Inspiration Is All Around You

It’s funny to find myself writing a blog on a Sunday morning. I mean, we all should be sleeping in or going to church or going on a bike ride. I have plans for later but for now I have what everyone looks for on a Sunday Morning — inspiration.

Inspiration is all around you.

Having had a crappy end of the week and too much to drink Friday night (I don’t drink so it didn’t take much) and the body hangover of a 64-year-old, it’s easy to be cranky and crabby on this cool morning. But over the weekend I came across two people that truly inspired me to be a better person.

To be a better me.

My first inspriation was my 16-year-old niece. Always on the chubby side, I worried about her. Things may have changed in high school since I went 150 years ago, but teens are still teens, and it’s still easy to make fun of someone who looks different. Being made fun of in junior high, I looked at her through my own insecurities.

Yesterday at a family party I saw the girl again, and she had changed. She was still the smart, funny adolescent girl I’ve come to love, but she was 30 pounds lighter.

I almost didn’t recognize her.

Being a granny-aunt, I feared she did something really drastic. I probably would have. But she is smarter and more grown up than I. More salads, less treats, lots of water. She told me all about it.

And I am so proud of her.

My second inspiration is my sister-in-law. We lost my brother a few years ago, a heartbreaking experience. Not a day goes by where I don’t miss him. His wife took it as well as she could. We all move on, she along with her two awesome kids.

I saw a pic of her and her family on FB this morning, and it looked like she dropped a ton of weight. A ton. She looked like a totally different person. I haven’t asked her yet how she did it, but whatever she did had added 30 years back onto her face. I see my brother in her children’s eyes, and I see a content person in hers.

And I am so proud of her.

My son is another one. He used to be a skinny in track and field in high school. 10 years of marriage and two kids later, he was thicker than he wanted to be. It was as if a lightbulb went off in his head and he turned to healthy eating. 25 pounds later he’s in the gym all the time, an inspiration to me and his kids as well.

I have been on a weight thing myself since January. I have lost a bit of weight, but because I always wear big clothes I don’t think people can tell. It doesn’t matter. I eat healthier now. I walk more, I’m not really into junk food. I eat what I want but I eat one or two bites, not one or two portions. We all work on weight loss our own way. I know my niece did, I know my sister-in-law did.

We all want to live longer. We want to be inspired. We want to be around for our grandkids and our friend’s grandkids. We want to live and love and be able to walk up the stairs without our chests hurting.

Find inspiration in your life. Let it touch your own heart. Whether it’s to lose weight to be healthier or to start writing the novel you’ve always had in your heart, look around you. There is plenty of inspiration around you. Take that first step.

Trust me. You won’t fall. Keep walking. Be your OWN inspiration.

Text Me Any Time

I love texting. Text me any time.

That’s a joke.

I love the idea of being able to instantly sending your thoughts, instructions, and requests immediately to someone else.  But instant thoughts often demand instant responses. And sometimes it’s text before you think.

 

Son (1:21 pm):  You have any plans for tonight?

Mom: (1:22 p.m.) Oh sure. Washing some dishes, throwing the ball for the dog, catching up on Deadliest Catch.  Nope. Why?

Mom always knows that when son #1 calls it  has something to to with the grand kids. His dad gets the friendship calls on the way home from work, fishing story calls, all that. But mom…

Mom (2:35 p.m.) An hour later…

He texted me over an HOUR ago! Does he want me to come over for dinner? Take the grandkids for the weekend? Take me out to dinner?  WHAT???

Son (3:00 p.m.) Sorry, I get busy. Can you watch the kids at the park while we clean my office?

No. Never. WHAT DO YOU THINK I’D SAY?

Mom (3:02 p.m.). Sure! Let’s make plans!

 

I never have a problem with last minute plans for watching my grandkids. They are fun, smart, goofy, and mine. I’d change most any plans to catch an hour or two with them.

I was never this generous with my own kids. Although they have fond memories of their grandparents on my husband’s side, my inlaws had to use a crowbar to pry the first out of my insecure mommy hands. By the time the second one came around 5 years later, my grip was less maddening. I let them take both kids with wild abandon.

Now I feel what my inlaws must have felt:

Give me those babies! What does it matter if we play at the park for 3 hours and jump in every puddle or go to the ice cream store and order an extra large fudge sundae or I take them to Kiddyland? I can take them to the zoo and the farm and the fire station and ride on the train and and and…

Now I am even goofier than my inlaws were. I jump at the chance to have them out to our house (we call it the farm but it’s really just a lot of land) or the cabin (my late father-in-law’s small house up North) or to the park (any park will do).

