Granny’s a Loser (Not)

Well,  I felt like a loser Granny yesterday evening.

My grandson called and asked if I had any wizard/magician clothes or props. as his school is having a Dress Up as a Wizard or Magician Day on Thursday. Surely Granny, with all her unicorns and faeries, would have some magician wands or hats or capes laying around.

Ahhhhgghhh…

Nope.

Couldn’t help my favorite grandkid out with his costume project.

Now, of course, I know I’m not a real loser. I’m sure one day I’ll be in the Grandma Hall of Fame.

But I want to be that special grandma. The one who has everything, knows everything, loves everything.I’m the go-to for hugs, conversation, and treats. I am a superhero, the one who plays trucks and watches them build Lego ninjas and dance in the rain and play every new game they get. I have the neat house my grandkids always want to visit, and I’m the one who takes them to movies and chimes “go girl! go girl!” everytime we pass the witch on the window.

I’m not the loser. The shadow. The failure.

Not in my grandkids’ eyes.

Through their eyes I see a different version of myself. I’m cool, I’m magic. I’m loving. I don’t have problems or faults. I have patience, understanding, and empathy. I am wise and gentle and special.

There’s no broken dreams around my grandkids. No failures, no competition. I’m not old; just older. There’s just love and heroine worship from my grandkids. There has to be.

It’s my second chance to make things right. To mold a mind. To hold a hand.

That’s why I should have had had at least a magic wand in my bag of tricks. Oh well. Next time.

In the meantime, I’m all set if they ever have a Unicorn Day…..

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama developed a distinctive style utilizing approaches associated with Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Pop art, Feminist art, and Institutional Critique—but she always defined herself in her own terms as an obsessional artist.

Kusama had a breakthrough in 1965 when, using mirrors, she transformed the intense repetition of her earlier paintings and works on paper into a perceptual experience called  Infinity Mirror Rooms.

 Kusama’s kaleidoscopic environments offers the chance to step into an illusion of infinite space made from lights and mirrors.

 Her mirrored rooms create an immersive environment that fosters an out-of-body experience, heightens one’s senses, and produces a repetitive illusion through the use of lights and mirrors.

Some  of  Kusama’s Mirrored  Room installations have peep windows into which the visitor merely pokes a head, or little cabins you step inside to gaze out at infinite reflections of yourself – like a child playing with facing mirrors.

Can you imagine standing in the middle of all that light?

More of Yayoi Kusama‘s many faceted art creations can be found at http://yayoi-kusama.jp/.

Living in the NOW

For all the madness out there; for all the crazy politics and abuse and abandonment, the world, our lives, still hold thrills and happiness at every turn.

Sitting on my sofa this Saturday morning, dogs and cats bugging me for pets, hubby gone for the day, I reflect on all the blessings I’ve had through the years, least of all three animals who want my affection and give back tenfold.

I know all of our hearts have been broken one time or another, and, if we are loving, giving people, they will be broken again. But because of that love of life and the world, we are able to survive and appreciate the gifts we have been given even more.

I was thinking about the millennials this morning. All the talk about them living in the “now” and how their financial goals are different from the baby boomers. I know mils that don’t have insurance, don’t have great jobs, don’t have husbands and wives but have live-in partners.

The world has changed. 

And, believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

I think true wisdom comes with not having to prove to the world that your way of thinking is right. That true love of life comes in many forms, and yours is unique and different from everyone else’s.

I am beginning to think that the millenials are right. At least in some ways. 

They live for today. For NOW. For the pleasure that each day brings.

Baby boomers are stuck in the thought process that if we do “A” now or wait until we are “A” then we are allowed to enjoy “B”. So women (and men) don’t do the things their heart wants to do because they are waiting until they’ve lost enough weight, made enough money, earn enough vacation. It’s not just a point of going out to dinner or finding the right bathing suit, either. I’ve known people who have been waiting years to do what they want because they’ve made some imaginary goal that they’ll never make. 

Millenials want to do something? They figure a way to do it today.. Now. 

That seems like jumping without a parachute to those of us older fogies that are tied up in mortgages and car payments and monotonous jobs we’re afraid to change. 

But it’s living in the “now” for many others.

Which circles back to loving every moment you are alive, despite the broken hearts. I thank the Goddess every morning I am able to open my eyes and get out of bed. I am thankful I can listen to all kinds of music and read books that intrigue me and play with my grandkids and hug my hubby. I am thankful I can look out the window at the brushing of snow and pet my cat and watch the birds in  the birdfeeder and write a story and find a pair of socks to keep my feet warm.

That is living in the “now.” 

That is taking the madness in the world with a grain of salt and moving forward every day in a positive way, making the world a better place than you left it. It’s not waiting to share the love. And to take it, too. You deserve it. We all deserve it. 

Don’t wait until tomorrow to give your love. Tommorrow may be too late.

 

 

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

~Michelangelo

The elections are over, candidates came and some went, everyone believing they know what’s best for my/our community, our district, our state. One falls and the other takes up the march. In the end, the stalks of corn whistle and whine and sing the song of tomorrow.

I just started watching “The Agony and the Ecstasy” about Michelangelo. It begins by covering his amazing sculptures such at St. Matthew, the tomb of Juliano, and the Medici tombs, including the tomb of Lorenzo. He was 24 when he carved the magnificent Pietà of St. Peters, and 26 when he started to carve famous statue of David.

And he was 33 when he started painting the Sistine Chapel. That huge, vast, empty ceiling. 

33. What were you doing when you were 33? 

I was working in downtown Chicago and had been married for three years and had a two-year-old when I was 33. The little painting I did was more a passing fancy, and the writing I did would not explode in earnest until ten years later.

Some people are just gifted. Some people are just magic. Some people have something we will never have. 

I don’t think the competition back in 1508 was as extreme as it is these days. There was no Internet, no Facebook or no blogs. No telephones, no printing presses, no TV or Xeroxes. Oh, I’m sure there were many sculptors back then. Sculptors and painters. But to have your work noticed and remembered and studied and worshipped — that’s a totally different story.

I have no idea how to sculpt anything, no less chisel a man out of marble. I may paint my pithy version of an alien landscape, but I have no idea how to paint people and ceilings and landscapes.

He did.

He knew how to create art from blocks of stone and angels from paint at the same time people lived with thatched roofs and bathed once a year.

When you stop and take a look at the history of art — really take a look at how such marvelous creations were created in such sparse and simple times — you cannot help be be amazed. 

You don’t have to be “into” the arts to appreciate the talent and stories that echo through the hallways of time. A calling was all that was needed; a calling to an artist who had the talent, the patience, and the dream of making something bigger than themselves. 

You may not have the fame or endurance of the masters of old, but you do have the talent and the inspiration. Throw yourself into your art, and let it flow through you and onto your medium.

Don’t compare yourself to artists like Michelangelo di Ludovico Buonarroti Simoni or Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn or Marc Zakharovich Chagall. You are your own magic, your own muse. You hear music others can’t hear. Follow that calling. 

And take a look at some of the artists of the past. Learn about their art, their history, their passions.

Maybe you will see yourself reflected in their creativity.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Seo Young-Deok

ThSeo Young-Deok creates hyper-realistic, life-size sculptures of human figures fashioned exclusively from welded chains taken from industrial machinery and bicycles.

Seo explores the relationship between humans and their environment by repurposing iron chains, which are part of the industrial world.

Seo Young-Deok’s work centers mostly around the human body, and his pieces highlights his understanding of human anatomy.

Most of his sculptures are made by welding individual pieces of iron together, and he sticks to the conventional methods of drawing, modeling, casting, and welding to create his pieces.

Seo Young-Deok sculpts both of male and female subjects in a number of poses and postures, from sculpted heads to busts, torsos, and standing figures.

You can find more of Seo Young-Deo’s amazing chain work at  http://youngdeok.com//

What the He%% is Going On?

I am not a sticker-on-the-car kinda gal. Besides a yearly state park sticker, I’m pretty much a clean car person. That doesn’t mean that I don’t smile when I see a family of stick people or dog stickers or Wall Drug bumper stickers on someone else’s car.

Which brings me to a sign I saw on my way back home from up North yesterday. My hubby and I drove past a pick-up truck with writing on their back window. It said, “I eat ass.”

Yep.

I was surprised at the nerve of the younger driver. We laughed and shook our heads, wondering what that even meant. I even looked the phrase up on Google.

That inane phrase is still popping my popcorn. I can’t help but wonder: What the hell was that all about? Why was that idiotic phrase spread all across his back window?

He and his buddies probably got a laugh raising the hair of fairly moral people. But then I started to think of this guy’s probable role models.

You have the President of the United States of America tweeting things like, “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

You have a woman who was caught on video yelling obscenities at a family speaking Spanish at a Virginia restaurant, at one point yelling at them to “Go back to your f—– country. You do not f—– come over here and freeload on America.”

You have a six-year-old telling school authorities that she was being bullied, and instead of getting help, her mother reports her daughter was “told off” for telling what the school believed to be “tales.” The mother said that even the adults involved have been no help, as the bully’s parents “mocked” her daughter on social media.

This is the kind of madness that runs through the conscience of people. These are the kinds of absolutely stupid and intolerable things that people are inspired by.

I believe that most of us are pretty normal. We love, we hate, we confess, we hug and make amends. We maybe don’t understand the workings of the world, but we do our best to raise our kids and take care of our parents and be helpful neighbors.

But there are some that have no seed of tolerance or understanding. There are some who can’t feel good about themselves unless they belittle and bully someone else.

I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t care what your back story is. Get over it. There is no reason for you to take your problems out on everyone else. Human beings have a choice. They don’t have to choose to be animals to others.

People say, “What can we do about it?”

My friends, I don’t have the answer.

I have never had the inkling to bully or belittle or be a show-off smart ass anyone, so I don’t know the cure for the disease I see around me.

Maybe all we can do is be nice to each other, even when we are in pain or confusion ourselves.

If you see someone being bullied, step in. Stop the madness before it spreads.

If you see someone being treated unfairly, speak up. Stop the madness before it spreads.

If you hear sexism and prejudice and intolerance in the news, tell others how wrong that is, and stop the madness before it spreads.

Don’t be that person. Don’t allow those negativities into your heart and soul. Stop others from going down that path.

Stop the madness before it spreads.

 

 

Happy Halloween of Horror

By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.

~William Shakespeare

The artists of the past were not exempt from painting images that scare the beejeezes out of you.

Let me share some famous nightmares with you.

 

Salvador Dali, 1940

 

Mark Powell – 1985

 

Zdzislaw Beksinski

 

Henry Fuseli – 1781

 

Artemisia Gentileschi, 1620-1621

 

Vincent van Gogh, 1886

 

William Blake, 1820

 

Katsushika Hokusai, 1830

 

Hell- Hans Memling, 1485

 

Peter Paul Rubens, 1636

 

Wayne Barlowe

 

Titian, 1570

 

Theodore Gericault. 1818

Sweet Dreams!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Cassius Marcellus Collidge

Cassius Marcellus Coolidge (September 18, 1844 – January 13, 1934) was a drugstore owner, painter, bank owner, and inventor.

But Coolidge (who at times signed his work Kash” or Kash Koolidge) became well known as the creator of the dogs-playing-poker genre of painting, a subject which grew out of the 19th-century tradition of visual humor.

His knack for crafting playfully surreal images culminated in his magnum opus, the absurdist canine series for which he’s best remembered today.

According to the advertising firm Brown & Bigelow, then primarily a producer of advertising calendars, Coolidge began his relationship with the firm in 1903.

From the mid-1900s to the mid-1910s, Coolidge created a series of sixteen oil paintings for them, all of which featured anthropomorphic dogs, including nine paintings of Dogs Playing Poker,] a motif that Coolidge is credited with inventing.

His work was purchased by cigar companies, who made copies of his paintings as promotional giveaways, and by the printing firm of Brown & Bigelow who made his work widely known by using it in advertising posters, calendars, and prints.

You can find more of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge’s artwork across the Internet.

There’s Magic Coming Your Way

I took the day off from work. I slept late, went to the store, am fooling around on my computer, and am going to nap again. I think I am so sleep deprived the cosmos made me take today off. After all, you can’t make magic…you can’t BE magic…if you are too sleepy to think straight.

