Life is Love and Love is Life

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

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

I will be living like never before.

Ruth Goode said it best:

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

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

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

 

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Just Do Something Different

Rage Against The Box …. Kafia Haile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discover another side of your awesome personality.

You’ll be glad you did.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Alberto Giacometti

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live In The Moment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to living in the moment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Referral and a Reflection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which leads me to LA’s great blog. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery – Bansky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Sentimental in Camelot

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

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

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

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

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

It’s only a movie, missie..

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mark Ryden

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

How Short Is Too Short?

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

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

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

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

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

Now let me explain my personal hangups first.

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

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

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

Here comes my old biddie attitude.

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

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

And I wondered. Is this the fashion of today?

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

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

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

I just wonder why it bothered me so much.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Unique Is A Wonderful Word

Although I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping up with technology, when I talk with real technology gurus it’s like talking to someone who only speaks Chinese.

I do love the ability to turn on a machine and write away, save it, delete some, insert some, and not having used half a tree to do so.

I  also am loving the unique and unusual art I am finding for my gallery.

Most of my loyal readers know this blog has a feature called Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I post 5-6 pictures every Sunday with a short intro to the artist. A few weeks later I post the mother load on my actual Sunday Evening Art Gallery website, showing you the magnificent works these artists create.

I dabbled in painting when I was in high school. I never took formal classes, but I loved being able to create something  unique. I found it was easier for me to take up writing, creating something unique with every word.

With today’s technology I am able to discover artists I’ve never heard of, or research artists I’ve known my entire life. It’s an amazing world out there, and I love the beauty of discovery.

I didn’t realize this was an advertisement for my art gallery site until just now. But if you haven’t taken a look over there, please do. You will find you get lost in worlds you never knew existed.

Oh! And by the way — if you know or have a favorite artist, email me at humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com and let me know. I want to know what you love, what you enjoy, what you like but don’t understand.

Come on over and wander one evening. You never know who you’ll see there.

Have a beautiful week, my friends.

Graham Muir

 

Stairway to Nowhere

 

 

 

Guido Daniele

 

David Kracov

 

Spencer Biles

 

Jackson Pollock

 

Dean Russo

 

Paperweights

 

Glass Frames

 

Trees

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Stanislav Aristov

Stanislav Aristov presents a whole new way of shocking through a snap shot. It only involves a couple of burnt match sticks. And loads of fun.

Admittedly, it also probably involves Photoshop. But nobody really cares.

Stanislav Aristov, also known as Pol Tergejst, is a 30 year old photographer from Ekaterinburg, Russia, that can truly make macro – miracles happen, within the seconds needed for a match stick to quietly burn.

 He describes his “Спички” ([spitch-kee] – meaning “matchsticks” in Russian) series as capturing “the big lives of the tiny wood splinters”.

This again goes to prove that a true artist can find artistic potential even in the smallest and most commonplace objects around him.

More of Stanislav Aristov‘s amazing art can be found at http://poltergejst.com/.

 

Life Really Never Changes

I must admit that I am embarrassingly addicted…it should be alcohol or drugs, but no such luck. I’m addicted to Chinese TV Series with English Subtitles.

I know that sounds geeky, and perhaps it is. But let me encourage you — once you get involved you’ll find it hard to stay away.

I watched these TV series (on Netflix) backwards. First was King’s War, mostly about the a lowly peasant who fought wars against the Qin territory and became the first Chu emperor in 202 BC. I love the series because of the drama, the costumes, the vastness of the world of China. 

Of course, at one time, the Qin army surrendered to the Chu encampment, and since the Chu couldn’t feed the extra 200,000 men, they slaughtered them all, including pushing many of them over a cliff.

In the series I’m currently watching, Qi Alliance, I’m already on the 5th chapter. I love the series because of the drama, the costumes, the vastness of the world of China.

And in the first five chapters there was a war that demolished 80,000 soldiers in one sweep.

I think that besides being enchanted by the Asian world, it rocks me into reality about how barbaric the world has always been. Our World Wars and our Civil War doesn’t hold a candle to the barbaric savagery of the ancient world. 

