Keep A Calendar — Or A Muse

I am feeling a bit under the weather this eve. I went through my back stories looking for something else (always the case) and found this fun blog from a few years ago. Seems like it’s perfect for my feelin’ down time…

Calendar Girls

My Irish Wench Muse came to visit me last night. She was all full of her usual Irish self. I wasn’t writing or researching or hanging with my family, so I knew something was up.

“Read yer blog the other day,” she said, smiling, wiping the kitchen table off.

“Oh? Great! Which one?”

“The whinneh one.”

I should have been upset, but how can you be upset at your truthful conscience?

“Whiny? Why was it whiny?”

“A lotta ‘I wants’ and “I’ canna haves’. And no solution. What kenna blog is that?”

I sat straighter in my chair, watching her bend over a drop of gravy and start to scrape it. “Hey! All bloggers get down now and then. It’s part of the creative process!”

“Aye, and a lotta bees sting people when they’re nah looking, too. And they still manage to make the honey.”

I had to see where this was going and fast.

“Well, I didn’t see it as whining. I saw it as voicing the universal truth of too much to do and not enough time to do it all.”

“Nay — the ‘Universal Truth’ is more like ‘Leave your dog inside too long and he’s bound ta poop somewhere.’ That’s why you need a calendar, lass.”

“I already have a calendar at work. And it’s packed full.”

“Do you get everything done on the calendar?”

“Well, duh. It’s work.”

“Then, my darlin’ writer, you need a calendar at home, too. A Grand Poobah Calendar.”

 What is that?”

My muse finished scraping the drip and headed towards the crack between the leafs. A dangerous area. “The term is from one of those operas. The Poobah has all the titles and ‘na much else.”

I didn’t get what that had to do with me and my whining…er…woes.

“If  ya canna make time in your head, write it down. Make the time on the calendar,” she explained, pulling out a butter knife to scrape the caverns between leaves. “Makes ya look important.”

“But that means I’d have to be — organized! How can a pretzel be organized?”

She shook her head between grunts. Must have been extra crumbs down the crack.

“How does the Gran’ Poobah get things done? Too many titles, too little authority. At least if he writes the bloomin’ things down he can see what he wants to do first. And he can pretend to do everything, even if he gets only a few things done.”

Well, that made sense. I helped her scrape the bread crumbs out of the crack and she smiled her little Irish smile.

“You’ve just got to know how to do a calendar, luv. Jam it with all sorts of rot.  Then when you start the day, start crossin’ off. Lines through rot are good for the soul! Makes you pick and choose your rot!” She spit on a slide of old milk. ” You know, I may be a muse but I’ve got other ‘tings I have to do too. I canna babysit you all the time. “

I nodded sheepishly.

“I’m yer creative Muse, ya know. A lot of work goes into finding projects for you and fillin’ your head with ideas and suggestions. Makes my beer turn green half the time!”

“Well,” I said, “you know I love your company. And your ideas. I wish I would have listened to you 20 years ago, before I had grandkids.”

She threw out a hearty laugh. “Darlin’ 20 years ago you had your own kids, and were just as busy! and 20 years before that! ‘Ya dinna have time back then either. But you kept the calendar. In yer head.”

“I get it. I get it. Make a calendar. Put it all down. Bring your plans out of the 4th dimension in to this 3rd dimension so I can get a handle on it and do a little bit of everything instead of none of a lot. I get it.”

Viola nodded and stood. She was beautiful — green eyes, full figure, Irish brogue and all. “Aye. And donna forget — I’m riding up to the cabin with you this weekend. I’ve got a great idea for a poem! Oh, and my sister from Italy is comin’ too! She’s got this wild idea about manicotti  and pirates and diamonds and …”

Uh oh…

 

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Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Alaa Awad

Alaa Awad is an Egyptian-based graffiti artist, and painter known for his graffiti in Cairo and Luxor.

He is best known for his mural paintings created on Mohamed Mahmoud Street in Cairo.

Awad studied at the South Valley University Faculty of Fine Arts in Luxor and graduated in 2004.

Since then he has served as a member of the faculty at the Faculty of Fine Arts as a professor in the Department of Mural Painting.

Unlike other graffiti artists, Awad chooses to paint with a brush and uses acrylic paints rather than using stencils and spray paints.

His intricate paintings can sometimes take up to a week to make not only because of the materials he uses, but because of the complexity of his designs.

Awad’s style aims to remind people of their heritage and past to help them stay true to their Egyptian identity.

His murals are typically multifaceted and multi-layered with each telling a different story.

More of Alaa Awad’s marvelous artwork can be found at http://alaa-awad.com/ and at http://artitssymbolsandmeanings.blogspot.com/2015/05/alaa-awad-power-of-mural-art-of-urban.html

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.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Motohiko Odani

Sometimes an artist’s description by others is as mesmerizing as their art.

Motohiko Odani (1972-) was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, and received his MFA from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1997.

According to one creative description, “Odani, who possesses a keenly critical understanding of sculpture, has resisted (or taken advantage of) the medium’s conventional image of weightiness or substance.”

“Instead, he has given physical representation to ‘phantoms’ – entirely ephemeral sensations or amorphous phenomena.”

Odani’s works are comprised of complex layers of meaning that defy a singular interpretation, as the artist draws inspiration from various sources including horror and sci-fi films, Japanese folklore, Buddhism, and Futurism.

This last description matches Motohiko’s intrinsic art:  “With Odani’s artworks transcending the conventional idea of sculpture and seeking to give visual representation to existence itself, this exhibition pursues new possibilities for artistic expression.”

I think that’s a perfect description.

More of Motohiko Odani‘s amazing art can be found at http://www.phantom-limb.com/ and http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2011/01/motohiko-odani/.

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

The Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Sales Man

My muse was at it again.  I was standing in the shower, trying to remember what was still clean that I could wear to work, mentally making a grocery list, and trying to remember to bring a pair of scissors to cut flowers by the roadside, when my spicy Irish muse jumped into my head with a great idea for a short story. 

With barely enough time to brush my teeth and curl my hair, I asked her to come back later when I had more time to listen. That evening she returned, but I couldn’t hear her, as I was thrown off by the barrage of super-loud commercials in the background. Once again I was interrupted by the Life Or Death Happy Happy Flim Flam Man.

Every day we are bombarded with advertising, advice, inspiration, and warnings. We are overweight, wrinkled, and messy.  Our bodies are toxic and we have yellow teeth. We don’t have time to sort, exercise, chop vegetables or play with our kids.  But there is a cure for that ― just ask the Info Man.

The other day on the radio I heard that the infomercial business is a 30 billion dollar a year enterprise.  Just think — 30 billion dollars spent a year on ways to clean-up, tighten-up, and detox-up our bodies and our minds.  Not only can we firm our thighs and flabby under arms, but we can buy bling from movie stars while we’re firming. We can organize our closet, scrub up doggie accidents from the carpet, and slice up vegetables in one swoop.  

How did we ever survive this long on our own?

 Most of us wouldn’t mind being a little thinner or have beautiful hair or be able to drain spaghetti in the same pot as the drainer. But these informercials know just how to tap into our low well of confidence. Advertisers do such a good job of pointing out our inadequacies that we buy improvement on the spot without having to think about it or leave the comfort of our sofa. What a convenient way to get better!