So before I doze off on this cloudy Friday afternoon, I wanted to give you a sneak peek at the galleries coming up:

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I am so fascinated by the magnificent ideas that have come from the souls of creative people. I don’t believe you have to understand or even like a piece to understand the passion that went into its creation.

If you have enjoyed the small selection I share here Sunday nights (and other nights when I can’t hold back any more), please find your way to my Sunday Evening Art Gallery for a more extensive selection.

Tell your friends to follow me too! (how shameless of a promotion is that?)

Until we meet again, enjoy art of all sizes and shapes. It’s what makes us unique in the universe.

Listen to the Moon

I was driving home last night from meeting a friend for dinner and saw the most marvelous orange full moon. It was a redhead in all her glory, slowly rising above the horizon.

My first reaction (after amazement) was a little sadness, for I always want to see the rising moon from the far end of my property. There’s a cornfield on the other side of the back back back gate, which makes the horizon long and flat and dark.

There’s something about a full orange moon that fills me with magic. I become young again. I want to play, I want to do magic, I want to write magic. I want to see faeries in the woods and elves walking along the paths.

My imagination soars when I’m outside with the Lady of the Night.

Yet I missed this one — one I could have easily have watched from the very beginning. But I was out to dinner with a friend.

A friend who has just beaten cancer. Again. She has done chemo and is now going through radiation.

A friend that is full of life, of hope. I love her stories…she has so many of them. After what she’s been through, she is a gift from above. She has children and grandchildren that adore her, a husband that supports her, and everyone she meets becomes a friend of support through this bad time.

Maybe that’s what the moon was telling me last night.

Maybe it glowed with the magic of friendship. Maybe it glowed with pride in my thinking about someone else besides myself. Maybe She knew that if I hadn’t taken my friend to dinner I’d be zoning out on TV or some other wasteful pastime.

What’s the big deal about taking someone out to dinner? An hour and half, twenty-five dollars later. It’s an hour and a half out of your busy, busy, oh-so-important schedule.

Yet it is an hour and a half of strength. Of love. Of friendship.

Two people, both having suffered from the horrid demon C, eating soup and chowing down burgers, laughing about work and boasting about our grandkids and our kids and how lucky we are to be alive. We planned for tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

That’s what you do with friends.

One night go out and gaze upon a full moon. Listen to what it’s saying to you. You will  understand what She is saying. Your soul will be better for it.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Charles Joseph Hullmandel

Buried in the archives of the British Museum is this wonderful series of lithographs from illustrator Charles Joseph Hullmandel (June 15, 1789 – November 15, 1850) that transforms the English alphabet into sweeping landscapes. 

Charles Joseph Hullmandel  was born in London, where he maintained a lithographic establishment on Great Marlborough Street from about 1819 until his death.

Born in London of a German father and French mother, he travelled widely in Europe, making drawings and paintings of the places he visited.

In 1817 he met the inventor of the lithographic process, Senefelder, in Munich; the following year he established a lithographic press at his home in Great Marlborough Street, from where he produced prints until his death.

He refined the lithographic process, developing a method for producing gradations in tones and creating the effect of soft washes of color.

You can find more of Charles Joseph Hullmandel‘s work The British Museum and other sites across the Internet.

We Need To Sound Down

I was riding down an interstate highway this afternoon, going home from my grandson’s soccer game. Since I wasn’t driving I was daydreaming.

I noticed so many office buildings, apartment buildings, gas stations, and more blurring past me, and I wondered what this highway was like a hundred years ago.

A hundred years is nothing in the timespan of life.

But it’s the difference between cars and buggies. Electricity and coal.

And I wondered what these roads looked like a hundred years ago.

Was there a traffic jam with buggies like there was going east on Hwy. 94? Were there exit ramps taking them to landscapes unknown? Office buildings ever other mile filled with thousands of desks doing thousands of tasks?

I know it was still a struggle to live back then. No phones. No electricity. No iron lungs. Child labor. Prohibition.

But they survived.

They survived without computers and electric razors and Porches. They survived without The Voice and The Walking Dead.

I know they also had  syphilis and diphtheria. They didn’t have the polio vaccine or a heart lung machine.

You know where I’m going with this.

What do you think the world was like before all this instant ticky tacky gratifications like Facebook and freezers?

It was harder. It was scarier.

But it was quieter.

There was more time to look inside and contemplate our role in the world. Our future. Our past.

We cannot change where we are, what we’ve developed, nor where we’re going. Our children’s children will go places we only dreampt of in science fiction and fantasy.

That’s what people thought a hundred years ago, too.

They couldn’t do a thing about horse dung in the streets or malaria or lack of refrigeration.

But they could dream.

Just like we can dream.

Dream of a quieter world. A peaceful world. A world where time has no meaning, nor does politics or war or greed.

They dreampt of that a hundred years ago.

We can dream of that today. And tomorrow.

Until then, find a quiet place, far away from the maddening crowd, and connect with your soul. You live in a city; find a park. You live in the countryside, find a different countryside. Listen to what the Earth is saying to you. It talks to you, it talks to me…even when you don’t feel like talking.

It’s the only peace and quiet you can find that’s true and good.

And we all need a little true and good in our lives. Right?

 

 

 

Thursday Evening on the Veranda (with a coat) — Ben Ashton

Alas, my art gallery affectionados…this is the last evening standing on the veranda, showing off unique and wonderful art. It’s getting to the point where a sweater is just not enough.

As I was wandering from one point to another, I came across this bizarrely amazing artist Ben Ashton.

On his website he has many different types of artwork.

But I came across these paintings and I wondered….what was he thinking?

Was he trying to smear the most intimate parts of the human body?

 

Looking at the magical paintings, we will never know.

More of Ben Ashton‘s work can be found at http://www.benashtonart.com/

Happy Birthday — Here’s a Pie


A friend of mine through WordPress, TextileRanger, wrote a blog on Gifts for the Person Who Has EverythingShe writes about her birthday, and the best gift she could get was that her daughters came and took furniture and articles that have been sitting around being unused for like ever.

And it got me thinking about birthday presents in general.

I don’t know how many of you still exchange gifts for birthdays or  Christmas. In our family, grandkids and kids are a must. Husbands (or myself as a wife) are more of “I need this now so why not give it to me for my birthday/Christmas?” sort of thing. We still exchange birthday gifts with my husband’s family — there’s about 3 grandkids and 5 adults, and it’s been a tradition for like ever, too.

Once you get up in age — and these family members run from 40 to 73 — have just about everything they need. Their collections of unicorns, Precious Moments, or Chicago Bears paraphernalia is fuller than a landfill. Half the time I don’t know what they do in their spare time, so buying something personal gets to be harder and harder.

So the last few years we have been giving food and drink for presents.

I think my family couldn’t be happier.

These are gifts that are fine-tuned to my friends and family’s taste. They are foods and liquors that they would normally never purchase. I once gave a cousin two lobster tails for his birthday. Last year we bought a different cousin a selection of hot seasonings and sauces, because he loves hot  food. A couple of weeks ago I gave a girl cousin a bottle of Relax German wine and a tin of Pirouette cookies to go with it. I would never buy a $7 tin of cookie for myself, but it was fun to buy them for someone else.

I think realistically our family and friends have enough t-shirts, earrings, and video games to last three lifetimes. But to pick out something special that doesn’t have to find shelf space is probably the best idea ever. That friend/family member can enjoy that special expensive beer, cookie, or chocolate creme pie more than the shirts that won’t fit or the video game that’s too hard.

Think about what you’re giving to those who mean the most to you. Maybe it’s time to stop the calendars and socks and give them some wonderfully decadent treat to show them how much you care.

And maybe if you’re lucky they’ll invite you over to share said goodie…

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sam Gilliam

Sam Gilliam (born November 30, 1933) is an African-American painter associated with the Washington Color School movement.

Gilliam’s hallmark “drape paintings,” which consist of stained fabric or paper resembling tie-dye, are regarded as a major step in the development of American art. 

A pillar of the Washington, D.C., modern and contemporary art communities, internationally acclaimed Gilliam has been testing the boundaries of color, form, texture, and the canvas itself over the course of his long, productive career.

His works have also been described as belonging to abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction.

He works on stretched, draped and wrapped canvas, and adds sculptural 3D elements.

He is recognized as the first artist to introduce the idea of a draped, painted canvas hanging without stretcher bars around 1965.

More of Sam Gilliam‘s work can be found at http://davidkordanskygallery.com/artist/sam-gilliam/ and other galleries around the Internet.

My Life is on TV

I enjoy the new television season.in the fall. Dozens of shows try their best to make it to the evening line up. Most of the new crop is stinky. Some are merely okay. And some are pretty good.

Now and then there are some that hit pretty close to your life. And it’s creepy.

I just watched two sessions of Cool Kids.

For those who don’t know, Cool Kids is a new show about four “seniors” living in a retirement community who are sassy and a little troublesome. The most recent show was about one of the main stars (Vicki Lawrence) turning 65 and how she didn’t want to even acknowledge it. The foursome went out to a dance club and had a great time embarassing themselves before they went out drinking and met for breakfast the next morning in sunglasses.

65 and wanting to believe 65 is not old. And going out and doing crazy things to prove to themselves they are indeed as young as they feel. Which, in the end, was strained back muscles when they stood up and headaches in the morning.

Does that sound familiar or what?

I’m afraid I identify too closely with these oldsters. They say and believe the things I say and believe. They laugh and pick on each other and get sassy and throw parties they’re not supposed to throw. They fear getting old and being forgotten once they pass. The show didn’t get into grandkids or working past retirement age. Perhaps those will be touched in future episodes.

But what they did talk about and complained about sounded a lot like me.

Vicki Lawrence is 69 playing 65. The other actors are 62, 63, and 75 respectively. All within my age sphere. Their characters — and probably the actors themselves — have been there, done that. And so have a lot of us.

At this point in my life it’s great to see someone else portray my ups and downs on the screen. It’s great to see seniors being proud to be seniors. They may ache a little more and get tired a little more, but their memories of once being young and agile are every senior’s memories.

Of course, my life on the big screen will come crashing down once the show is cancelled.

But for now it’s fun watching the female lead talking about having a Peanut Booze and Jelly sandwich for lunch.

 

I’m Back From Around the Mountain

On my way to researching something or other last night, I came across a blog by Brett about becoming a minimalist. She went through everything — I mean everything — and got rid of 75% of her clutter. 

Now I don’t know how much clutter she had, or what she considered clutter, nor do I really know what a minimalist is…unless continuously getting rid of “stuff” puts me in that category. But I could identify with her energy.

I had to step back for a couple of weeks to declutter my head. I wasn’t sure what my problem was — I still am not sure. But I realized I wanted to get a little more clear on where I was going and what I wanted.

But I realized I had to cut some of the clutter from my life.

I’ve gone into my WordPress account and unfollowed everyone who hasn’t posted in 10-12 months. They’ve moved on. So must I. I am in the process of going to each and every one of the people I follow and comment on their postings. After all, that was the reason I followed them in the first place.

I decluttered. And I feel so much better.

I’ve also decided that I may not have much revolutionary things to share with those who choose to follow me, but I have my experience and my passions, and who knows —  maybe my passion will ignite your passion.

I find that my daily life is very routine, which is just fine with me. But I am into this art thing, and I keep finding amazing art from around the world. Things that amaze me. Humble me. Make me wonder.

Those are the things I want to share with you. Perhaps now and then some sage advice ( like I know what I’m talking about). but mostly I am working on uncluttering my life. Keeping what is important, and letting go of the rest.

What’s left is wonderful. And that’s all I need.

Good to be back.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Wassily Kandinsky

Russian-born painter Wassily Kandinsky is credited as a leader in avant-garde art as one of the founders of pure abstraction in painting in the early 20th century.

Born in Moscow in 1866, Wassily Kandinsky took up the study of art in earnest at age 30, moving to Munich to study drawing and painting.

A trained musician, Kandinsky approached color with a musician’s sensibility.

An obsession with Monet led him to explore his own creative concepts of color on canvas, which were sometimes controversial among his contemporaries and critics, but Kandinsky emerged as a respected leader of the abstract art movement in the early 20th century.

