scenes directly on the image.

His additions are often hilarious but also creepy, and he does a fantastic job of seamlessly matching the colors and shading of each vintage photo – without the help of the computer.

It’s so convincing that at first glance, you might not notice the images were even changed.

The amazing part is that Batty does this work all by hand — you won’t find a single image Photoshopped in his collection of cards.

More of Colin Batty‘s amazing photography art can be found at http://www.peculiarium.com/colin-batty.