I’m not against advertising.  I learn about a lot of new products every time I watch TV or read a magazine or walk through the grocery store. I get tired of cleaning up spills on the carpet, and I keep thinking I’m too old for pimples. But finding a solution to my mini dilemmas should be fueled by my judgment, not advertisers. We shouldn’t let our insecurities rule our self-worth. We shouldn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to feel better, think better, be better. 

We have the capacity for unbounded love, compassion, and understanding.  From astronomy to astrology, we have the power to discover magic both inside and outside of ourselves.

And discovering the magic doesn’t cost a thing.    

There is something wrong when we are told how messed up we really are and how that can be changed with a quick purchase off the Internet. To believe that the answer for happiness and peace of mind is outside of us is playing into the hands of marketers and profiteers who take our money and our trust and leave no instructions behind ― people who have never met us, never sat at our dinner table, never took the time to find out why our closets are so disorganized in the first place.

 So go out and buy that great pair of jeans or that diamondish necklace or those celebrity-endorsed pots and pans.  But realize that you are just as fantastic in those beat up jeans with the elastic waist, and that your homemade lasagna will taste just as good in your worn out baking pan as it will in the latest non-stick wonder.

Sparkle is free. The fire inside of you is free. Everything else is just hype. 

The only infomercial that matters is the one that broadcasts in your heart.

Sunday/Monday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Alain Delorme

Inspired by the men on bicycles toting impossible mounds of objects he witnessed in Shanghai, French photographer Alain Delorme defies physics with his “Totems” series.

Delorme creates colorful, stylized works that play with our notion of photography as an objective medium.

His series “Totems” surprises with its bright comic book colors and shapes, and ‘can you believe it?’ effect.

The viewer is emerged into a world of exaggerated accumulation, of both everyday objects and towering buildings, an accumulation that has rendered society a slave to the objects it has itself created.

Alain has captured the physical, city translation of the economic growth Shanghai is presently undergoing, in the skyscrapers shooting up in the background, while not forgetting to qualify its success with the walls separating a large part of the population from it.

More of Alain Delorme‘s amazing photography can be found at https://www.alaindelorme.com/.

Thursday Evening Art On The Veranda — Giant Statues

Some may be able to recite the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

One was the Colossus of Rhodes, the other the Statue of Zeus at Olympia.

 

Although those statues are long gone, there are still many who want to take their place.

Around the world there are a giant statues still trying to touch the sun

And to be remembered as he who watches all

As long as man can build statues to honor and to hope

There will be giant statues

And giant dreams

Grammar Is Your Friend

We all have our pet peeves, don’t we?

In an irritating society there are plenty of irritating habits that make your skin crawl and your patience disappear. People chewing with their mouth open, snorting, sniffing, coughing, talking, squeaking…I can go on and on. It just depends upon your tolerance level.

But there is something lately that grinds me even more than all those body noises.

Bad Grammar.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a writer/proofreader/editor it grinds me a bit more than you.  But I can’t help but wonder what ever happened to teaching correct grammar — spelling and speaking.

With auto-correct and word anticipation on every computer on the planet, you would think the correct words would just appear. But even auto-correct can’t help with the wrong choice of words. Auto-correct can’t help those who guess at the wrong word or the wrong version of a word.

Grammar isn’t rocket science.  It’s common sense. Something that many people lack.

It’s one thing if you type the wrong word. In my haste to get something written, at work and at home, I have picked the wrong form/spelling/tense. Almost always I catch my mistakes in proofreading. But I’ve come across some people — professional people — who consistently misspell, misrepresent, and actually mangle the English language. And often these are higher-ups — vice presidents, executives — people who should know better.

Today a “sponsored” post on my FB account called Grammarly said, “Sick of making grammatical and spelling mistakes? Perfect writing is a click away!” So now there’s another automatic corrector out to help make sense of your nonsense.

I know I sound like an old lady, but at least I am a grammatically correct old lady. They aren’t teaching cursive in schools these days — but have they given up on grammar too? I hear a lot of lazy English these days — hip language, slurred consonants, half words. I suppose most of that is on purpose. Whether that will get the speaker far in today’s working world only time will tell.

But lazy writing will be the death knell.

I know English is one of the most confusing languages around. I mean, how many ways can you spell where? Wear? Ware? But in today’s world that’s not an excuse. When I see a professional letter start out “Goof Morning,” I have issues. It’s one thing to text “you are my breast friend” instead of “you are my best friend,” but not in an letter to the president.

Not everybody is a writing scholar. I know I’m not. But I’ve practiced. I’ve learned. You owe it to yourself to take your time and reread what you write.

After all, not everyone is Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. Not everyone is cute and furry and can get away with saying, “Well he don’t know talkin’ good like me and you, so his vocabulistics is limited to ‘I’ and ‘am’ and ‘Groot,’ exclusively in that order.”

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Lorraine Corrigan

These gorgeous papier-mâché dogs are made by UK-based artist Lorraine Corrigan in Hounds of Bath.

Lorraine adores sight hounds with their sleek lines, grace and elegance.

She loves to introduce the surprising concept of rolled paper art to those who have never seen or heard of quilling.

Lorraine began sculpting dogs with paper around four years ago and has now developed a sophisticated technique using wires and layers of fine papers from recycled books.

Each piece is individually made to order and develops a unique personality as the finishing touches of the expressive eyes and fine ears are added.

At the end process, due to the use of the text, the piece is almost stone-like in texture.

Each piece is then finished with two layers of sealant wash to preserve it for many years to come.

More of Lorraine Corrigan‘s amazing art can be found at All Things Paper and http://houndsofbath.tumblr.com/.

Thursday Evening Art on the Veranda — North Carolina Art

Spring…Summer…Autumn…all are perfect times to walk around the art gallery. Don’t fret — the art is protected from the elements. The weather is perfect, the sun is starting to set — a perfect time to explore a new and unique artist.

Since this is our premiere, let us showcase something…unassuming.

My trip to North Carolina last year.

Who’s The Old Guy Driving the Red Convertible?

Why is it that whenever  I see a shinny red sports convertible driving down the road it’s driven (a) a man, and (b) he’s got white hair.

No offense to any white-haired men out there driving red sports cars, but…

I rarely see a kid or even a millennial toolin’ down the highway in a jacked up beefed up sports car of any color. It’s almost always a man. An older man.

My first guess is that no one under 60 can even afford an old super sport Vet or a Pontiac GTO. Cars of that vintage are rare and well pampered. Most are lovingly polished and primmed and taken out only on fully sunny days. My second guess is that most millennials haven’t ever heard of a Super Stock Dodge or a 1969 RS/SS Camaro. They’d rather have a  Lexus LS 460 L or any kind of BMW. (In most cases I don’t blame them.)

But back to the little old men.

Why do they get to have all the fun?

You remember Jan and Dean…The Little Old Lady From Pasadena…

The Little Old Lady From Pasadena
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
Has a pretty little flowerbed of white gardenias;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
But parked in a rickety old garage,
There’s a brand new shiny super stocked Dodge.

