Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlode Rivera,  born Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo y Calderón  (July 6, 1907 – July 13, 1954), was a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits, and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.

Inspired by the country’s popular culture, she employed a naive folk art style to explore questions of identity, post-colonialism, gender, class, and race in Mexican society.

Her paintings often had strong autobiographical elements and mixed realism with fantasy.

In addition to belonging to the post-revolutionary movement, which sought to define a Mexican identity, Kahlo has been described as a surrealist or magical realist.

She was left disabled by polio as a child, and at the age of eighteen was seriously injured in a traffic accident which caused her pain and medical problems for the rest of her life.

 Kahlo’s always fragile health began to increasingly decline during the 1940s. She had her first solo exhibition in Mexico in 1953, shortly before her death in 1954 at the age of 47.

By the 1990s, she had become not only a recognized figure in art history, but so regarded as an icon for Chinanos. the Feminism movement, and the LGBTQ movement.

More of Frida Kahlo‘s wonderful art can be found at https://www.fridakahlo.org/.

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The World of Musicals

As I watch and wonder about the generations following me, I wonder if they will ever appreciate the simple things that were a part of their parents/grandparents/great grandparents lives.

I just watched a movie made the year I was born…Hans Christian Anderson. I haven’t seen this oldie for many years. And I found I could still sing all the words to the songs…The Ugly Duckling, Wonderful Copenhagen, all the wonderful nonsense sung by Danny Kaye.

These days my kids and grandkids would say Danny Who?

Like the songs in old musicals. 76 Trombones. Luck Be A Lady Tonight. Some Enchanted Evening. I Got Rhythm. Songs from musicals today’s kids probably never heard of. Simple, enchanting songs. Nonsense songs. Sing along songs. Offhand I don’t know if high schools do a musical every year; I know my senior musical was South Pacific.

I also love big band music. Say those two words together to someone younger and often they look like they just bit a lemon. They’re heard of it, kinda, maybe, I dunno. But it’s like time travel. Slipping backwards into a black and white world where love conquers all and true romance is two people singing love songs to each other.

Of course I know that underneath this band-aid of time travel and music and daydreams is the real world of infidelity, rape, scandal, neglect — all the things that musicals tried to escape. Now the only place you can find big band is on Sirus radio, or on AMC Classic Movies.

Today’s generation may know Frank Sinatra, but unfortunately  that is merely an iconic name like Elvis and Abraham Lincoln. Not many will take the time to explore the musical worlds of the 40s and 50s, for their own world’s musical creations exist, and what’s more important to a generation than their music?

Maybe that’s what evolution is all about. We can’t expect the next generation to cherish what we cherish. That’s why we drive around in cars instead of chariots. The times must change.

But all I can say is they’re really missing something.

But then again, they could say the same thing about Eminem.

A Stutter in the Connection

Getting older is so much fun.

Your body makes all kinds of new noises, your legs or knees or back give out more readily, and you find yourself saying “What?” a whole lot more often. My temperature runs from freezing to hot flash and back in a matter of minutes. I laugh and tell my friends that I was doing great until I turned 60 — now everything’s falling apart.

But I take the deconstruction with a grain of salt. After all, I’m still working, running (or rather walking fast) around with my grandkids, working in my garden, and watching Chinese TV series.

What I am finding that I’m not too keen on, though, is that I’m stuttering in my mind when I speak.

I have always been a talker. A lot of it is nonsense and houey, but I usually had a thought and comment for everything. I suppose in our youth we all think we have something to say. But now when I talk to people, I feel the marbles rolling around in my head before I speak. As I said, I view this as a stutter in my mind, which makes me lose confidence before the words come out of my mouth.

I can still write great blogs and letters and lines for e-mails. While my language has always been so much better when written rather than spoken, I’m starting to find that my spoken words don’t really flow like I want them to. It’s like my brain can’t keep up with my thought patterns. When writing that’s okay. But when speaking it’s a little different.

This whole situation has me a little spooked. It’s doesn’t happen all the time, just now and then. But it makes me feel like I’m slow. It’s like I’m waiting for the next intelligent word to come along but the bus doesn’t pick you up, it just drives by.

Let’s not talk brain tumors and Alzheimer — let’s just talk about it being a symptom of getting older. Which sucks in the flower of life. So tell me — Does this ever happen to you?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mother’s Day

I am blessed to be a mother

I am blessed to have had my mother for 54 years

I am blessed to have friends who are mothers

I am also blessed to have friends who have left it to

Others to be a mother.

Life is Short………Be What You Want.

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Vincent Van Gogh’s Mother

 

 

Whistler’s Mother

 

Barker Gang’s Mother (Ma)

 

 

Pablo Picasso’s mother

 

Mother Theresa

 

Rembrandt’s Mother

 

Juan Gris’ Mother

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Friday — Guy Laramee

Montreal-based artist Guy Laramée created sculptural works, highlighting his evolving ability to excavate mountainous landscapes, cavernous hollows, and sloping watersheds from the dense pages of repurposed books.

One of his favorite mediums are bound stacks of old dictionaries and encyclopedias which he carves using a method of sandblasting to which he later applies oil paints, inks, pigments and dry pastels, crayon, adhesives, and beeswax.

When photographed up close the works appear almost realistic, as if the viewer is looking at aerial or satellite topographies of Earth

Among his sculptural works are two incredible series of carved book landscapes and structures entitled Biblios and The Great Wall, where the dense pages of old books are excavated to reveal serene mountains, plateaus, and ancient structures.

Laramee says, “I carve landscapes out of books and I paint Romntic landscapes. Mountains of disused knowledge return to what they really are: mountains.

They erode a bit more and they become hills. Then they flatten and become fields where apparently nothing is happening.  Piles of obsolete encyclopedias return to that which does not need to say anything, that which simply IS.”

More of Guy Laramée’s work can be found at http://www.guylaramee.com 

Your Artist Is Right Next Door

I love television shows on creativity.

I am fairly humbled when I see what the competitors can do. It’s their life, it’s their future; it’s what they are when they wake up and what they are when they fall asleep. They are all just A-1 talented.

Some time ago I wrote a blog about Face Off, the show where artists compete in making science fiction, fantasy, and outrageous prosthetics. These artists are incredible. Movie-quality makeup.

And who isn’t fascinated by Chopped, where contestants make appetizers, main meals, and deserts out of a dizzying array of weird foods? Or Iron Chef, where these super-sized chefs make the most incredible, out-in-left-field dishes that make you drool? Where do these creative artists get these ideas?

There are plenty of talented people all around you, too. You just don’t know it. People who have given their soul and their free time practicing their art. They are probably in your department, or your neighbor, or your kid’s friends.

You just don’t know it.

Iron Chef competitors are in one layer of atmosphere. Prosthetic artists another. Their talents happen to be what TV producers are looking for these days.

But what about your friend (hi Christine!) who makes remarkable jewelry? Or your other friend (hi Robin!) who makes quilts and crochets sparkling scarves that could sell for $40 at the department store? Or your other friend (hi Christell!) who has the most amazing scrapbooks you’ve ever seen? Or your other friend (Yeah, you John!) whose work was so amazing I dedicated a blog and a gallery to him?

I’m sure there is a modern painter not far away, or a landscape artist, a sculptor, a calligrapher, a woodworker, or a garden artist right around the corner from you. Someone who makes birdhouses and engravings and magical cakes and deserts. Someone you’d like to know.

You can fill in the blanks with the creative people around you. Trust me. They are there. All you need to do is ask. Inquire. Look around. You will be amazed what your friends, co-workers, your friend’s kids are creating. Ask about their art. Ask if they have pictures or a blog.

You will be amazed at the talent around you.

And you’ll make them feel good about their work, too.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Snowglobes

Erwin Perzy, a surgical instruments mechanic, accidentally created the first snow globe in 1900 as a result of an experiment to try to improve the brightness of the newly invented – and then not very bright – electric light bulb.

He was inspired by the shoemakers of the time, who to get more light from a candle mounted a glass globe filled with water in front of the flame. This gave them a light spot the size of a hand.

One day he found a white powder, semolina, used for baby food.

And he poured it into the glass globe, and it got soaked by the water and floated very slowly to the base of the globe.

This effect reminded him of snowfall.

And this was the very first, the basic idea for inventing a snow globe.

Though Perzy—who patented his globe in 1900—didn’t invent the snow globe, he and his brother are responsible for catapulting the souvenir into the position of tchotchke primacy it holds today.

Seizing on the invention, the pair opened a shop, Original Wiener Schneekugel Manufaktur, in Vienna.

Today there are as many styles as fill the imagination.

 

To Write or Not Write…That Is The Question


Okay. I think I’m out of my mind, but…I am going to start a writer’s group.

I was in a writers group years ago when I was really active in my state writing association, Wisconsin Writers Association (check it out all you from Wisconsin!). I was a board member of the organization, and joined a local, small group just to be able to sit and talk about writing.

That was long ago and feels far away. I’ve got this A.D.D. thing about writing, and my hubby isn’t really “into it”, so it’s time to get around other people who are A.D.D. about writing too.

I’ve never organized a group before. I’m not published, although I’ve written five novels. I don’t have a college degree, nor have I spent my professional life writing (until the last few years). I’ve pushed for my Digital Writer position, but if things don’t change I’ll be retired before I write much.

On the plus side I am a pretty good proofreader, having done it professionally as well as personally, and I have a good hold on grammar.

So I figured there must be other frustrated writers that want to just start something or do a better job with what they’ve written. So why not get together every couple of weeks and perfect our craft while whining and showing off?

We’ll start with 10 members. I don’t even know if there are  10 people around town that want to write better. But it’s worth a try. Maybe someone can recommend a publisher who is looking for a fantasy fiction time travel modern woman who gets caught in a time warp.

Or maybe we’ll just find somebody who likes to bring treats.

 

 

Wussying Out On My Crone Night

I think I am failing Crone 101.

For those of you who wonder, a crone is an older woman, wise in the ways of the world, confident in where she’s been and where she’s going. She is the accumulation of life’s ups and downs, and all that knowledge seems like magic to some.