Kandinsky’s creation of abstract work followed a long period of development and maturation of intense thought based on his artistic experiences.

He called this devotion to inner beauty, fervor of spirit, and spiritual desire inner necessity; it was a central aspect of his art.

More of Wassily Kandinsky’s work can be found at https://www.wassilykandinsky.net/.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Vladimir Rumyantsev

St. Petersburg-based artist Vladimir Rumyantsev was born in 1957 in Cherepovets, Russia.

They are so expressive and painted with a sense of humor that can hardly leave anyone indifferent.

Vladimir paints mainly in watercolor, and his works are full of fun. He has become popular for his “St. Petersburg cats.”

His paintings are well-known and appreciated all over Russia, and many of them found their place in museums across Europe, USA, Britain and other countries.

The specialty of his works is the humorous representation of cats’ lives, often in human roles, which still makes them loved pets.

Perhaps one of his cats are based on yours!

Vladimir Rumyantsev‘s work can be seen around the Internet.

I’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain When I Come

I just read a statistic that there are 152 million blogs out there in the world. 152,000,000 people rattling off thoughts and advice and experiences to anyone who will listen.

Blogging has become an inexpensive, anonymous way to purge your soul of thoughts, sins, and the uniqueness that makes us human. On a blog you can be anyone. An old man, a young girl. A college student, a doctor. None of that matters when it comes to writing what you think and feel.

Lately I have been wondering the purpose of it all. What is the end game for all of us writing what’s going on and what we wonder and what we feel?

These 152,000,000 blogs have become the paper journals of the past. A safe, anonymous place to get it all out. Some will sympathize, some will give you a “like.”or two. And that makes you feel good…if for just a little while.

But your problems, your wonderings, your achievements, will still be there.

What is it we want in this blogging world? To not feel alone? To be appreciated? To be loved?

It’s a wide, wonderful, terrifying world out there. For us who love the written word or taking pictures of it, it helps when we pull those wonderful, terrifying things into a 3-D world where we can look at them.

Lately I feel like I’m not really contributing anything to the tangling of words that come from 152 billion computers. I follow a number of blogs that I rarely get a chance to read. Life does that when you’re busy working and living. I feel like I’m cheating other bloggers who really have something to say.

But lately I feel like I don’t do anything special enough to blog about. Not in the scope of this massive blogging world. This is not a depressed or disillusioned person writing this blog. I’m doing good. But I think we all get to the point where we wonder, what’s the point?

I think that for a while I am going to go on a journey all on my own. There is nothing to share that hasn’t been written or shared in the library of the Internet.  I think I will continue my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, for that is a world unseen by most of my followers, and I love — just love — sharing unique artists with you.

Forgive me if I don’t read your blogs, and feel free to stop reading mine. I’m trying to convince myself that likes and follows don’t mean anything to me in the long run. It’s a false sense of popularity, you know?

I will be back. A writer can’t stay away from writing. But I’ve got to clarify what writing is to me. I need to explore fall in all its chilling glory. Just another step on the footpath to tomorrow.

Be well, dream wonderful dreams, and keep coming back for the Gallery.

Vulnerable

Nancy seems to find words when I have none. For my women friends, and even the men, a heart-felt blog for this Wednesday…

notquiteold

I was speaking recently with a friend, and he said that he finds himself more fearful now that he is older.

He said, “I feel vulnerable. Now that I am old and not as strong as I used to be, I worry that someone could hurt me. That in a bad situation I might not be able to protect myself. It’s a terrible feeling to have to think about that.”

I was impressed that he could share that vulnerability with me.

But part of me wanted to laugh.

I didn’t, of course. He was thoughtful, sincere, open. So I was open with him as well.

“I understand how that feeling of vulnerability can be overwhelming. But think about this:  IT IS WHAT GIRLS FEEL EVERY DAY. Girls – from the time they are small -understand vulnerability. We know that there are others who are bigger and stronger and can hurt us…

View original post 997 more words

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Wild Drawing

WD, aka Wild Drawing, was born in Bali, Indonesia and has degrees in Fine Arts and in Applied Arts.

He started off as street artist in 2000 and from that time he spends most of his time to work in the streets, even though he never stopped working in his studio.

In the beginning his work involved a full range of the so called street art from paste ups and stencils to installations and freehand murals.

For about  ten years he has been focused on mural projects and as a medium he combines roller technique with spray paint.

He always tries to interact with the spot where he is working, by utilizing various elements that existing around, so to create harmony between the work and the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His style consists of highly detailed photo realistic technique, influenced by comics and graphic novels. Social phenomena, life style, art or nature often inspire him.

 

More of Wild Drawing can be found at http://wdstreetart.com/

Looking For Advice

I have a question for all of your art lovers, photographers, painters, and anyone else who love the arts.

You find an artist you really like. It’s a particular form they made that has caught your eye. But when you go to their website there are a number of different forms they dabble in.

How do you know which is their main focus? What they’re known for?

I came across an artist who did abstract photography of things like water drops. When I went to their website, they had different categories to choose from: Human Nature, Landscapes, Abstracts, Commercial Stuff, Services, High Speed Photography, Conceptual, Natural Beauty, Graphic Design, Animals, Bugs, and My Ego.

How do you choose which style to share?

I don’t like to choose one from each heading, for I think it takes away from what the series is trying to convey. It’s like multi-colored confetti.

I may showcase something I think is cool, but the artist is really well-known about some other field of endeavor. That’s why sometimes it’s hard to showcase an artist. All of their talents are amazing, but I can only show off one.

Any advice you have to this newbie art collector would be appreciated.

Sometimes diversity is confusing.

 

Come See What You’re Missing!

I have run out of creative words for the evening — and probably the week — so what is better than an advertisement for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog?

If you read my blogs and haven’t been over the the main gallery to check out my unique art collection, you don’t know what you’re missing. I highlight artists that take creativity to a new and unique level. That includes the classics as well as the newcomers on the block.

Here’s a sample of what you’re missing:

 

William Wigan

 

Luke Gerram

 

Bathsheba Metal

 

Mézesmanna — Judit Czinkné Poór

 

René Lalique

 

Steve Axford

 

Pink

 

John Lemke

 

Carol Long

 

Follow my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog for new and wondrous art every week! And tell your friends!

Let’s Get Analyzed!

I think I would have a field day if I were a psychiatrist psycho-analyzing myself. Don’t you think you would too?

I would have the obvious analyzations such as being bullied in junior high (who wasn’t?) led to my insecurities about my looks for the following 55 years; dating the same guy for three years in high school only to be dumped when I graduated (who hasn’t?) was a waste of time; or I could have been a writer 40 years ago if I knew anything about the savings and loan business. Those kind of growing up stories we all have. I grew up and survived and found the right guy in the end.

But I wonder how my 65-year-old mind would be dissected today?

Since I can’t fall asleep these days (guess my body’s waiting for retirement to sleep), I get hooked on the strangest things. Not long ago I finished 80 episodes of King’s War, a Chinese TV series with English subtitles. I’ve always been a scaredy cat but now I’m downloading horror movies to watch before I go to bed. I’ve recorded all these cooking shows to watch but all they do is make me hungry so I watch Cabin in the Woods instead. I’ve not made my way through those awful Saw movies, but I saw a predecessor which kind of laid the path before my feet, and it wasn’t bad.

What happened to the introspective, insecure girl who used to watch movies like A Hard Day’s Night and Camelot?

What happened to the woman who felt ethereal? Cosmic? Enchanted?

Perhaps I’ve just gotten older. Perhaps those movies that once pulled my heartstrings would bring an incredible amount of memories back that I just don’t want to deal with.

I think it’s because I’m afraid that if I open that door of emotions I’ll never survive. Not that I have any crushing loss in the past — as a matter of fact, if I had a huge loss, that might make more sense. For I would have something big and real to cause my pain and confusion.

It’s the little things that upset me. Memories of friends I’ve let go. Things I could have done differently with my kids. Cousins I lost touch with. Jobs I should have worked harder at. What should bring me hours of fond memories actually makes me sad. And I don’t want to go through all the uncomfortableness of reconnecting with people long gone out of my life.

I figure handling Freddy or some foreign samurai is a lot easier than trying to remember the girls I used to go to the dances at the Navy base with. Maybe I’m ashamed to know that I don’t remember what I should remember.

Scary movies are safe playgrounds in the fact that I would never go or do the stupid things the characters go or do. I would never explore that tunnel or turn around to see what that guy by the truck was doing with that body wrapped in the sheet. I can handle movie madness because I wouldn’t do anything so shallow or crazy.

But I would do the stupid things I’ve done.

I really do have fun watching the Chinese movies and TV shows. They take me to a time and place I never knew existed. Maybe that’s what scary movies do, too. Take you to places you’ve never been. Nor would ever go.

But I will always go back to my past.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Wu Guanzhong

Wu Guanzhong (吳冠中, 1919–2010) is one of the best known contemporary painters of Chinese origin.

Born in 1919 in the Jiangsu province of eastern China, Wu Guanzhong  went on to become one of the most important Chinese painters of the 20th century. 

He has painted various aspects of China including much of its architecture, plants, animals, people, as well as many of its landscapes and waterscapes in a style reminiscent of the impressionist painters of the early 1900s.

Wu’s paintings have the color sense and formal principles of Western paintings, but a spirit and tonal variations of ink that are typically Chinese.

Natural scenery is reduced to its essentials – simple but powerful abstract forms.

 Wu Guanzhong passed away in Beijing on June 25, 2010.

You can find more of Wu Guanzhong‘s artwork across the Internet, including China Online Museum.

Ode to Autumn Fly

Pesky fly lands on my foot

A most major distraction

I glance towards colleagues

Mismatched socks

Writer’s idea of humor

Creative jokesters, these bards be

Fly lands in someone’s hair

Restless in its annoyance

Won’t someone give him a sugar cube?

Lots of people with no socks

End of summer, end of sandals

Autumn nips of cold and gold

Summer Solstice come and gone

The robes of Fall begin to unfurl

Protect us from Winter’s breath

Soon the fly will hear the call

Change of seasons

Taking its sugar cube along

On its never ending journey south

Hope he wears mismatched socks, too

 

(c) Claudia Anderson

 

Friday Evening on the Veranda — Fong Qi Wei

Fong Qi Wei showcases the radial symmetry found in flowers and the beauty of their individual components by tearing them apart and placing each part separately.

By doing this, all of the various textures and shapes get to stand out on their own, becoming independent sections.

“I am fascinated with the intersections. Intersections are places where boundaries break down, and these are areas where really interesting things happen.”

“Boundaries are comfortable and static.”

“In particular, I am interested in the intersections of the sciences, art and technology.”

There are so many beautiful versions of Fong Qi Wei’s art that you must go to his website to enjoy them all:  https://fqwimages.com/

I’m Tired of Learning Something New Every Day

Lot of drama going on around us these days. Some, like the 17th anniversary of 9-11, can’t be helped. Me, squirting chocolate frosting across my desktop and computer as I try and get it out of my donut, is self-imposed.

I am at the point in my life/career that I’m tired of learning.

I know they say you’re never too old to learn something new.   But that’s not always the way it is. I think it’s just that I’m just tired of pushing temporary info into my already crowded brain.

Our world is whirling around us faster than I ever thought possible. In writing a blog for work about teaching coding to youngsters, they said in 10 years the coding we learn now will be obsolete, as new ways of coding and doing things change.

So I’m starting to wonder then…. why bother?

I know we need to deal with the now now. To keep a job these days you need to be on top of things: trends, programs, new ways to collect and control data. Yes, the methods will be time-saving and more efficient, but you still have to learn the darn way first.

I used to be bothered by the image of the old person sitting on the back deck in their golden years watching grass grow. But nowdays that seems so appealing.

Working for a living is much different than it was when I was a linofilm typist back in the day. Of course, I’m sure my dad would have said construction was different when he was discharged from WWII.

I know. Everything changes. Get over it.

But you get to a point where your brain just wants to stop being stuffed with meaningless stuff that won’t make a difference a few years from now.

I’m tired of learning. What I want to do now is experience something new every day.