Okay. So here’s a granny. Like me. She probably has a couple of kids and a bunch of grand kids. She’s probably worked all her life as a waitress or a baker or a receptionist. Has a tiny pension and lives in a run-down 80-year-old house. All she’s got are a few scraggly gardenia bushes to make her smile.

And ev’rybody’s sayin’ that there’s nobody meaner than
The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.
She drives real fast and she drives real hard,
She’s the terror of Colorado Boulevard.
It’s The Little Old Lady From Pasadena!

Everybody’s saying there’s nobody meaner. Let them try and figure out Medicare and pay the doctor bills and live on social security and trying to walk around the block with a replaced knee and osteoporosis. It happens to all of us.

If you see her on the strip, don’t try to choose her,
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
You might have a go-er, but you’ll never lose her;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
She’s gonna get a ticket now, sooner or later,
‘Cause she can’t keep her foot off the accelerator.

So she speeds a little bit. Isn’t it better than following those old fogies that drive 20 miles under the speed limit? Have you ever been behind a driver on the country roads that slow down and look at every field, every farm, every animal? Heck — I’m married to one.

You’ll see her all the time, just gettin’ her kicks now,
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
With her four speed stick and a four – two – six now;
(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)
The guys come to race her from miles around,
But she’ll give ’em a length, then she’ll shut’em down.

By the time you get to my age, you get tired of all the bull$hit in the world. You get tired of your taxes going up, gas prices, mortgages, and insurance payments.. You drive home from a rough day at work and all you want to do is freebird the ride home. You’re leavin’ the 9-5 behind! Freedom! Fresh air! Who cares if you’re only going home to catch up on Breaking Bad reruns?

So back to the original statement. White haired old men driving spiffy red convertibles. You may look sexy, you may look debonair, you may have earned that red Corvette convertible you strut around town with.

But just wait. Granny and her red convertible Vespa will be right on your tail.

(Go Granny, go, Granny, go, Granny, go)

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Wieslaw Walkuski

Wiesław Wałkuski was born in 1956 in Białystok, Poland.

He started his graphic design education at the Warsaw Academy of Art which he attended for 5 years, during the period 1976–1981.

At the end of his studies he was employed by Polfilm and Film Polski to produce artwork and cover designs.

During this period he also worked with visual studio publishers and numerous theatre groups producing artwork for productions.

Today, Wiesław has more than 200 posters to his name and he continues his work as a poster designer, an illustrator and a painter.

More of Wiesław Wałkuski can be found at http://www.walkuski.link2.pl/ and Wieslaw Walkuski.

 

 

 

 

 

Which Button Do I Push?

It’s Friday night. My mates and I have driven 4 hours north to our cabin near the lake. It’s a long drive, but every time I stand on the deck/porch I tell myself it’s worth it.

We have no cable, no Internet (except for a hot spot, which I am using as we speak), no TV. Radio, okay. CDs and Tapes if we are in the mood. Being four hours away from the small town/city I live in makes all the difference in the world.

So here I am Friday night, wanting to watch a DVD, and I’m confronted with four controllers, one TV, one VCR, one gaming device, and one DVD player.

Good luck trying to figure out how to watch a movie.

One machine shows DVD, Tape, TV, SAT, and several other choices. Pick a device, pick a controller, and hopefully you’ll find your way to a movie.

Not me.

It’s not that technology has passed me by — I just can’t figure out which dang controller goes with which dang machine. Or which order I’m supposed to push the buttons. I don’t consider myself technically challenged until I get into the comfort of my own home. One wrong button and I’ve changed cable channels, input mechanisms, and devices.

I don’t get it. I’ve learned new programs at work like Wrike and Google Analytics and Agora Pulse, yet the mere appearance of more than one TV controller sends me into Flipper Hell.

Why does everything need to be so complicated?

My hubby and I like to play video games, especially Gauntlet on PS2. But by the time I change input and turn this machine on and that machine off, I’ve given up and resolved myself to watching  Deadliest Catch reruns.

This is the part of getting older I hate. Not remembering which machines to turn on, which buttons to push, how to get back from pushing the wrong button.

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

I don’t have time to think about the cosmic applications and interpretations of such. All I want to do at the moment is watch The Mummy on DVD.

Buttons be damned.

 

Coming Attractions

My research folders for my Sunday Evening Art Gallery are bursting at the seams with new creative artists! I am so psyched at the amazing talents I’ve found that I’m almost tempted to open a second evening’s showing — Thursday Evening Wine and Art Gallery or Thursday Tea and Art or Thursday Evening Art Walk something like that.  (Suggestions are welcome!)

Here is a peek of coming attractions:

Tell your family — tell your friends — every Sunday evening, and perhaps every Thursday evening, you will find magical art and artists here at Humoring the Goddess, then in excess at the Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

My creative artists will thank you.

Be A Good Grandparent

There’s so much of the world I don’t understand. A lot of it I don’t want to understand. A lot more than I should understand but I don’t.

I started this blog earlier, but it got so preachy and moralistic I couldn’t tell who really wrote it. So I wanted to try one more time.

I went to a Grandparents Day at my grandson’s school last Friday. It was a blast — there were soooo many grandparents there! We all were great moral support for the K through 5 group. Being on two different ends of the age spectrum, I couldn’t help but be invigorated by the enthusiasm and innocence and goofiness of those 50 years younger.

And I wondered.

Where does all this innocence and enthusiasm go?

We all are inundated with the madness of the world: politics, gangs, superstars, billionaires, mass murderers. The list goes on.

And I wondered.

Were these people ever innocent? Were they ever caring, giving, loving?

When did they take the wrong turn in the road?

I look at my own sons. They are different from each other yet they are the same. One is a controller, one works for a restaurant. One is single, one is married. They both have pasts I’m not 100% ready to know (as -I- have one they don’t want to know).  But they made it through high school and college, not much worse for the wear, and we still communicate.

I look at my grandsons. Will they buckle under the pressure? There are a lot of mean kids out there. All sizes, colors, ages and classes. It doesn’t take much to be mean; you can be merely spoiled or off center or just picked on yourself. Everyone goes through the ups and downs of puberty, but some get turned around so much that they never come out the same.

Women have unrealistic expectations thrust at them when it comes to looks and families and men are pressured by salaries and careers and showing up for their kid’s baseball games. We don’t make the rules — we just hear them from other people. We all are pressured to be more, do more, make more, live more.

What happens when more is not enough?

I looked at the innocence of the kids at school and envied them for the moment. For their moment would soon change. It has to change in order to deal with the madness grownups have created.

There are rewards to being older, of course. We know our way through the world, more-or-less know what we want from life, and eventually realize that it doesn’t matter what the rest of the world thinks. Some of us get there at 30…some at 60. Some never get there, always worried about what others will think or say.

I hope my grandkids are spared most of that mind chatter. I hope all of the grandkids on Grandparents Day are raised in a stronger, more accepting world. Help when you can, don’t make bad choices, forgive and move on.

I never had a Grandparents Day — I never knew my grandparents, period.

I wonder if that would have made all the difference in the world. It did with my husband. His grandparents were heroes in his eyes. And no doubt they adored him back.

