I myself am not yet “into” them. I feel like Ebeneezer Scrouge bah-humbuging everything. Not that I don’t make the birth of Christ a big deal — it’s just that his birthday has become so commercialized. You wind up feeling like a loser if you don’t buy kids the hottest and most expensive things TV can offer. Ok, I’m really not that bad — but I do think the pressure to perform over the holidays is too much.
You see, I would give my grandson that Nerf gun next week. I’d give my cousin that movie tomorrow. I don’t need a reason or time frame to give gifts.
I guess that’s built up on my ramjam belief that Christmas is every day to me. I see my youngest grandson smile up at me and feel that is a gift. I watch my deskmate conquer a tough project and that’s tinsel on my tree. I go to the doctor and get a good checkup and that is every gift anyone could put under my tree.
I don’t like that there is a special day set aside for eating together as a family or singing songs together or wrapping and opening presents. Christmas is a celebration of new life. Of new hope. It’s about a baby and a mother who had a hard time finding a place to stay and an ethereal figure who made her with child.
The problem with celebrating this or that religious holiday is that none of them match. Was He Jewish? Muslim? Anglo-Saxon?
Celebrate Christmas every day. Thank God, the Goddess, Allah, anyone you want that you have been given another day to make someone smile. Give the gift of yourself. Help those who need your help. If you have the means, buy gifts for your loved ones on December 25 and August 14 and February 2 and July 23. Don’t save your love and family dinners and presents for one day a year.
Because that “day” is every day.
I have a hard time saying I’m 65…there are so many memories strung out behind me, three-quarters worth I can’t remember. I am in the second half of my life, making memories every day, forgetting memories every day.
You can say 65 is just a number, but so is 21. 49. 1,204. In theory, that is correct. But that’s over 520 million breaths. 65 birthday parties. Over 268,000 hugs. 500,000 bites of chocolate. Its that and so much more.
I threw myself a party because I wanted to…dare I say I was afraid that no one would remember this momentous occasion? That my day of turning old enough to retire would be brushed over like an ant on the table?
It’s hard to admit your own insecurities…especially when they sound stupid in your ears.
I wanted to celebrate making 65 years of life. Good and bad. Up and Down. Two kids, 2-1/2 grandkids. Friends. Traveling. Camping. Working. So much has been packed into these 65 years — how I wish I could remember them all. My kids as babies. My kids as teens. My mindset at 30. 40. 50. Different from where I am today, no doubt different from where I’m going.
I’ve outlived my mother by 11 years, and am aiming at my father’s ripe old age of 86, and adding 10 to that. I don’t want the memories to end. The friendships to end. The dreams to end. I’ve got so much to do that there’s no time to feel bad about what has been.
So throw your own party. Celebrate your life. Every day of it. Don’t wait for someone to come along and validate all the years you’ve given to mother earth. Do it yourself.
Even if you can’t remember half of it.
Chrissy Angliker is a Brooklyn-based Swiss/American artist who was born in Zurich and raised in Greifensee and Winterthur, Working from controlled subject matter, she quickly loses herself in the chaotic magic of the process.
Her first painting did not go as planned. “I thought I would begin with a self portrait,” she explains. “I began to paint the eyebrows, and the paint began to drip unexpectedly. It was beyond my control, and I had a very strong emotional reaction.”
The beauty of her method of drips is a connection to the chaos she finds in her art.
More of Chrissy Angliker‘s art can be found at https://www.chrissy.ch/.,
Tonight is autumn’s final dance. The temperature here in Wisconsin is a balmy 55, the night is cloudy, the wind is making my windchimes dance the tarantella. It is a night for dreams, for wishes. The last full moon was rising at 5:48 p.m. It was to be a spectacular ending to an enchanting night. It was cloudy, but I was going to go to the back fence and watch it rise.
But I didn’t.
I hate when I don’t follow through on what I dream about. There were excuses, of course. It was very dark. It was very overcast. And I had to walk through this little path through my back woods. My property is half woods, half open fields. It’s all actually “fenced in”, but the fences are so far spaced it seems like its all free around me.
I can brush off most of the excuses as lame. The moonrise may be bright enough to burn through the clouds. I could use my phone as a flashlight. The one excuse I could not get over was walking through the woods. At night. In the dark.
I’ve written blogs before about this (some say irrational) fear of walking through the woods at night. My husband and boys are hunters and walk through strange woods all the time. And besides — this is my property! Not in the middle of nowhere — there are families on either side, barbed wire in the distance.
I know mother nature is with me. Faeries protect me. Elves watch over me.
Blah Blah Blah.
It’s still dark, you can’t see three feet in front of you, and I’m a short, wimpy granny. I’m not a match for deer, dog, or demon, or a wayward creep hiding by the back gate. My imagination takes me all over the place. You can imagine where it takes me when I’m by myself.
If I can imagine creepy crawlies and djinns and spirits in my stories, you can imagine what awaits in my own backyard. I envy those free spirits that walk the fields and valleys and watersides all alone, one with the Earth, the stars and the mysteries of life. I have to do all of that looking off the deck.
So I pass on the things that creep me out, especially when I’m all alone. I’ll wait until spring when the sun sets at 7 or 8 to watch the moon in all her glory. I will continue to read and write and use my imagination to its fullest.
For now it will be from my livingroom sofa.
PS The moon’s not out. And it’s raining. I voiced all this angst for nothing.
Born March 2nd 1973, Kris Kuski spent his youth in rural seclusion and isolation along with a blue-collar working mother, two much older brothers and absent father.Open country, sparse trees, and later alcoholic stepfathers, perhaps paved the way for an individual saturated in imagination and introversion.
His fascination with the unusual lent to his macabre art later in life. The grotesque to him as it seemed, was beauty.
Through his intricate 3-D sculptural work, we see both the beautiful and dark side of our minds.
More of Kris Kuski‘s work can be found at http://www.kuksi.com/
I don’t think there’s a state of mind, a physical or mental condition, social gathering, or house cleaning job that isn’t enhanced with music.
My first love of music (that I can remember) is my love for the Beatles. My parents weren’t much music affectionados, although my favorite memories are my dad listening to polkas Saturday and Sunday mornings while working in the garage, and my mom listening to Patsy Cline and Hank Williams.
My love of music has only grown and matured and exploded in the last 40 years. From orchestras to acoustical guitars, there is always something to fit my mood.
Today I had a headache, and didn’t feel like sitting in total silence, so I put on Easy Instrumentals. Nothing like a slow, sultry orchestral rendition of Midnight Cowboy or The Way You Look Tonight to massage my temples.
Cleaning house? 70s-80s rock, of course. There’s nothing like Lynyrd Skynyrd or Motley Crue or John Mellancamp or Rush to get your cleaning bootie moving.
Early morning wake ups? Light classical fills the bill. Work? Upbeat classical or New Age Jazz. Melancholy for my mom and/or ol’ Ireland? Gaelic Storm, upbeat Irish band, or the High Kings. Irish balladeers at their best. Can’t sleep? Aura or Spa, two meditation-type bastions for cosmic wanderings. Meditation? Electronic music, especially the space travel ones. Feel like I’m soaring past Jupiter when I get into the groove.
Late morning still trying to wake up? Swing Bands Big Bands. I have that on my flash drive for work, too. Nothing like Artie Shaw or Fred Astaire or Glen Miller. Writing? Smooth Jazz. Love those minor chords. Driving home from work? Semi-Oldies will do. Nothing like belting out Livin’ on a Prayer or Come Sail Away to shake the bad aura. Up north at the cabin? Polkas on Saturday morning, of course.
I have some friends who don’t listen to music much. I don’t know how they get through the day. There is something inspirational, celestial, about becoming one with the song and the singer and the band. You let the aura of the music world take you somewhere happy and safe. Oldies? My teenage years. Gaelic Storm? My Irishfest and Irish heritage. Rock and roll? My life. Big band, Sinatra and all? Days of future passed.
Let the music tempt you, grab you, and take you away. Explore new musical worlds, new bands, new interpretations of old classics. No one cares where you go when you listen to music — everyone goes to their own place, anyway.
The talent of the musical world is unmatchable anywhere else. TV and movies don’t let you choose your world –only music does. Go and listen to some tonight.
Elvis will be proud.
But I am happy to report that along with an extra pound or two I also regained my enthusiasm for writing.
Do you ever go through those dry periods? Not necessarily that you don’t have anything to write, but that you don’t feel like writing.
In search of my creative ways, I have gone back to basics of magic and sky and moon and night and the belief in elves and dragons and alternate realities. Not that I ever left that space — I just feel like embracing it more these days. No one knows if there is anything after this life. Heaven, reincarnation, inner-galactic rebirth — take your choice and go for it.