Learning how rainbows are formed from water crystals in the sky isn’t important. Seeing the rainbow is. Knowing how they built the Eiffel Tower or Mount Rushmore isn’t important — seeing them is.

The hows have never stuck around in my brain to begin with. I wanted to be an actress in high school but I could barely memorize a paragraph. I wanted to be a marine biologist but I lived in Illinois. A lot of things I had to learn just to get a job, just to get by. And marine biology wasn’t it.

I don’t want to learn any more programming or data entry or try to sell my business. I want to learn what I want to learn, not what I have to learn. I want to learn French and how to crochet and how to cook a souffle. I don’t want my future to rely on how much I remember after I learn it.

Maybe this is a “getting old” thing. More likely it’s a millennial thing. Most of them do pretty much what they want to do.  They work, they save a little, but they don’t tie their money up in in huge bills like mortgages and fancy cars. They take their free money and spend it. They experience things. Not memorize things.

Tonight I’m going home from work and sitting on the deck and watch grass grow. Why not? Nature has a lot of things to teach us, too.

Don’t wait to experience life. To experience the world. Don’t wait until you’re rich enough or skinny enough. For enough will never be enough. And you’ll never experience the beauty of the world sitting behind a desk in a fluorescent lit cubicle.

 

Memorials About 9-11 — Never Forget


I posted this a couple of years ago — it’s still fresh and beautiful in the hearts of those who remember.

And we will always remember.

 

To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts — such is the duty of the artist. ~ Robert Schumann

lady-liberty-statue

Lady Liberty Memorial – 9/11 Memorial Museum

 

 

tony-triggTony Trigg

 

 

9-11-memorial-freehold-nj-nick-zelinsky9/11 Memorial, Freehold, NJ

 

 

the-madonna-in-hell-by-fevorr-j-nwokorieThe Madonna in Hell, Fevorr J. Nwokorie

 

 

hearh-satowHeath Satow

 

 

brooklynBrooklyn Wall of Rememberance

 

 

kenny-wangKenny Wang

 

 

Flight 93 Memorial, Shanksville, PA

 

 

hero-image-pentagon-memorial-photo-credit-mike-myersPentagon Memorial, Washington D.C.

 

 

the-hero-khai-nguyenThe Hero, Khai Nguyen

 

 

 

papquiltPort Authority Memorial Quilt

 

 

Trinity Root,  Steve Tobin

 

 

tumbling-woman-eric-fischlTumbling Woman, Eric Fischl

 

 

fdny_quiltFire Department New York Memorial Quilt

 

 

lower-school-art-students-of-porter-gaud-schoolscLower School Art Students of Porter Gaud School, South Carolina

 

 

thDavid Kracov

 

 

flight-crew-memorialFlight Crew Memorial, Grapevine, Texas

 

 

Postcards, Masayuki Sono

 

 

911-dust-to-dnamikey-flowers-kevinclarkeDust to DNA, Bianca Nazzaruolo

 

 

spencer-finchSpencer Finch, 9/11 Memorial Museum

 

 

to-lift-a-nation-ground-zeroTo Lift A Nation, Ground Zero

 

 

teardrop-memorialbayonne-njTeardrop Memorial, Bayonne, NJ

 

 

victims-quilt9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt

 

 

ground-zero-memorial-design9/11 Memorial Museum

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Fabian Oefner

Swiss photographer Fabian Oefner, 28, from Zurich spent four weeks researching gigantic gaseous formations that can be spotted beyond our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

These spectacular pictures may look like NASA footage of far off galaxies. 

But in fact the star-studded images have been created with some fiber optic lights in someone’s home.

Two hundred bright blue, red and orange fibre optic lamps were hooked up to just three AAA  batteries to produce the incredible sight of one of the universe’s most spectacular and creative phenomena – the nebulae.

Oefner created the images  images by taking long-time exposures of several fiber glass lamps (exactly, those ugly-looking lamps, that were extremely popular in the 90`s) moving around in a darkened room.

Afterwards, several images were multiplied in Photoshop to achieve the density of such a structure. 

While this gallery tends to shy away from Photoshop as an art medium, I believe the initial set up and photography was amazing, so it warranted a space in the gallery.

More of Fabian Oefner‘s work can be found at http://fabianoefner.com/.

Through Pain Comes Beauty

I know a few weeks ago I shared some of my favorite bloggers with you during my #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek. I do hope you have been able to go on over and check them out.

But I have to recommend another blogger to you. Have to. Because every time I check in with her she’s drawn another great piece of art.

Her name is Sharon Mann and she the creator of Make Art…Magic Happens. I enjoy her art because I just enjoy her art. Every day is an attempt at something new. Sharon seems to enjoy her art, and it shows.

I also love her blog because she is real, with real feelings. In Sharon’s “about” section I read she lost her husband and best friend about a year ago, and her art is her therapy. It’s almost like her creativity is an extension of her love and loss. Check her out.

I find this same mixing of fantasy and reality in my friend Ivor‘s blog at Ivor.Plumber/Poet.  Ivor writes mostly poetry. I sometimes have a hard time reading his poetry, for there is pain there, tinged with hope. Ivor lost his wife and friend almost six years ago, and much of his words are about love and loss and pain.

There are others I follow who have similar stories to tell…stories of sadness, loss, of wandering and falling and getting up again. Some of the names escape me now, but it all swirls into one pool.

I sometimes wonder if all bloggers are like this. Their art, their poetry, their stories, so wonderful because of some loss in their life. I follow those with life-threatening illness, with degenerative eye disease. It’s funny, because I followed them first because I enjoyed their writing. Their point of view. Their pain is almost an after effect.

I am lucky. Except for the loss of my brother a few years ago, and my parents long ago, that kind of pain has not knocked at my door for some time. I know he’s there…she’s there…waiting for me to drop my guard so they can slap me with the cold reality of life and death and some unknown illness. I have to stand guard, for I know once it comes it will rip my heart out and leave such a big hole I will never recover.

For now I will revel in the work my blogging friends do, no matter what the cause. I have led a wonderful life so far…who knows what the future will bring. I put whatever I have in my writing, whether it’s pain or joy or contentment or sorrow. I will deal with the highs and lows of death and beyond in my next life.

I’m too busy being who I am in this one.

Thursday Evening on the Veranda —  Sara K. Byrne

The work of Sara K Byrne is definitely multilayered.  

Her images are double exposures – a technique that originated with film cameras.  Basically a segment of film would be exposed to light twice.  

The darker areas in the first photograph would record light in the second photograph.

Byrne uses a digital camera, one of a handful of models, that can perform the same technique.

More of Sara K. Byrne‘s amazing work can be found at https://sarakbyrne.com.

 

Where Did My Inspiration Go?

Good evening my good friends!

Went away for a long weekend camping with family. I ran around with both grandsons until I passed out at night. I want to live a hundred years. Two hundred years. I want to run around with every grandchild in my bloodline.

Thinking about all that makes me teary.

So I thought I’d come on back to writing.

But I can’t seem to find my inspiration anywhere. I mean, I’ve looked all over for it. Down in the library, under the kitchen table, behind the nic nacs. Yet I can’t seem to find it.

I hear it whispering late at night, when the lights are off and the summer breeze blows through the windows. I think I hear its laughter around the corner, just a step ahead of my treading gate. I sit on my sofa, looking out the window, at the sun setting behind the trees, and I wonder where my inspiration went.

I know emotions ebb and flow, fly high and dig low, and comes back around sooner or later. But while I’m on the flow, on the low, I wonder if I’ll ever be amazed at my own work again.

Does your inspiration come and go? Do you listen to voices on the wind and wonder if there’s a story there, and nothing comes to mind?

I remember those times that I felt possessed. It wasn’t me writing…it was some gypsy spirit or wood sprite or Shakespeare himself writing through me.

Since I’ve lost my inspiration I might as well be writing a grocery list.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been off playing with children who don’t care about much except play and treats and snuggling and watching fun movies. They don’t know much about ego or the evil in the world. They love out loud, they trust completely, and they are comfortable with everyone in the family tribe.

Part of me wants to be a kid again. To not care about anything on TV but fun movies and cartoons. To go outside and ride a bike and kick a ball around the yard and draw on the driveway with chalk. To be a child and not punch a time clock or put numbers in a computer or think about death.

And then, when I wrote a story or drew a picture, it would be the best in the world. My parents and friends and family would think I was the greatest writer in the world, and would tell their friends who would tell their friends.

From the sound of all of the above, I better find my inspiration soon. I can’t keep running around all day acting like I’m three. I wouldn’t be able to  watch the last season of Game of Thrones. It’s rated R. And no three year old is allowed to watch it.

Tell me….do you lose your inspiration? How do you get it back?

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Matt Schlian

  1. As a paper engineer, Matt Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts, and commercial design.

He frequently finds himself collaborating with a cadre of scientists and researchers who are just now recognizing the practical connections between paper folding and folding at microscopic and nanoscopic scales. 

Of his work, Shlian says: “In my studio I am a collaborator, explorer and inventor.”  

“I begin with a system of folding and at a particular moment the material takes over.”

“Guided by wonder, my work is made because I cannot visualize its final realization; in this way I come to understanding through curiosity.” 

More of Matt Shlian’s amazing work can be found at https://www.mattshlian.com/

Green, White and Orange, the Red White and Blue

Everyone loves music of one kind or another. I’m big on new age jazz, upbeat classical, and hair band rock n roll. But my favorite music is definitely Irish music. There is something magical about the chords and dreams of a land across the sea.

My mother was Irish — she was actually a Heinz 57 kinda gal, but I’ve pulled out the Irish in her to celebrate as my music of life.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Irishfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a three-and-a-half day celebration of everything Irish. But the main reason for my two day foray was the band Gaelic Storm.

Now I know I’ve talked about their music before. It’s upbeat pub music, as they like to say. Lots of songs about drinking and wandering and being Irish. They were the band playing Irish music in the movie “Titanic,” but for more than a glance they weren’t part of the movie. But they’ve gained quite a following in the last 20 years, Milwaukee Irishfest being one of their promoters all these years.

The crowd that Saturday night was the biggest of the fest — there must have been at least a thousand people in front of the little stage. I was three benches back — I always love to see them up close.

The reason I’m talking about this group is to highlight what is magnificent about any live performance. For an hour and a half, these one- to two-thousand people sang along with every song, jumped and danced, held phone lights up in the air, and just became one dynamic force.

One of this Irish band’s favorite crowd pleasers is a song about the bond between Ireland and the United States. Of the Irish and the Americans. Patrick Murphy, the lead singer, always starts out this song by saying, “We are not democrats. We are not republicans. We are human beings that need to take care of each other.”

There is something about music…live or otherwise…that transforms each of us. Live is better, for the energy bounces off every individual and onto the next. For two hours everyone is one. Country, classical, blues — it doesn’t matter.  We are what God wanted us to be.

We all came here from somewhere. And we’re all going to the same place in the end. Why not spend that time in between listening to music?

 

Green, White and Orange, the Red White and Blue

Cross the waters, thousands at a time
All we owned was in our hands
Holding tight to faith and something we could find
In this strange and distant land
Took one last look behind
Open hearts and open minds
And these colors that we held so dear before,
We planted them together on these foreign shores.
My green, white and orange, the red white and blue
Yeah, my green white and orange, the red white and blue
Young and hungry, ready for the brawl
We were driven by desire
No way back, we were prepared to risk it all,
We’d been tempered by the fire
We built the roads, we built the rails
We shared our songs, we shared our tales
Now our colors fly together side by side,
And we lift them to the sky with peace and pride
My green, white and orange; red white and blue
Yeah, my green white and orange; red white and blue

Lift your colors every woman, every child every man
Our song has just begun
We fall together if together we don’t stand
We are many, we are one
Not everyone will live to see what we dreamed this world to be
When we doubt we’ll have the strength to see it through
These colors show us all the way to what is true
My green, white and orange; my red white and blue
Yeah, my green white and orange; red white and blue
Yes, my green, white and orange; my red white and blue
Yeah, my green white and orange; my red white and blue
Yeah, my green, white and orange; my red white and blue
Yeah, my green white and orange; my red white and blue

 

To My Friend LuLu

Had a great time away from home for four days. Needed a mental break. I was mopey and dopey because my grandkids didn’t come up to the cabin this weekend, and I whined all the way home.