I hope I have the same effect on my grandkids.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Nick Veasley

British photographer Nick Veasey uses industrial X-ray machines to discover what makes up the natural world and highlight the surprising, inner beauty in some of the most common objects.

Veasey got the idea to use X-ray machines for art while dating the daughter of a truck driver who was transporting thousands of soda cans, one of which contained a prize worth 100,000 pounds.

He rented an X-ray machine from a local hospital to find the winning can. Although he was unsuccessful, he credits this moment for sparking the idea that launched his career.

Due to the high risk of working with radiation, Veasey custom built a concrete structure to contain it.

To get his pictures, subjects are placed on a lead surface with film behind it. The X-rays pass through the subject and then onto the film where from there he can control the exposure time in a separate room.

Veasey doesn’t actually use any human subjects, as they would have to endure radiation for about 12 minutes. Instead, when a model is needed, he uses skeletons in rubber suits or cadavers that have been donated to science.

Veasey focuses on finding an antidote to the “obsession with appearance” by revealing the beauty within.

Veasey’s work also comments on our society’s increasing paranoia and control by security and surveillance. “To create art with the technology … that helps remove the freedom and individuality in our lives … brings a smile to my face.”

More of Nick Veasley’s fantastic photography can be found at http://www.nickveasey.com/.

Acronyms — What Does That Stand For?

Today, as most days, I find myself lost in the world of letters. Of acronyms. They haunt my day, stand in for lengthy explanations and too many words.

Sometimes I write these acronyms on a sticky note and place it at the base of my computer screen where no one can see it but me. A subtle reminder to stop doing whatever it is that I’m doing.

Like M.Y.O.B.

How many times do you find yourself getting worked up about something that has nothing to do with you? Your opinion really doesn’t matter because you really don’t know much about it. Yet you yap it up like it’s all about you.

S.S.D.D.

Everybody always asks how’s work or your family or your social life. For most of us, life doesn’t change much day to day. Somebody will ask what my plans are for the evening, and they’re the same every night. Eat, clean, watch TV, go to bed. Unless I get asked to the Met Gala or to go out to eat at Sobelmans, it’s pretty much S.S.D.D.

E.T.C.

Everyone knows this oldie acronym. It’s like yadda yadda but with initials.

B.F.D.

Everything in my life is a B.F.D. Just ask me. I need to learn to tone things down. Everything’s not a crisis. Everything’s not about me. See M.Y.O.B. for reference.

R.O.F.L.

There are a few Internet shortcuts that could apply to me, but if I have to think of what they mean every time I use them (like R.O.F.L. and A.F.K. and A/S/L) they are really just letters to me. What’s worse is that my friend David (http://davidkanigan.com/) had to tell me I had my letters mixed up!

B.2.B.

A popular phrase around work, I used to think it was body to body. Then I realized our company is a B2B. I didn’t think my translation was appropriate. Business to Business, they say.

B.F.F.

Mine drifted away last year, so the meaning has changed. But I still know what it means in a cosmic sort of way.

L.M.A.O.

A rare condition these days, nothing is better than laughing yourself silly. And my ‘A’ could use a little trimming anyway.

L.O.L.

This is a popular one, especially from my texting friends. It can mean Lots of Love or Lots of Luck, but whenever I see it I just think of lollygagging. Or lolly. Nonsense no matter which initials you use.

O.M.G.

Another popular one, often used around little kids so they don’t hear you using the Lord’s name in vain. I don’t know if there are acronyms for other swear words, though, but I really should put that on my research list.

P.O.T.U.S.

I didn’t know what that meant until a few years ago. Imagine. 60 years old and figuring it meant the place where you went to the bathroom. Where I got that I’ll never know. Never.

 

There are many, many more shortcuts for words in this world. As I said before, the Internet is full of them. But I have enough pressure on my brain cells in learning new programs at work that I don’t need to remember letters and abbreviations to get through the day.

My life is short enough the way it is. I don’t need acronyms to make it even shorter.

G.B.C.U.L8R.

 

 

Sharing Is The Best Kind of Blogging

Every now and then karma comes back and makes me feel great.

Karma refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Sometimes we hope karma comes back and kicks butt to the meanies of the world. Other times we hope that because we’ve been good or loving that we can win the lottery.

Sometimes something I’ve blogged circles around and shines sunshine back in my face. Last December my Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog showcased Collin van der Sluijs , a muralist painter from the Netherlands. A few months later there was a comment from the website Life in Maastricht who asked if they could use info from my blog to showcase Collin, as he was from Maastricht too.  Their  website has been part of the Netherlands social media communities since June 2015, covering news and stories about one of the most beautiful cities in the Netherlands. Of course I said yes.

They later stated, “…contacted Collin and he’s happy to participate, thank you for your post, otherwise I wouldn’t have found him.”

So imagine. I got to learn about a town named Maastricht in a country half way around the world, and helped their website find and highlight a homeboy. To me, that’s karma.

Check out their great website — https://lifeinmaastricht.com/ — and share the magic!

THAT’s what blogging’s all about.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Rosina Becker do Valle

Rosina Becker do Valle (1914-2000) was a Brazilian housewife who started painting for pleasure in 1955.

She then enrolled in the school of Modern Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro, being a student of Ivan Serpa.

She participated in the National Salon of Fine Arts between 1967 and 1969, and the Bienal de São Paulo in their V and VII editions.

Rosina’s paintings fall into the style of Naïve art, (also spelled Naïf art), which is described as any form of visual art that is created by a person who lacks the formal education and training that a professional artist undergoes.

Rosina’s art reflect the bright colors and every day aspects of her native Brazil.

A very well known artist in Brazil as well as in many other countries where she frequently and successfully presented her art, Rosina painted up to the age of 86.

Rosina is considered on of the most influential women painters of the century.

 

I’m Listening To What Matters

My blog the other day was about letting go of the cruelty, the madness of the world. To quote myself, I said, “You are all my friends in one way or another. I’m here for you — for your highs and lows and losses and misses. But I have to let go of the rest of the world.”

Day 2 and I’m still dumping the garbage. But I meant what I said when I said I’m here for you. 

I’ve been following the blog Wanton Word Flirt by my now friend Suzanne Wood. I’ve been following her for some time now, but it is only this month that I have found out so much more about her.

Suzanne is dealing with Sjogren’s Syndrome, a long-term auto-immune disease in which the moisture-producing glands of the body are affected. Dry eyes and mouth are only the beginning. Other symptoms include dry skin, a chronic cough, vaginal dryness, numbness in the arms and legs, feeling tired, muscle and joint pains, and thyroid problems.

I never knew much — if anything — about Sjogren’s. I couldn’t even pronounce it. But I really learned reading Suzanne’s blog.

This month is Sjogren’s Syndrome month, and she has shared all her ups and downs with the disease, the doctors, her emotions, and her life.

If you have some spare reading time, I highly encourage you to step over and read Wanton Word Flirt and learn how to help someone in your own world. Just learning about this disease and how it affects people is rewarding in itself.

Sharing knowledge and understanding about someone you know is much more rewarding than tears for someone you don’t.