Get past the barriers of proof and direct experience and karma. Take a chance and believe in something that makes you feel whole. Do unicorns exist? Does it matter? We can’t see sub-atomic particles either, but scientists and the world believe in them. Why can’t we believe in time travel too?
Too often we live under other’s expectations. What we should wear, what we should say, how we should act, what we should believe.
I believe at 64 I am old enough to believe in whatever I want.
So I’ve decided to work on my second set of novels — not the simple time-travel ones, but the ones where the heroine gets transported to another part of the galaxy to help discover what happened to the king’s sister.
I mean — why not?
We can write and paint and dream anything we want. And I’ve decided I’m not going to let any correctional unit tell me different.
Don’t let those around you, from society to your girlfriend to your teacher, tell you what you are. What you should be. Want to be a bard? Be a bard. Want to be a witch? Be a witch. Want to be an abstract artist? Be an abstract artist! You can be a pirate that day jobs as a sales clerk, or detective who works in a warehouse during main hours.
Don’t wait until you’re 64 to decide who you are.
What are you?
So for now, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving — give thanks for who you know, how you got where you are, and the lessons you learned along the way. Be thankful that you are able to dream and imagine and create. Give thanks for those who have passed — be thankful that they came into your life and gave you so much of themselves. Give thanks for sunrises and sunsets and Tchaikovsky and Monet and Harry Potter.
Eat some turkey, have extra gravy (it’s only one day!), and know that I’m thankful for all of you. For your writing, for your art, for your stopping by and saying hi. Somehow I feel we’re all friends in here.
And that’s something to be thankful for.
Italian sculptor Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi (c. 1386 -1466) , better known as Donatello, was the greatest Florentine sculptor before Michelangelo, and was the most influential individual artist of the 15th century in Italy.
His fascination with many styles of ancient art and his ability to blend classical and medieval styles with his own new techniques led to hundreds of unique pieces in marble, wood, bronze, clay, stucco and wax.
Donatello’s legacy as the most accomplished sculptor of the early Renaissance is well deserved. With his work he ushered in an era where artists could feel free to interpret the emotion inherent in their subject matter without being tied to outdated legends.
More of Donatello’s history and works can be found at http://www.donatello.net/
First a disclaimer: if you are a workmate of mine, don’t tell anyone. I don’t want anyone at the company to get the wrong idea.
Most artistic people hone their skills at home, alone, evenings and weekends and days off and vacations. The 9-5 gig that we all adhere to tends to take over any creative urges we have. You know — accountants by day, abstract artists by night.
I am one of those who have, after 47 years of working, finally gotten a glimpse of what it would be like to do what you love.
I may have told you before, but I’m a data conversion specialist by day. Fancy title for working with my company’s database. A good job, a boring job, a busy job. Just like everyone else’s.
No one had written on the company blog for a year, and when there was a post it was every three months or so. Being a writer, I saw an opening and I jumped at it. Since it originated from my department, I asked if I could write a blog now and then. After all, I was a writer.
Although no one at work really knew that.
My boss took a chance on me and let me do a blog now and then. I would pick a theme and talk about it and throw some product in. What started as once a month turned into every two weeks to every week.
I was in heaven.
Then new bosses came in and the blog stopped.
I was so excited to have been able to write a casual, friendly informational blog, as my own blog is also casual, friendly, and informational. I wanted to write more, but I was a data person, after all.
This is where I emphasize don’t give up…if there’s a hole in the wall somewhere, jump through it.
The new boss must have liked my infomercials, for we started the blog again. The door was propped open, and opportunity teased me from the other side. In working with the new bosses, I was given some suggestions for story ideas that I jumped on. I interviewed managers to see what they wanted the world to know about. I scoured catalogs and publications for ideas that were fresh and relevant.
And now I write two blogs a week.
Our company blog isn’t big, isn’t famous, isn’t global. It’s just another niche in the world of social media.
But for two years it has been mine.
I don’t know the future of my writing contributions to the company. For all I know they could hire a media writer tomorrow. But that would be okay too, for I have been able to turn my love of writing into a positive contribution to my employer.
If I hadn’t kept insisting that I was a “writer”, I wouldn’t be where I am today. If I didn’t believe that I had the talent and the voice they needed, I wouldn’t have written more than one blog.
Find a way to get your passion into your day job. Whether you’re a writer, a painter, or a calligrapher, find a way to edge your talent into the working world. Don’t give up.
And if you don’t get to get your toe wet on the creative side of work, you can always write one hell of a story about your co-workers.
Just change their names to protect the innocent..
The first thing to do when viewing the work of Anthony Howe is to CLICK ON EACH IMAGE.
That way you can see the fascinating movement of each wind sculpture..
In Cloud Light III
Di Octo and Sculptor 2015
The movement of each of these sculptures is mesmerizing. The perfect balance, the perfect swirl, the perfect twirl.
More of Anthony Howe’s amazing wind sculptures can be found at his website, https://www.howeart.net.
And speaking of chill, and cold, and snow, and sleet (were we really talking about all that?) I have been searching for a new name for my sometimes-Thursday evening art gallery. I am finding so many fantastic artists that I just can’t help sharing them more than once a week.
I hope you don’t mind.
So thinking of the depths of winter that is soon to arrive, I thought of soft music, crackling fires, and rooms full of art. Cinnamon and apple and spice potpourri and mulled wine or shots of Rumchata. So with thoughts of snuggling and armchair tours around the gallery, I’ve decided.
Art Around the Fireplace
Or should it be…
Thursday Art Gallery Around the Fire
Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Thursdays In Front of the Fire
You see why I have trouble with subject lines for emails at work…
You all are a delight. I hope you enjoy the unique art as much as I do. And if you ever want to see more of these artists, THE gallery is open 24/7.
Here is a preview of what’s in store this winter in the Gallery….
Hope you keep visiting the Goddess AND the Gallery!
As the cold wavers into the early evening and night, I am enjoying my own guilty pleasure…binge watching.
Come on — don’t tell me that you haven’t watched the same movie two or three weeks in a row. I remember when A Hard Day’s Night with my forever loves the Beatles came to the theater — I watched it three times a day, Saturday and Sunday, two weeks in a row.
Now that’s binging.
I’m quite a bit older than that innocent girl of yore, but I still enjoy watching episode after episode. A bathroom break or cookie break is all I allow when I’m caught up in love triangles and alien invasions and different factions fighting for the Throne of Swords.
I get in these — moods is too soft a term — spells is more like it — where all I want to do is see what happens next. I’ll watch one episode of Stranger Things and find myself saying “one more episode” then “one more episode” until its 1 a.m. and I’ve watched the whole series. Or Game of Thrones. I mean, how can I not find out who captured who? Who stabbed who? Who fooled around with who? The next episode just might tell me!
I look at it as visual books. Okay, so the texts aren’t as deep, as verbose, as a book. But there is character development (what about the shadow monster in the young boy?) There is romance (will Jon Stark and Daenerys ever get together?) There is mystery (is Redington Liz’s father?) There’s enough to keep me awake for hours!
I suppose I really should be writing or cleaning, but I am convinced I am learning something by binging on my favorite movies/TV shows. I have learned so many things…like don’t feed a creature that looks like a slug because it’s probably an alien; don’t walk into dark tunnels; don’t become involved with a Dothraki, and don’t be the first to have sex in a horror movie.
These are things that I might need on future quests. Future stories. Future time travels. You know — all those things us senile old women do in our spare time.
I tell you — it sure beats the hell out of the 9-5 gig….
Rita Faes is a photographer who lives in Belgium. The details she finds and brings out in her images is amazing.
The colors and the flowers she finds are remarkable.
You can find more of Rita’s marvelous work at her old blog (which is inactive but full of beautiful photography) , https://gwenniesworld.wordpress.com), but definitely sign up and follow her at her new site, https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/
Here in wonderful Midwest Wisconsin, the weather is taking it’s usual dive into the chilly pool of pre-winter. No gathering on the veranda with a chocolate milk in a wine glass, no tinkling of windchimes from the summer breeze…let’s just say the weather sucks.
So as we sweep the leaves off the porch and put away the easels that showcased the wonderfully unique art I found, I will leave you with a smattering of non-gallery images that I think are just cool. I did not create nor take the pictures…that’s a gallery for another day.
I will undoubtedly create a winter-themed gallery — after all, my pre-gallery folders are bursting with great art!
Any ideas for a winter-themed gallery name?
I was wondering…what is a soulmate?
According to the Urban Dictionary, a soulmate is: “A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet — a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior.”
Okay. I see how that fits a couple. The love of your life and all. But can friends be soulmates? Grandkids? Cousins? Aunts and Uncles?