I know the joy of spending time with someone who thinks the world of you. Whose idea of fun is anything done with Granny. The innocence of youth and the lack of prejudice is enough to swell any adult’s heart.

I only hope I can instill some life values and love values that will grow inside of them as they grow. To value life, friendship, family, and oatmeal raisin cookies.

But my son is going to have to text a little faster. Otherwise one day I will assume that’s what he wants and will show up at his house before he gets home.

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Cecelia Webber

Cecelia Webber uses the human body to construct intricate tessellations that represent the natural world.

Her art implicates the viewer in its form, evoking our complex relationship with our bodies and nature. Her art has been featured around the world.

Each composition can take up to two months to produce, and involves photographing scores of poses; digitally cutting, rotating, and coloring the resulting images; and assembling all of the components together into the finished piece.

Because even slight nuances of colour and form become magnified in their final context, Webber frequently takes more than fifty photographs of a single pose to achieve the desired form.

The artist also regularly uses herself as a subject, setting a camera timer and then orienting herself for the photograph.

Webber’s deep appreciation for nature, along with her scientific background, gives her a deep awareness of organic forms that she draws upon to concoct pieces bearing a unique interplay between colors, shapes, and models’ bodies.

More of Cecelia Webber‘s magnificent art can be found at  http://www.ceceliawebber.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Weird Way of Doing Facebook and Twitter Business

I have a weird way of doing Facebook and Twitter. I am sure there are many out there who are devoted readers of both. After all, if you are following somebody it SHOULD be for a reason, like you enjoy their art or comments or inspirations. That is why I follow bloggers and tweeters.

Having TIME to read all the posts, however, is daunting.

My look-at-twitter-time is usually lunchtime, when I get home from work, and before I go to bed. My look-at-Facebook-time is usually at lunchtime or when I get home from work before I start writing. I must limit myself to those time or else I’ll never get anything else done — housework, writing, and all.

That’s why my method of reading posts makes me chuckle.

Instead of flipping through page after page after page after page (you get it) of tweets or blogs I often just go to a person’s name and read everything they’ve done recently. Even long ago, if I’m on a roll.

That’s why I’m certain those I follow are surprised with a comment months later. Like “Where has that chick been?” But I have found that you get a better feel for that person when you read a number of their posts in a row.

Many of us are pretty predictable with our postings, but now and then we throw something in that seems to have nothing to do with our persona. But it does — more than you realize. Someone who writes serious material all the time can surprise you with an attempt at humor. Inspirationalists who always quote someone else catches you when they quote themselves.

To me, social media is a monster that’s out of control. Too much credit is given to online stories with no face or accountability to go with them. Sometimes we just have to dig our heels in and say enough is enough. To say I like you and what you write, and I will come and visit you whenever I can, but don’t be mad at me if I miss some posts.

I used to want dozens of likes and dozens of retweets. But Earth to Claudia came pretty quickly, though. Check out these statistics.

Total number of registered Twitter users — 695,750,00
Total number of active Twitter users — 342,000,000
Average number of tweets per day — 58 million
Number of active Twitter users every month — 115 million
Number of days it takes for 1 billion tweets — 5 days
Number of tweets that happen every second — 9,100

Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/twitter-statistics/

Total number of Facebook users — 1.94 billion
Total number of mobile Facebook users — 1.74 billion
Total number of likes and shares — 10 million daily
Number of new profiles created — 5 per second
Total photo uploads to Facebook — 300 million per day
Comments posted — 510,000 every 60 seconds
Status updated — 293,000 every 60 seconds
Photos uploaded — 136,000 every 60 seconds

https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/

So come on. How many people do you think will read your posts? How many will retweet your tweets? Find a formula of reading and writing that works for you and forget the numbers. I myself like trolling down my lists of whom I follow and picking a name and reading a bunch of their posts. I like commenting on them, too, so they know someone’s passed by. Makes them feel good — and makes me feel good, too.

And isn’t that what writing’s all about?

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Mehndi

Mehndi (also called Mehandi) is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet or body with a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant.

It is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for thousands of years.

The stains are usually cherry-red to brown color, but this can vary with time left on and a range of other factors.