 

 

I’m Done Listening

I had a blog in mind this evening, but on my way home I changed my mind. On afternoon break I read a quick online story that really hit me. This is the beginning of it:

BANGKOK (Reuters) – A Thai man filmed himself killing his 11-month-old daughter in two video clips posted on Facebook before committing suicide, police said on Tuesday. People could access the videos of the child’s murder on her father’s Facebook page for roughly 24 hours, until they were taken down around 5 p.m. in Bangkok (1000 GMT) on Tuesday, or about a day after being uploaded.

It happened far away. In a world I know nothing about. To a man I know nothing about. To a little girl I know nothing about.

Of course, that’s just on the heels of a story from 3-17: MEDINA Ohio — The man who took his own life after he killed his pregnant girlfriend did not want to have a baby, her father said. Or from February: LaGRANGE  A man accused of abusing and killing the infant of his then-girlfriend pleaded guilty in a Troup County Superior Court last week.

There is nothing that can be said that can shed any light on any of these heinous crimes. There’s nothing I can do to turn the clock back. Nothing I can say to the families, to the situation.

There is nothing I can say to save the children.

I’m going to cut back on my internet wandering. Yahoo, CNET, all those hot spots that broadcast these crimes like they’re a Sunday social. I know everyone hurts, everyone wonders why. Everyone cries and makes promises and moves on with their lives.

But I’m an adult and can make my own choices. I’m older so that’s an even better excuse to tune all of it out. TV is make believe; I can handle that. But the news…

I’m done. My heart can’t take this. I know there are lots out there that say I should do something about it. The sad truth is there is nothing I can do about any of it. I can’t help those in Thailand or in North Carolina or even on the other side of town.

What I can do is interfere and interact with my own circle of friends and family. Encourage those who need to talk to talk. Those who need a break give them a break. Love the children I come in contact and stretch out to love the ones I don’t.

Life’s too short to let the media have their way. To let the world have its way. To let the madness get into my head. You are all my friends in one way or another. I’m here for you — for your highs and lows and losses and misses. But I have to let go of the rest of the world. I’m not willing to let the madness set me into depression and worse. My family still needs me.

I think I’ll call my grandkids now.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Steve Axford

Australian photographer Steve Axford ventures into forested areas near his home in New South Wales to photograph the unusual forms of fungi, slime molds, and lichens he finds growing there.

The permutations in color, shape, and size found in each specimen are a testament to the radical diversity of living creatures found in just a small area.

A handful of the images seen here, namely the “hairy” fungi called Cookeina Tricholoma, were photographed last year on a trip to Xishuangbanna, China and Chiang Mai, Thailand.

His amazing photography catches images of fungi most have never seen.

Steve lives and works in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales in Australia where he often travels to remote locations to document the living world around him.

The delicacy and uniqueness of the fungi is beyond imagination.

It’s his work tracking down some of the world’s strangest and brilliantly diverse mushrooms and other fungi that has resulted in an audience of followers who wait to see what he’s captured next.

More of Steve Axford‘s amazing photography can be found at Flicker https://www.flickr.com/photos/steveaxford/sets/7215762943586123/and https://steveaxford.smugmug.com/

 

Save the Unicorns!!

I am coming up on a dilemma soon that I don’t know how to handle. And for me, this is a big one.

We are remodeling/redecorating our house one room at a time. It’s been 15 years, and the dirty ivory carpet that I never should have ordered is potmarked with dirty shoe prints and cat puke and dog poop. You know what I mean.

So the bedrooms are turning into …. bedrooms, and the library is being relegated to downstairs last room on the left (with only a window well for light), and we are thinning out all the stuff we’ve collected for the past 30 years.

My dilemma? I don’t have enough room for my unicorn collection.

I know I know — that’s not as horrible as losing a house or a job or getting rid of baby toys because your babies are all grown up.

These are unicorns we’re talking about. Not little teddy bears or Beanie Babies or leftover rabbits from Easter.

I’m talking about unicorns.

Magical, inspirational, surrealistic horses with horns.  Signs of life and light. Ethereal. Magical…oh…I already said that. You get my point.

I’ve been collecting these little things for years. And you know how it goes — once someone knows you collect something they always buy them for birthdays and holidays. So I’ve got quite a collection spread around the house. I have framed pics, mirrors, thimbles, mugs, lamps, slippers, shelves, crystal glass, Beanie Babies, necklaces, hanging rugs, glass statues, stuffed unicorns, brass bells, tapestries, crystal ball holders, earrings, blankets, and a set of 12 plates with a diamond at the tip of their horn.

Most of these have found a home on my walls or my curio cabinet or my bedroom. I even used the tapestries/blankets for curtains.  But there are others that are at the moment on a bookshelf that is going downstairs to the new library whose only light is a window well, and I refuse to let them sit in the dark without me.

What’s a unicorn granny to do?

Our lower level is a monster pit of leftover “things” from my son’s move two years ago, plus things from family members passing, garage sale wonders, etc. The lower level is our last battlefield, and we’re going to war this summer.

I know that when I pass from this world my kids will collect all my baubles and put them in a box and out of guilt keep them stuffed in their basement somewhere. That’s no way for a unicorn to live.

But I haven’t passed and have no intention of doing so any time soon, so I need to figure out a clever, artistic way to display my life’s treasures. The main part of the lower level will be a TV/play room. There certainly has to be SOME part of that room that can house my buddies. Maybe I can find another curio/breakfront/shelving unit that I can display proudly on a back wall somewhere (so that when the grandkids play down there there are no unicorn casualties…)

At least collecting unicorns is a walk in a fantasy world. Dreams of unique creatures that can clean poisoned water and make things disappear and can take you to see the fae are indications of a healthy, albeit crooked, mind.

My hubby should be happy.  At least I don’t collect salt and pepper shakers.

 

Be Nice Until The End

Most of us run blindly through life, taking kids to football games or buying groceries or celebrating birthdays or oohing and ahhing about flower beds and great lasagna dinners, never stopping to think that one day all this wonderful madness will end. 

There are those who believe in the ever after: angels and Elysian Fields and all the chocolate you can eat.  Others believe in reincarnation: behaving yourself in this life is a sure bet you won’t come back as a newt or a grasshopper in the next.  Some believe you never wake up; others believe eternity is one big, made-for-TV movie.

But what happens if you don’t want to think about the afterlife, period?  What happens if all you want to do is get  lost in Star War movies or the Food Network or dreams of vacationing in the Bahamas?  Does avoidance equal ignorance?

I sometimes wonder if humans were meant to dwell on the afterlife as much as we do.  After all, whatever is going to happen is going to happen.  When all is said and done, if we are all going have a glorious resurrection, why should we worry about it?  If we believe our destiny is to reappear on another planet in another galaxy, why sweat the small stuff? 

None of us like to think about death.  We pop a few vitamins or walk around the block or stop smoking and think we have it made.  And, for the most part, we do.  We look around us, feel terrible about those our age who have passed on to greener pastures, and hope we can stay out of those same pastures a bit longer.

Yet there is always that heebie geebie feeling we get from that foul reaper that makes us feel we should do a bit more to insure a place in the afterlife.  Whether its prayer, abstinence, volunteering or tithing, we always make an effort to hedge our bets, putting an extra chip on the gambling table just in case.  We give a little extra to the United Way or volunteer to work the concession stand at the high school football game, even if our kid doesn’t play football.