I always hear people saying that they “found their soulmate.” That their connection is so intimate, so strong, that nothing else can compare. That the two of them are synchronic in every way.
I’ve been married 36 years and hope to be married 36 more. I love my hubby. I enjoy hanging with my hubby. He knows me and I know him. He doesn’t get my need to write, my desire to walk the streets of Paris or my love of science fiction and time travel. I don’t care about his hunting escapades, his golf score, or his football pool.
Are we soulmates?
I love my kids more than I love life. Double that for my grandkids. When I’m playing on the floor with the 2-year-old we bond over Hot Wheels and the contents of my purse. The 7-year-old and I share the magic of looking for elves and rhinos in the woods and read Pete the Cat books with fervor.
Are we no less soulmates?
My best girlfriends have gone to hell and back. My girls and I share pain and laughter, confusion and daydreams. We cry together, we dream of going to Ireland together, we share our love of writing and crocheting and scrapbooking on levels mere mortals dream of.
Are we no less soulmates?
I have had friends in my life who shared the secrets of my alter ego, the mad writer. They have come to me in their darkest moments, and opened their hearts to me in mine. We shared magic and coffee and secrets and encouraged each other’s wild and crazy dreams..
Are we no less soulmates?
I think the definition of soulmate is way too narrow. There is not just one soul for you — there are dozens. Because it’s more than great sex, dancing till dawn or making babies. A soulmate loves you for who you are, for your mistakes and your triumphs. They make you feel like a million bucks and you make them feel like two.
Soulmates meet in that sacred space where emotion and thought wrap around and through each other like a Celtic knot until you can’t tell who is who and what is what. You both meet and part and meet again in the most wonderful ways.
When I look for rhinos in the woods I am in that sacred space. When I rub hand lotion from my purse on tiny hands I am in that sacred space. And when I say good night to the man I love I am in that sacred space.
And when you come across those moments, remember — they are your soulmates, too.
Well, it’s a few days later, and I’m embarrassed to reread my whine-a-thon the other day. We all get into the funk now and then — the reasons don’t matter. Usually they pass as quickly as they come. The point is, though, is that most of us don’t take to public media to share that whining.
Perhaps that’s the curse of the writer. Confused? Write about it. Excited? Write about it. Tired? Write about it. That’s the problem with writers. We are so used to emoting on paper that we don’t know when to stop.
So in order to make up for pouting and venting and making more of the blues than of the yellows, here are a few photos to make you (and me) smile.
You know — those navy, cornflower, turquoise kind of blue days where nothing seems to go quite right. Not even the lure of editing and/or writing something new seems to interest me. TV? Blah…too much drama. Reading? Not in the mood. Writing? Not inspired.
I’ve changed my diet, walk a little more, try and get to bed before 11 pm (another story), and yet I sometimes get these hates coming on. Now, I don’t hate anybody (well..maybe just one person). Hate is a wasted emotion with nothing but bad side effects and conclusions in the toilet.
Work is changing big time, and I’m lost in the shuffle. I’m not close enough to retirement to retire, but I hate the idea of sitting at a desk putting data in the computer 8 hours a day for the next 1-1/2 years. I come home from work and the grumpies follow. The stupid Netflix keeps timing out. There’s a sink of dishes to do. Blah Blah Blah.
Then I talk to friends who have real issues. Illness, custody battles, unemployment, and I refocus. I’d rather listen and help them than listen and help myself. It’s a tough world out there, and we all deserve medals for making it through with the battle scars we have.
Maybe it’s just the changing seasons that are trying to pull me down. I’ve never been affected by the seasons, but hey — I’ve never had these many hot flashes, either. Anything is possible.
So my question to you — what do you do when you get the blues? I’ll take any and ALL suggestions!
Remedios Varo (1908-1983) was born in Spain. She fled the Spanish Civil War and headed to Paris to further her artistry in Surrealism
. The surrealist movement was strong there, and she honed her skills along with painters who received more notoriety.
Remedios always struggled to combine the mythic with the scientific, the sacred with the profane. She was influenced by the surrealist movement and metaphysics studies, along with ancient studies.
After some years, she decided to move to Mexico with a friend she met in Europe, where her real journey as an artist started.
Her characters are mystical and solitary; most of the times involved in scientific activities.
As an artist, she liked to use symbolism and hidden elements such as animals (mainly cats) in her paintings, along with diverse characters who are contemplative, passive, or highly symbolic.
More of Remedios Varo‘s artwork can be found at http://www.remediosvaro.org/
As many of you know, I’m planning on publishing 4 of my novels. I want to give them to my family and friends so they can see what my writing is all about. I’d also sell them through Amazon and WordPress and any which way if someone was interested in the time-travel thread.
But I have started the process three times and have stopped dead in my tracks every time.
I am thinking of going through CreativeSpace. It’s a division of Amazon, and you can publish your book with no bells and whistles for a very reasonable per-book price.
But then the bells and whistles start going off.
Pick a size –6×9 is most popular. Well, of course, I knew my page count would increase. No biggie. But then I flash through the pages and wonder — should I cut some copy? Are there any mistakes hidden between the pages? Now this is a book that’s been around in one form or another for over 15 years. I think by now if there were any typos I’d have found them. But the thought of putting those words down permanently in a book forever and ever just gives me the heebee geebees. Like I need to proofread it one more time. Well, if I want to get this and another book done by Christmas, that ain’t happening.
Then you have to pick a cover. Sounds easy. But suddenly I have to figure out what kind of impression I want my book to first have to readers. Like WordPress, I can’t afford a custom design, so I go through the free templates a dozen times. Dark blue in a circle? Field of wheat? Flowers?
And what if it’s a series (which it is)? Do both covers look alike? If it’s a set of two, how will anyone tell them apart? It’s not like there’s a choice of shades of same here.
Should I go with the name Claudia Anderson? C.A. Anderson? A pseudonym? If I go with a pseudonym, how will my friends and family know it’s me? Who is Dream Regret, anyway?
Then there’s getting my book out there. Do it with Amazon and they will list my book. Great. But for an extra fee they will send out notices to libraries, book stores, etc. Is my book that interesting that a library in Montana will want it?
So although I’ve made the decision to publish my book, now that I have to put my foot in the water I’m afraid of an alligator biting it off.
In a day and age such as we live in now, that should be the least of my problems.
Let me know how your publishing dreams went — or are going.
Thomas Arvid captures our wonder with his over sized still life compositions of wine and the rituals surrounding it.
Arvid astounds viewers with the intricate details of his images and with his mastery of light, depth, and reflection.
Arvid is passionate about art and wine: a collector of both, he strives to capture the pleasure of a life well-lived on each canvas.
Arvid’s approach to wine and painting is surprising, given his background as a Detroit native raised to parlay his inherent artistic talent into a secure job in the industrial complex.
According to Arvid, “Wine is a great subject because people are familiar with it; they really connect to it. My paintings are really the landscapes between people sharing wine – it’s amazing that my collectors find personal fulfillment in my work, especially when I’m just doing what I love.”
More of Thomas Arvid’s amazing paintings can be found at http://www.thomasarvid.com/
My black (and white) cat and I are taking the opportunity this day to promote my other blog, SUNDAY EVENING ART GALLERY.
I have added a lot of additional images to each artist’s base. When I first introduce the artists here on Sunday nights, it’s often hard to pick just 5 or 6 of their masterpieces.
That’s what the Gallery is for.
So when you are in need of that “wow…how do they DO that?” moment, pop on over to the other side. Better yet, sign up to follow the blog. It doesn’t fill your mailbox full of fluff junk mail; just notices when I open a new gallery. Which is at least once a week.
Come on — take a chance. It’s a fun world to explore.
Cal is my work friend. He was the director of our Science catalogs, I was his coordinator for 11 years, meaning I put his product numbers into Filemaker, proofread his catalog pages, and generally helped keep his p’s and q’s in order.
Somewhere between the p and the q we started talking about writing. Not many people at work know I have a blog, nor do they know about all the writing I’ve done. But somehow Cal and I found a common ground outside of work and started talking about writing, then shared our stories and writings.
As you all know, it’s hard to find someone who shares your passion. Whether it’s fishing or golf or writing, not everybody is in tune to what you’re tuned into. So to find another writer within the vanilla cubicle confines of my daily abode was a gem in the making.
Like any company, mine is in flux. Growing, expanding, taking new directions. The old guard is leaving and a younger, fresher version is moving in. What worked 5, 10 years ago doesn’t work today. So the prospect of retirement is sweeter for many of us over the age of 60.
We are not getting squeezed out as much as slowing down. I am as bright, as creative, as I was 20 years ago. But I must admit that at 64 my processing computer isn’t quite as fast as it used to be. So by the time I retire I will be so glad to let corporate America pass me by.