Then I had coffee with my bestie I shall call LuLu.

LuLu has just gone through eight rounds of chemo for cancer. She has been in the hospital twice for dehydration; she has lost weight and all her pretty dark hair. She’s had sores and she was anemic. She would cry for an hour over real things and no-things.

And yet when we got together she was happy, talkative, and optimistic.

 It’s natural to think that there, but for the grace of God, go I. If the shoe was on the other foot, your sad friend would be thinking that themselves, believe me.

Our friends, our parents and friends and brothers and sisters didn’t ask for their battles. They didn’t IV leukemia or chrones. They didn’t eat one sweet roll and get diabetes. You get my drift. They didn’t ask to have this life and death fight.

It just happened.

It will happen to all of us.

Our friendship has been growing year by year. What started as riding together turned into coffee and muffins and chats. She needed to get out of her house — she needed to talk. And when something big’s going on in your life, you want to talk. You need to talk. You need to understand that you didn’t do anything to get on this side of the fence, and that everyone around you is helping push you back to the other side.

I’ll never forget the day I found out I had breast cancer. I came back to work from the doctor and pulled my little section together and just told them. I couldn’t imagine hiding this from the people I worked side-by-side with. They were friends. Maybe we didn’t hang out after work, but they were friends that cared about each other. Including me.

I made my way through it. LuLu will make her way through it.

Sitting there tonight, gnashing while gossiping and whining together was the most magical experience I’ve had in a long time. We talked about everything. Our being grandkids addicts. We have no money. We hate cleaning house. We have husbands and kids and co-workers. We have fears and tears and dreams of going to our youngest grandkid’s wedding.

LuLu didn’t ask for this burden. But she’s not going through it alone. That’s what coffee and muffins are for.

Take your friends out for coffee and muffins. You never know what burdens they’re carrying. And even if they don’t have a burden to bear, it feels good to talk about husbands and kids and co-workers.

Especially over blueberry muffins.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Finale

HAPPY CELEBRATE YOUR CREATIVEFRIENDS WEEK!

This has been a great week. I loved sharing the blogs I enjoy reading. There are so many others that I didn’t get to share — but there is always time one day in the future. Know every blog you write is putting magic in the air.

Like I said last year, 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 work PiratePatty, Jocelyn, Phyllis, Chrissy, Sara, Sharon, Jane, Ben, Ellen, Dwight, Brandon, Gwen, Marion, Blue, Mary, Jan B, Donna, and all the others  I didn’t get to mention.

You are all magic. Listen to that voice inside you and let it inspire you. You only go through life one time…make  it magical!

 

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek #5 – Glorialana

Happy  #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

 

One of the blogs I’ve followed is Glorialana Magazine. I don’t know if her name is Glorialana, or if it is a reference to glorious thoughts and emotions, but her blogs always shimmer with an ethereal light. Maybe it’s the way she shares historical events or her favorite artists, but I always feel I’m floating on the clouds as I read her. Maybe it’s just because she starts each blog with “Hello God!” How can you not feel the magic that is to come?

 

August Hedonist

Hello God!

Thank You for August-Hedonist.

And Thank You for this happy possibility to write these words I was struggling for them with the enemy of self-criticism and guilty. I had sat down at the desk, opened this page with intention to write something – and checking gmail, surfing Dailymail and etc. were hugging my creative essence. I had felt a bitter aftertaste when days by days spending with a celebrities gossips and aliexpress things I closed an empty page in Glorialana.

Angel Of July.jpg

My dear friend, the Angel is awaking me up. Vladimir Rumyantsev, the painter, by his tender brush has drawn my creative vulnerable essence as a cat with yellow eyes hiding under the chamomile umbrella.  I am afraid, yes, I am afraid, because my inner self-critic prevents me to see you. But Your Love and light is stronger I see in your eyes and I remember how I love your eyes, how I love your smile. You are important for me because I feel that I can enlighten your world. Perhaps it sounds a little grandiloquently  – I live because of You.

Because of You I have find a new motto for Glorialana Magazine – “Romanticizing The World” inspiring by German poet and philosopher Novalis “To romanticize the world is to make aware of the magic, mystery and wonder of the world; it is to educate the senses to see the ordinary as extraordinary, the familiar as strange, the mundane as sacred, the finite as infinite.” Beautiful aim, task and motivation to wake up and to write for You.

Summer Pleasures.jpg

“Darling, wake up, please. Today is the 11th of August. Are you going to sleep whole summer?”, tender voice of the Angel is whispering. “Are you going to sleep and miss the symphony of berries, apples, pears and poetic picnics with you love? When are you going to enjoy my company? Life is short and happiness is subtle. Please wake up the world is waiting!” I has woke up and opened my eyes happily feeling your breath.

Gastronomist

We live this August – Hedonist. Hedonist comes from the Greek word hedone “pleasure” and is related to hedys, which means “sweet”. And you know referring the topic of hedonism I have found a brilliant book “A Hedonist Manifesto: The Power to Exist” by Michel Onfray.

“Enjoy and have others enjoy, without doing harm to yourself or anyone else”, Michel defines hedonism. In these simple words the philosophy of my life is packed.

Gourmet

In hedonistic style we are celebrating my awakening enjoying Summer Berry and Champagne Soup with Floating Islands Gordon Ramsay has blended for us.

Thank You for You. Because of You I grow and glow. Because of You I have found the meaning of my writing here – “Romanticize the Word and Enjoy and Have Others Enjoy, without doing harm to yourself or anyone else.”

Enjoy Summer! Enjoy August-Hedonist!

Make your way to Glorialana’s world and let her sprinkle some sparkle on you!

Second Annual #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek Part 5 ~Ann Koplow~

Happy #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

Anyone who can post every day AND make it fun to read has to be in my top blogs. Ann Koplow and her blog The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally has been running for 2063 (as of today), and her photos reflect her day-to-day world. She says ” I sometimes say I’m a clinical social worker, sometimes I say I’m a psychotherapist. Whatever title I use, I work with people at a major teaching hospital, and I specialize in group therapy.”

What she should really say is that I’m a blogger through and through.

Day 2038: I give up!

In the last two thousand and thirty-eight days of blogging and living, I have never said, written, or thought, “I give up!” Today, I am saying, writing, and thinking it. Why? Because starting yesterday, every time I use my laptop to try to create a new blog post, contact WordPress support, or do many other essential tasks, all WordPress gives me is this unhelpful, unchanging screen:

That gives me nothing and no way to post or to get help.

I’ve given this a lot of time and many attempts at solving this. My mind is giving me no more ideas and options.

I give up!

But I can NOT give up blogging, no matter how many new obstacles life gives me, because this blog and my readers give me so much.

So how can I keep giving myself and my readers more daily gifts?

My phone does not give me the ability to contact WordPress for help, but it does give me the ability to create a new post.

So I can give you, today, this daily blog and give you my latest photos.

Harley is obscured there, just like solutions to my blogging problem are hidden from me now. Is it curtains for my blog? Or will some solution become clear and emerge?

Is there a recipe of steps that will give me back the ability to blog from my laptop? If not, maybe I can give myself comfort with the delicious food Michael gives me.

Maybe some computer genius, somewhere, will give me some solution to my WordPress problem. If not, I’ll just keep blogging, giving up disappointment and judgment.

This is the kind of look I give the world when I’ve had no sleep the night before. I’m going to give my haircutter, Mia, a look at this photo the next time I see her, so she can give me a similar haircut next time.

Even if nobody can give me the answer on how to blog again on my laptop, my phone will be just that good as my daily blogging machine.

I give my patients the choice of five “Coping and Healing” groups every week. This gives me tremendous satisfaction.

If you were lost in the woods — of WordPress or elsewhere — and it got dark, what would you do? I’ll give you all the time you need to think about that.

Michael keeps giving us amazing meals — that’s the one he gave us last night before we gave my son Aaron a ride to the airport.

I took this photo to give me a clue about how to find my car in the enormous and confusing parking lot at the airport, which always gives me a headache.

After I took that picture, we did not give up when we were told that Aaron needed a printed-out visa to board his flight to India, even though a website had given him the erroneous information that he could board by giving the visa information on his phone. Michael and Aaron gave me his bags to watch while they ran to the Hilton Hotel, which had printers which gave Aaron what he needed.

I give up trying to explain that any better.

Is it time for you to give up some comments below?

First, give it up for Jason Mraz performing “I Won’t Give Up.”

I now give up thanks for all people, animals, and things that help me create this daily blog, despite all the obstacles life gives me.

… “You’re golden!”

Keep those pics and thoughts coming, Ann!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 4 – ~Ray V~

Happy #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

Sometimes as a reader you prefer shorter commentaries that touch you personally, like music, movies, trivia, or illness. Ray V. at Mitigating Chaos, says of his blog: “Mitigating Chaos is sometimes very serious, sometimes frivolous and more often than not… somewhere in between.” And that is where I am in my life. His experiences are my experiences. So much fun.

 

Can’t Buy A Break

I am starting to feel like David Kanigan, one of my blogging heroes.  Just recently, I teased DK that he allows himself to get into crazy situations, simply to have something to write about on his blog.

He did not deny my accusation.

Normal Martha

Last night, we were quietly celebrating Megan’s discharge from the hospital and my wife’s birthday, which is today. It was 9pm and we were just getting around to eating when someone noticed that Martha’s face looked a little swollen.

Indeed it did and being the responsible pet owner/babysitter I am, proceeded to place two, 25mg Benedryl caplets in a folded piece of yellow American cheese and gave Martha a “treat.”

An hour and a half later (10:30pm) I was driving down I-20 towards The Augusta Emergency Animal Clinic with a lean Chow -mix that now resembled a plump, red, Char-Pei.

IMG_5167
Martha last night

.

As we arrive, the entrance is covered in blood (not much of an exaggeration. I wish I thought to take a photo) and Martha gives me that “I don’t care how sick I am, but I’m not going in there” look. Well, it is the only emergency vet in the area and they were having a whopper of a night.  I was talking to the owner of the bleeding dog and the dog survived its encounter with another dog.  There were some mighty interesting characters that made their way through those doors for the hour and a half we were there and I’m sure they thought the same about Martha and me.

Martha was not her “little miss personality” self and had to be muzzled by the staff as they gave her an injection of Decadron and some Hydroxyzine pills to take home.

Additionally, when she gets stressed, her anal glands go into overdrive. If you don’t know what that means, lucky you.

So off we went, back into the rainy, dark night for the 35-minute drive home, arriving at 0128hrs. (1:28 am).

Who needs sleep?

Stop by Ray’s Place and catch a smile or two!

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 3 – Nancy Roman

Happy  #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

Nothing is more fun to read than someone who writes and thinks like you do. That is what I find in my friend Nancy Roman and her blog Not Quite Old. She talks about her life and it’s crazy cycles with humor and heart. She is the kind of writer that you can say “I’ve been there too!”  Like a long-distant friend, she shares her thoughts, smiling as she does so.

 

FIVE THINGS YOU DESERVE NOW

Years ago, when I was single – I’d say young and carefree, except I wasn’t quite that young, and I’m not sure I was ever carefree –  I went out to dinner with a girlfriend. It was a fairly skimpy meal as I recall, and we were deep in a conversation (probably about work…we hardly ever discussed men; just our crummy jobs), so I suggested we go back to my place where we could continue to bitch and at the same time have ice cream to supplement our small but pricey dinner.

When I took out the carton of gelato, my friend was rather astonished.

“Were you expecting company?” she asked when she saw the container of very premium ice cream.

“No,” I answered. “It’s just a little pint of my favorite flavor.”

“I can’t believe you would buy something like that for just yourself,” she said.

And I smiled.

Because I had learned that lesson long before.

When I was a kid, I knew a lovely old woman who was part of our extended family. Rachel had been widowed for many years. And when I was a teenager, I remember a conversation with her that made a lasting impression. It was one of those small moments that changes your life and you recognize immediately that it is changing your life. I can’t recall what sparked this serious discussion between a young girl and an 80-year-old woman, but we were talking about happiness and loneliness.