As much as it crushes us every time there is a death in our lives and in our world, I imagine the wives of the soldiers of Chu  were crushed as well. Most of the army was made up of peasant soldiers or tradesmen that ate nothing but rice and perhaps chicken twice a year and a handful of vegetables scraped from the earth.

How do you feed 200,000 extra soldiers, then? 

Of course, those two examples are only the tip of the death iceberg. Consider:

In the Tai Ping Rebellion civil war, which lasted from 1850 to 1864, the total casualties (including civilians) were reportedly anywhere from 20 million to 100 million. 

The Mongols, a tribe of nomadic horsemen from Central Asia, may have killed as many as  18.4 million people in East Asia alone throughout the 13th century .

Today the numbers are much smaller. But there are still numbers. 

I myself can’t figure out how two positions can hate each other so much that their only solution is death. But it has been so since BC, and now it’s AD and we are still killing each other.

I imagine the mothers of the sons of the Chu and the mothers of the sons of Vietnam all wondered the same thing.

Back to the movies, though…they are quite entertaining. The Chinese and Japanese points-of-view are refreshing and curious, to be certain. To me it’s like another world. Like Mars or Alderan.

And I love to escape when I can. Far away from our daily war.

 

 

 

Take Care of Yourself

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately…a weekend stop for the whole weekend at the hospital does put a cramp on your writing and socializing. I developed a medical condition that needed liquid IVs. Happy to say I am home and so much better so all is well.

But being alone for 2-1/2 days with nothing but stat checks and veins that wouldn’t cooperate was cause for mental munching. And I wondered…could this have been avoided?

This is not a case of self-condemnation — it’s a case of being human.

And wondering if we all do it.

We get a cut. We wipe it off with our sleeve and think it’s okay, when we know there’s a chance of infection.

We run across the street because we’re late for work, in rain, in sunny weather, all seasons. We know there’s a chance we could slip and fall, but we ignore it, because we are in good shape.

We develop a cold that moves into our chest, but we don’t believe it will turn into pneumonia because it’s really not that bad.

How many times do we as humans take the short road? Ignore symptoms and predicaments and swim away like a newly released fish? We weigh the odds, the options, the worst-case scenario. And most times we bet on the the popular vote — it’s not that serious.

And most times we are right.

But there are other times we pay for that glib choice. We know we’ve dug open a sore one too many times. Taken cold medicine and gone out to conquer the world. Eaten a decadent desert even though we’re diabetic.

And sometimes it all comes back to bite us in the arse.

I’m thinking I’m in the latter group. I knew my “condition” might trigger something worse… I’ve beaten the odds so many times. So this time would be the same escape as before.

But it wasn’t.

We as adults need to pay more attention to our bodies and take care of them the first sign of trouble. That doesn’t mean your sinuses flair up and you stay home from work for a week — it means taking care of the illness when it first flairs up.

It means paying attention to weird twitches and shortness of breath and pain in body parts and open wounds. It means not worrying what others think of your precautions, but following through on treatment. It doesn’t mean calling the doctor for every little ache — it means paying attention to that ache and noticing if its getting worse.

In our minds, all humans want to be invincible. We want to be strong and healthy and to be able to take the world on without a complaint.

But we’re not that way. None of us. We are mere human beings that just want to stick around on the planet as long as we can.

So put your big boy (or girl) pants on and take care of what needs to be taken care of. Better to take a visit to the doctor than a visit to the hospital. Or the grave. And believe me, there are many around you who want you to stick around a lot longer.

And if you don’t want your co-workers to know you spent the weekend in the hospital, tell them you jetted to Paris for the weekend.

Unless you live in Paris. Then you’re caught.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mary Cassett

Recognized as one of the foremost 19th-century American painters and printmakers, Mary Cassatt (1844-1926) is known for her prolific career and Impressionist artwork.A native of Pennsylvania who lived as an expatriate in Paris beginning in 1874, Mary Cassatt started formal training as a painter in 1861.

In 1865, she took her first trip to Europe, where she would remain for the next four years, traveling and studying in Paris, Rome, and Madrid.

Edgar Degas saw Cassatt’s work at the Salon, and in 1877 he asked her to exhibit with the Impressionists.

Cassatt’s painting style and subject matter changed greatly because of her association with Impressionism. She abandoned colorful costume genre depictions in favor of scenes from contemporary life.