You don’t always think about retirement — hell, until recently for me it was something that was far, far away. But since I can’t fight time, I might as well embrace it.
That’s what my friend Cal will be doing. I’m sure he’s had plenty of ups and downs in his life. But finally things are coming together and the doors have opened to his “next” career. Maybe it will be writing. Maybe he will travel and become a professional traveler.
Maybe he will just enjoy the next 30 years of his life.
In the end, that’s what we all hope will happen to us. Isn’t it? A chance to spend another quarter of our life waking up when we want to. A chance to spoil grand kids, work in your garden, paint paintings, meet friends for lunch. Eating breakfast at noon and lunch at 5. Finally doing whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do.
Cal, I wish you open roads, low scoring golf games, and a writing career that rivals J.K. Rowlings. There’s no doubt your stories will rival those of Asimov. After all — you are the Science Guy —
I finished my final edit on my first novel yesterday.
I should be screaming HUZZAH!!
But all I can say is….are you sure it’s the final edit?
Now, that book has been around for 15+ years. Do you know what you were doing 15 years ago? Ha…me neither. Except writing this book. Which was inspired by a role playing world I was involved in 20+ years ago.
Now, less you think I’ve been dickering with this book and this book only for 15 years, I’ve also written its sequel, plus a brand new novel and its sequel.
Why don’t I send it out to publishers/agents?
I’ve been there done that. And the truth is….who knows…maybe in this world of a thousand new books being published per day it doesn’t exactly float the right person’s boat.
So I’ve decided to self publish. Not the big, pay-up-front deals, but some of the smaller pay-as-you-go gigs. I don’t anticipate selling a lot of books, but the reason I want to see my words in print is because I want to give my novels to friends and family so they can see who I really am.
I’ve been a mother, a wife, a secretary, a bed and breakfast owner, an Internet data conversion specialist, a soccer and baseball mom, a grandmother, a sister, a friend. I’ve raised two kids and five dogs and four cats, lived in 7 houses, and two states. I want those I know and love to see my “other” side before it’s too late.
So what is the purpose of today’s blog?
I am not discouraging those of you who have found agents/publishers and been able to get your books out there. That’s what it’s all about. I am not saying don’t keep submitting. The big publishing houses are the way to go if you can get them to notice you.
But what I am ALSO saying is not to wait 15 years like I did to see your work in some place other than a computer screen. Whether you print it out and photocopy it, or go the professional self-publishing route or the simple self-publishing route, don’t wait until your novel is perfect. It’s never going to be.
You are a writer because you love to write. You know you want others to see your passion — that’s why you wrote the damn book. Show it off! Get it out there! Give some copies away for free then talk about them everywhere! Blogs, Twitter, church — it doesn’t matter. FIND A WAY TO GET YOUR WORDS OUT THERE!
Don’t wait for your descendants to publish your work.
They might just change the main character’s name from Anna to Osama.
The artists were inspired by two-dimensional posters.
Valeriya used different techniques of face painting so you can see a lot of variations….
This is a combination of interesting make-ups, studio photography experiments and careful retouching.
But seriously — it seems that if we have a great weekend we pay for it somehow on Monday. Not hangover-wise, but, I dunno — karma-wise.
This morning at work my bff almost wiped out the database. No biggie. Driving to work I waited my turn to turn and almost smacked the car that crossed the intersection because they were just movin’ too slow. Spilled lunch on my pants and burned my tongue on my coffee.
And that’s all before noon.
Now I know that stuff happens all week and weekend long. Life isn’t smooth. Just ask it. So I try not to complain and make my way through the madness the best way I can.
Someone once asked me why I don’t blog about the terrible things in the world. I believe writing about these tragedies should be done by those who have more facts than I. We are all horrified by the crazy Vegas shooter and the terrorists that drive down people on the boulevard in France or the nutcases that walk into schools and shoot up the place.
I have no idea what’s in the head of nutcases like that. So what insight could I give a reader? Gnashing over the same feelings everyone else has is often not very satisfying for a reader or a writer. Few of us understand the dark that dwells in the human mind. There’s a lot of the world I don’t understand, so I don’t try to explain it.
This weekend I went to a birthday party for a grandfather who turned 90. Say it. 90. Born in 1917. There was no TV back then; no computers, no cell phones, no social media. No tollways, no Big Macs, no penicillin. He made it through two world wars, the depression, landing on the moon, 9/11, plus raised three children. He lost his wife some years ago, yet is still the stronghold of the family.
That’s the kind of person I like to sit and write about.
So write your blogs, play your music, talk about your friends and family. Bring sunshine into your readers’ lives. Laugh, teach, share. Feel the grief then move on. Bring a good feeling with you everywhere you go.
And don’t worry about the tomato spot on your pants. A spot in the vastness of the galaxy is not a spot at all…
Yulia Brodskaya, an artist and illustrator born in Moscow, creates stunning works of art using the quilled paper technique.
She uses two simple materials, paper and glue, and a simple technique that involves the placement of carefully cut and bent strips of paper to make lush, vibrant, three-dimensional paper artworks.
Soon after discovering her passion and unique style, Brodskaya has swiftly earned an international reputation for her innovative paper illustrations.
According to the artist, “Paper always held a special fascination for me. I’ve tried many diferent methods and techniques of working with it, until I found the way that has turned out to be ‘the one’ for me: now I draw with paper instead of on it”.
You can find more of Yulia Brodskaya’s amazing quilling art can be found at https://www.artyulia.co.uk/.
My friend Gwennie posts the most fabulous pictures…enjoy! And if you like, follow her .. https://gwenniesgardenworld.wordpress.com/
This one is about some of the art we saw on our travels through the Provence. MURAL OLD ART IN A CHURCH AND NEW ART IN GARDENS In France you find art where ever you go, old, new, you name it , they got it ! Thanks for visiting, have a great day […]
My dog of 13 years passed away yesterday.
Now I’m not telling you this to wring out sympathy or other reactions. The reason I share this with you is that whenever someone or some thing close to you is taken away, there is a little piece of you that leaves with them.
Worse than that for me, though, is that sudden, albeit unwanted, connection with my own mortality.
I know a dog is only an animal. They don’t think and reason like we do (although sometimes I beg to differ). But Dickens’ passing makes me think of those I have loved who have passed before, and those who will pass in the future.
And my own passing.
I have to admit something. Many people find solace in religion. That there is an afterlife, a heaven, a chance to be reunited with loved ones. They believe this fully and adamantly.
I’m not one of those people.
I look for signs of those I love who are in the afterlife, but I always come up empty. In my heart I feel my mother or father or brother with me, but common sense says it’s nothing more than an emotional overload. Wanting is getting. I hope to be proved wrong in the end…that the guardian of the afterlife will chuckle and say “I told you so.”
Dickens had 13 great years. She fetched, she went swimming in the lake, she went on walks with me.We buried her in our field (I live on a hill surrounded by wild fields) with her mom, her bfdf Rennie, and my cat. In my selfish dreams I see all of them running around through the fields, sleeping, eating, climbing and swimming together.
I see her with all the dogs and cats I have lost during my lifetime. How are they all together, when they didn’t even know each other in this life?
My love, my spirit, connects them all.
I believe the same is true for human beings. Our love, our spirit, is what connects us. Whether on this side of the cosmic divide or the other. Whether we live in Australia or California or Midwest Wisconsin. Sometimes that string that connects us is pulled, and we all feel unified, if only for a moment.
Keep that string connected, my friends. It doesn’t matter what’s on the other side — that will be decided for all of us in due time. It’s what we share today and tomorrow and every day we are able to see the sunrise that counts.
Have fun, Dickens. See ya ‘all when the time comes.
Kevin Zuckerman was born in St. Louis and grew up in Japan, Thailand, and Greece.
Kevin is a multi faceted artist, having mastered many mediums, from oil painting (his primary medium) to sculpture in bronze, pastel and watercolor.
He has also worked in many styles along his journey as an artist, from classical to total abstraction to the place he has now arrived.
Utilizing and integrating all the various techniques and ideas he has collected and invented along the way, Kevin brings something fresh and unique to the art world.
More of Kevin Zuckerman’s colorful and creative art can be found at http://www.kevinzuckerman.com.
I just got home from sweating my caboose off at my grandson’s soccer game. I remember going to every soccer game for both of my sons. That turned out to be 13 years for one son and 11 for the other. I have sat in sweat, rain, wind, and frost. I have shouted “good job” or “move in! Move in!” more times than Bayer has aspirin. It has been a great run. And I love that I now have my oldest grandson (7) and someday his little brother (2) and maybe even their little sister or brother (2/18) to go and watch and yell “Move In!”