I used to be more in a magic way. I didn’t cast spells or levitate glasses or dance naked before the bonfire (wouldn’t THAT have been a scene!). I was, am, a believer in the magic that is in each and every one of us. You can have magic and be Catholic or Lutheran or Baptist or Atheist. The magic inside is your soul. Your connection to this world, to the galaxy, and everything inbetween.

My husband works  3-4 nights a week. So I’m home alone, which, for me, is great, because I’m either writing or editing or doing nothing but watching a Chinese TV series. Well, last night was a big, bright, beautiful full moon. I didn’t really see it until it was over the treetops in my back woods. So I looked online and thought, “Hey! Even though the moon tonight will be 98.2 percent full, I can go out to the back gate and watch it rise!”

Now I’ve told you before that I have to cross a big wide “yard” and go down this little path through the dark woods until I get to the back gate that sits on a little road that lines a great big cornfield. Perfect moonwatching place.

I went out early. It was dusk outside, a nice cool spring breeze. So I stood at the back gate and realized I was 25 minutes early. Great. Then I start hearing things in the woods as it started to really get dark. Sticks falling down from the top of the trees, leaves blowing down the dirt path…all kinds of little things.

If you are a writer then you know where I’m going with this. It doesn’t take much to set my imagination off. And as it got dark and I’m waiting for moonrise I’m thinking of Slenderman who hides in the forest walking down the path towards me and I can’t get the gate open and he walks up to me and starts talking and waving those abnormally long arms around and I’m alone and even my dog is on the front deck so she’s no help but I have my phone but by the time I’d call my hubby or the police he could already have pulled out a knife and started slashing my legs so I couldn’t run and….

You see what I’m getting at. I worked myself up so much I decided to head back to the house and enjoy the moonrise through my locked back window. Now the chance of someone walking into my fenced woods is slim to none. But as I’ve said before in my blogs, I’m a little lady with no punch and too much imagination.

So back to my first thought. I wanted to welcome the full moon, wrap my Croneness around it, pull strength and wisdom from its moon rays, yada yada. It’s all a game but it makes me feel good.

Now I’m sitting inside, my magic rumbling that it didn’t get its true moon fix, and all I want to do is finish watching my Chinese war TV series.

What’s magical about that?

I think I’ll write a story about this. Maybe if I get this paranoia out of my system I can go watch the full moon rise next month. With my dog. And my husband. And my son. And a police officer. And a Navy SEAL….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Eric Standley

Eric Standley, Associate Professor of Studio Art for the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech, brings a whole new meaning to the term “cutting edge” with his methodical stained glass windows created entirely from laser-cut paper.

Standley  brings a whole new the term “cutting edge” with his methodical stained glass windows created entirely from laser-cut paper.

Standley stacks well over 100 sheets for many of his pieces which involve months of planning, drawing, and assembly.

The artist says his inspiration comes from the geometry found in Gothic and Islamic architectural ornamentation which he somewhat jokingly calls “folk math.

Eric’s technology-infused studio practice enables him to create complex artifacts within a realm of precision of that is often reserved for industry, mass production and scientific research.

 In Standley’s words; “Technology circumscribes boundaries, as do artists. We are extended in body and mind by the advancements of what we envision and create.”

More of Eric Standley’s amazing art can be found at http://www.eric-standley.com/ 

 

 

Do We “Get” Each Other?

There is a certain responsibility as a blog writer and a blog follower.

You need to write content that is entertaining, whether it be sad, provocative, funny, or informative. But you need to read the blogs you follow, too.

I’ve been lax in that department.

I always manage to read the first few that pop up in my reader, but it takes a few thumbing motions downwards to see what all I have missed. And often it’s alot.

I follow blogs that haven’t had anything written for 6 months or even a year. I always figure they will come back sometime. I follow writers who post every day. I sometimes feel bad I don’t connect with either of them as often as I should.

Which makes me wonder. I wonder if those who have 5,000, 10,000 followers, how many blogs do they follow? Do they read them all? Respond to them all?

I’m a believer that you shouldn’t “follow” someone unless you are really following them. Learning their story, enjoying their painting or photography. Maybe you don’t have to comment on every post you read, but it’s nice to say something nice about what you’re reading.

I get to wonder about those who have thousands and thousands of followers. Especially on places like Twitter. If you’re not online when someone else tweets, what does it matter? Their important words will never be picked up by your reading public. I sometimes try to go into Twitter and pick someone I follow and read all their tweets going back a few weeks. But time is of the essence, and I’d rather read other’s blogs.

Then you circle back and wonder if all the people who follow you really read you. Really look at your images. And do numbers really matter.

I hope you write because you love to write, and have found an outlet for your emotions in the form of a blog or a tweet. You will find those who really click with you commenting over and over again. Those are the people who make me feel special. Liked. Like they really get me.

Get your blogs ‘a blogging and get someone!

Not Every Situation is Fight or Flight

The big thing these days is “be who you need to be…stay true to who you are…don’t listen to those who will bring you down…the future belongs to you…”

I am very much on that “be true to yourself” bandwagon. Sometimes I wish I had jumped on way back when I was 30 or 40.

But what if you can’t always be on that “be true to yourself” bandwagon? Especially in relation to the reality around you?

I believe in being true to yourself. No one can make you happy — or unhappy — but you. I believe in never betraying your soul. But there are times when being true to your choices can cause eruptions in your daily life.

Say you truly want to go to Las Vegas or Paris or the Florida Keys and your significant other wants to stay home and plant trees. Do you stay true to your desires and fly away anyway?

I doubt it.

Say your friends all want to try out this new Mexican restaurant and you really don’t like Mexican. Do you stay home while everyone else goes?

I doubt it.

These are trite examples, but they state an honest message — you can’t always be true to your desires and beliefs.

I would rather write or read all day outside in the warm weather, or inside when its gloomy, but reality (in the form of work) gets in the way. I would love to sleep in on Saturday mornings, but my grandson’s soccer games get in the way. I would rather go to art fairs and renaissance fairs and craft fairs than clean house, but reality gets in the way. I believe in compromise (especially when it comes to housework).

I don’t believe in forcing my opinion in a crowd of people if it goes against what everyone is talking about. I may not agree on the point of view, the topic, the solution, but if there’s a chance of getting “into it” with friends it’s not worth it to me. I believe what I believe. I don’t need to convert them.

We all want to be ourselves at every turn. We want to do what we want when we want to, say no without repercussions, and voice our opinion on everything. We all want to say “I am a child of the universe and I answer to no one!”

But this is reality. It’s an every-man-for-himself kind of world. A survival mentality. If you are strong enough to take your beliefs to the next level and become public, do it. If you want to protest, make a change, do it. But most situations are not a fight or flight response. You have to calculate how important it is to give in to keep the peace. How you can do what others want without compromising your values. How to have conversations on sensitive subjects without hurting feelings or getting hurt yourself.

Face it. In most situations it’s easier to give in and move on. Find a way to be yourself without offending or messing with your everyday life. This is not the same as giving in. If you are abused, depressed, afraid, you need to actually do something about it. You have a right as a human being to be happy and healthy.

But if someone is a different religion or likes different music or would rather spend their day planting trees than gambling in Vegas, you can still retain your soul’s self worth and help plant trees too. Work on what you want. If it can’t be A make it B. Or F. Who cares, as long as you connect with your dreams?

Be who you want to be. Believe in what you believe. Follow your dream as far as your reality allows. But don’t make it a do-or-die choice. Friendships and family aren’t worth a surface compromise.

Hold true to yourself. Even if you feel a little slippery.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Chemistry Cat

Alright…I know that Chemistry Cat images are not real art…but since they are a part of every chemistry teacher’s culture, perhaps they are.

Chemistry Cat (sometimes known as Science Cat) is an advice animal image macro series which consists of a scientific pun and a picture of a cat with a bow-tie and glasses sitting in front of a board.

These puns are usually based on the names of chemical elements from the periodic table or various laws of science and physics.

While the source of the image remains in veil, it is likely a stock photograph, possibly of Russian origin.

A significant portion of the puns are actually derived from chemistry jokes that have been in circulation for awhile, particularly in the context of K-12 education on chemistry and the periodic table.

The earliest known instance of “Chemistry Cat” series can be found in a Reddit thread posted on April 19th, 2011, of an image originating from the ICanHasCheezburger[2] blog:

The macro series didn’t take off until the third week of July 2011, when image templates began to appear on image generator sites.

The rest is Chemistry Cat history. 

And he is funny.

Birds in my Feeder

I have always enjoyed watching birds at the bird feeder.

Off in the middle of my back yard there are two feeders that I try and keep full year round. When the weather’s nice I sit on the back deck and hope to catch the dive bombers as they come in for lunch.

Last fall I decided to attach a smaller feeder on the corner of my front deck. It has been Grand Central Station ever since.

I sit on my sofa and am constantly entertained by the parade of species stopping by for a seed or two. It’s amazing. Wrens, sparrows, a male and female cardinal, starlings, mourning doves, a red-headed woodpecker, and even the jaybirds stop and grab a bite.

It’s an entertaining soap opera. This little one pushes its same kind away so they can eat first, some knock it out of the feeder so they can eat it off the deck, and some just bask in the afternoon sun.

My feeder always has something going on. It gets to the point of being distracting should I be sitting on the sofa and watch TV or work on my computer.

I’m glad I could help the birds through this snow-filled winter. They are very diligent — they push away the snow on the feeding trough before I get out there to clean it, and  they practically stand in line to feed.

Help your fellow birds out. Extend your kindness to a bird and fill a feeder for the little ones. Then sit back and watch the crowds at the restaurant.

You will be quite entertained.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Hiëronymus Bosch

When one thinks of Surrealism movement (1920s-1960s) they think of Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte.

But Hiëronymus Bosch (1450-1516)  was considered a highly imaginative “creator of devils” and a powerful inventor of curious creations full of satirical and moralizing meaning.

His paintings are sermons on folly and sin, addressed often to initiates and consequently difficult to translate.

Unable to unlock the mystery of the artist’s works, critics at first believed that he must have been affiliated with secret sects.

Although the themes of his work were often religious, his choice of symbols to represent the temptation and eventual ensnarement of humans in earthly evils caused many critics to view the artist as a practitioner of the occult arts.