Mehndi is special for many cultures, not just because it is an important part their culture, but also because of how beautiful the mehandi design looks when women are adorned with it.

In western countries, mehndi has gained a great deal of popularity in the temporary tattoo industry.

This art form is an intricately beautiful way to decorate the human body, a talent that is extraordinary and delicate and precise in its execution.

It is an amazing and intricate art form.

Doin’ Denim at Da Job

The biggest deal lately around my office is that, after 10+ years of office wear anxiety, we are now allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts every day — not just Fridays.

This is a big victory for jean-loving employees. Nothing says comfort more than a well-worn pair of Levis. And within certain (obvious) guidelines, t-shirts are the comfort wear of today and tomorrow.

Being an older BoHo chic kinda gal, it kind of amuses me to see the direction of the office dress codes through my past  60+ years.

In my prime I worked in downtown Chicago in the 80s. That was the time of big advertising budgets, big hair, and big shoulder pads. All the women wore tailored suits and dresses so we could be taken seriously. Yeah. Jeans were something you wore around the house to dig in the garden. Not to work.

The years have been turning more and more casual as far as the proper attire for us nine to fivers. Suits turned into pants and tops and pants and sweaters, and accessories turned from Army General shoulder pads to tops that have to have at least two inch straps. We’ve gone from business formal to business casual, and although I liked the idea that shoulder pads made me look taller, I’m willing to let change take over.

So when the freedom of jeansville was brought to my workplace, everyone went wild. Those first few days were seas of blue. Jeans and jeans and t-shirts that went with jeans. Skinny jeans, rolled up jeans, baggy jeans. The place went wild.

Me? I have one stretchy pair of jeans, and two baggy ones. The baggy ones were/are an embarrassment, so I’m relegated to one pair. The blue jean revolution isn’t such a big deal to me, though, for as I’ve gotten older I’ve been drawn to flowy skirts, peasant tops, flowers and sparkles and some narrow-ish pants. I’d toss on a pair of jeans now and then on Fridays, but I’m still fairly old school about work and looking professional, and tops have always taken precedence over t-shirts for me. I mean, damn…I still have a problem wearing pants to church.

The office has calmed down this second week of blue jean freedom. After all, it’s not a novelty any more. Some employees may look for an illicit thrill wearing those expensive jeans with the rips in the knee or t-shirts with bare shoulders between the shoulder and the upper arm, but hopefully those thrill seekers will not get us all in the doghouse for breaking the dress code.

As I reflect on this story, I see it’s really a metaphor for life. Be careful what you ask for, for when you get it, it might not be as exciting as you thought it would be. Everything new eventually gets old, and all that.

But for those days when I am barely dragging my butt out of bed and into the shower and it’s raining and blowing outside and I’m trying to connect with the road to work, the thought of baggy blue jeans and a flowery top don’t seem so bad.

Even if it’s not Friday.

 

The Direction of Choice

There was a time
The universe expanded before me
Choice was a luxury
Youth my companion
Direction meaningless
Lost in the sparkle of the stars

Lately the vastness of that universe
Has shrunk before my eyes
The galaxies of choice
Have turned to
Cold hollow moons
Planets of necessity

Funny how small
My world has become
The luxury of time
Exists on fewer and fewer
Planes of existence
In this world and the next

The choices are not the same
As in the days of
Gauzed-wrapped visions
Candy-sweet dreams
Jobs and friends and goals
Now have razor edges

Options have narrowed
Doors once open
Now request verification
Of paths followed
And stars wished upon
In duplicate form

I can no longer shuffle the cards of
Destiny and Delusion
The games have been chosen
Hands have been dealt
Bets are hedged
The world is keeping score

I must play the hand dealt
Watch the glow of dawn
Twist into curls of dusk
Time no longer my friend
Its shadow the scent of musk
Choice is mine no more

My vision has become blurred
Memories have faded
My heart has been broken
By limitations of my body
And the changing of the guard
As they march into the fog

I never forget my heart
The journey that brought me here
I love and I cherish
I live and I learn
But cannot go back
To the land of never was

Even though hope fades
In the emptiness of dawn
And space of my soul
Reality bounds from the sky
Our star’s blinding glare
Reminding me of the truth

All I need to do is breathe
The universe, the stars
Will point the way
And the world of choice
Will open its doors
Once again.

                   Claudia Anderson, 2013