I wonder if they have soccer games in heaven.
And if they do, I wonder if it’s a perfect 65 degrees with a slight breeze from the south when I sit facing north, or a westerly wind when I’m watching the game from the east. I wonder if they’ll have cushioned seats instead of the sack chairs I’ve carried for the past 20 years.
Since time would be irrelevant in heaven, I’d be able to watch my sons and grandsons and great grandsons kick the ball back and forth over and over and over again. I could move from one soccer game to the next, no one ever getting tired, no one getting sunburn, no one getting soaked from the torrential downpour that started at kick off.
The fields would be enormous — large enough so that my ever-expanding family could picnic and play volleyball and drink Piña Coladas without getting drunk. Each family member’s game would be at their own special separate time — no running from field to field to catch parts of each kid’s game.
In heaven I wouldn’t be chubby, giving in to sweating in all the wrong places as I cheer my grandkids and kids and great grandkids on. I’d be tall and thin and my flowing shift would match the kid’s uniforms. There would be more than enough treats and drinks for each team, everyone getting their favorite juice box and granola bar or Capri bag and bag of Cheetos. No arguing. No pouting.
If there are soccer games in heaven, there will be a balance of winners and losers. Except in heaven, there really is no losing, is there? There would be no obnoxious parents telling the ref he’s blind, no cheap shots at the goalie, no broken ankles or concussions from being t-boned on the field. No one will feel like a loser, because in heaven everybody is equal and happy and good natured.
Now there may be a question about which of your kids’ age groups you want to watch. I mean, I watched my youngest from kindergarten through high school. He was amazing all 13 years. I watched my oldest almost as long. Do I want to watch my grandson at age 7 (now) or when he’s 10 or 15? I figure God will have figured that out by the time I get there. I mean, She’s/He’s omnipotent and all. And in heaven everything is possible.
My only dilemna is….what if 2/18 wants to play football?
I wrote a blog earlier today — something about BoHo and gypsy and wrapping my wardrobe around that feeling. Blah blah and I don’t remember exactly where that was going, because I rode home from work tonight with the windows open, the fields shimmering with yellow soybean leaves and stalks of corn turning crisply brown, their tassels dancing in the evening breeze, Elton John rocking at full blast on the radio, my thin, flat reddish-brown hair flying helter skelter in the wind, thinking about my evening ritual of playing fetch with my dogs, then a bit of dinner, a bit of cleaning, a bit of TV, then digging into a good book.
Wherever I was going with my previous story, whatever wrappings I thought I needed to be who I was, whatever depressing thoughts tried to bloom from a day of data entry, whatever politics played out during the four cement walls of my workplace, whatever aches and pains follow me day in and day out, none of that mattered. None of that matters.
Life is good. Love, in whatever form you find it, is good. It’s here and it’s now and it’s all you’ve got. Damn the job and the family members that don’t get you and the pounds you want to lose. Open those windows. Crank up the radio. Sing at the top of your lungs.
Take the long way home….
Does it feel that you life’s become a catastrophe?
Oh, it has to be for you to grow, boy.
When you look through the years and see what you could
have been oh, what might have been,
if you’d had more time.
So, when the day comes to settle down,
Who’s to blame if you’re not around?
You took the long way home
You took the long way home
Supertramp…Take the Long Way Home
I have always been an emotional person. An overly emotional person. I love till it hurts. I resent even though I shouldn’t. I am jealous over things that I have nothing to do with. I listen to my favorite music and am in heaven. Yet the next minute I drive home from work .shouting “Fuuuccckkkk aaaallll of yooooouuuu!!” out the window.
As I get older the emotions flash way up and way down. And I have to say I don’t care for it.
Yes, there are Meds. There is meditation and fresh air walks and alcohol and chamomile tea and church. There are many ways to deal with that over-active amygdala. But that doesn’t stop the knee-jerk reactions to everything from too-salty food to pink sunsets. Everything bothers me. Everything thrills me. Thoughts and dreams and desires flood my brain at lightning speed, confusing me with their urgency. Hence, I want to edit, write, read, sew, watch movies, go for walks, throw the ball for the dogs, cook, sulk, scream, and yes, even clean.
One thing I know. I really am at the end of my working career. Instead of going out in a career choice blaze of glory, I’m going out as a fill-in-the-spreadsheet-blank kinda girl. The writing career I wanted will have to fill my days of retirement, for there’s nothing really left at my job. All that’s left of my waning career is the sad click of the keyboard as I fill in number after number after number.
See what I mean? That’s the out-of-control amygdala babbling away. For I really don’t mind my job. And my personal life is so full of family and grandbabies and oatmeal raisin cookies and evening walks that I’m not really that strung out.
But these days I find myself alot more reactionary. I “hate” a lot more people, places, and things. Something I never did in my youth. I also “love” a lot more things than I did when I was 20 or 30. Not only the obvious things like children and husbands and friends and homemade spaghetti, but smooth jazz and classical music, taking pictures, my art blog, Game of Thrones, corn fields, and even…dare I say it…country music.
I wish my highs could stay longer than my lows. That my outlook on myself and the world would lighten up. I hate myself for wasting precious emotions and energy on things I can do nothing about. After all, my future is shorter than my past. And that very thought saddens me.
See what I mean?
Life is all about finding balance. About letting the good into your life. And when the bad comes along, oh well. That’s life. Not holding onto to jealousies and grudges and bad memories. There’s nothing you can do to change anything in the past, and the future is uncertain. So just get jiggy wit it. All of it.
I just wish I wasn’t so moody about getting jiggy……..
Debra Mager is a self taught mosaic artist.
She developed her craft by learning from the best mosaic teachers in the country, reading many many books on the subject, and by practice.
Debra’s art is an expression of the joyful, beautiful happy things in life with a touch of whimsy.
She considers her art, in the words of the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, “souvenirs” of her artistic journey.
Debra read every book on the subject of mosaics, took classes, and practiced incessantly.
She learned quickly, discovered a tremendous passion for the craft, and has been at it ever since.
Debra’s mosaic art is whimsical, technical, and magical — just what you expect mosaic art to be.
More of Debra Mager’s art can be found at http://cinderellamosaics.com,
Oh, I took pictures when I was young. First married. Family, my brothers, my dad. With my kids through school and high school. But they are all sitting in a box somewhere, waiting for my A.D.H.D. to slow down enough to go through all of them.
Then came my first Smartphone. And my learning about Picasa (which has turned into Google Photos).
I am hooked.
You would think I were a master photographer the way I run around taking pictures of everything. Of course, grandkids take up the majority of the space on both Google and my phone. Kids walking. Kids laughing. Kids falling down. Kids in daddy’s shoes. Kids standing on the picnic table. Kids Kids Kids.
None of those would win a photo contest, but to me they are unique moments in time that will never happen again. It’s like driving down a deserted road and watching a leaf fall from a tree. You are the only one in the universe that saw that leaf make its final journey to the ground. How special is that?
Of course, life is made up of special moments. 16 hours a day (the other 8 for sleep, a special moment all its own), 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.
That’s a lot of camera moments.
I’m also the nature picture girl. I’ve got a thing about taking pictures of clouds, woods, water, animals (when I find them), plants, old houses, old barns — anything that looks like an elf or a faerie could be just around the corner. My husband chuckles at all the path-through-the-woods pictures on my phone. I mean — how many cool paths can there be?
At my age, EVERY path is a cool path. I imagine the turn in the road, the path not taken, the path that leads to Hobbiton and Brigadoon and Diagon Alley. That barn covered in ivy and disrepair might be the gateway to Neverland. That flower in all its unique glory could just have been danced upon by faeries. Pictures of unusual places and things tickles my imagination, and the most wonderful things come out the other end.
Maybe all this is nothing more than wanting to retain images of the things I love before the end. That when I’m old and gray I can look at these pictures and remember when — if at all. For we all have a “when”. And it flies by too fast.
Don’t be afraid to use your camera/Iphone/Android. Create worlds of your own with just a click. Delete the ones that don’t take you to Avalon, Asgard, or to your family and friends. Then let your imagination take you where it will.
Get the photo bug today!
Latchezar Boyadjiev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, and educated the the Academy of Arts in Sofia and the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, Czechoslovakia, where he studied with Professor Stanislav Libensky, one of the most prominent glass artists of our time.
Boyadjiev came to the United States in 1986, where he taught at the California College of Arts and Crafts.
Next follows a series of positive and negative molds, a time-consuming and detail-oriented process that leads to the final plaster positive that will determine the outcome of the sculpture.
These new glass sculptures are cast into yet another mold, and later annealed, partially ground and polished.
Boyadjiev creates amazing glass sculptures that are sensual and fluid, a true joy to behold.