More recent scholarship views Bosch as a talented artist who possessed deep insight into human character and as one of the first artists to represent abstract (surreal) concepts in his work.

No matter what  Hiëronymus Bosch’s beliefs and involvements, his art was quite surreal, especially for the 1400’s.

More of Hiëronymus Bosch’s marvelous art can be found at https://www.hieronymus-bosch.org/.

 

What Is Abstract Art?

Alright, all you lovers (and merely friends) of Art….

Yesterday, my SEAG blog was about Infinity. As you can see, most of of the images are abstract, i.e., art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect (per Tate Gallery).

Now, I am a landscape scenery kind of affectionado — a fan of surealistic fantasy scenes and purple skies. But I want to feel comfortable around abstract art. I may not understand it, but I often get a “feeling” from it.

From those of you who appreciate abstract art…what it is about it that you like? What part of it do you understand? What does it MEAN?

Although it may look to the contrary, abstract art is not just someone spatting paint on a canvas. There is a reason, an emotion, a question the artist is trying to convey.

How can you learn to appreciate it, though?

Through the Gallery years I have shared what I thought was creative modern art. I read about the artists, got an idea what he was trying to convey, and shared their work so that you could get a different taste in your mouth.

But I’m sad to say I don’t quite get it. And I’m not making fun of abstract art. I’m just trying to understand it.

I suppose it’s like poets writing free verse poetry. To me it sounds like creative writing broken up into stanzas. There are only a few poets that write like that that I truly feel are sticking to form. But I love what I read, so the style doesn’t always mean as much.

So all of your modern art affectionados — how do you look at abstract art? Or minimalism art? What do I look for? How do I understand it?

Any clues you can give me will be appreciated.

As long as they’re not abstract thoughts…

 

Upper Right Painting

Vir Heroicus Sublimis (1950–51), Barnett Newmane

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Infinity

What is Infinity? Is it space that goes on forever and ever? A number that has no limit? Is it a concept we have yet to grasp?

Here are other’s ideas of infinity.

Infinity ~ Christopher Westfall

 

Infinity ~ Connie Pirtle

 

Infinity Kinetic Sculpture ~ David C. Roy

 

Infiniti Mosaic Cool ~ Paula Ayers

Birds of Infinity ~ Pris Roos

 

Infinity Mirrors ~ Yayoi Kusama

 

Infinity ~ Sandra Bauser

 

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.” — John Muir

Cats — a Rerun

My cats have been acting wacky lately — I am blaming it on Spring Fever.

With that in mind, I was perusing some older blogs and came upon this one. Maybe I should sit down and read it to Tom and Mysty…

Cat’s Eyes
August 17, 2016 ~ Claudia ~ “Cat’s Eyes”

My life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve taken off to North Carolina and visited my bff and a city that was fun and busy and full of Southern charm, went to work for two days, then took off to Northern Wisconsin and noshed and laughed and cackled with friends while we hid from the rain.

It seems everyone had fun these past few weeks except for one.

Mysty.

My Cat.

Do you ever get punished by your pets for going away?  I have two cats, a toughy, lovey boy tuxedo named Tom, and a once-tiny-now-balloony girl Mysty. Tom could care less when I come and go. He sleeps with whomever is around, including sometimes the dogs.

Mysty is another story.

Everytime I go away and then return she makes eye contact, barely acknowledging my return, then gives me the cold shoulder for the day.

I didn’t think cats held grudges. But this one does.

When I’m home she’s on my computer, twisting her cute little head sideways, insisting on pets. She sleeps by my head, climbs all over me when I watch TV, all that cute little cat stuff.

But when I’ve been gone a few days — worse, when the whole family has been away and the cats have been left alone — well, hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.

Of course, things are back to normal after a long day. I don’t think cats have that long of a memory span, and besides, they want to be fed. And pet. But for those few first hours, I swear my cat pouts and looks forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where her master momma stayed home and played with her every day.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t leave my first born until he was 2 or 3. Just think of the dramatic sigh a toddler would make, looking forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where his momma stayed home and played with him every day.

That is, until grandma or grandpa gave him popcorn or a Butterfinger or took him to the park. Which was instantly after I drove away.

Maybe I should offer a Butterfinger to Mysty…

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery (on Monday) – Tina Lane

Tina Lane works in truly a multimedia arena.
She works with photography, painting, and glass works.

“It is always difficult to explain my work,” she states.

The concept is to use the “inarticulate mind,” allowing the subconscious to speak without the pre-determination of an outcome.

I often find out as much about myself at the same time as the viewer.More of Tina Lane‘s amazing art can be found at   http://www.tina-lane.com/

 

 

What If…

What If

Those are the words of imagination. Of exploration, of conquering new worlds. Of trying a new style of clothing, car, or food.

What If

I suffer from a lot of What If. None of it destructive, mind you, although it does hit me when I’m driving to and from work a lot (it’s on an empty back road so don’t worry…I still pay attention..). What if I drove into the middle of that cornfield? What if I turned around and drove straight to the airport and bought a ticket to San Antonio? What if I looked up into the evening sky and saw a dragon flying across the horizon?

What If can be fun. They can be dangerous. 

But they also can be illuminating.

What If takes you out of your comfort zone. Out of your self-conscious ego and self-damaging thoughts. It takes you to worlds where hobbits talk with faeries and American spies get thrown into Russian prisons. It makes apples purple and skin scarlet.  

What If makes you think and daydream without getting hurt. What if there really was a zombie apocalypse? I mean what if zombies were trashing the city, town, closest to you? What would you do? Where would you go? What happens if zombies are everywhere? And you’re stuck in your house? How long would it take you to run out of food? Would you sacrifice your dog or cat so they would go away?

Or what if you were walking through the park on a summer evening and a gnome walked out of the bushes and stopped and looked at you on your path? Or if a faerie landed on your shoulder? I mean, really! What would you do? How would you react?

What If can obviously take you in dark places. What If you and your friend drove off the cliff like in Thelma and Louise? What if you drank a soda that turned out to be poison? What if you fell down the stairs and you weren’t near a phone and lived alone and no one ever came to visit you?

What Ifs are a creative person’s best friend. You can take funny, scary, wonderful thoughts and turn them into make believe. Like a painting. A painting of walking down the street of 1890’s Paris is all make believe. The painter never walked those streets, saw those streetlights, or said good evening to people walking past in hats and long dresses and suits.

But they did say…What If I were walking down the streets in 1890 Paris? What would I see? How would they be dressed? What would the stores look like? 

I  wrote two novels about What If. What If by some accident you woke up in 1880? You knew nothing about the times, the manners, the ambitions of the people you encounter. What would you do?

Keep those What Ifs going. Write them down, paint them, grow them. Let your imagination take you on a magic carpet ride.

Which leads to…what if there really was a magic carpet and you could sit and ride on it? Where would you go? Would it be windy? Could you fall off? Would you fly into birds and bugs and….

Friday Night Gif Nite

It has been quite a while since I’ve shared some fantastic gifs. To me, gifs are magic. I have no idea how they are made…like a movie, I just sit in awe and get lost into their magic.

So it’s about time to share this magic with my besties. You. Use them on your posts, your emails, your blogs and your stories. Just dance in the magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The In-Between

Good Evening My Friends! I’ve missed you all!

I am sitting on the sofa this evening, curled up in the corner under a blanket, watching the birds land in and out of the feeder before it gets dark. The weather is cool, rainy, almost snowy. It’s that in-between weather that brings on this in-between feeling.

Is it Spring by you? I mean warm, sunshiny, flower popping, sweet breezin’ kind of weather?

Mine is on hold.

Hold for me means not in the mood for doing much of anything. No writing, no cooking, no cleaning. No reading.  No wardrobe enhancements. Just being a slug until the sun shines a little brighter…and warmer.

I like to think of this  in-between time as all those seeds of creativity that have been brooding all winter getting ready to pop. All my ideas, notions, and plans are percolating right beneath the surface, finding their way around rocks and through soft spots and say hi to the worms on their way to the surface. And once they burst into the sunlight…

That sounds all well and good. Tomorrow. Ah yes….everything looks better Tomorrow.

So tell me! How do you cope with the in-between time? Do you plan new projects? Vacations? Do you sketch ideas for future paintings? Do you plan new meal ideas? Try new recipes? Do you reread your writing? Watch movies?

Love to see how you ride the in-between!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia Totto O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 6, 1986) was a 20th century American painter and pioneer of American modernism best known for her canvases depicting flowers, skyscrapers, animal skulls and southeastern landscapes.

Considered the “mother of American modernism,” O’Keeffe moved to New Mexico after her husband’s death and was inspired by the landscape to create numerous well-known paintings.

She remained independent from shifting art trends and stayed true to her own vision, which was based on finding the essential, abstract forms in nature.

With exceptionally keen powers of observation and great finesse with a paintbrush, O’Keeffee recorded subtle nuances of color, shape, and light that enlivened her paintings and attracted a wide audience.

Her primary subjects were landscapes, flowers, and bones, explored in series over several years and even decades.

The images were drawn from her life experience and related either generally or specifically to places where she lived.

Georgia O’Keeffe died on March 6, 1986 at the age of 98.

More of Georgia O’Keeffe’s wonderful paintings can be found at https://www.georgiaokeeffe.net/

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursday — Kang Dong Hyun

Korean artist Kang Dong Hyun constructs hollow animal sculptures from a system of metallic branches.

 Hyun creates animal-shaped, metal figurines that look as though they are formed from delicate tree branches and twigs.

 His works often have a high concentration of these sprig-like elements constructing the animal’s face, which allow the distinguishing characteristics of his house cats, birds, bulls, and elephants to take form.

In one particular piece a lion’s full facial features are brought to life through his network of sculpted twigs, a furrowed brow projecting a look of worry or remorse.

When placed outdoors, each sculpture takes on a new life of its own as the sun hits its reflective surface.

You can see more of Kang’s interpretations of the animal kingdom at My Modern Met.

How Do You Do It?

Well, I’ve done it again.

There was a time not so long ago I swore off of Social Media Headlines. All the crap I had to wade through to find out real news wasn’t worth it.