Throughout the latter half of the 1880s, Cassatt produced etchings and drypoints of members of her family.

Her failing eyesight prevented her from working for the last 15 years of her life, but because she had been an exceptionally prolific printmaker, she produced more than 220 prints during the course of her career.More of Mary Cassett‘s marvelous artwork can be found at https://www.marycassatt.org/.

Let “What If” Guide Your Story

I usually don’t write a blog two nights in a row, but I’m on a writing high these days, and so many ideas are running through my head and dancing in my hair.

I am a fantasy writer, but it’s fantasy with a modern twist. Usually my heroine is female, and she finds herself in improbable and impossible situations.  It’s my way of dealing with the bizarre.

You can do it, too. All you have to do is start with….What If?

I know I wrote a blog about “what if”, but this is an exercise in getting a story written. Here are some ideas.

 

What if you were driving home from work one afternoon and in the distance, over the tops of the trees, you see a giant ant ripping off tops of houses?

What if you went to bed one night with your special someone and the next morning they had a totally different face?

What if you walked through a cornfield and came out in another world?

What if you went for a walk in the evening and you actually met an elf  or a dwarf?

What if you were driving and you lost control of your car and crashed, waking up in the 1800s?

What if you were relaxing one night, watching TV, and you say something to your dog, and he answers you in English?

What if someone  crystallized into your living room one morning and asked you to come along with her/him on an adventure?

 

I know it all sounds goofy, but think about it. Close your eyes and just think if any of the above happened to you. Or to your friend. Or to your cousin. What would they do? For real?

My favorite form of writing is to put a modern day person in an absolutely wacky situation. Their situations are REAL. There really is a giant ant walking behind the trees. The person really walks through a cornrfield and finds a different world at the other end.

That is how you get inspirations for stories. A few of the above are my story ideas.  And I’ve had a ball with all of them.

Your “What If?” can be anything you want. It doesn’t have to be out-of-this-world — it could be What If you witnessed a murder? A kidnapping? Someone stealing from the books?

Let your mind wander into various What If Worlds until you find one that appeals to you. Then keep it real within the parameters of the main character.How they deal with the strange and unusual is up to you. 

Let the unusual be as real as you can make it. 

Then go for it. You can’t lose.

Don’t Be Afraid To Live In Your Fantasy World

Let me be clear. I have a good life. I do. I do not want to leave it behind, dump it, change it, or erase it. I am blessed, and I know I’m blessed. And I am thankful.

But I also have a life outside of this plane of existence. It’s a world of my own making. I control the characters, the lies, and the pain. I feel the love, the confusion, and the magic of the world around me.

No, I’m not psycho nor psychic.

I am a writer.

I tend to get lost in good books too, but I am finding I am falling in love with the worlds I create. In my books there’s passion, insecurity, fear, and curiosity. There is no war, no prejudice. There is making love and fun sex but not pornography. It may seem quite vanilla in my worlds, but, to be honest, there is enough crap going on in the world around me that I don’t need to deal with it in my fantasy world.

Are my stories reminiscent of Harlequin novels? You know — girl meets boy, they don’t hit it off at first, they both have a problem to overcome, they are attracted to each other, they fight the problem, they overcome it, then fall in love and get married.

In some form, yes. In most other ways, no. In my stories they lovers don’t always wind up together. Or they do. Or they want to but can’t. Or they can. It doesn’t matter because it’s the journey that counts.

We all have our way of writing. Our own themes. Our own demons. As I’ve said in past blogs, I often wonder how authors like Stephen King or Dean Koontz get into the blackness of the mind and spread it across their books. Do they get off on digging deep and writing scary stuff? Do they become the madness, the psycho, at least for the time they are writing about it?

I believe that if you are passionate about your writing you can’t help but get lost in your stories. Whether they are short stories, novellas, or novels, you can’t help but take a particular point of view. Are you the antagonist? The victim? The virgin? The pompous ass?

Each character you develop helps you get lost in your fantasy world. You want your pompous ass to really be an ass, you want your troubled couple to be passionate about each other. You want poverty or wealth to be real, and your fantasy names to be easy to read.

Sometimes I want to spend more time in my fantasy worlds than I do in my real world. I love my fantasy worlds, my time-travel worlds, and my modern worlds. I work hard to make my worlds believable, along with the people who populate them.