More of Latchezar Boyadjiev‘s glass sculptures can be found at http://www.latchezarboyadjiev.com/.
The trigger this past week has been Hurricane Harvey and the devastation it wreaked upon an unsuspecting public. Deaths, destruction, desolation. Every day it’s another heartbreaking story.
But like so many others, I am settled safely in the Midwest, far from the water and the grief. And that makes me feel like a slacker. I have sent money to help the victims, but I am employed full-time and have family and financial responsibilities, so I can’t go and help those in need. And even if I did go down to Houston, I am in no shape physically to help out.
This feeling of helplessness is the same feeling I got when Katrina hit. Or the Twin Towers. Massive devastation thousands of miles away from me. It’s almost surrealistic, because in all cases I have not known one person who was affected by these tragedies. I feel like I’m a cheater — reading the stories of the victims and the survivors, then turning around and making a grilled cheese sandwich like it’s nothing special. It is a shameful feeling.
Do you ever feel like you’re reading a fiction novel instead of really grasping the truth?
Yet around me are situations that can (and have) taken turns for the worse. Not only my cancer (which has not returned, thank goodness), but cancer in friends, triple bypass surgery, arthritis throughout one’s body, mothers and fathers and wives and husbands passing away, ill health and bankruptcy and all kinds of situations that hurt the heart as well as the body. Are these any more important than what is going on in Houston?
Are we any less of a feeling, emoting human being if we keep on working on our side of the window?
On the other end of the scale is the decadence of the wealthy. A world I cannot even imagine. Beyonce once spent $100,000 on a Balanciaga bra and leggings and $4 million for a Bugatti Veyron Grand Sports Car. The Beckams spent $240,000 on a nursery for their son, while Elton John bought the apartment next door for $2 million so his son could have a place to play in.
People are starving. People are dying. People’s homes have been washed away. Their children will have nightmares the rest of their lives. Yet there is a section of society that can buy a teacup sized Pomeranian for $10,000 (Paris Hilton) or a $250,000 bottle of champagne (JayZ) or a $2 million dollar bath tub (Mike Tyson).
What is wrong with the world?
I know I know — kings and queens and popes and oil monguls have been spending buko bucks for centuries while the poor ate potatoes and worse. There has never been a balance in the world’s economy. It’s just the nature of human beings.
I don’t know why I feel like I’m ignoring the woes of the world.
We are all caught in the middle, lost somewhere between tragedy and comedy. The only thing we can do is acknowledge where we are, what we have done, and be prepared to handle the best of times and the worst of times.
Today, like any other weekday, was a work day. Filling in spreadsheets with numbers and relationships and variants. I used to do a little writing for my company, but with personnel changes and new directions and new horizons to be discovered, it’s mostly the data routine.
Yet I wonder.
How many of you work full time? (show of hands)
How many of you like your job? (fewer hands still up)
How many are doing what you want to do? (only one or two still up)
Why is it that so many people in the work force have issues with their jobs? Admit it. Most of us fall between the “I can barely stand this place” to “this is a pretty darn good job.” But do any of us really enjoy what we do day to day, week to week?
Tell the truth. The main purpose of any job is to make money in order to live. To pay our bills. To have a few extra dollars so we can order a pizza or go to the movies once in a while. A means to an end. Sometimes we are lucky and land our dream job in the world, in the field, we love. We get a job doing something we’re good at, something we’ve trained for.
But more often we get stuck in jobs that really don’t fit. We think it’s a side step to where we really want to go, but we get stuck in that sideways direction so long that we don’t recognize the road ahead. The job turns into a routine, our future prospects narrowed by our present occupation. The field we really want happens to be pretty saturated at the moment, so we stay where we are for just a little longer, and when we do apply for something we want they focus on our current experience, not our intent.
Suddenly we have been a secretary or a truck driver or a warehouse worker for most of our lives. Now we’re invested in three or four weeks paid vacation and 401K and co-workers we’ve gotten to know. We didn’t mean for our lives to take this fork in the road — it just happened. And we were so busy making money to feed our kids and pay for our house and to make car payments that there was no time to “take a chance” on that perfect job.
I am lucky to have had steady work in fields that were pretty decent. I’ve owned my own business, been a coordinator/proofreader, secretary, and salesperson. I am now at that point where my vacation and age leave no room for turning around, for the end game is in sight.
But as I sit and put numbers on a spreadsheet and copy and code catalog information and send and track emails and waste away hour after hour in silent calculations, I wonder if things would have been different if I’d gone to college. If I’d worked in an advertising agency instead of a savings and loan association. If I’d started writing professionally at 20 instead of 60.
I’m at the point in my career that I’m working hard to get to the finish line. To retire and really start my new life. I’ve been preparing for it for over 47 years. And I am so ready.
But I still wonder…
Lucy Clark calls herself a “Hand Built” Potter.
Each pot is built in the coil method, one layer at a time. It is then embellished or carved and set to dry for a month before it is fired.
The firing process involves bringing the kiln up very slowly to a temperature of around 1300 degrees and then it is turned off and watched until it hits 990 degrees. After the firing, the piece is lifted out with Kevlar gloves and placed in sawdust to “smoke” the pot in the old Pueblo style tradition.
Lucy uses no glazes in her process –the sheen comes from burnishing (polishing) the piece with a small quartz stone until it is smooth and silky to the touch.
Lucy pulls from her many years as a massage therapist and touching people to listen to what the clay wants to be and how it wishes to be transformed into shape in the physical universe.
Lucy Clark explains her talent best. “To me, life is a work of art, always in progress and only finished when we take our last breath. It is through this belief that art informs all that I am and all that I do. Even within the daily routines that consume so much of our time, art is alive and only waits for our notice.”
More of Lucy Clark’s marvelous pottery can be found at http://lucyclarkpottery.com .
Did you all go outside the other day with your glasses and try and catch a glimpse of one very cool astral happening? Tell the truth — how many of you tried to catch a peek at what was going on without your protective glasses?
It was pretty cloudy here in the Midwest United States. We were scheduled to see the moon/sun thing about 1:10 pm. I must admit I did sneak outside (at the end of my lunch time) only to be greeted with bumpy clouds. Alas…about 15 minutes later there was this little uproar throughout the office — the clouds had parted! It was happening!
So I, along with a dozen of my co-workers, went outside (after our scheduled lunch time) and gazed at the phenomenon through eye-protecting glasses (although I have to raise my hand…I did for a NANOSECOND peek at the sun without said glasses…just to see…)
So I figured I would share some old-world explanations for what today’s scientists so flippantly explain with exact detail.
According to TimeandDate.com:
In Vietnam, people believed that a solar eclipse was caused by a giant frog devouring the Sun.
Norse cultures blamed wolves for eating the Sun.
In ancient China, a celestial dragon was thought to lunch on the Sun, causing a solar eclipse. In fact, the Chinese word of an eclipse, chih or shih, means to eat.
According to ancient Hindu mythology, the deity Rahu is beheaded by the gods for capturing and drinking Amrita, the gods’ nectar. Rahu’s head flies off into the sky and swallows the Sun causing an eclipse.
Korean folklore offers another ancient explanation for solar eclipses. It suggests that solar eclipses happen because mythical dogs are trying to steal the Sun.
The Pomo, an indigenous group of people who lived in the northwestern United States, tell of a story of a bear who started a fight with the Sun and took a bite out of it. In fact, the Pomo name for a solar eclipse is Sun got bit by a bear.
The ancient Greeks believed that a solar eclipse was a sign of angry gods and that it was the beginning of disasters and destruction.
According to Inuit folklore, the Sun goddess Malina walked away after a fight with the Moon god Anningan. A solar eclipse happened when Anningan managed to catch up with his sister.
I don’t know about you, but I’m rather amazed at the explanations the ancients had. After all — what did the poor sun do to get bit by so many animals?
Illustrator David Stone Martin (1913-1992) was one of the most prolific and influential graphic designers of the postwar era, creating over 400 album covers.
Born David Livingstone Martin in Chicago, he later studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and began his career as an assistant to the social realist painter Ben Shahn, designing murals during the 1933 World’s Fair.
Martin spent the remainder of the decade as art director of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and served during World War II as an artist/correspondent for Life magazine.
After returning to the U.S. he mounted a career as a freelance artist; in 1948, he also began teaching at the Brooklyn Museum School of Art, followed in 1950 by a year at New York City’s Workshop School of Advertising and Editorial Art.
Martin entered music illustration through his longtime friendship with producer Norman Granz, designing hundreds of now-classic cover paintings for acts including Count Basie, Art Tatum, Gene Krupa, and Lionel Hampton.
Martin’s work has exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and others.