News is one thing. I also enjoy entertainment articles. Thinking I could slide over the main page and go directly to Entertainment, I was brought down by today’s Entertainment headline:

Here’s what we know about the person who bit Beyoncé.

Does this madness ever end?

I know I know…I brought it on myself. I could have listened to the top 3 news stories on the radio on my way to work and know all I have to know about the world. But sometimes I want a little more.

What is more in today’s world?

Since the time of orators in the middle of Roman squares, people have wanted to know what was going on. Not only about war and crucifixions, but which Roman Senator was dismissed from his duties for actions unbecoming to a Roman Senator.

I admit I like a little gossip in my life. My family life is fantastic, albeit not changing much from day to day. My job borderlines boredom. What gossip there is around the office is lame at best. I hate most TV shows and I’m bored with the book I’m reading.

So what’s wrong with a little news and entertainment in my life?

Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad. For every informational headline there is Tyler Perry reveals the best part of being rich and Did New Mom Kylie Jenner Just Dye Her Hair Blonde? ‘I Think I Was Meant to Be’ She Says.

How those headlines mix with those on sexual harrassment, marriage and divorce I’ll never know.

I think it’s important to keep up on the news, no matter how sickening it is. But there is a line between real news about real situations and who’s tweeting what. Same for entertainment. Or sports.

How do you take your news? How do you balance what you need to know with trash you don’t?

I’m going to do my best to keep away from the junk. It only pumps me up. I’ll glance over the words if I have to, looking out for key words if I don’t. But I don’t know how long I can keep it up.  I am weak.

Tell me how you do it.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Robert Finale

The powerful and captivating works of the artist Robert Finale flow naturally from a deep-rooted passion and God given talent for capturing the intrinsic beauty in humankind and nature.

The artist is no stranger to struggles and adversity. At the tender age of two, he along with his family left the country of Cuba for a life of freedom ad opportunity in the United States.

His paintings transport you to a time and place of private charm, a haven of pure and quiet delight.

Each painting is a journey of unspoken words and hidden whispers of freedom, nurturing the hopes and dreams that exist within all of us. These feelings are resurfaced and unveiled through beautiful city images in romantic surroundings placing the viewer in the dream world of unconscious thoughts.

As Robert places the final brush strokes on the canvas, he is conscious of the fact that the art is a universal language. Therefore, one canvas represents the window to millions of different emotions that have existed and exist through all of us, giving the viewer a powerful, tool to look within his own world, for the understanding of life’s journey.

More of Robert Finale‘s wonderful paintings can be found at http://robertfinalepaintings.com/.

I’m Turning Into My Mother

I’m turning into my mother.

Well, really, my sweet Irish mother passed away at 54, so I don’t know what she would have been like as an old lady.

I’m turning into everyone else’s mother.

And I don’t think I like it. But I can’t do anything about it.

I always used to wonder why my father-in-law was such a bastard when he got older. He hated everything (except his grandkids), enjoyed trash talking everything from politics to ethnicities. And he enjoyed it.

Now I’m not a bear like he was, but I find that more and more things are just bugging the heck out of me. Like I’ve constantly got an itch that I can’t scratch.

Like politics. Not getting into ANY discussions, but damn, someone should take Twitter away from that man. The news about his son, his staff, all just makes me sick.

Or traffic. I went into the city a few weeks ago and it bugged the heck out of me. Drivers are ignorant. They wander where they want to when they want to. And forget about signals. That’s as foreign as Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings).

I love old time rock and roll music (thanks, Bob Seeger), but not screamy high pitched or eternal guitar solos, especially at 7 am when I’m going to work or 4 pm when I’m headed home. Its the same old songs on the same old radio stations…no wonder I’m beginning to hate Styx.

See what I mean? I’m turning into one of those old crabby ass people.

My idea of a summer evening is sitting on the deck, listening to the birds and all, feeling the breeze on my cheeks. No parties, no barbeques…just peace and quiet.

That’s an old person’s favorite thing to do.

My idea of music at work is upbeat classical or smooth jazz. Who can listen to Metallica or Green Day while you’re typing figures?

That’s an old person’s view of music.

I really try not to fall into the black hole of old peoplehood. I run around with my grandkids, go to Gaelic Storm concerts, go for walks for exercise a couple of times a week. I love reading, writing, and doodling. I try new food and don’t care for most of it.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve had a lifetime of politics where nothing has changed. Friends of mine went to the Peace Corps after high school. They are still bombing where they visited. People are bringing guns into schools and shooting anything that moves.

The names have changed but the situations haven’t.

That’s why I’d rather sit and watch grass grow. I’m not afraid that it’s going to come to my house and murder me in my sleep or steal my car or bomb my apartment.

Maybe that’s not being old after all. Maybe it’s just being smart.

Spring is Here

By the time you read this, Spring will be officially here (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere…you southerners have had it long enough!)

One of the parts of being old that I really love is that I can start to say, “I remember when…” I do that alot. But I digress. But I remember when I was younger that winters were more winter-like. We froze from December until March, feets of snow (is there such a phrase?), dug out every other week, and had a jolly old time jumping off roofs into the huge snowbanks. Now we get snow and after a few days it’s nothing but dirty mush. What fun is that?

I must admit we have some odd habits here in the middle of the U.S.

The first sign of spring around here is when you spot people in sweatshirts and shorts. I don’t know — I think it’s a Wisconsin thing. But it can be 40 degrees out and everybody’s in shorts. Not yet t-shirt weather, they make due with sweatshirts.

The number of joggers/walkers/runners seem to increase the day it turns 45 too. Although the ranks thin out during the summer, I applaud those who run through the puddles of melted snow just to make it around the block.

Starting the first week in April our stores are jammed with perfectly amazing plants and trees for your garden. Of course, they never look as fresh and blooming when you get them home as they do hanging on the Walmart rack, but hey! You can do it too! The ground is usually still frozen in the beginning of April, though, so that just means you have to prevent all your flowering gems from wilting or frosting by keeping them inside the back door until thaw time.

I myself am the harbinger of the other spring past time — driving with the window open, blasting music to beat the band. I have been known to open the window at 40 degrees, even 37 if it’s sunny and there is no wind. I just crank up the heater by my feet a little, and pretend I’m in a convertible.

Spring is the time to air out your car, your clothes, and your lungs. It’s the time I want to quit my job, go wandering hither and tither, lunch on the hill, put my toes in the lake, watch the moonrise, stay up until 3 am, then sleep in. Of course, I don’t have a hill or a lake or an open view of the moon.

But there is something about the first warm day after a long, long winter than makes new life possible. I don’t know how many springs I have left, but know that as soon as it’s 50 I’m grabbing my shorts and sweatshirt and jogging around the block.

What do you do when spring comes?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Monday Evening — Chris Maynard

I have so many wonderful artists to share with you, I decided to bring you to the Gallery on a Monday Evening…Enjoy…

 

Chris Maynard has worked with feathers since he was twelve. His unique feather shadowboxes are recognized by art collectors, bird lovers, and a wide and interesting variety of people from around the world.

He only has time to turn a small portion of his ideas, which fill many notebooks, into his shadow box feather designs. His favorite tools are the tiny eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses passed down through his family.

Maynard combines his strong backgrounds in biology and ecology into not only his art, but also a tabletop book and engaging and informative talks on the beauty, function, and meaning of feathers. He is a member of Society of Animal Artists and Artists for Conservation.

Feathers mark nature’s pinnacle of achievement: the intersection of function and beauty. They make flight possible; insulate against water, sun and wind; and their colors and patterns help them hide and attract mates.

To Chris Maynard, each feather is a small bit of perfection. When birds shed or discard their feathers every year, he recycles them in his art.

The feathers Maynard uses are from private aviaries and zoos. Most feathers used are from birds not native to North America—even the crow feathers. The exception to using feathers from North America are those from turkeys and grouse. All feathers used in Maynard’s artwork are legal to have and sell.

More of Chris Maynard’s incredible feather work can be found at http://www.featherfolio.com/

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I wrote this for my work blog, but it was so Irish that I share it with you today! Bless you all!

 

To most in America, Saint Patrick’s Day celebrates the Irish and their traditions by parades, music, shamrocks, and green beer. But are we celebrating true traditions or a fluffy version? Here are myths and truths about this favorite day:

First off, the patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Scotland in the late 4th century. When he was a teenager, he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Ireland. Six years later, he escaped and went back to Scotland, where he joined a monastery. As an adult, he returned to Ireland as a missionary, where he lived for 40 years, dying in A.D. 461. His real name is believed to be Maewyn Succat and he took on the name Patrick upon becoming a priest.

St. Patrick’s Day did not start out as a party day. Until the 1700s, it was a day in the Catholic calendar in observance of a saint important to and popular in Ireland…and not much anywhere else. And even in Ireland, Catholics honored St. Patrick with prayer and quiet reflection. St. Patrick’s Day as we know it today started in America in the late 19th and early 20th century, when the large numbers of newly arrived Irish immigrants began using the day as a way to celebrate their Irish heritage.

Green was not always the color of St. Patrick’s Day. Members of the Order of St. Patrick actually used blue as their symbolic color.

The shamrock, as beautiful a plant as it is, is not the officially sanctioned symbol of Ireland. The official symbol is a harp.

Corned beef and cabbage is actually about as Irish as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Favorite Irish foods include traditional fare like Irish bacon, lamb, and soda bread and of course, Irish stew. The tradition of corned beef and cabbage likely came from Irish immigrants who had to make do with what food was available to them once they arrived in the United States.

St. Patrick did not drive the snakes from Ireland. The Ice Age deserves more credit for ridding snakes from Ireland than Patrick. The truth is that weather conditions on the Emerald Isle make snake existence virtually impossible. Thus there have never been any snakes living there at all. As the period came to an end snakes migrated northwards but stopped at Britain when melting ice caps created the Irish Sea.

St. Patrick also did not defeat the pagan druids. The truth: This story is believed to have been invented by a cleric, Muirchú, who lived two centuries later. Historians believe that there were already Christian believers in Ireland by the time Patrick arrived. Ireland also had strong trading links with the Roman Empire, and the religion is likely to have been spread.