How does that lessen our apprehension of our final moment?  How does contributing to the bake sale or adopting a pet from the shelter make us breathe easy about our last moments on Earth?

The older I get, the more I realize that all the anxiety, all the trauma I go through worrying about what happens at that final moment doesn’t mean a thing except heartburn.  One of the prices we pay for being born into this world is having to leave it at the end.  I’m not sure there is some cosmic string that is destined to be cut at some particular moment; I do believe that the joy we find in this life, and possibly the next, is based on the pleasure we give and receive from others.

Whether you read the Bible or Harry Potter, you cannot escape the fact that good deeds do not go unheeded.  That even if there is no cosmic God or Goddess who pats you on the head for being a good person, you are rewarded anyway.  There is something  about doing something nice for others — and for yourself — that brings its own brand of satisfaction.  Putting a plus in the “good” column just plain feels good.  

 I know my heart always feel better when I label myself “nice” instead of “mean.”  I feel good when I put a smile on another face; I feel bad when I make someone cry. Whether or not those points add up to admission through the pearly gates I don’t know. 

I myself don’t have a clue whether I will meet my mother and father on the other side, or if I will be reincarnated into a litter of cats.  What I do know is that it makes me feel good to do good in this world. All I can hope for is that my good behavior and loving heart will have counted for  something.  

My fear is that my repayment for being such a jolly good soul is that I come back to this world as a circus clown or born into a Green Bay Packer family.  The clown thing isn’t really very popular these days, and being a Chicago Bear’s fan…

That would be hell.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — David Krakov

David Kracov studied at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design and began his career in animation with the Brad Pitt feature, Cool World.

During his time as an illustrator, David began to experiment with different types of clay, and started sculpting the characters from those films he animated.

Kracov’s magical touch with a vibrant color palette turned into unique steel wall sculptures.

Each in a limited edition of only 55 works that begin with hundreds of small sketches that are then hand-cut from a single sheet of steel and then finished with detailed painting in a high-grade, water-based, acrylic polymer paint.

The meticulous steel work along with his scrutinizing attention to detail allow these sculptures to take on a life of their own.

More of David Kracov’s fantastic sculpture work can be found at

http://www.david-kracov.com/

My Hero — My Heroine — My Characters

Every story has a main character or two. A villain, a hero, a heroine. Good guys, bad guys, and gals. Even your short stories have girls and guys in various stages of love, hate, and madness. You have every nuance of their character figured out — their personality, their hair, their habits.

All of our characters are based on people we know: characters in movies, old paramours, cousins, those who have done us harm. Our characters — good and evil — all come from somewhere inside of us.

So tell me — who are your characters based on? How many famous people resemble your purely self-created stars? Sometimes I have exactly someone in mind. Other times, I find a weird resemblance to someone I’ve come across in my life.

My first novel. Heroine — some version of  me. But not visually. Characters based on some weird, maniacal version of me always are the hardest to visualize. The closest match is kinda like Susan Sarandon but 30 pounds heavier. In her mid-40s. The hero — he’s got to have dark hair and dark eyes, and a slight rough beard. Maybe Doctor Connor Rhodes from Chicago Med. Just the right amount of fuzz on the chin. The matriarch — definitely Maggie Smith. And the pompous ass son — Frank Kennedy from Gone With the Wind. Second novel –same main characters. Add a doctor — Michael Douglas with beard and glasses, and a snotty girlfriend — the latest Carol Markus of Star Trek — and you’ve got some attitude.

Second set of novels — heroine — again, some wacky, astral version of myself. This time with shorter red hair in the first novel and spikey purple hair in the second. I did see a pic of Susan Sarandon with both the red hair and glasses, so she’ll do. The hero — more of Derek Jacobi in Gladiator. The king, definitely Aragon from Lord of the Rings. Consul Tresarrio — definitely Jafar from Aladdin, and Consul Corvenius — Ian Holm, Father Vito Cornelius from the Fifth Element.

There you go. Barred my soul, gave away my secrets.

There’s not always an identifiable face in your stories, but there’s nothing wrong with it, either. Gives you something to focus on, if only briefly. The characters then take over, flowering and winding their vines into their own version of reality.

I’d love to hear if any of your characters resemble anyone real or pretend. It doesn’t matter if you’re published or if you write poetry or haikus — I’d just love to hear your interpretation of your people.

Tell me Tell me Tell me! Do you have a Rhett or an Angelina in your world?

 

Driving To Work

Like many of you, I have a fairly stressful job at work. I’ve adapted quite well through the years, but until the retirement gong sounds over my head, I’m in it for the long haul.

I have a wonderfully relaxing ride to and from work. I’ve talked about it before — a wonderfully windey road that passes churches and fields and cows. It’s my saving grace.

But I have to laugh — it’s like there’s two different people driving my car.

In the morning the ride is bright and sweet and (depending on how awake I am) cheery. I call my morning ride my “Church Ride.” I make peace with the world; I plan wardrobe changes and meals I want to cook and visits with the grandkids and writing on my novel when I get home. I don’t listen to the news or music on my way in — just the open window and the birds and the magic of the future.

Driving home, there’s a different person behind the wheel.  This drive is what I call the “Crypt Ride.” Usually I’m fairly grumpy and non-communicative, accompanied by a headache, I’m defusing from the day while try not to zone out at the now-blah scenery on both sides of the road. I keep thinking about all the things I didn’t get done that day and that since my hubby is working nights I won’t see him and the dogs will drive me crazy and gone are the aspirations of sewing beads on a blouse and writing — what’s that? All I can think about is going home and plopping on the sofa and turning the mindless TV on.

What happened?

Once I get home and settled I often walk out the door with my commuting hubby and continue on my evening walk. That helps clear what crummy debris is still left in the crevices of my brain. When I get back inside I manage to do one project before sitting down and kicking back.

But that doesn’t justify the complete meltdown an hour before.

I tend to blame my out-of-sync circadian rhythm for most of my highs and grumps. I have a terrible time falling asleep early — I can stay up until 1 or 2 am.  So I tend to love the night. I love the coolness and the quiet and my creative Muse eventually drops by. The problem is I have to get up at 5:45 am, and 4-1/2 hours sleep is no way to live your life.

But being crabby during your free time is not way to live your life, either.

I know the best remedy is to not let work get to you. But sometimes circumstances are beyond your control. At least from 7:30-4:00. But at 4:01 there needs to be a cosmic, miraculous yet natural transition back to “Me Time.” A totally wrapped around inside-out transformation.

Or at least a light mood swing.

I think part of me is unconsciously thinking about that big “R” in a couple of years, and all the things I can and will do once I don’t have to punch a time clock. But until then, I need to find a way to trade “Crypt Time” to “Church Time.”

After all, life’s too short to let the day’s drudgery creep into my favorite activity of the day….errr…evening.

Power watching Game of Thrones.

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Hair

Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair

Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer

Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it — Long as God can grow, my hair

I want long, straight, curly, fuzzy, snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty

Oily, greasy, fleecy, shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen

Knotted, polka dotted, twisted, beaded, braided

Powered, flowered and confettied

Bangled, tangled, spangled and spahettied

Hair, flow it, show it — Long as God can grow, my hair

I Don’t Like That I Don’t Get It

I had an odd reaction to a movie I watched the other night, and I’m not sure I want to talk about it. Yet it affected me in ways that I don’t like, because it makes me reflect on parts of me that I don’t like.