Perhaps that’s why I get so lost in my own creations. I still cry in certain parts, and feel my heart flutter and race in others. I still get pissed off at some people and feel lost when they feel lost.

I hope that you get lost in your writings, too. Don’t hold your story at arm’s length. Get into each chapter, each character. Leave your world behind. Forget the politics, the job, the housework. Find a place both physically and mentally and just let loose.

You won’t always be hot..You might not always “feel” it. But don’t give up. Because when it comes back it will hit you like a lightning bolt. And when it does you better go with it.

Come back to your reality when you have to, but live in your fantasy world as often as you can.

You won’t be sorry.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Davide Bonazzi

Davide Bonazzi was born and raised in Bologna, Italy.

Bonazzi aims to create clever visual solutions to represent complex topics, as well as narrative, witty images.

His style combines digital media with textures of scanned found objects, in order to give his illustrations a warm and evocative atmosphere.

Most of Bonazzi’s work is for magazines, corporations, and advertising.

More of Davide Bonazzi’s marvelous graphic work can be found at http://www.davidebonazzi.com/

Can You Fall Asleep?

I have been having trouble falling asleep for quiet some time, now. So going back through my post I found this one from a couple years ago. Anyone else have this problem?

You Are (not) Getting Sleepy…

Do you suffer from the modern-day dilemma called insomnia?

It’s just after midnight, and I’m still wide awake. Through time I have done all the things I’m supposed to do to fall asleep. I’ve taken a warm bath, sipped chamomile tea, listened to soft music. I’ve listened to no music at all. I have cut out caffeine during the day and take my meds in the morning instead of night. Except for right now, I am off the computer by 8; I’ve read books, tried meditation, melatonin, boring movies, and total silence. I have picked up the pace of walking, both at work and after work. Tried carbs, no carbs; sugar, no sugar. Bedtime snacks. No snacks.

And yet here I am.

I’ve heard various statistics about those who suffer from insomnia. Without doing extensive research at 12:06 a.m., I believe about 60% of older people suffer from some sort of sleep interruption. Not too long ago I read an article that said that as you get older, your body rhythms change, throwing off your sleep patterns.

Surprise.

I have tried prescriptions, and even though I get a hard night’s sleep, I’m the Walking Dead the next day. So those are out. OTCs are more trips into Zombieland. There are dozens of articles on the Internet telling me why I can’t sleep, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sleep.

Sooo…I prefer to think of this stage of my life as preparing for retirement.

I believe that somewhere in the cosmic timeline is a bend in the road, a crack in the sidewalk that says enough is enough. This fifth dimension astro influence is saying: “You’ve worked your a$$ off all your life, first getting up at all hours with your babies, then staying up all hours waiting for your teenagers to get home, husbands on second shifts getting home at 5 a.m., getting up for work at 6 a.m. for the past 45+ years — enough is enough. Us higher forms of consciousness are preparing you for the day you don’t have to get up to an alarm, don’t have to punch a time clock, don’t have to put data in a computer, or drive to and from work in blizzards and thunderstorms and fog.”

Of course, the cosmos’ clock and my biological clock are two different things. The cosmos doesn’t get that I still have a few years left before I can sleep in and/or stay up all night. That I have bills to pay and obligations to meet before I can sleep till 10, have a cup of coffee on the deck, go for walks, play in the garden, and take naps whenever I want.

Did our parents have this problem? Our grandparents? Is it because we don’t work the fields for 10 hours a day that our bodies don’t work to their peak performance? Stress is always a factor. But our parents had stress, too. As did our grandparents. And so on.

It is true we are living in a whirlwind society. That technology moves faster than the speed of light, and if we don’t at least make an attempt to keep up with it, we become as rigid as the statues in our gardens.  With TV and movies and music blaring in our faces and politics boiling our blood and self-centered people taking over our every day world, it’s hard to slow down enough to sleep, no less breathe.

I know my retirement won’t be much of a slowdown. But I will let my biological clock take over, and go wherever the wind blows.

Until then, I’ve found some really cool gemstones on the Gemtopia Shopping Network…

Are You Your Main Character?

Since I am so into writing at the moment, I have a question for all of you writers/thinking about writing/someday maybe writers.