It is said that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish. Take the blarney and the blessings and the message the day brings and enjoy yourself!

Just Talk!

Last December I wrote a blog about what I want to be in my next life (the link if you’re interested…) Well, after last night, I have a brand new wish for my next life.

I want to have better social skills.

Went to a Gaelic Storm concert last night. Great Irish pub music, everybody singing and clapping and having a gay ‘ol time. I decided to hang around afterwards to get the band’s autograph, something I’ve never done before.

So here I am, a 65-year-old granny of three, married for 36 years, worked all my life, a writer, a verbal run-of-the-mouth, standing there to get the autographs I’ve waited 10 years to get.

I hand my stuffed donkey to the first fellow…he signs it…and I just stand there. Saying nothing.

Not “how’s the tour so far?” or “are you gambling later?” (it was in a casino’s theater) or “how’s tricks?”

I just stood there like a mute dummy, moving down the line, getting autographs, not interacting at all.

What is wrong with me?

It’s not like I’m star struck. These guys (and one girl) are your everyday fun people. Like you could have them over for a barbecue or something. I’ve followed this band for over 10 years — their music is like family singing around the campfire.

Yet I stood mute and dumb like I was in front of Queen Elizabeth or something. Me, the talker, the animated chatter, had not one word to say.

I get that way a lot. I don’t consider myself shy or introverted, but sometimes when I get out in public I clam up. Like I’m afraid to say anything because anything I say will sound dumb. Like all of my life experiences and those I interact with all the time are nothing more than drops in the proverbial bucket.

Am I intimidated by people in general? Do I not like it when the attention turns to me?

I hated telling fellow workers I had cancer years ago. I didn’t want all the attention bad news would bring, yet I thought they had the right to know. I don’t know how to take a complement, although I work on looking pretty decent from day to day.

Maybe there are leftover hangups from junior high that I keep locked away. Perhaps I’m not strong enough to believe that I did nothing wrong and they were the jerks. But that was 50 years ago, so it’s way past due to get over it.

I did get the nerve to say something to the lead singer…some mumbo jumbo about being their oldest groupie until tonight..that there were a lot of oldies in the crowd. Patrick laughed and said, “Well..you’re one of the young ones.”

A young one with marbles in my mouth…

What Is Your Title?

Things are swinging around here lately. It seems like I haven’t felt like writing lately, except for my blog.

Me. A writer. Not writing.

I seem to be getting more into the Art thing more than the Writing thing. I’m finding more and more artists that I want to share with you, and finding less and less creativity in the short story department.

Does that mean I’m still a Writer?

Should I change my title to Art Director?

Some people live and die by their title. I can remember working in downtown Chicago in the 80s….people were respected (and paid) by how many windows they  had in their office. Pity the fellow who had a beam going down the middle of the window. It wasn’t nearly as  respected as one who had a whole window.  The CEO at the time had four windows — a corner office.

You can see whose title meant the most in those days.

I’m sure it’s the same today. I don’t work downtown, so titles aren’t as cutthroat as they are in the city. Yet I’ve seen ledgers with Vice President of Marketing, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, Director of Marketing, Assistant Director of Marketing — what does that all mean?

Back to my title.

I consider myself a writer. Do I dare consider myself an Art Director?

According to Wikipedia, an art director…… is the charge of a sole art director to supervise and unify the vision. In particular, the art director is in charge of the overall visual appearance (I do that) and how it communicates visually, stimulates moods, contrasts features, and psychologically appeals to a target audience (I do that too!) . The art director makes decisions about visual elements used, what artistic style to use, and when to use motion (I do all that too!).

It’s funny how so many of us are judged by our titles. I was a IDCAS who did writing, yet I didn’t get the acknowledgement of a writer until they called me Digital Writer. I’m sure those chains hang over other artistic branches as well.

I believe we should be any title we want. As long as we don’t lie about things like past jobs or education, what does it matter what you’re called? Of course, I don’t really need a title. I just do what I do and like what I do.

I am the owner of Sunday Evening Art Gallery.  I also choose which artists to showcase, the layout of the site, who to promote. That makes me an Art Director if anything does.

I could also call myself Art Gallery Marketing Manager, Gallery Curator, Museum Director, Art Gallery Administrator, Art Gallery Museum Director…..

It was much simpler when I was just a writer.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Daniele Barresi

Daniele Barresi is an award winning carving designer originating from Italy who now resides in Sydney, Australia.

He is world renown for his extraordinary artistic carving abilities involving a range of mediums including but not limited to fruits, vegetables, cheeses and soaps.

From a young age having spent most of his life living in a small beautiful town in Italy, it was natural for Daniele to explore his local town and surroundings that gave him inspiration in which fueled his imagination to create art in the form of carving.

As he grew so did his skills and techniques in which he uses to create the extraordinary designs you see today.

The artist currently does commissions for special events and also teaches carving classes in Sydney showing students how to carve designs into various mediums as well as how to use assorted carving tools like knives, pens, peel zesters, melon ballers and more.

Each piece he carves is more intricate and delicate than the previous one.

More of Daniele Barresi’s amazing carvings can be found at https://www.danielebarresi.net/.

Make Sure You Want to Hop That Fence

This is one of those posts where the title could go either way:

Don’t give up on your dreams

or

Be careful what you dream for

Those of you who have followed me through the years know I’m a 65 year-old granny of three, an Internet Data Specialist (fancy title for data entry), lover of chocolate and spaghetti, and a writer.

Writer is always last on my day job resume. Until now.

Yesterday my job title was changed to reflect the writing I’ve been doing for my company blog and other media.

I am now a Digital Writer.

I’m not telling you this to get your congratulations — I’m telling you this so that once you get to your greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence place you are prepared for what’s there.

All my life I’ve been a writer. I do not have a college degree — perhaps the one regret I have in life. But no matter. I’ve been a secretary most of my life, moving to a coordinator 15 years ago which included proofreading. Right up my alley.

I’ve worked my way up the proverbial ladder, although the rungs are narrow and so far apart I need another ladder just to move up one. We had a company blog that just sat there, some nebulous person posting every three months or so.

Because I am a blabbermouth on this blog, it was a natural to start blabbering for the company. The form has changed, but I now blog for the company two times a week.

After yesterday’s meeting, I found out I’m going to be doing a lot more writing than blogs and an occasional Facebook post.

And I’m nervous.

It’s one thing to toot your horn when no one is listening; it’s something else to put your money where your mouth is. Now all of a sudden I’m going to have to perform. Diversify. Research. Take a few online courses.

Am I up to it? After all, I can retire in 9 months.

I am going to give it the best I can give. I’m going to work my a$$ off to keep up, twist around, speak up. I am going to do the thing I’ve always wanted to do and do it the best I’ve ever done. I’m going to make this position a POSITION.

The purpose of today’s sermon is to reaffirm to you not to give up your dreams. And make your dreams reasonable. I mean, you can dream you are the first artist to walk the moon, but, you know…

But if you dream to have a better job, lose weight, get out and see the world one city at a time, don’t give up. Work towards it. Finagle your way around it.

I wouldn’t have had this opportunity if I hadn’t bugged my boss to take over the blog. It went to once a month to twice a week, and I fear more often in the future.

I might have been a 65-year-old pain in the a$$, but I did listen to Kenny Rogers:

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

Showing Off the Gallery

Good Evening!

Just opened another gallery over at Sunday Evening Art Gallery, and running through all the different galleries, I decided to show off a few of the images you didn’t see here. It is my hope that you wander over to http://www.sundayeveningartgallery.com and take a look at the wonderfully creative artists I’ve come across.. These people blow my mind. I hope that if you’re not following me over there, you’ll think about it. I have a ton of artists waiting for Sundays here, then exploding in their glory over at the SEAG. Come and stay a while!

 

Bubbles

Craig Haupt

 

Library Interiors

 

Faberge Eggs

 

Kevin Zuckerman

Rita Faes

 

Spencer Biles

Tal Peleg

 

Unmasked Group

 

Willard Wigan

 

Natalya Sots

 

Le Chat Noir

 

Svetlana Bobrova

 

Snowflakes

 

Mézesmanna

 

Mihai Criste

 

Kiragami

 

Jennifer Maestre

Orange

 

Maud Vantours

 

Doors

 

Wine Glasses

Water Drops

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Ellie Davies

Ellie Davies has have been working in UK forests for the past eight years, making work which explores the complex interrelationship between the landscape and the individual.

Davies notes UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years and include ancient woodlands, timber forestry, wildlife reserves and protected Areas of Outstanding Natural.

As such, forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery.

Against this backdrop, Davies’ work explores the ways in which identity is formed by the landscapes we live and grow up in.

The forest becomes a studio, forming a backdrop to contextualize the work, so that each piece draws on its location, a golden tree introduced into a thicket shimmers in the darkness, painted paths snake through the undergrowth, and strands of wool are woven between trees mirroring colors and formal elements within the space.

More of Ellie Davies’ fantastic photography can be found at https://elliedavies.co.uk/.

 

You’re A Writer, Huh?

Happy Saturday Y’all!

Warmth came to Wisconsin today, teasing us with sunshine and soft breezes. Makes us think Spring is here. But we know better…

So sitting down to write (and I don’t mean commenting on others blogs or chatting of Facebook) it came to me.

Does your mate/friends/family ever ask to see your writing?

I use writing as the subject because people can always peek into your studio to see what you’re painting, or what you’re making with your beads covering half the kitchen table.

Writing is different.

They’d have to turn on your computer, go to your files, click on what you’ve written, and sit and read with the computer on their lap.

That’s too much work for most.

Now I don’t mean do your friends and family support you — I think in one way or another they understand your craft and are happy that you are happy.

But do they ever sit down next to you and ask what you’re writing? Ask to read anything you’ve written in the past the last 20 years?

Writing is a funny business. The minute you write anything more than a paragraph you are an AUTHOR. Yet if you are not published anywhere that AUTHOR title doesn’t feel right. I wonder if I were to publish a bunch of books would my kids bust down the door and grab the computer and see what’s next.

I doubt it.

As I’ve said many times in blogs through the years, I love my hubby to death and back. Same with my boys, my grandkids, my best friends, my cats…I want them to be who they want to be. Financial Manager, Daycare Director — it doesn’t matter.