Rachel said that the secret to happiness was being nice to yourself. “I’ve lived alone a very long time,” she said. “So I take extra care to be kind to myself. Who else is responsible for making sure I have a good life?” she said. “I often have no company for days on end. So I treat myself like company every day.”

In that moment, I understood.

I see too many people who don’t treat themselves well.

Who don’t think they are worth the good ice cream.

Here are five things you can do right now to treat yourself like company.

1. You deserve to live in a clean house. When company is coming over you always pick up, right? Well, clean the house for yourself. You deserve a nice environment. You deserve a shiny bathroom. You deserve clean sheets when you go to bed at night. A fresh-smelling refrigerator. A clean house is a gift you give yourself.

2. You deserve to dress well. Remember the last time you got all dressed up and felt wonderful about yourself? You can do that every day. I don’t necessarily mean a fancy outfit or an expensive necklace. Just this: When you do shop, buy only what you love. Even if it is a sweatshirt – which I hope it isn’t  – but if it is, at least buy one that you LOVE. Too many times I see people shopping whose attitude seems to be ‘good enough.’ As if they don’t believe they are worth the time or energy needed to find something that fits well, compliments them – and most important – makes them happy. Hold out for something that thrills you. Soon you’ll have a wardrobe (even if it is a small one) composed entirely of clothes you love. And so you’ll be wearing something you love every day. Think about how good that would make you feel.

3. You deserve to use your good stuff. Do you have your Grandma’s silver? Some beautiful wine glasses that were a wedding present? Some candles with a heavenly aroma that you never use?  USE THEM. Drive that vintage Mustang to the post office. Take out your good china tonight. Light those candles. Treat yourself like company.

4. You deserve to love what you do. Hardly any of us are lucky enough to make a living doing what we love. If you are one of those few – wow. But most of us have to buy groceries and pay the rent by keeping our boring or maybe even awful jobs. That’s just a fact of life. As my mother used to say, “Welcome to adulthood.” But on the other hand, that lousy job is eight hours a day, and you probably need to sleep eight hours too. But that still leaves another eight hours. Every day. Could you fill ONE of them with something you love? Reading, swimming, baking muffins, playing with the dog. You deserve to spend some time with a smile on your face. And what if it turned out that you could do that for TWO hours a day? Double wow.

And while I am on the subject of doing what you love:

5. You deserve to be unashamed of what you love. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I recently overheard someone ridicule a friend for reading a romance novel. And the romance-lover was embarrassed and actually apologized for her poor taste in reading material. How I wish she had said, “I LOVE this book!” What do you love? Star Trek conventions? Dolly Parton music? Making paper airplanes? Knitting little sweaters for your hamster?  You are lucky to have found something that gives you such pleasure. Be proud of it.

You deserve it.  You are worth the good ice cream.

 

Wander over to Nancy’s blog and see if she doesn’t make you feel like she’s living your life, thinking your thoughts.

#AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek! Part 2 – Walt Page

Happy #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

My second celebration of all things written is the world of poetry.

Poetry is that magic verse that wraps around your soul in the shortest amount of words. To me, poetry is felt differently than stories. They are more intense, more compact. I follow a number of poets, and one of my favorites is Walt Page at Walt’s Writings. He has a lifetime of memories and thoughts, and the way he writes them makes you feel his love, his pain, and his creativity. He is called the Tennessee Poet. I can see why.

 

I Will Be Back

I will never be gone forever

For I will be back one day

I will return in the words I wrote

In the songs I sang

And in your memories of me

I will be back on the soft breezes

Caressing your soul with soft kisses

I will be in the songs you hear

As you dream

You will find me in your lonesome dreams

Dancing you to the edge of time

I am the man who lives forever

Always returning

Always a memory

Your love is my reason for being

So follow the sun

You’ll find me in the mountains

You’ll find me by the sea

You only have to look for me

So open your eyes and see

For I will be back one day

Please wander over to his blog and feel the magic from his poetry. He’ll love your visit!

Second Annual #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!! ~Rita Faes~

Welcome to my second annual #AppreciateYourCreativeFriendsWeek!

This is a totally made up holiday that was so successful last year I decided to repeat it. I follow a number of poets, artists, sculptors, and everyday wisemen and women, and am always in love with their blogs.

Last year I honored: watercolor artist Carsten Wieland at Brushpark-Watercolors; David Kaniganfascinated by the world at Live and Learn; a witty and bright Englishman Dave Whatt at his blog DaveWhatt;  Maxima, a flowering love poet at Hills of her Chastity;  Brenda Davis Harsham, my magical poet at Friendly Fairy Tales; my friend and deeply emotional poet Ivor at Ivor.Plumber/Poet; Catherine Arcolio and her fantastic haikus and pictures at Leaf and Twig;  Mark Andre and Katzenworld is a wonderful world of cats and their stories you cannot resist. And finally Darlene Foster at Darlene Foster’s Blog, a writer and a traveler whose writing is so real you feel like you are standing next to her.

Now it is time to honor my second set of bloggers.

I have no award to post upon their website; all I have is a love of their writing and a respect for their path in life. There are so many wonderful writers out there — all speaking from the heart. I hope that you follow the links and find new worlds too. Be sure to follow the links and check them out.

The first choice of my week-long celebration Rita Faes, in her world called Gwenniesgardenworld. Rita  is a wonderful photographer. Her gardens are her favorite topics, but she has such finesse with a camera she could photograph anywhere. Her photos make me want to walk through her garden or countryside.

I highlighted her work both here and on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery website. Some of her photography:

Take a walk over to her website and take a look at the magic she collects with her camera. You will want to walk through her garden, too.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Kevin Sloan

Kevin Sloan is a Denver based painter working primarily with acrylic on canvas and occasionally drawings and paintings on paper.  

His curiosity and love of travel has led him to live and work in a wide variety of cities across the United States.

Sloan’s work is characterized by a deep reverence for the natural world.

 The often symbolic paintings are an ongoing inquiry into the relationship between the marvel of the natural world and the mundane and often blunt reality of the modern era.

More poetic than merely descriptive, the work moves between direct starkness and lush theatricality.

Recurring paired themes are fragility and strength, wonder and sorrow, and loss and resiliency. 

More of Kevin Sloan’s remarkable artwork can be found at http://www.kevinsloan.com/

Sicky Wicky in the Heady Weady

These last few days/weeks/months have been a flutterby as far as keeping one foot in front of another. I took an online test last night that confirmed that I have adult-onset ADHD. That, along with the online symptoms of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia, make me truly falling apart.

Alright, I’m not really sick. Well, maybe a little ADHD, but who isn’t?

I think that as the path in front of us gets shorter and the one behind us gets longer, we all tend to be alert for whatever disease/neurological condition sits waiting for us in the shadows. Along with real symptoms, many of us tend to blur the line between a symptom and a life style. I know I do.

Your lifestyle doesn’t include a lot of extra-curricular walking, so every time you feel a pain in your chest you think heart attack. You’ve forgotten where you left your phone or keys that you just put down two minutes ago and you are well on your way to dementia. You can’t smell the roses on someone’s desk and already you have Hyposmia, Anosmia, or Parkinson’s.

What is with us?

It can be exhausting to get hung up on medical twitches. I don’t have a lifetime to turn around built up health problems like being overweight or wrinkly skin. Most of my ailments are from the fact of getting older, period.

But I know more and more people who turn to the Internet to diagnose their symptoms until they are convinced they are going into a diabetic coma, even if they’re not diabetic. They let uncommon sense run over their common sense.

I do believe that as you get older you are more susceptible to things falling apart and weaknesses in your immune system giving way to diseases with 15 letters. It’s part of life. But I also believe that the older you get the more you fear leaving this world. And that any virus or broken hip can be the start of the end.

None of us want that.

So the point of all this nonsense is to pay attention to your body. Really pay attention. Don’t invent, don’t fantasize, don’t whack out. But pay attention.

I did seven years ago and caught breast cancer before it spread. Another time the moment I saw red on my skin I knew it was cellulitis and went to the doctor. Those are the things you work with. The things you pay attention to.

Don’t be checking the Internet for a symptom found in 19,000 diseases and disorders. It just ages you. Keeps you away from the great things in life. The things that make you who you are.

And that person is a wonderful person.

Although with insomnia, restless leg syndrome…

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Carsten Wieland

Carsten Wieland is a watercolor artist from Essen, Germany. 

During his journeys to the United States he fell in love with abandoned buildings,  and after he spent some time drawing them, decided to paint them in watercolor.

He started filling up hundreds of sketchbook pages with small paintings of abandoned farmhouses until he felt brave enough to paint his first watercolor on quality paper in early 2016.

Painting watercolors became his daily therapy and obsession.

His watercolor scapes include houses, scenery, boats, and anything else that calls to him.

You can find more of Carsten Wieland‘s amazing watercolors at https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com. 

 

 

Thursday Evening on the Veranda — Alexa Klienbard

Alexa Klienbard has focused her work on what human beings must protect in the garden of our Natural Environment.

Individual plant shapes have been cut out of birch wood and feature leaves, blossoms, pods, fruits, and insect pollinators, jaggedly silhouetted and richly painted with traditional oils.

She has  been driven to work on paintings that hint at the potential silence that will be left in our remaining habitats if more and more species are lost forever.

These shaped paintings are each a single character unto themselves, each one reads overall as a single medicinal plant, complete with “dancing leg” roots, standing brave to the onslaught of man’s collective drive to put his species above all others.”

Kleinbard’s paintings, with their close up view of a healing plant and their far away view of a silent world, offers the viewer a chance to ponder the future of our planet.

Her multi-colored creations are beautiful as well as a message to the planet itself.

Alexa Klienbard has no website, but are  for sale across the internet.

The Rocker

William Balfour Ker

 

She sits alone in the rocking chair

At times it seems as no one’s there

She dresses in her Sunday best

And faces the fields out to the west

A soft blue dress and hat of white

A pair of shoes that now are tight

She hums a song that once brought tears

And slips back gently through the years

They danced beneath the tall oak tree

To Goodman and Miller and Peggy Lee

He held her close and sang a song

Of life and death and love gone wrong

They farmed the fields and raised a son

But never finished what they’d begun

He drove away one summer’s morn

Through fields of grass and golden corn

She sat in the chair and began to rock

And kept her eyes upon the clock

The night came fast and next the dawn

The morning dew sparkled upon the lawn

She never knew where he had gone

Or why she couldn’t come along

Her heart was broken that summer night

And never again could mend it right

She sits and rocks for most the day

And hums the song they used to play

She waits for him to come back home

Until that day she rocks alone

 

 ~Claudia Anderson

 

 

Huzzah! It Has Returned!

Hark all ye who read this blog with any regularity! The holy grail has been found! I bow to the north, to the south, to the east….blah blah blah.

It’s good to have my cord back.

Now one would think that now that I’m whole again with computer on my lap I would be lost in the world of Brigadoon or Etruria or Paris. Stories and poems and downloading new images for my gallery.

Ack.

I’m really crashing this Monday night. But fear not, creative friends…I shall be dreaming of new stories that may turn into magical stories.  Or discovering artists of unbelievable breadth and insight .But not tonight.

So what have I learned from this foolish debacle of senility and long distance longing?

Ah, my friend…all it means that I need to pay attention. I need to make lists, I need to make bullet points and Post-it Notes and write notes on my arm and tie strings around my fingers and look behind every couch and chair.

In the long and short of things, I just need to slow down and pay attention.

Sound familiar to any of you?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Sharon Johnstone

Sharon Johnstone is a Birmingham, England based fine art nature photographer.  She completed her Fine Arts degree at the University of Creative Arts in 1993, specializing in printmaking.

Of her dew drop photographs, she writes:

‘With macro photography I escape to another little world. I love exploring the tiny details in nature that often get overlooked.”

“I love finding beautiful colors and abstract compositions within nature. I think I am at my happiest when I am crawling around on my hands and knees exploring a small patch of moss dripping with sparkling dew in the early morning sun.”

Sharon takes a unique view of the world through her photography.

And our world is better for it.

More  Sharexon Johnstone’s art can be found at http://sjfinearts.com/.