When you write, are you the main character? Do you have any connection to the main character?

They say there’s a part of us in every character we create. If you can think it you are it because it came from you thinking it.

That’s a lot of psycho babble, with a string of truth running through it.

I have to admit that so far I am part my main character. She does things I wouldn’t do, says things I’d love to say, and gets into situations I will never in my lifetime find my way into. She…and sometimes he…is my alter ego.

I get an emotional reaction from in the connection of my characters, both when they’re fighting and loving. So is that being my character?  I don’t often base a character on someone I know, but it has happened. I change the name and the looks and sometimes their philosophy but it’s still someone I know.

I envy writers who can write a main character that is the antithesis of everything they are. Murderers and psychos and nymphs and puritans. I actually find it hard to go against grain with characters. But it’s a challenge I think I’m going to take.

But I’m afraid my bad guy won’t be bad enough, psycho enough, crazy enough. I’m afraid my moral compass will get in the way. I always wondered how Stephen King did it.

Is there a part of you in everything you write?

I’d love to hear your point of view. I really would. I’d love to see where your characters, your inspiration, comes from.

And that goes for you poets. I know a lot of your poetry comes from  personal experience and emotions, but do you ever write a poem from someone else’s point of view? Something totally “not you” yet you know it’s “you”?

I’d love to hear your answers.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich (September 5, 1774 – May 7, 1840) was a landscape painter of the nineteenth-century German Romantic movement, of which he is now considered the most important painter.

A painter and draughtman, Friedrich is best known for his later allegorical landscapes, which feature contemplative figures silhouetted against night skies, morning mists, barren trees, and Gothic ruins.

His primary interest as an artist was the contemplation of nature, and his often symbolic and anti-classical work seeks to convey the spiritual experiences of life.

Friedrich came of age during a period when, across Europe, a growing disillusionment with an over-materialistic society led to a new appreciation for spiritualism.

This was often expressed through a reevaluation of the natural world, as Friedrich sought to depict nature as a “divine creation, to be set against the artifice of human civilization.”

Today he is seen as an icon of the German Romantic movement, and a painter of international importance.

More of  Caspar David Friedrich‘s wonderful paintings can be found at https://www.caspardavidfriedrich.org/

June is for Writing

I am so glad to see that others who write have their unconscious hangups! Thank you all who answered my query.

I used to be a “like” person…as in “her thoughts were like oatmeal..” I got over that only to adopt “as if”, like “It was as if he had lived before.” Good lord. I had to find and replace just to find all the repeated lame phrases I wrote.

Same with semi-colons. I dread finding other hangups.

Wonder if you’re in the same boat? Make a list of common mistakes and see if you made any of them. It’s hard, I know. Too many adjectives? Too much movement? Too many repetitions of the same word? Too many !’s and ; and …?

That’s what’s great about  writing. You get an idea…it doesn’t even have to be a full idea. It can be someone who struck you as unusual, a spot on your walking or driving route, a dream you had…anything can spark a story. I jut watched an old Twilight Zone the other night and enjoyed the storyline so much I might give a short story a try based on it.

Don’t worry if you’re stealing someone else’s idea, a TV show or book premise, or poem. You are not stealing anything unless you rewrite it word for word. Idea for idea. But let outside influences influence you. Try a poem based on characters in a play or movie. Try a short story about what happens AFTER the TV show is over.

Your mind is unique — and so are you. Your life’s stories, ups and downs, and encounters are all you need to get that pen writing (or computer keys clicking).

I want to encourage all of you who want to write to write. If you don’t want someone to read it, write in a journal. If you want input, ask someone. Easy to say, harder to do. But if you’ve got that writing bug inside of you (makes me think of the Mummy and all those beetles inside that guy), let it come out. Don’t be afraid to try. You can only get better with practice.

You see…I’m still practicing. And using Crissouli’s downfall…ellipses…

Bloggers Are A Unique Breed

I think that a lot of the time bloggers spill their secrets to their followers so they can get whatever it is out of their system. You can’t see the facial responses or audio cues through this two dimensional world…no one can really judge you face-to-face, so why not tell your tales of woe?