I’d just like them to want to read my rambling once in a while.

Maybe writing is more a personal things. I don’t know how many people beat the door down to read J.K. Rowlings or Steven King’s next book. Maybe they had to get their prose and poetry to someone who could pass it along to the world.

My family knows I write. Knows I have two sets of novels written, along with dozens of short stories and poems. But they never go further than “hows the writing going, mom?” My husband isn’t literary in that sense, so I can’t expect him to glom over every  chapter.

Maybe that’s okay. These worlds I create of mostly for me anyway. Maybe I’ll take the next step to get published, maybe I won’t. But I will keep the fire burning for no other reason than to keep the synapses firing.

So if you have a friend that writes, ask them about their writing. Ask to read their writing. Sit down and write with them. Don’t keep your distance just because you’re not a writer.

You can also be a learner.

And for you writers, keep on writing. You are an AUTHOR.

It’s WHAT Day?

I am a blogger in my day job, if not by title then surely by osmosis. I write blogs that relate to the nine or so catalogs we publish. Usually the topics are pretty general…March is Youth Art Month for Arts & Crafts, Warm Ups and Cool Downs for PE, Merrily We Rover Along for Science. They are short, informational, and I hope fun to read.

Sometimes I go to the website Holiday Insights  to get ideas for different sorts of holidays my teachers and readers can identify with, like Pi Day March 14th. And there are days in there I can see celebrating like Brothers and Sisters Day and Sally Ride Day.

Then, of course, there are those which have no explanation. Who or how these days were chosen to be celebrated I have no idea. And some I don’t want to know. So I will share these mysteries with you, along with the links (just click the day) so you can wonder along with me.

January

2nd – Run up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day

3rd – Fruitcake Toss Day

7th – Old Rock Day

11th – Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend’s Day

21st – Squirrel Appreciation Day

February

3rd – Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

7th – Wave All you Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

11th –Don’t Cry over Spilled Milk Day

13th –Get a Different Name Day

20th – Hoodie Hoo Day

March

3rd – If Pets Had Thumbs Day

7th – National Crown Roast of Pork Day

15th – Everything You Think is Wrong Day

16th – Everything You Do is Right Day

20th – Extraterrestrial Abductions Day

29th – Smoke and Mirrors Day

April

3rd – Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day

4th – World Rat Day

4th – Walk Around Things Day

13th – Blame Someone Else Day

16th – National Eggs Benedict Day

26th – Richter Scale Day

May

3rd – Lumpy Rug Day

4th – International Tuba Day 

9th – Lost Sock Memorial Day

11th – Twilight Zone Day

14th – Dance Like a Chicken Day

22th – World Goth Day

June

1st –Flip a Coin Day

13th –National Weed Your Garden Day

16th – National Hollerin’ Contest Day

19th – Juneteenth

19th – World Sauntering Day

22ns – Take Your Dog to Work Day

July

2nd – I Forgot Day

3rd –Compliment Your Mirror Day

3rd – Embrace Your Geekness Day

15th –Be a Dork Day

17th – Yellow Pig Day

27th – Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day

August

5th – National Underwear Day

6th – Wiggle Your Toes Day

8th – Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

27th – Just Because Day

28th – Race Your Mouse Day

September

2nd –Internaional Bacon Day

5th – Be Late for Something Day

7th – Neither Rain nor Snow Day

22nd –International Rabbit Day

28th – Ask a Stupid Question Day

October

2nd- Name Your Car Day

3rd –Virus Appreciation Day

8th – American Touch Tag Day

9th – Moldy Cheese Day

10 th – Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

14th – Be Bald and Free Day

21th – Count Your Buttons Day

November

2nd –Look for Circles Day

6th – Marooned without a Compass Day

9th – Chaos Never Dies Day

15th – Clean Your Refrigerator Day

19th – Have a Bad Day Day

30th – Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day

December

1st – Eat a Red Apple Day

3rd –National Roof over Your Head Day

6th – Put on your own Shoes Day

6th –  National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

11th – National Noodle Ring Day

30th –National Bicarbonate of Soda Day

Which day are YOU going to celebrate?

My Melty Smelty Heart

Good Evening My Good Friends!

I have been silent these past four days. I know…me…silent?  I have about 50 blogs to read tonight because I have spent the last four days up nort’ in Michigan at our annual family Ski Trip. 

Now, I don’t ski. Telle Tubbies don’t ski.

My hubby and I, our kids, our grandkids, my kids friends, their kids, my daughter-on-law’s parents, their kid — it’s a grand ‘ol trip we have taken every year for at least 12 years. I  cook, sit around, talk, drink, sleep, walk around in the snow — all the things you’re supposed to do on vacation.

The great thing is that I did most of those activities this year with my grandkids.

Funny how life turns around and around.

I used to love doing that with my kids. Making snow angels,  pulling them on the sled, watching them snowball each other. My boys started skiing around high school. I remember picking up my youngest from the closest ski hill 25 miles one way every week for 8 weeks. My oldest became a skiing whiz when he met his wife-to-be.

Then there was that big gap in time. You know — that dramatic pause in life where one life fades out and another fades in. My oldest fell in love with his skier, whose parents skied, so here we went again. They taught my oldest grandson to ski at three; the two-year-old wasn’t interested this year, but next year, watch out.

So here I am again, walking around the snow-bound block (really a country block) with my little guy, striving to remember those walks of 26 years ago.

I’ll take my memories however I can get them. And if someday I mix up a grandkid with my kid, who cares — there was love bursting out all over with both of them. My life has been one big, melty heart.

Only one lesson learned on my ski weekend, though — don’t try matching shots with your oldest. You’ll do a fourth as much in half the time and still fall asleep at 6…

I’ve Got a Secret (Song)

Secrets. We all have them.

Maybe they’re more like moments. Moments we never talk about. Most of them don’t mean a thing. But others…

I was driving to work the other day when I heard the lyrics of the song below,  and it zapped my emotions. It was a song that had meaning only to me. A moment in time sort of thing .  But it has to do with a moment that I don’t share.

Soooo…I was wondering. Some of you must have moments you don’t tell for one reason or another that are brought back to mind every time you hear something familiar.

Is there any quote, any line from a movie, any lyrics from a song, that have a special meaning to you and only you? Something that, every time you hear it, a “ping” runs through you, reminding you of that “moment”?

Alrighty, then! Here’s your chance to share your secret moment through a song or a poem or a quote from a movie. Tell us! We don’t have any idea what the secret is, nor do we want to know. I/we just want you to get it off your chest once and for all!

If you always wanted to tell someone something…here’s your chance.

I know I feel better…

I’ll go first.

 

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
(I have become comfortably numb)

Comfortably Numb, Pink Floyd

 

Your turn….

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Carol Long

Born in 1965, Carol Long was raised on a farm in Stafford County Kansas.

.Working from a family farm studio in Kansas, Carol reproduces the beauty of her surrounding environment into her pieces using floral and insect motifs, combined with flowing lines, merging into leaf and  plant details

Pieces are made by a variety of methods such as throwing, slabwork, extrusions, and hand building, along with pulled handles and  attached  multiple pieces that are textured with presses, slip trailing, stains and glazes.

 Her work continues to evolve as she experiments with new ways of expressing the tiny beautiful intrinsic qualities of nature that we often take for granted.

Originally inspired to be an artist by her mother, she has also received inspiration from her three children, which explains the carefree whimsy evident in her pottery.More of Carol Long‘s pottery can be found at http://www.carollongpottery.com/. 

 

 

Home on the Farm

I told Walt Page, a friend and poet, that his poem Night Dream Meadow  I reposted yesterday reminded me so much of a short story I wrote years ago.

Walt is a poet, and has such a way with words. I don’t have a flair for poetry but I am a writer, so for those who enjoyed yesterday’s poem, here is the story I wrote some time ago. It’s about 1,100 words, so hopefully it won’t take up too much of your time…

 

 

He woke up before the crowing of the rooster, something he hadn’t done in a long time. There was only one rooster left now, a strutting white leghorn with tan wings and black spots on his chest. Eddie didn’t feel like waiting for the bird’s morning call, though –he was wide awake. The old man stretched carefully, surprised to find the shooting pains in his legs gone. Remarkable. Last night the pain had been so bad he had to double his medication just to make it to his bed. Now — now his legs felt better than they had in years.

Sitting up in bed, his watery eyes looked out the window towards the coming sunrise. The light sparkled like a million crystal chips, shimmering at the edge of the sky, stretching the morning clouds into ribbons of pink and gold. Someone once told him that the sunrises were brighter these days because of all the pollution in the air, but he didn’t agree. Eddie had witnessed many a sunrise on his farm in Wisconsin, many a sunrise and sunset since his father plowed the land when he was a boy. Maybe they all didn’t sparkle like this one, but they were all unique, all beautiful.

 Climbing out of bed and into the bathroom, Eddie noticed that all of his bodily functions were running smoothly. What an enjoyable respite from the dribbling and splashing he had been going through lately. Looking into the mirror, his blue eyes were the clearest he had seen in a while, the age splotches on his face nearly non-existent. His hands didn’t tremble as he shaved, nor did he need his glasses to comb his hair.

Donning his flannel and overalls, Eddie called his hound to come join him on a morning walk. The 84-year-old man had not wandered through his farmland in ages, and his legs felt so great, so strong, he couldn’t resist the urge to revisit fields that had seen better days. Bouncer didn’t come running, though, but merely slept in the puddle of sunlight that fell in front of the living room sofa. Fine, Eddie thought. Sleep the morning away. I have things to do.

The chill of the morning air danced around the old man as he opened the back door, invigorating his senses. The scent of hay and grass filled his nostrils, along with the earthy sweat of horses and cows. He looked down at his legs and worried for a moment they wouldn’t carry him across the porch and down the stairs to the old barn. He hadn’t been able to make that trek in quite some time, his legs having grown more useless as the years passed. But this morning — this morning was different. There wasn’t a cloud hanging over his thoughts anymore. No depression, no drugs to slow him down.