I watched one of those Barbershop movies. I don’t know if those comedy/dramas that happen in the ‘hood interest you, but I enjoy the hip language and colorful culture that’s portrayed.  The first two movies were more about the barbershop starting or moving, and the interactions between those who decided to stay and make the shop their own. The third one was more about the same barbershop owner trying to keep his kid out of gangs, along with the effects gangs were having on the ‘hood. This installment was darker, edgier, the gangs scarier, and the vocabulary a lot more raunchy.

I enjoyed the darkness — I didn’t get what all the T&A had to do with it.

The first thing that comes to mind when I don’t like something is that I’m turning into an old fogie. While there’s no doubt that’s true, I like to think that I keep up with the younger generations fairly well. I know it’s more than bro and bae, and I try and keep and open mind. After all, my parents rolled their eyes at me, and their parents at them. And I’m not aghast at swearing or sexual innuendos or basic raw sex.  Been there, done that, too. I can cleavage with the best of them. But there was something about the sexual volleys between the sexes that seemed so raw and offensive, I wondered what the point was.

Look. I know I’m whitebread. I’ve never denied that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to understand. I don’t want to walk through the world with blinders on. I know with every new generation the boundaries are looser and farther away, society is wilder and more demanding, and the chances of success fewer and fewer.

But this…

This is why I didn’t want to talk about it. My prudish self is coming out. But I couldn’t help but react to the big, tightly-wrapped booties sticking out and shaking and cleavage falling out to one’s belly button and sizes of anatomy parts. What are they saying? What image of life are they trying to portray?

Just like I can’t wrap my head around today’s politics, I also can’t wrap my head around the plight of inner city situations. I am removed, so there is no way I could understand. And because I can’t understand I have no idea what they’re all going through.

And something tells me I should.

Everyone’s life is different. From Africa to the south side of Chicago, from Buckingham Palace to small town Hebron, everyone’s story starts where they are born and ends where they die. And every single thing that blows by affects our lives whether we want them too or not.

I’d like to think that there is still such a thing as self respect. That being sassy, being cool, being a smart ass is a show of confidence. That talking trash about body parts and sexual positions are signs that the we’re not afraid to bring these taboos into the light.

But sometimes I wonder. Is it them — or me?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — H.R. Giger

It’s sometimes funny how your first introduction to an artist is through everyday things — like album covers.

H.R. Giger (1940-2014), one of the preeminent artists of Fantastic Realism, was a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer known for his biomechanical creatures, extraterrestrial landscapes and disturbing, though memorable, imagery of grotesque sensuality.

Giger discovered the airbrush and, along with it, his own unique freehand painting style, leading to the creation of many of his most well known works.

Giger kept a notepad next to his bed so he could sketch the terrors that rocked his uneasy sleep — nightmarish forms that could as easily have lumbered from prehistory as arrived from Mars.

Giger’s art enters the rarified realm of the near magical, and certainly the land of genius.

But this generous and humble artist avoided the limelight and rather let his work speak volumes of his mastery.

The most famous book with publications of his drawings and landscapes was the “Necronomicon” of 1977.

It was Giger’s published book Necronomicon that inspired Ridley Scott’s Alien.

His work is surrealistic, magical, detailed, and plainly gorgeous.

More of H.R. Giger‘s work can be found at http://www.hrgiger.com/ and http://visualmelt.com/H-R-Giger.

Exploration at the Art Gallery

When you work inside an office all week, one tends to fist pump the air when the weekend comes and the weather is beautiful. So I expect all of you to go outside and fist pump today, then when you come in this evening, put on some great relaxing music and come visit the Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

It’s easy to follow, and the art I’m coming across is so wonderfully beautiful and unique. I’m adding galleries all the time, plus adding more images to the ones I have.  Tell your friends! Say, “Man, have you checkout out that Sunday Evening Art Gallery? Man, that art is so awesome!” (or something to that effect…)

Happy Saturday!

Mihai Criste
Liu Bolon
Ice Sculptures
Minerals
Guido Daniele

 

Wandering Down the Path

I stand at the beginning of the path. The yellow brick road turned green and muddy. What will I find? I hear frogs already. It’s only March. But the warm sun suggests otherwise.

Everything is so bare. The trees, the field grass. I know its bubbling beneath the surface. It has more patience than me. Spring can’t be far if I hear the mourning dove’s song. Or the wikka wee of the red winged blackbird.

I have lived 64 years upon this Earth. I only hope for 64 more.

There is a convention going on in the trees across the field. The tweeting of the birds mix and meld into one gorgeous wake up call. It almost sounds as if they’re all in that one tall pine tree.

No sleep for a while, dear tree.

What was once a cornfield is now a young woods. It’s amazing how quickly Mother Nature takes back her own. It was her world first, anyway. I’m always looking for wildlife as I walk the trails around my house. The frogs don’t count. I do see tons of deer tracks in the mushy ground, though.

That’s a good sign.

No llamas next door today. I dare hope they weren’t sold for human consumption. The world is what it is, though. I’ll keep positive thoughts.

The trees have stayed smart. They’re not budding yet. Once the sun sets and rises, though, that may be a different story. Time moves so differently here. Oh dear — I was mistaken. Certain trees and/or bushes just can’t help themselves.

I don’t blame them.

Bright green moss grows on the trail. As the sun sets it’s almost fluorescent. I follow the glow. Bad storms have knocked many of the old trees over. It’s sad, really. Their once magnificent branches now are nothing more than barren tree trunks and limbs. Ahhh…but to have seen them in their glory! What tales they could tell! But they, like us, have no more tales to tell.

This walk is turning sad. That wasn’t the intent. The intent was to observe. To dream. To record. But sad is the other side of the coin called happy, isn’t it?

And so it is.

I found a golf ball on the farthest back trail. I can only imagine its story. But I shall not ask. I’ve come to a fork in the road. One trail edges the field, another meanders through the woods. Sparse the woods may be, but there is shadow here. Magic is afoot.

I must pay attention.

The coolness of the woods is different from the field. Dried leaves replace the moss. The trail challenges me to follow. I cannot resist. My stories are in here. The back end of my property rests upon a barbed wire fence, which separates me from the cornfield beyond. There is nothing now except stubby stalks. But when the corn is high and full…I wrote a story about a girl who walked through the rows of corn. Walked and walked until she came upon another world.

I need to finish that story.

My poor broken bench. Mildewed, still standing like a bent soldier. I dragged that bench back to the edge so I could sit and reflect the world I couldn’t see. The moments I needed to see. I shall fix that old bench.

There are dreams and stories I still need to see.

The thistled mess across from the bench will soon bloom thick and green. Impenetrable. Protecting its children from the madness of the outside world. And I think. I often wonder if I could just give it all up. The job. TV. The Internet. If I could just sit and write and walk and write and clean house and write. Or paint. Or draw. Listen to music and just be one with the seasons. Sleep when I’m tired, move when I’m awake. If I could leave it all behind.