I know I do a lot of that. I used to be a lot worse when I kept a journal. I’m older and less a drama queen, so the tits and tats I share on my blog won’t rock the Rockies.

I do a lot of counseling to myself every morning on my drive to work.  Every morning I say “starting today…” or “from now on…” Early morning I’m full of piss and vinegar. The world is mine, I can do one of a hundred things that I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t gotten around to doing.

But often by my evening ride all I can think of is writing and laundry and picking out clothes for tomorrow. So my blog seems to be a perfect outlet for my stumbling tumblings.

We bloggers have to be careful, though, about how much we whine and emote through our writing. Readers can take adversity only in small doses. Considering the average attention span of blog readers is three paragraphs,  us bloggers have to use a lot of discretion in what we share, how we share it, and if there is a solution to our problems.

To me there is an energy when someone reads something and says “Yeah! me too!” I’m not really looking for understanding as much as camaraderie. My mess ups are your mess ups. Your misunderstandings are my misunderstandings.

I also think that life is too short to beat yourself up for your mistakes. You are you, after all, and there are quirks to all of us. I manage to laugh at my goof ups…that is, after I feel embarrassed and remorseful. I figure if I chuckle and learn something from my misconceptions, you can identify more with your own similar guffaws.

We all have our reasons for blogging. I follow all sorts of blogs…poets, painters, writers over 60, writers under 60. I learn about living with a chronic illness, being homeless, and life without one’s partner. I watch the steps it takes to create a painting, write a novel, or grow a garden.

But I also know my role in the blogging world is to give my readers a wry smile now and then. When I say I’m a semi-colon queen they know what I mean. When I write how awkward it is to climb up into my husband’s old pickup truck they know what I mean. And when I say I’m obsessed by my grandkids they definitely know what I mean.

So don’t be afraid to share your quirks, your puzzlements, your amazements, and your foibles. Don’t be afraid to whine, wonder, or wish. We are all human. We all have to get things off our chest. You will find what you’re looking for in your followers. A little tea, a little sympathy….

…an the realization that you use too many damn semi-colons…

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Graham Muir

Precariously resting atop a pedestal, these wave-like glass vessels by Scottish artist Graham Muir seem to defy gravity as if frozen in a moment before crashing into the ocean.

Using techniques perfected over the last decade, Muir achieves delicate shapes that seem almost chiseled or fractured, but are in fact accomplished when working while the glass is still hot.

According to Muir, “I find glass to be a material that does not respond well to being dominated by the artist.”

“For me the concept of the work is just the starting point for a conversation between the artist’s idea and the material.”

“The artist flags up the idea, the medium responds and the discussion begins.” 

“However the material must not dominate proceedings either and hot glass, as most who work in it know, can be very persuasive in having its own way.”

More of Graham Muir’s amazing glasswork can be found at https://grahammuir.co.uk/making-waves/..

What Have You Been Up To?

Well, my friends, happy Monday Evening.

It has been a busy week…highs and lows. I’m sure the same for you. Today’s blog will be one of catching up  (like you are interested in my ups and downs). But really I think you can identify with a few of either direction.

I had my review at work…I am now not a ‘digital’ writer but a writer. Which is so fantastic because for the first time in my 65 years when someone asks me what I do for a living I can say I AM A WRITER!! I mean I can put that title on my BUSINESS CARD (if I had one for work) and stuff! 

My starting a writer’s group is a sleepy time failure. I mean, I don’t feel too bad about it…it has only been three weeks…but somehow I had the airy thought that there were lots of writers out there looking for camaraderie and guidance. But I haven’t heard from one person. Think I airyed the wrong direction. I’m not giving up…Ah  well…try again later.

I am behind in reading my reader…I’ve popped in and out but I’ve been busy working and bribing my way over to see my grandkids. No excuse for skipping over some really good blogs, though. But I see help in the distance….I am going away Up North at the end of the week. No TV,  DVDs only (and that’s only at night), polkas on the radio, half of block to the water, sitting on the deck with a pina colada…and five free days to read blogs and write.

So tell me. Are you writing? Editing? Taking pictures? Making jewelry? Working on a quilt? Any vacation plans?  I’d love to hear how spring is treating you. I love reading your responses and talking back to your talking.

Let’s do this!

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/.

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

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/

 

 

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.

 

 

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.