Eddie cautiously moved down the stairs and followed the dirt path that led to the empty red barn. Vivid memories of his father and mother and brothers bombarded him as he neared the dilapidated structure. His parents had moved to Wisconsin from Poland, hoping to find freedom and a new life in the rural countryside that looked so much like their native land. His father tended 25 cows in his day; Eddie almost 40 during his middle years. Adding chickens and a couple of bulls to the mix, Eddie made a decent living, enough to support a wife and three children in the heyday of the 50’s.

But the kids grew up and moved to the big city, and his wife took on a bout of cancer about ten years back and never recovered, leaving the farm and livestock to run wild with abandonment. Eddie finally allowed the neighbor to plant corn in his empty fields, providing a small but decent return that, combined with his small pension, afforded him a comfortable retirement.

The past was the past, and now all Eddie could visualize was the barn full of cows and the chickens raising a ruckus in their pen somewhere behind the milk cans and the 1952 Ford pickup truck that was down a quart of oil. His footsteps were lighter than air, quick and sure, walking the path they had carved into the earth for the past 80 years. Eddie noticed horses in the pasture and hay bales stacked up in the loft and kids playing baseball in the front yard. Yes, that was how it was supposed to be.

Past the farm equipment, through the barn and out the double doors on the other side, Eddie spotted his wife sitting on the picnic table under the huge oak tree at the bottom of the hill, laughing and talking to his mother and father.

Eddie spotted his father sitting in the wooden chair that used to sit by the fireplace and his mother on a blanket near the base of the tree. They looked so young and fresh, just as they did the day they bought the farm five miles outside of town. The kids squealed in the background, the dogs barked and the crows threatened from their perches atop the trees.

It was incredible how good it felt to be alive, to feel the earth and the farm under his feet, the sunshine on his weathered face, to hear his children laugh and scream and chase the dogs around the front yard. Eddie fleetingly wondered about his newfound energy, the firmness of his limbs, the accuracy of his eyesight. There were no more bouts with arthritis and pneumonia; there were no more regrets about the past or thoughts of suicide. It was as if he had always been this way. His wife Margaret seemed to take on a subtle glow as she beckoned him to join her under the overgrown tree.

Eddie hesitated for a moment, as a thought, a rationalization, tried to take form in his head. But it was gone as quickly as it appeared, for the world was full of enchanting sounds and sights, and no rationalization could take that away.

Just as the sun crested above the distant pines the rooster finally crowed, cracking the morning with its triumphant sound. At that moment Eddie thought he heard a jumbling of sounds: a phone ringing, a dog howling, voices and noises and the shattering of glass. But it must have been the wind playing tricks, carrying nonsense through the open fields from the farms down the way. He turned, and, smiling, went into the arms of his beautiful wife.

The reunion had begun.  Eddie was home. Home on the farm.

A Poem About My/Our Life

When I read this poem this morning it reminded me so much of a short story I wrote that I had to repost it. We all hope our dreams become our reality once we move along. Thanks, Walt, for the beauty of the written word.

Often when I sleep I dream I go to a place I call Night Dream Meadow Where the moon is bright And my heart is light And I listen to the voices of the night I walk through the meadow Following the path Leading me to the Rainbow Bridge Where I’m greeted by the dogs […]

via Night Dream Meadow — Walt’s Writings

Ahhh….Paris

I just came back from an Evening in Paris. Walked the back streets until I came upon this little bistro. I sat outside at a little wrought iron table under an umbrella, for it was raining. The lights of the Eiffel Tower sparkled through the misty rain, a constant vigil in the Paris skyline. Down the street a door opened and the sweet strains of La Vie En Rose poured out, completing the night.

Actually, I was downloading some images for a future Eiffel Tower Gallery and kept coming across pictures of Paris at night.

I wasn’t always a dreamer of French bistros and cathedrals. My desires have always been towards the green hills of Ireland and the rolling towns of England. But the last few years have drawn me to the romantic notions of Pariee…the museums, the small restaurants, French wine, croissants, fashion,  café au lait, parks, romantic side streets…I mean, I could stay for a month.

Perhaps I’ve watched “Midnight in Paris” too many times. Or “An American in Paris.” Movies always make places seem more magical than they really are.

But I don’t think it’s the same with Paris. I think there’s always been magic there. From the time of Louis XIV and Versailles to the rolling wine country of Bordeaux and Champagne, there is always something about another world that is full of mystery and atmosphere.

I don’t think I’ll ever travel to Paris — with grandkids and mortgages and who knows what else, I don’t think this is on my husband’s top 10 places to visit before he dies. And anyway, I doubt anyone would want to do the kind of wandering I’d be inclined to do (the pretzel kind).

One thing that has danced on the outside of my thoughts is to write a story about Paris. I haven’t been in the mood to finish my third novel (or anything else lately), but the thought of a middle-aged woman finding intrigue and freedom in a strange and beautiful city…

Ah, but how can I write about a place I’ve never been?

Well, I’ve never been to 1885 Claremont, Wisconsin or Veii, Etruria either. And I survived those uncharted worlds just fine.

If you want to write about something you know nothing about, write. Take a chance. Let your mind wander past the 25-mile circle you call home. You never know…

Maybe we will meet at  Le Recruitement Cafe one evening. 36 boulevard la Tour Maubourg, 75007 Paris. I will have to astral travel, but hey…I’ll be there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Kerby Rosanes

Philippines-based illustrator Kerby Rosanes is a master in the world of  proves that doodling can be so much more than scratching unintelligible scribbles on paper.

Using Uni Pin drawing pens, Rosanes is able to transport viewers to a world of designs, characters, and  drawings that present a mesmerizing view with every angle.

Rosanes admits that he gets on an “illustration high” when he merges animals with his “crazy doodle monsters”, but he loves the results of every fusion.

Rosanes is a self-taught artist, honing his talent with every design. Growing up, he could not afford to take art classes so he learned to draw himself.

Rosanes believes that artists should pursue something that is close to your heart. Breaking into the creative industry is not easy. So don’t let every negative comment pull you down.

More of Kerby Rosanes amazing designs can be found at http://kerbyrosanes.com.

 

Nothing Else Matters

What is the purpose of a blog?

Is it to inform? Entertain? Do you use it as a diary? A podium?

I started this blog in 2011 to entertain. I have a great connection to the Goddess and I wanted to share her upbeat, positive message. That we only go one way in life, so we might as well fill that way with all the positives we can.

I suppose our blogs drift one way or another as time goes by. Perhaps the two of us weren’t funny enough. Or clever enough. But as she and I got older the posts became more melancholy. More shadowed.

Everything came full circle the other day, though. Something that snapped me back into beautiful reality.

I just became a grandmother for the third time yesterday. And that in itself is all the magic, all the blessing, one could ask for.

I want to live long enough to attend my newest granddaughter’s wedding. To go fishing with the boys in the summer and build snowmen in the winter. I want three kids calling “granny granny granny!” for years and years to come.

Nothing else matters.

This is my life. I am here. Like that poster of the galaxy with “You are here” over this teeny tiny dot. And this is where I want to be.

So hug your kids, your dog, or your stuffed unicorn. You have a choice in life to be positive or negative. For yourself, for your family, for your friends, pick the positive. Even if you slip and fall you’ll still be going in the right direction.

Happy Saturday and beyond!.

 

Do You Suffer From Money Envy?

Oh, my friends, I am overwhelmed with feelings of envy.

Let me make this perfectly clear — I am very happy where I am. My husband, my grandkids, my own two kids. I couldn’t ask for more.

Yet here I am, asking for more.

I think I watch too many TV shows where there are actors making $20,000 an episode, the CEO of Ceasar’s Palace and the Vice President of Food and Beverage at Ceasar’s judging Hell’s Kitchen finalists, Gosford Park where the really rich do nothing but eat and languish while the servants have a world of their own, restaurants that serve exquisite meals that make unique appetizers at $30 a hit, people who vacation in Hawaii then the Alps then France and barely feel the breeze on their hair.

I am suffering from rich people envy.

I will never be in that world. Point blank. I will never have the money to stay at an exquisite resort in the Rockies or have a beach front apartment in Honolulu or have a cocktail at the top of the Eifel Tower. And in some realms that is okay.

I have taken the slow road through life. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, I have worked all my life in order to have a comfortable place to call home, send my kids to school, pay for their sports and their pizzas and some of their college. I tried starting my own business, which didn’t take off as I thought it would. So backwards the finances went, until I found a job at a catalog distributor.

I will never be able to take off for the weekend to New York City or dine at Guy Savoy’s in Caesar’s Palace. Most of those things don’t matter to most of us. And it doesn’t matter to me most of the time.

But now and then I feel a bit melancholy that I never became a money maker in life. That I never became a vice president or executive director of anything. I never became a famous author or consultant. I never have been able to live in the top third income bracket.

Yet I am okay where I am today.

Maybe it’s because the road in front of me is shorter than the road behind me, and you can’t change your past. I suppose if I were to do my life again I’d change a little bit here or there, but I would still go bowling with friends where I met my husband and driven my kids to school every day just so I could have a conversation with them.

Would you change any part of your life? Just a smidge?

Do you ever suffer from “money envy”?

Sometimes I’m ashamed that I envy the money life. Why be envious of a life you will never have? Your family never had? Would I trade anything I have today for that golden ring?

I think a lot of this insecurity comes because I’m almost old enough to retire, and my past was never on the money path. It’s easy to look back and think I should have done this or that and it would have made a difference.

But that’s not true.

I may not be an executive of a company, but I’ve worked hard and well in all my jobs, traveled to Cancun and Las Vegas with my husband, I go camping and on ski weekends and I’m blessed to have both of my kids in the same state. I may not vacation in the Bahamas but camping in Sturgeon Bay is just as rewarding.

I think we all suffer from money envy from time to time. It’s what we do with that envy that counts. Acknowledge it, thank it, and get on with your life. You can’t change your choices, so embrace the ones you’ve made.

You’ve made them for a reason.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Jack Storms

Both a tremendous athlete and a motivated student growing up in New Hampshire, it wasn’t until later in life that Jack Storms discovered his passion for contemporary art.

At 30 years old, Jack graduated Plymouth State University with a BA in Art focusing primarily on studio production.