More of David Stone Martin’s magnificent album covers can be found at http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/stonemartin.htm
There are thousands and thousands of bloggers out there. You may follow three or three hundred. The purpose of this made-up week is to encourage you to interact with those who write/paint/travel/share with you. If you like what you read, click that little LIKE button. REALLY like what you read? Drop a comment! We/you/they love to hear back from you!
I love reading your blogs Leah, Ann, Ray, Jackie, Jan, Crissouli, Blue Settia, Walt, d Marie, Suzanne, Patrcia, Mary J, Nick, Marion, Patty, Dawn, Annette, Denise, Jeremiah, CJ, Joel, Jan R, Marie, Norm, Alan, Waterdove, Glorialana, Tess, Gwen, Craig, Pirate Patty, Doug, Craig, Austin, Peter, Anne, and all those names I’ve left out. You all rock! Keep it going! I look forward to following more bloggers, and you should too.
BE a part of the creative world. Appreciate your creative friends this week — and every week!
Darlene Foster writes the kind of blog that plays to the voyeur in me. She travels, she writes, posts on other blogs, does book signings — what is not to envy? I have been following her blog Darlene Foster’s Blog for a while now, and am loving her excursions since she moved to Spain. Darlene turns her sight-seeing jaunts into experiences we all can relate to. A little history, a lot of pictures, and I’m walking through the beautiful Ta´Pinu Sanctuary on the Island of Gozo or through the streets of Cordoba.
Looking for a little getaway that is more in line with your lifestyle (rather than the latest magazine)? Take a walk with Darlene and tour the countryside at your own pace!
Posted July 13, 2017on:
During the visit of my aunt and her friend, we took a bus trip to the Andalusian city of Cordoba, about five hours from where I live in Spain. Originally built by the Romans, it became an important location during the Moorish occupation. The ancient city of Cordoba held some of the world´s first known universities and medical schools. The fascinating architecture throughout the city reflects the Moorish, Jewish and Christian cultures.
More of Darlene Foster’s wonderful blog can be found at https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/. You’ll love your journey!
My next salute to wonderful bloggers is really a two-fer. I don’t really remember how I found Tom von Kap-herr and his blog Cats at the Bar, but the moment I dug into his posts I was hooked. I love cats. Seeing that my own cats are all over me when I’m at my laptop, Cats at the Bar was their choice of reading materials, too.
I noticed that Tom often reposted posts from another great Kat site, Katzenworld. Katzenworld is everything cats. Pictures, information, a kitty goods shop, funny stories — everything a Kat person could want! You really need to stop by both blogs and check out their talent (although I’m told the cats do most of the posting…)
Cats at the Bar (https://catsatthebar.org/)
One of the easiest kind of blogs to follow — and the most fulfilling — are poetry blogs. I know there are a zillion of them out there…poetry is just one of those techniques that speak straight from the heart. It’s not as easy to master as you would think. But those I follow have mastered their crafts well.
I know you have your favorites — I hope you will share back — but here are just a couple that I have enjoyed through the years.
If you love love poems you must have heard of Maxima. Stefan Maxima has a way of wrapping love around his fingers and pouring it upon the page. His poetry is full of affection, awareness, and sensuality. Find his work at https://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com/
The morning is bathed in
the scent of roses.
To be silent wounds.
To voice our thoughts,
speak our mind,
is the better way.
I see your face in dew drops
clinging to the edge of yellow petals
I want to sing to you your favorite song,
it is better that way,
but this morning you and I are silent.
The sun’s ray stirs the imagination
Your smile leaves a trail to my corner
of happiness where I am
a victim of your charm.
I’m speaking of this morning
with the breeze so gentle and caressing
here on the terrace where you sip
your first cup of coffee.
I love you my only one,
this I know,
and I know that you love me too,
but this morning we are silent.
Friendly Fairy Tales (https://friendlyfairytales.com/) makes me want to dance with the faeries in the moonlight. I am very much a unicorn/faerie kind of girl, and Brenda Davis Harsham’s poetry zings straight to my heart. Hers is the kind of blog that I go directly to and read post after post after post, liking them all!
barks away night.
fusses and yowls.
One eye open,
I view the day,
push sleep away.
Tea and oatmeal,
I paint with words
and dust of fairies.
One of my favorite poets is a newcomer to my world. Ivor.Plumber/Poet (https://ivors20.wordpress.com/). Ivor is a relatively newcomer in the WordPress world (I think), at least with this blog. His poetry is the kind that touches your soul. Sometimes it’s sad, often it’s reassuring. Ivor’s way of writing is everyman’s way of writing. Do check him out.
My eyes, narrowly cracked.
My cheeks, slightly etched.
I rest here, retracing every mile.
Remembering, your everlasting smile.
My lips, already dry.
My tongue, trying to say goodbye.
I wonder, was it all worthwhile.
Remembering, your loneliest smile.
My throat, lumpy and sore.
My chest, heavy as never before.
I look back, recalling your life-style.
Remembering, your younger smile.
My lungs, empty and tight.
My legs, weak and light.
I relive, your personal exile.
Remembering, your generous smile
My head, spinning from fright.
My heart, deep and out of sight
I sleep alone, crying like a child.
Remembering, your everlasting smile.
I have followed Catherine Arcolio and Leaf and Twig for the longest time. Her poetry never ceases to amaze me. She calls her style Ekphrastic poetry” which is the verbal representation of visual representation. Writing in short staccato notes has to be one of the hardest forms of creativity. Matching this form of poetry to amazing images is truly an art. You must check her out. https://leafandtwig.wordpress.com/
Support your poets. Try writing poetry yourself. Your soul will thank you for it.
I love following Dave Whatt because he has a quirky sense of humor that can only be found in the UK. I must admit there are times I don’t quite understand the lingo, which makes his blogs all the more appealing. Dave says he is “… a grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil…” Being not so much a brainiac as a researcher, I had to look up plectrum and learned a new word to boot! (it’s a guitar pic, so to speak). I love to listen to local lingo, and Dave’s posts are full of them. Throw in a British accent, and reading suddenly becomes more fun!
Dulltown, UK: Today’s doubled up simile is – He was as happy as two sandboys…
‘No, I think it is plom David…’
‘It was a non-G bear?’
‘Join in a while with a leading heart!’
‘Eye-vade, eye-vade, and ill lucid!’
‘And the sauce easily drips out.’
‘I studied it for ears…’
‘Na na na na! In a pig’s eye!’
‘It was wire thinking Tom!’
‘But how grazing is it?’
‘What?… Tremors this day?’
‘We are all juicing out our world again.’
‘A weekend car-wave! Oh my god!…’
‘Whereas everything is boyfriends now!’
‘Me, I love the grey shots!’
‘You need to grow new parts David.’
‘Never say enough is words!’
‘Not even wiggy?…’
‘Sunny nay-gish, that’s only roughly though.’
‘Have a word with Donna Dominoes tomorrow.’
‘She ass me in tens you know!’
‘But I feel as though we aren’t aren’t.’
‘It was two more with that on the flight!’
If you want a bit of the Brit and walk away with a smile on your face, go check out Dave and his blog at https://davewhatt.wordpress.com/.
A number of you may know (and follow) my second creative friend. David Kanigan creates his blog Live and Learn with thoughts, quotes, research, and philosophy. I mean he’s amazing. I have no idea how he finds the quotes he does. All are thinkers and feelers. He is light and he is deep. I can see his feelings and thoughts through the pictures and stories he shares.
* * * * * * * * *
Lightly Child, Lightly.
AUGUST 10, 2017 BY
The love a parent feels for a child is strange…
It’s like trying to describe sand between your toes or snowflakes on your tongue to someone who’s lived their whole life in a dark room.
It sends the soul flying.
- Photo: Kristy G. Photography (via Newthom)
- Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
- Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ethereal and fun, I look forward to his writings every day. You will too.
Check out David at https://davidkanigan.com/.
Violets are Green
Writing and Painting
Is More Than A Dream!
This is a made-up celebration, of course — but is it?
We all are jealous of other’s creativity. In a sweet, supportive way, of course. As shown on my Sunday Evening Art Gallery blog, I am always in awe of what magic comes from creative hands, minds, and souls.
I follow a number of poets, artists, sculptors, and everyday wise men and wise women, and am always in love with their offerings. So I am going to celebrate my friendly creative friends with my own #AppreciateYourCreativeFriends week! Check them out, follow follow follow (if it tickles your fancy), and have a great time doing it!
My Monday recommendation is Carsten Wieland, an amazing watercolor painter who lives in Essen, Germany. His site is full — and I mean full — of fantastic watercolor paintings. Houses, landscapes, weather — every post he shares is yet another glimpse into a very accurate eye and a very open palate.
Check out Carsten Wieland out at Brushpark/Watercolors. https://brushparkwatercolors.wordpress.com/.