Driving and Flying

Some time ago a fellow writer told me that he used a voice dictation device (app or purchased product, I don’t know) to get his stories down on paper.  I kind of Googled that this morning, and there are indeed all kinds of apps that allow you to dictate your story while you’re doing laundry, picking up dog doodoo or driving.

Do any of you use that sort of device?

I always have a lot of ideas bouncing around in my head. I’ll see something or hear something and think “that might make a good story/poem.” So I fumble around for a notebook and pen and try and jot the input down. Well, you can’t really pull over to the side of the road every five minutes when you’re driving 50 miles per hour to jot down story ideas. Nor can you sneak into the bathroom the same amount of time and write something down while at work.

So I thought…gee…this could be the device for me!

Then I thought about it.

Here’s me, driving down the backroads on my way to work, talking away on my phone/computer/bluetooth device, blabbering away scenes from chapter fifteen. And just when the killer reveals himself, there’d be a 90 degree turn in the road, and I’d miss the turn and blabber straight off the road into the cornfield.

Or what if I’m dictating a poem and I don’t notice the car in front of me has stopped? I have a hard enough time paying attention to the car in front of me the way it is.

So okay. Instead of typing on my computer (which doesn’t work because the cord is 4 hours away…you already knew that..), I dictate chapter three on my phone or Ipad from the livingroom. Again, I know me. It would go something like this:

“At this Vera stood, her well-worn dress falling down to cover Get down from there! the tops of her feet once again. She fumbled with the few buttons at her neck, her eyes and cheeks puffy I told you to get off the table! Stupid cat with sleeplessness, her scar swollen Oh shit I knocked the glass over slightly from her seated vigil all night.”

I think I’m pretty darn good at grammar and sentence structure, as I am a writer and proofreader at work. But the truth is I don’t speak as I write. I’m much more eloquent on paper than I am speaking aloud. So instead of saying, “Clouds and rain and mud and bushes all swirled together in some hideous form of vertigo. Grasping the steering wheel, all Anna could do was hold on. Her brain was being jarred, her body bouncing around as branches cracked and split under the forward motion of her car….” I would find myself saying “She crashed her car in the bushes.”

As much as I love technology, it’s not always my friend. Of course, dictating might get rid of all the “as if”s and “it seemed” and runaway semi-colons. It would save me rereading the story fifteen hundred times to catch all the repetitions. Or all the “he said” “she said”s.

I guess I’m always going to be a computer writer or a pen and paper writer, putting the words down one by one. I’m not the world’s best when it comes to multi-tasking.

And anyway, when writing, it’s like a different person enters my body and speaks for me.

And that person doesn’t drive…

 

 

The Youth of the Faire

Do you ever anticipate an event in your life that you eat, sleep, and dream it until that day comes? Do you fantasize the day, the evening, so much that you’ve worked out a couple of different scenarios, either of which could be the ultimate experience?

And then do you go to this marvelous event, just to have the event not be anything like your fantasies?

That happened to me yesterday.

I went to the Renaissance Faire yesterday. For you who do not know, it is a medieval world ruled by Queen Elizabeth and her lovely court and her manly advisors and knights. People dress up in authentic garb, anything from  bodices and a farthingale to men in doublets and codpieces.

The faire is made up of all kinds of vendors hawking everything from Elizabethan garb to dragon necklaces. There are entertainers everywhere, some on big stages, some standing on the dirt path. It is a jolly good time.

This time I went alone. Now, I have been going to this Faire off and on for 30 years. Times have changed. That’s fine. It’s bigger and better. They have now “theme weekends” to attract more visitors. Swashbuckler Weekend, RenCon Weekend, Monsters and Magic Weekends. Thinning out the original purpose of the faire to attract more visitors.

I used to dress up for these things. My bed and breakfast was the poor man’s Renaissance atmosphere.  I collected dragons and unicorns. I bought wreaths of flowers for my hair and mugs and pottery with dragon heads on them.

But this time it felt different. It’s been feeling different the past years.

The vendors were different, the acts were different. No problem. There was the same youthful vigor and fantasy in all the young people there.

All the young people there.

Suddenly I felt I was on the other side of the gate, looking in.

Now you know I’ve got this problem with getting older. It’s a mindset that sucks and that I’m trying to get rid of.

But sitting on a bench in a dress (no costume this year), trying to write down story ideas from lords and ladies that passed by, I realized that all the women dancing around the maypole and all the men dashing with swords were my kid’s age. The singing and the dancing and the bawdy words and acting were all done by kids half my age.

And that made me feel distant.

When I was a Rennie Groupie I was in my late 30s. I made friends with some of the vendors, bought banners and dragon napkins holders — the whole nine yards. I had had a spot (more like a strip of green) where I advertising my B&B.

Now I sit on the sideline, the old vendor’s shop now a broom market; the only banners I find (which I bought 30 years ago) are on the souvenir shop walls. None of what I thought were “quality” items were to be seen. Like those guys moved along, too.

Why does this change bother me?

I truly believe mankind needs to evolve. Each generation takes whatever’s out there and makes it their own.

Maybe I just don’t want them to take  my  worlds.

It’s like a blog I wrote some time ago about going back and walking the block where I used to live. Nothing was the same. Houses changed, streets changed. Some so drastically I was shocked.

The Renaissance Faire, other faires, are for the young and young at heart. Bringing the thought of gallantry and virtue and unicorns and dragons into a child’s heart and thoughts starts them off on a cleaner path through life.

There’s not a lot of room for crones there.

Or maybe not crones who decided to go alone and became disillusioned.

Maybe next year I’ll get all my over-50 friends to dress up and shop and drink and laugh and dance around the Maypole.

If I’m getting old I’m taking everyone else with me…

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Shaka — Marchal Mithouard

French artist Shaka (Marchal Mithouard) explores a wild intersection between painting, sculpture and graffiti with his colorfully explosive base-relief sculptures that seem to cross from the canvas into reality.

In his compositions, bodies are jostled about, represented in permanent imbalance, destabilized by a natural or human force.

The objective is to reveal, through classical themes (The Ascension) or basic human emotions (selfishness or anger) human relationships and the absurdity of certain behaviors that typify our society.

By depicting these powerful yet fragile bodies, the artist expresses his own contradictions, but more importantly the complexity of human nature.

His artistic playground includes building murals, paintings, and sculpture.

More of  Shaka’s amazing work can be found at http://www.marchalmithouard.com/

Practicing My Sigh

It is the end of the night. I have gone grocery shopping, given the doggie her bonie, and watched The Twilight Zone. But after my busy day, I am still looking longingly and sighing at my dead computer. As you recall, my charging cord is 4 hours away, and no one is going that way for a couple of weeks.

My friend Ivor ( https://ivors20.wordpress.com), my friend and a really fine poet (check him out!) is in worse shape than me. His computer is broken…taken apart, in pieces, finuto. He manages to post via phone and the library.

I should be so versatile.

I would rather gaze longingly at my uncharged computer, lamenting the fact that the charging cord is four hours away.  And no one is going that way for at least two weeks.

I do have a couple of OLD computers that I think I’ll convert into  modern day word processors. I still can research artists for my Gallery during my lunch hour, and here I am with my IPad.

So what all this pseudo complaining just shows me that if I want to write …really want to fulfill my passion…I have to find a way to do it. Not give up. Persevere. Go for it.

This is what all artists do. Don’t have Cerulean blue for your painting?  use turquoise! Run out of gold beads? Use copper! Maybe the change is not what you planned. You don’t care for turquoise. You aren’t doing copper, your piece is gold.

So what would you rather do? Stop your painting until the weekend when you have time to run to the store to buy Cerulean? Do you put your necklace on hold because you’ve run out of gold beads?

You have to learn to work with what you have AT THE MOMENT.

Life is nothing but moments. Don’t put your creative moment on hold  because things aren’t going your way. Take the situation and make it yours. Find a way to do what you want to do.  You want to write a few chapters but your computer’s on the fritz? Write them in a notebook. Need to get that poem written?

Do what Ivor does. Write it on your phone. Don’t let your amazing moments slip away. That same moment will never come again.

Look at me! Writing all of this on an IPad! At night! And my spiral notebook will be by my side until I convert my old clunko laptop into my shadow buddy.

I still am going to look longingly at my actual computer, though…

***sigh***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bumpin’ Around

Well, I’m sitting at my desk at lunch time, eating a turkey wrap, pretending it’s evening time and I’m writing to you from the comfort of my sofa.

I went away for four days with my grandkids and had a busy, wonderful, loving time. I was pretty together…being 65 around an 8- and 3-year old doesn’t take much alteration.

Packing up from a house that looked like someone set a bomb off, I packed up my computer but left the plug in cord plugged in up there. Unbeknownst to me, we drove 4 hours home sans cord, and I didn’t realize said mistake until I sat down to do my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog.

I can’t stand when I get hit with the stupids.

And it’s happening more and more.

I mean well. I really do. I try and slow down and pay attention. I don’t think I’m a Ferrari or a cheetah. I move mid- to mid-slow and make notes.

And I still forget.

I couldn’t find my glasses yesterday morning, so I had to wear an old pair to work. Called home and hubby said they’re right here on the kitchen counter.

I always hang up  my keys when I walk in the door. Today on my way to work they weren’t there. Five minutes later I fortunately find them on that same kitchen counter under a loaf of bread.

It’s getting to be normal. And I don’t like it.

I know it’s a part of getting older, but that’s a battle I refuse to lose. I’m never getting old. I’m not leaving this earth  until I’m damn well ready.

But since I turned 60 I’ve been falling apart limb by limb, organ by organ. Brain cell by brain cell.

So as I wave goodbye to both my lunch time and you, know I’m thinking of you all the time, and can’t wait until I can snuggle in with my computer and a glass of wine and show you more gallery images or just sit and talk.

And to think…I just had a great idea for a short story….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (on Tuesday) — Tatsuo Horiuchi

Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, a 73-year-old Japanese artist who creates highly detailed paintings with the most unexpected software – MS Excel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The newly discovered artist has been interested in graphic arts for a long time, but only since his retirement 13 years ago he finally got the time he needed for the new hobby.

The idea of trying out something new in life came naturally to Horiuchi – his retirement was approaching quickly and uncompromisingly.

As in many cases, a new hobby becomes a must. Horiuchi had been interested in graphic arts for quite some time.

However, as graphics software often can be quite expensive, Horiuchi chose to challenge his artistic capabilities by creating his beautiful and highly intricate pictures with Excel.

Tatsuo Horiuchi, does not have his on website, but his work can be found across the Internet.

 

Life is Love and Love is Life

I am going to be away for a few days…running away with my hubby and my grandkids. So sorry, but there will be little time to post or read or think about this world I have created.

I will be busy fishing, throwing rocks into the lake, picking out t-shirts, and watching Spaceballs. I will be eating corn dogs, french fries, and watermelon. I will be hugging and kissing and laughing.

I will be living like never before.

Ruth Goode said it best:

Grandchildren accept us for ourselves, without rebuke or effort to change us, as no one in our entire lives has ever done, not our parents, siblings, spouses, friends — and hardly ever our own grown children. ~Ruth Goode

Find someone and love them to death. Someone who totally accepts you for YOU. Children are preferable, but they can also be family members, dogs and cats, or good friends.

Hope you find as much love as I will this weekend….

 

Just Do Something Different

Rage Against The Box …. Kafia Haile

I finally wrote something new last night — a narrative poem.

Doesn’t it feel good when you create something new?

I’ve been working on the third book of two trilogies and I feel like I’m walking one way into the desert. Plod Plod make it to the Oasis. I love these books, and I love the endings I have in mind for them. But I’ve been working on these sets for so long I’ve forgotten how it feels to write something new and fresh and different.

I wonder if that’s a metaphor for our life.

We do the same things over and over again. Drive the same way to work, eat the same lunch, make the same meals for dinner. We play the same games, mow the lawn the same way, sleep in the same bed night after night.

Nothing wrong with any of the above, but what if we slept in the guest bedroom one night? What if we took a different route home from work? Mowed the lawn in a criss cross fashion?

I think we often don’t realize how boring we are.

Painters paint the same styles because they are good at it. Landscapes, abstracts, portraits. Jewelry makers create the same bracelets and earrings because that’s what sells.