It was during his junior year at PSU that he stumbled upon a nearby studio of a glass artist producing a rare style of glass artwork by combining lead crystal and dichroic glass using a cold-glass process.

Jack worked alongside this fellow artist for over a year to learn every component and facet of this incredibly challenging and unusual art form.

 

Jack’s first major accomplishments as an independent glass artist was to invent and design a cold-working lathe that offers him the ability to turn glass and sculpt shapes with curves and details like one would produce from a wooden medium.

Early memories of studying his fathers craftsmanship as he worked for hours in his own studio with a wooden lathe provided him with the blueprint of his vision.

His intense drive and deeply embedded passion as a glass artist combined with the inspiration that came from the idea of pioneering new trails was extremely intense, time consuming and physically demanding,  but no obstacle was going to get in the way of his dreams.

More of Jack Storms fantastic work can be found at  https://jackstorms.com.

The Answer

I know I’ve had some downer blogs lately — perhaps I was just letting my emotions get the best of me. It happens to us all, eh?

Well they say things come in threes, so here is my third and last trip to the melancholy, murky side of the world.

Last time we talked I told you about the private acreage where I imagined I saw the ghost of the old man waking around in the evening. And how this personal connection was caution-taped off yesterday. (for those still curious, https://wp.me/p1pIBL-2Fi).

I found out what happened.

There was a murder here in my little Wisconsin work town.

A man went into town and shot his wife(?) in the head, causing her car to crash into a pole. He then left and pulled into a secluded spot on Freemont Street and shot himself.

It was his parked truck that I first spotted on my way to work. He was already dead by the time I drove by.

18 years they were together. Two children. Who knows what the problem was,  but whatever it was made him so angry he decided to take the life of his woman and himself.

I don’t understand people. I don’t understand how someone could get pushed so far to the edge that they not only destroy themselves but everyone around them.  Some may say I’ve never suffered extreme depression. I haven’t. But that doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t ache when someone does and can’t handle it.

I know nothing of the couple, of their domestic life, of their ups and downs and ins and outs or what made their lives work. Or, obviously, not work.

If ever you feel you’re at the edge, stop. And contact someone. A phone call, a text, anything to get you in touch with someone who cares about you. Even a chat with your fellow bloggers can release an overbearing burden. We do care if you live or die. Or cry. You do not have to go through this alone.

I will stop and look for the old man after work. His ghost will be relieved he had nothing to do with the tragedy that unfolded on his property. I hope he continues to wander in peace.

 

Strange Things

Strange things happen around you whether you notice it or not.

Last evening was one of those times.

I take the backroads to and from work. They are filled with fields and farms and a house now and then. The drive strips away all my crummy moods left over from work, and I come home a clean woman, ready for the evening.

The road itself makes three “S” turns, giving you a view of three different directions. Just after the third “S” is a huge field except for one acre that was carved out for a farmhouse. I remember when I first started working 15 years ago there was a white house on that lot and a big, dilapidated barn across the street.

I remember a kid riding a go-cart through the levels of the barn, a little old man laughing and watching him. It was a long time ago, but the memory stuck, so I wrote a short story about the old man and his ghost still walking the territory.

The house is gone now, as is the barn. The barn’s acreage has been replaced with fields of corn or soybeans, the house’s lot empty, yet mowed every year. I think about the little man every time I drive by, often giving a nod to the land he once called his.

Yesterday I made my daily morning trek past the empty parcel and there was a black truck parked on the cement triangle that used to be a driveway. I thought that odd, for there’s never anyone around that time of the morning, especially there.

Last night I was driving home from work when I was stopped by a car in the middle of the first “S”. He asked me to take an alternate route because there was a “matter” down near Freemont Street, the end of the third “S”. Dutifully I took the horseshoe around the countryside until I came to the junction of that road and the end of the last “S”.

You know how you sometimes get a feeling of foreboding out of nowhere?  I looked down the end of the “S” and there was yellow caution tape wrapped all around the old man’s acreage. Flashing lights blocked the road, and there was the same black truck parked back further on the road.

Yellow caution tape. On my sacred parcel.

Had the old man come back to look for his house that wasn’t there? Did someone make a sacrifice on my sacred land? Did one of his decedents commit suicide there? Or was it merely a gas leak?

I haven’t found out what happened, and don’t know if I ever will. But I feel as if someone blasphemed on that special place where the ghost of the old man still wanders.

Maybe I don’t want to know.

Like the visit to my old homestead, time changes things. Keep the memories and the inspirations of your first experiences and hold them close. For what comes out later is never the same.

For the past becomes nothing but ghosts in the night.

The Past is Not Always What You Think It Is

What is the quote —You Can Never Go Home Again?

Perhaps that’s not the correct quotation, but its meaning hit me this past weekend.

I have always dreampt of going back to where I spent the first 22 years of my life, the house I grew up in. Now leaving home at 22 isn’t a big deal except for the fact that it was 44 years ago. We always go back to my husband’s old stomping grounds in Chicago, but that’s because we go down there to see his brother who still lives in the house he grew up in. So we always got to experience where he grew up.

But never where I did.

So Saturday we went to pick up my brother-in-law from a physical rehab center two blocks from my old house, and I asked if I could be dropped off so I could walk around the block once more while the brother-in-law was checked out.

I remember riding my bike to the back side of the block, playing with the few friends I had. Drawing on a chalkboard in one friend’s screened-in gazebo; swinging on my friend’s swingset; Fourth of July tables in front of my house. Three brothers, three girlfriends, and my first two loves of my life lived around that block. I thought I would be swept away with memories and emotions and flashbacks to days gone by.

I wasn’t.

The only thing that hadn’t changed was my house.

The back side of the block backed up to the golf course, and all the small houses that used to be there had been torn down,  huge, gawking houses replacing them. Susie’s house is gone. I don’t even recognize Lucy and Rita’s house. On my side of the block there is an apartment complex across the street from my house where houses and fields once were; even the hospital rehab center is new. The school directly across the street has grown another floor, and there’s a stoplight there, too.

The whole area has changed. The two-lane road I used to play on at 3 o’clock in the morning while my parents were packing to go camping is now a busy four lane. Further away sit new shops, gigantic houses…nothing I knew as a child.

I walked around the block, hoping, praying I’d feel that knot of nostalgia that comes with dipping into the past. The house my dad built is still there, as was Andy the old man neighbors and Lynda’s sprawling ranch.

But the thrill I thought I’d find walking through my past never came.

Oh, it was nice walking around the peaceful back of my block; I even walked past my first love’s house…if it was his house…it was so different. I walked by John’s house, the boy who never knew I existed, and his buddies the Abbotts next door.

But John and Lucy and Lynda were long gone. It was time for me to let the past go, too. I’ve walked my last walk around the block of memories.

My memories, no matter how distorted, are much better.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Welsh Lovespoons

Welsh lovespoons are hand made wooden spoons that are made from one piece of wood and designed and decorated according to the carver’s imagination.

Originally made by young men during the long winter nights or by young men on long sea voyages, they were carved to express that young man’s intentions towards a particular girl.

A lovespoon would be given to a girl as an indication that he wished to court her. A girl may have received lovespoons from several suitors and these would be displayed on the wall of her home.

The earliest surviving lovespoon dating from around 1667 is at the National Museum of Wales at St. Fagans near Cardiff but Welsh lovespoons are known to have been made by the menfolk of Wales before this date.

Today Welsh lovespoons may be given as they were originally, to declare a suitor’s intent, for Dydd Santes Dwynwen, the Welsh equivalent to Valentine’s Day celebrated on January 25th.

They are also given for to commemorate a Wedding Day, an Engagement, the birth of a child, a wedding anniversary, a birthday, or a Christening or Baptism.

 

It is a marvelous tradition that entails craftmanship, heritage, and the truest of emotions — love.

Questions for the Poets

If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. ― Emily Dickinson

Today I have a question for all of you poets out there.  I follow quite a few, and am amazed at the quality of your words.

My question: are you a poet in the educated way? I don’t mean did you go to college and MAJOR in poetry, but do you understand the various types of verses — not just the usual free form, ballad, or rhyme, but a tanka, lyric, and haiku?

Or do you just write what you feel and cut it up into short words or stanzas?

I had to look up some of the poetry styles above. Each form has its own rules. That’s the beauty of the outcome. Following the rules makes you understand the difficulty of the style. And from difficulty (usually) comes understanding and appreciation.

I have a computer full of poetry. Yet I’m not comfortable calling myself a poet. When I reread some of them it feels more like the second style — writing what I feel and cutting it up into short words or stanzas.

My second question:  What is your goal when you write a poem?

Is it to vent emotion? Show appreciation of something concrete? To let the ethereal run through you? Is every emotion yours? Or a pretend someone?

A lot of the poets I follow use poetry as a way of keeping a memory alive. Or an occasion. Others’ dark poetry opens a door to their own (possible) darkness. Others sound more like a story in stanza form.  And I am always curious as to what prompted those poems.

I wonder if writing poetry is like writing stories/novels. Most novels are pretend people and pretend situations, yet the emotions of the writer often takes over one of the characters…maybe even two. Novels need to make sense — they need a beginning, middle, and ending.

I see poetry as more of a passing thought.

I ask these questions, not to call you out, but to understand the world of the poet. You should be proud to call yourself a poet, whether you write “by the rules” or not. Whether you’re published or not. Whether you are Poet of the Year or not.

Let me know how a poet thinks!

 

Where In the World Are You?


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

How about this one?

And a third.

Are these the homes of terrorists? Hostile Politicians?

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

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

And you know what?

It shouldn’t matter.

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

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

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

As for the pictures…?

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

Right down the road….

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Cartier

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

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

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

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

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

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

Come Sail Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

Honestly. What have I got to lose?

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

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

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

No  resolutions. No commitments. Just making a point.

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

 

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

Have A Mishmash In Your Head?

A mishmash of thoughts this Monday evening….

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t either. Come on Spring!

 

To Thine Own Self Be True

How are you this fine evening?

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

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

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

Oh, would today’s writing have such flowery.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Stop The Madness!

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

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

What in the hell is wrong with people?

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

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

Who in the Hell cares?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Izumi Akinobu

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

 

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

She has been creating these wonderful bottles since 2010.

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