You check in, you may never want to check out!
Inspired by nature, recognized body painter Johannes Stoetter turns living models into animals, fruits, flowers, or blends them with the surroundings.
These impressively detailed paintings take up to five months of thorough planning and up to eight hours of work to complete.
The winner of the World Bodypainting Championship in 2012 says that the key to success is to love what you’re doing.
Stoetter says, “I think I observe the world, nature, colors and shapes with very clear eyes and an open heart. And painting is my big passion.”
Looking at his compositions, you can see just how passionate he is.
You can find more of Johannes Stoetter’s work at johannesstoetterart.com .
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Indeed it does, but it also makes our shared time a confusing mess.
The last couple of years my other has been working the night shift. Not a big deal for most couples. Not a big deal for us. Except just as get into my girlie routine being by myself, he’s home an extra night and I’m thrown off base.
The first 2/3s of my life I spent every evening with him. Kids, dogs, family. Mowing the lawn. Doing the laundry. Playing video games. Reading books. Like synchronized swimmers, we did a lot of things either in tandem or complimentary to each other.
His work hours these days are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and every other Saturday night from 5pm to 5am. So I do Japanese Movies with English Subtitles on Monday, Horror Movies on Tuesday, binge watch series and write on Saturday, and watch dramas and tearjerkers and do Art Gallery pictures on Sunday. I throw in a little pretzel housework between movies or chapters — it’s a little dizzying but it works for me.
You say, why don’t I include him in my pretzel activities?
He thinks I’m nuts already for the Japanese movie part. He thinks B horror movies are a waste of time. Breaking Bad didn’t interest him, nor did Stranger Things, both of which I power watched. I text, write, surf, watch, fetch and wash at my own speed. I eat what I want when I want, not fearing eyes watching me have a bowl of ice cream before bed.
Yet when we do spend the evening together and we’re not working on some “project” we crash on the sofa and…watch TV. I don’t care for the Ultimate Fighter or the Beverly Hillbillies and I cringe watching anything with commercials, so I usually pull out my laptop for a couple of hours.
I’ve worked 64 years on developing this wonderful, quirky personality. Or rather it’s taken me 64 years to accept this wonderful, quirky personality. Either way, I like things my way. The pretzel way.
I’m sure my hubby doesn’t mind it either, otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed with me for so long. But when the day is done and the two of us are together and we’re not going crazy with grandkids or mowing or other lovely pastimes, I say —
To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it myyyy wayyyy…….
I had a wonderful weekend. We celebrated both grandkids’ birthdays. We laughed, spoiled, loved, gossiped, and enjoyed the company of parents, grandparents, great grandparents (grandpa is 90 next month!) my grandkids, friends with their kids and grandkids, plus a couple of dogs thrown in.
Today I read the following column at Ask Amy (http://tiny.cc/za2wmy)….
DEAR AMY: I have four adult children and three grandchildren. They all live 2.5 hours away and have very successful, fulfilling lives. My husband and I couldn’t be prouder. They usually call every week or so and I send an occasional text or email. The problem is our daughter-in-law, who wants nothing to do with us. She is the mother of our only grandchildren. She refuses to visit, especially on the holidays. When we visit, she is pleasant but seems to barely tolerate us.
We want to see more of our grandsons but we are not permitted to babysit, and if I ask to take them to the park, etc., she ignores me, hoping I will let it go (which I do to keep the peace).
I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out what I have done to her and cannot think of a thing. Honestly, in the 10 years they have been married I have never said a mean word or offered advice, even with new babies.
I say nothing to my son. I know he sees her treatment of us and feels guilty, but fighting about it isn’t worth it to him. The boys love to see us and I have heard the oldest asking if he can go home with Grandma and Grandpa and Mom always says no!
We just came home from a visit and it was worse than ever. I am depressed over the situation and do not know what to do. Anxious Grandma
This made me very sad.
I don’t know the daughter’s side, I don’t know the grandparents’ side. But to keep grandparents from enjoying the best time of their entire lives —
What happens to families?
I know I take for granted the love and affection I share with my two sons and their kids. Love, friendship, all come naturally for us. We’re not all like two peas in a pod all the time, mind you, but we enjoy each other’s company and get together whenever we can.
Grandparents are the old souls, the old angels, leading the innocent young angels through the mess we call life. We try and lighten their burdens, play their games, listen to their secrets. We give them a safe space their parents can’t, just because they’re parents.
It’s a parent’s job to protect, guide, and teach their precious packages to ensure they make it through life with a good head on their shoulders.
It’s a grandparent’s job to spoil, cuddle, play and dream with those same packages, ensuring they make it through life with good dreams in their heads.
I look at Dear Amy’s question and my heart breaks for everyone involved. The grandkids will never have that close relationship with two people who love them so much; the mother will never find peace with the mother and father of her husband; and the grandparents will have to deal with empty arms and empty dreams.
Like I said. I don’t know the whole story — I never will. There is nothing I can do to change that family and their sorrows.
But what I can do is share this story so that you will go home tonight and hug your kids and grandkids and when you see your friends or your sister hug their kids and grandkids. Play catch or Chinese checkers with them. Tell them a story of when you were a kid.
Don’t just take the love — MAKE the love.
You work hard on finishing your project. The afghan you are crocheting (a couple of my friends are into this). Your last piece of art for the craft show. (In my case) finally finished my/your novel. You’ve worked hard on your projects. Creativity may flow, but it does need a bit of focus and control to be useful.
Now comes the hard part. That last thing you need to do before you can truly show off your work of art.
But you don’t want to go anywhere near it.
For someone who loves writing, I’m actually pretty tired of it. Perhaps it’s because I’ve read the story a thousand times. I know the ending before I even start. There is no magic in it — no surprise, I’ve pumped my heart and soul into this piece and now it’s just old news.
Oh, there are surely other projects that could use my attention. A poem here or there, a couple of short story ideas. The third novel in my set. It all sounds so inspiring. Yet all my creative energy has been zapped.
I know I’m always encouraging my friends and reading public to keep pushing to make your dreams come true. And I do so believe that. You cannot improve if you are not doing. But I suppose with all the pushing there has to be some give. Some yang to your yin. If one goes full speed ahead without slowing down that same one will get burned out in no time flat. And you know what burn feels like.
So here is my Monday Evening Advice. Like you need it.
Work hard on your passion. Work hard on your project. When you finish, let it rest. Let it breathe. Give both you and it space. If you are finished with it you are finished. Let it be. If not, give it a second go around. Or a third round.
I find that after I walk away from my written words for a bit they feel new upon my return. I can see my repetitions, my overly-active adjective gland, my dangling participles — everything. I then can approach the same old story with a fresh perspective.
I myself am letting my novel rest. In the meantime I’m having a wonderful time watching Japanese movies with English subtitles.
Depends on what I pop in here for.
I’m sure it’s the same with you. You work a full time job, either outside of the house or in. Or full time school. Or full time mother. Dog sitter. Whatever. You do what you have to do to buy groceries, maybe a bottle of wine now and then. Society dictates you not only sparkle at your job, but that your house is immaculate and your clothes tailored, children behaved, and your books read.
Good thing you and I aren’t following the dictates of society. You and I live by the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants rules.
Finish the big things, like switching the laundry or turning off the stove. Oh…and make sure you have clean plates for dinner and vacuum the cat hair up at least once a week.
But who wants to do that on a beautiful Saturday afternoon? My interest wanes in anything physical (except if I’m running around with grandkids) long about mid day.
Except for writing.
Funny how we find excuses for everything we don’t like, but offer no explanation for those we enjoy?
Ack — with a wave of the hand it will be tomorrow. All your chores will be waiting for you — they won’t have gone anywhere.
But think of how great it would be to finish that painting? That poem? That crocheted sweater? Or, in my case, that novel?
I love when I read that someone has learned something, discovered something. Finished something. They sound so alive! So sparkling! So awake!
Here’s to you. And all you do. Have fun!
When people connect in blogs and in tweets and on story boards, you never know who’s listening. Words and images can be so powerful, especially when they come from the heart. So choose your words well.
I was touched that my Wordless Wednesday pic (that I took down one of the paths by my house) would touch off such a beautiful poem. Please check out Ivor’s post.
Thank you, Ivor, for inspiring us all.
Feature Image: Courtesy, “humouringthegoddess”, thankyou Claudia, for permitting me to use this beautiful photo, I’ve tagged the picture, “Smiling Leafs”. My eyes, narrowly cracked. My cheeks, slightly etched. I rest here, retracing every mile. Remembering, your everlasting smile. My lips, already dry. My tongue, trying to say goodbye. I wonder, was it all worthwhile. […]