But I wonder if that same jewelry maker has a couple of knockout pieces that defy logic (except for what it’s used for)? I wonder if off in a closet somewhere the painter has painted a whole canvas full of boxes just because?

It feels good to get out of your conformity, doesn’t it?

It feels good to do something weird and fun and different, doesn’t it?

We all need to do that. Some more than others; some more often than others. Life is too short to be boring. Make a splash. If your project is taking a long time, take a break from it now and then and try something fresh. Leave your projects to the side now and then and create something quick and fun and so-not-you.

Discover another side of your awesome personality.

You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Alberto Giacometti

Alberto Giacometti is best known and admired for his tall, thin human figures in bronze.

In this series of sculptures from the years 1945-1960, by his own account Giacometti is influenced by the impressions he takes from the people hurrying in the big city.

Giacometti’s figurative sculpture came to be a hugely influential model of how the human figure might return to art.

His figures represented human beings alone in the world, turned in on themselves and failing to communicate with their fellows, despite their overwhelming desire to reach out.

The relation between figure and space becomes the central issue of his artistic work.

More of Alberto Giacometti‘s work can be found a various art galleries around the Internet including the Guggenheim and the Art Story.

Live In The Moment

Many of us are smack in the middle of summer…hot, humid, sunburning summer. It’s the time for outdoor activities to the max — at least until the mosquitoes find you. Then it’s hell.

I am trying more and more to live in the moment. Today.  Now.

I have a decent past, but not one I’d care to linger in for too long, for I would rethink my mistakes and go head-over-heels in angst wishing I could have done something different.

We’re stuck with our past.  So why do we wish we could change it?

We all fell in love with the wrong person. We all did something shady. We all were promiscuous when being promiscuous was taboo. Yet now and then we glance back and say “Wow..I could have died there!” or “Wow..if only I’d listened!” or “Wow..Why didn’t I do that?”

We are all guilt machines of our own genetic makeup. Some are lucky enough to say who cares and so what and move along. Others can’t get their other foot out of the past.

Back to living in the moment.

The moment is really all we have. Whether or not we go to heaven or get reincarnated or take a spirit quest to Mars, it will be what it will be. So why not live today to the max?

I know quite a lot of young people who live like that. They don’t worry about their employment future; there will always be another job somewhere. Insurance? Maybe they need it, maybe they don’t. If they can’t pay their bills they can’t pay their bills. So what?

Every generation has it’s own way of thinking and believing. My generation went out and got a job right after high school or college and stayed in said job for 10, 15, 20 years. Perhaps we weren’t the gold watch generation, but we worked long enough to get social security and a senior discount.

I’m trying to live in the moment and not complain that I don’t enjoy the heat when it’s above 90 and the mosquitoes are making a pin cushion out of me and it’s too hot to even water my plants. The Now is embracing said heat and humidity and making the most of every day no matter how sweaty you are.

After all, it’s only 165 days, 12 hours, 17 minutes, and 40 seconds (give or take) until Christmas.

And that’s a moment that can wait until I get there.

A Referral and a Reflection

This evening’s blog is more for my girlfriends out there. Of course you boys can read too, but I think my gal peeps can identify more with this.

I read my friend LA’s blog Waking Up On The Wrong Side of 50 called  My Secret Obsession. It is a delightful blog about her reasoning for buying creams and delicacies for her saggy eyes. 

The reason this blog stuck in my mind is because LA hit upon a nerve most — if not all — of us women suffer from that same affliction. Self Worth.

From a very early age, women are brought up to be pretty. Attractive. Lovely. The way we were…some say still are…brought up is dictated by men who design everything for us from dresses to shoes to underwear. Beauty is defined by how thin you are, how few (if any) laugh lines, or lines at all. Our hair is supposed to be thick and wild, our lips full, and our temperament gentle and understanding.

Now, of course, there are more and more women in the designing field, designing clothes that make sense, fit well, and wrap us in colorful colors. 

But face the truth. Society still sets the beauty bar with models and TV stars and movie stars.  We are expected to be thin (or thinish) as we age, no wrinkles, no limps, no waddles. 

We judge by our eyes first, and are judged the same way.

Now most of us are way past the need to be that perfect model. We have aged according to our lives; birthing babies, running marathons, sitting at a desk all day, all contribute to how we look and feel. 

We are beautiful inside, and most of us know that. If I were to gauge my inner beauty and love I would be off the scale. Truly. But my looks put me more at the lower end of the scale. Truly.

Which leads me to LA’s great blog. 

Not knowing her age (but somewhere, as she states, past 50), she is concerned about bags under her beautiful eyes. And knowing her, that is only the beginning of her concerns. 

I have always said that if I came into a bunch of money the first thing I’d do is have these big hereditary bags under my eyes removed. I have pretty green eyes too, but you can’t really focus on them because of these puffs beneath them.

Why are women so concerned about their looks? Who are we trying to impress? The men who dictate how we should look? Not our husbands and friends, but corporate and young hip designers?

We all want to be presentable We want to be clean and smooth and bright. The sad thing is that those traits are controlled by our inside self, not our outside self. Outside we need to use makeup or spanks or curlers to make our outside as pretty as our inside. Which is a losing cause from the beginning, for nothing can be as brilliant and cosmic as our inner self.

I am the first to admit it’s hard to let go of old habits. Heaven forbid I don’t curl my hair or try and soften those circles every day. I know many of you have left that sort of vanity behind, but you still buy clothes that look good and feel good, and perhaps shower with scented soap or brush your hair so it falls just so.

I know LA is a beautiful person just from her writing. And her discoveries about herself are normal for any woman who ages from day to day. 

What we need to do is stop judging ourselves. Stop comparing ourselves to movie stars and pop singers and all those distant points of light we’ll never reach. 

We are pretty just the way we are. No problem if we want to cover up a bit or dress up a bit. That’s the fun part of being a girl. But we can’t spend our time trying to change things we can’t change. 

Aging does a number to us all. We just balance it out with the amazing things we’ve experienced and have yet to experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery – Bansky

Arguably the most controversial street artist in the world, Banksy has developed an entire art subculture devoted to his works. Banksy’s art can impact any location at any given moment.

His identity remains unknown, even after over 20 years of being involved with the graffiti scene. He has worked with many different types of street art media and street art types.

His work not only includes many powerful, often controversial images, but they may also be found throughout the Internet as viral images.

Very little is known about Banksy himself, as he refuses to be interviewed and keeps his identity carefully maintained.

A world-renowned mystery man, Banksy has risen through the ranks to become one of the world’s greatest street artists partly by creating an urgency to understand his character.

Bansky is the most enjoyable artist because he is now. He is everywhere. He is where you least expect him to be.

More of Bansky‘s art can be found at http://www.banksy.co.uk and a wall near you.

 

 

Sentimental in Camelot

Do you have songs or movies you can barely watch a second time for they bring such an emotional knot in your chest you think you cannot handle it?

Sounds so dramatic, but I think you know what I mean. Perhaps it’s the words, the meaning, the inference, that swirls around our minds and hearts and ties everything into a knot. Perhaps it’s a really romantic ending, or a crossed love or missed opportunity. Someone dies before reconciliation. Something so simple yet so personal you surprise yourself at your reaction.

I don’t mean movies where someone dies  at the end. Those are endings I try to avoid. I mean feel good/sad endings that tug at your heart strings in that awful way.

Now, I looked around online for “movies that will break your heart at the end.” There were some doozies there. I have to admit I haven’t seen most — if not all — of them. So everyone’s list is different, depending on the texture of their heart.

For instance, I loved the movie Passion of Mind, 2000, with Demi Moore. She lives one life during the day and another at night. Her letting go at the end makes me cry deep and mournful tears every time I watch it.

It’s only a movie, missie..

Or how about the movie Camelot? That antique medieval musical where the queen marries the king and sleeps with the prince and breaks the king’s heart. The song ‘If Ever I Should Leave You” still gives me goosebumps. True, unrequited love.

There are a number of other deep movies that click my heart, but you know what I mean. Like a love song you can never let go of. Like a dream you can’t hold onto.

I think I’m a hopeless romantic. That is why I love to write. I can create my own dynamic, heart wrenching scenario and feel it over and over again. I can bring people together, punish evil, create ghosts and extraterrestrials and virgins and middle-aged goddesses. Who cares, as long as I’m in control of the heart strings.

That’s what you should do with your creativity. Love it. Embrace it. Get your heart pumping and create like there’s no tomorrow. Scare yourself. Embrace yourself. Make yourself laugh. Whether you are writing or painting, put yourself out there.

You should love it, too. After all, it’s all magic. Just ask King Arthur….

 

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
of Camelot.

Ask ev’ry person if he’s heard the story,
And tell it strong and clear if he has not,
That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory
called Camelot

Where once it never rained till after sundown,
By eight a.m. the morning fog had flown…
Don’t let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief shining moment that was known
As Camelot.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mark Ryden

Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art.

His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism”, dragging a host of followers in his wake.

 

Ryden has trumped the initial surrealist strategies by choosing subject matter loaded with cultural connotation.

 Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul.

 

A subtle disquiet inhabits his paintings; the work is achingly beautiful as it hints at darker psychic stuff beneath the surface of cultural kitsch.

 

 

More of Mark Ryden‘s work can be found at https://www.markryden.com/

How Short Is Too Short?

Lately I’ve been opening my blogs with a reference to my getting older. I guess instead of fighting it I need to embrace it. Or whatever. I don’t cherish getting older…nor do I relish it, look forward to it, or use it to my advantage.

But I know I suffer from what my parent’s generation and my grandparent’s generation suffered from…what is this world coming to?

I wrote a novel about a woman who goes back in time to 1880. Talk about repression. And men were the ones who not only suppressed but designed the clothing they were forced to wear. I mean, long sleeves and a bustle in 90 degree weather?

I survived the bellbottom years, the polyester years, the shoulder pad years, and the overhalls-with-one-strap-down years. I’ve survived looking at underwear sticking way up over jeans, mini skirts and turban wraps.

But I can’t survive the clothing of the 18’s.

Now let me explain my personal hangups first.

I have always had a self-image problem. Certain parts of my anatomy were always too large for fashion, so everything I wore was conservative. I loosened up in my 20s, but was never brave enough to show it all off, as it were.

I try and have an open mind when it comes to fashion, knowing that each generation pushes it to the limit in one way or another. Women should not be afraid to dress the way they want. It is a free world, after all.

I went to an outdoor concert last weekend, and it was a perfect evening for people watching. And did I watch. Every age, every color, every height and weight. It was fascinating. But what I wasn’t fascinated with were the lengths and tops of the younger girls.

Here comes my old biddie attitude.

They were wearing tops as dresses. I was glad none of them bent over while walking by. They were wearing clothes that were too tight for their figure or too low cut. Now I have been known to wear low cut on occasion (especially after I’ve lost weight), but there was too much information pushed together as amazing cleavage to suit my taste.

These weren’t models in their mid-20s either. These were high school and college girls, big girls, skinny girls, not a care in the world as to who sees what.

And I wondered. Is this the fashion of today?

There was sex written all over these outfits. That come-hither look was as popular as the band playing country music. Now before you think me a prude, I’m all for sex and showing what you’ve got and teasing and shining and all that. But how far do you go to show it off?

I hate saying “in my day”, but in my day there were also girls who pushed the fashion limit. They didn’t bother me then. They would bother me now, though.

Now not everyone dressed for a day at the beach. The majority were shorts and tops and sun dresses. (I was in the sundress category.) There were families, couples, singles, all walking back and forth from one stage to the other. The shorts women were just as happy as the shirt/dress women.

I just wonder why it bothered me so much.

Was I jealous because they were young and carefree and I was not?

Was I worried that they gave the impression they were ready for what short skirts usually bring even if they were not?

Was I all hung up on sex when no one else was?

Alas, I’m sure the girls had a great time as did their friends and dates. And not one was disturbed at the message they were promoting. If they were promoting at all.

Maybe it’s a mom thing. A grandma thing. Or, dare I wonder, if it’s a woman thing.

Yes, I hate getting older. And the judgement that comes with it.