I don’t think I want to know the answer.

The wind blows harder back here as it travels across the empty field. It reminds me that it’s barely spring. That Mother is up one day and down the next. The goosebumps on my arm make me agree. Up the leaf-covered path, I head towards the setting light.

A slain king blocks my way, On second thought, he is too skinny to be a king. His fate was more of the knightly variety. A victim of the storm too, his slender trunk arches enough for me to pass. The rustling of dead leaves hanging at the end of empty branches sing a light and hollow song. Even in the summer.

It’s like this back here.

Moss is a mighty thing. It peeks through the fallen leaves and clings to the fallen tree trunks. Yet it grows. Year after year. Surface after surface. A marvelous part of evolution. As I walk I see my sitting stone jutting out of the ground. In a month I will be hard pressed to find it. But the sun is setting and the chill is following. I nod in respect to the boulder of knowledge.

I will be back.

The setting sun is blinding me as I walk up the hill. It is as if it doesn’t want me to see where I’m going. Doesn’t it know. I never know where I’m going. I turn one last time, searching for a deer or a rabbit or a hawk or an elf.

I see none.

The storm made chaos out of these old woods. Branches are scattered and entwined at the end of the path. Perhaps if I were coming the other way I would see a barricade built by a dragon to keep humans out. At the end of the path on the right are several dirt mounds. Legend has it there was a house back here once, but I see no trace. But the mounds will soon be covered with daylilies.

Maybe that was the mother’s favorite flower.

Here lies the king. His huge trunk blocks the path. Right at the edge of the grass. Right at the edge of civilization. Part of me wants to let him rest here. He’s done his duty.

Rest in peace.

I’ve come to the end of the trail. Cultivated grass leads to a house. Inside is my computer, my music. My now. Perhaps my future. If I were to stay true to the path’s direction, I would find a whole other trail that would lead around and through the front of the property. I know the fae live there. A time warp, too.

But not today.

If I hold onto something for tomorrow, maybe I’ll never have to leave this world. For there will always be a tomorrow.

I can live believing that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Katerina Kamprani

 Athens-based architect Katerina Kamprani‘s redesigns formerly useful everyday objects in her Uncomfortable series.

 The goal was to re-design useful objects making them uncomfortable but usable and maintain the semiotics of the original item.

Kamprani calls Uncomfortable “a collection of deliberately inconvenient everyday objects,” adding that “it exists in sketches and 3-D visualizations and has no meaningful purpose.”

Kamprani first started the project for no apparent reason other than she wanted to design something, and making things uncomfortable was challenging and amusing to her.

“My project is very carefully designed to annoy — it feeds from the design of each original object and makes a little joke.”

“I am hoping it is not in the list of ‘another badly designed object’ but in the list of extraordinary deliberately badly designed object(s).”

She is an architect and does the work of a rational engineer by day. By night, she is a design enthusiast, interested both in graphic and product design.

More of Katerina Kamprani‘s wonderfully unique art can be found at http://www.kkstudio.gr/#the-uncomfortable.

 

Let’s Cosplay


Sometimes I feel like a fish out of water. A bluejay in a subway. A…you get it.

For the longest time I’ve heard the word “cosplay” bantered around in various articles and circles.

I always thought cosplay was the name of a band.

Last night I watched a TV show on the SyFy channel called Cosplay Melee. And I finally realized what it was all about. Dress Up. Tech style.

According to iFanboy (https://goo.gl/fAIbSC), “Cosplay is a shortened form of two words – costume and play. It is the practice of portraying a fictional character – at times completely identifying as that character while in costume (and thus acting as if the individual was that character to add to the authenticity of the experience).”

It seems to me I have been surrounded by cosplayers for like ever and never knew they had a title.

My trips through the years to the Renaissance Faire was full of cosplayers…myself included. Although I didn’t quite lose myself in the lady-in-waiting corset way, I did find myself speaking with a British accent while I dined on turkey legs and watched the joust. I have also lost myself at Halloween now and then, everything from a wicked witch (not to be confused with THE wicked witch), a hooker, and a blueberry. I don’t remember if the acting went to my head — after all, what would a blueberry have to share with the world — but I did go all out on the costumes.

I have been in love with SiFi’s Face Off for years. I love the imagination and the talent of the competitors. It’s fascinating. Cosplay Melee is just about the same thing, except they build extensions of themselves in fantasy mode, where Face Off is somebody else’s face.

My feelings of inadequacy seem to dissipate, though, when I realize — isn’t a writer a cosplayer?

Okay, we don’t design costumes and makeup and physically turn into our favorite creature. But we know them just as intimately. We know how they look, how they smell, how they walk. We know what they think, why they hurt, why they’re insane. We know more about our fictional characters than we know (or more likely will admit) to ourselves. They’re in our head more than on the page, and there’s often no reasoning with them.

That means we make up dialects, languages, and points-of-view. We become them. And if that isn’t cosplay, I don’t know what is.

I suppose it isn’t such a bad thing to dress up and act like your favorite fantasy character. People have been doing that at Comic Con forever. Beam me up Scotty and all that. As long as you know that Neytiri exists only in the movie Avatar and Captain Kirk is only a TV hero, you’re alright. Start thinking you can jump off buildings or fisticuffs with bad guys in the alley late at night, and, well, it doesn’t take much to get back to reality.

Still, I think there’s a little cosplay in all of us. Whether we paint, write, sculpt, make jewelry, or play music. The basics are always there. It’s what we do with them that makes cosplay.

But I still thing there’s a band around with a name like that….

 

 

Happy (day after) Poetry Day!!

If you miss the bus, don’t worry — there’s always another behind it — that’s the one I’m usually on

 

By Reason of Insanity

I write to share

I write to dream

I write to entertain

I write to celebrate

I write to release passion

I write to create passion

I write to escape

I write to explore

I write to feel better

I write to feel

I write to clarify my thoughts

I write to understand my thoughts

I write to understand the world

I write to escape the world

I write to find an outlet for my emotions

I write to make sure I have emotions

I write to encourage

I write to invigorate

I write to bring a smile

I write to bring a tear

I write to cover my inadequacies

I write to deal with my inadequacies

I write so that I never forget

I write so that others never forget

I write to be understood

I write to make others understand

I write so that I will understand

I write because

I am a writer

Granny Went Gaelic — And This Is What Happened

For every night there is a day. For every winter there is a summer.

And for every outing for a 64-year-old there is a price to be paid.

Maybe everyone has a yin with their yang. But mine just seem to come back and bite me in the buttocks. Every good time I have has a clip of wtf in it.

Like Friday. St. Patrick’s Day.

A night out with the hubby…something we haven’t had in a while. Went to an Irish band concert — Gaelic Storm — which I wrote about here. Was all pumped up. Sparkly nails, sparkly hat. Went to a great burger place for dinner, had a Bloody Mary. We were way early for the concert so we stopped into a bar across the street from the concert hall. Made some great temporary friends — had a great time. Went to the concert — had a great time. Went to the bathroom after the concert —

Dropped my phone in the toilet.

A thousand women hit that bathroom before and after me. How many of them do you think dropped their phone in the toilet?

Standing up for myself on wobbly legs, my phone was in my back pocket (I had no front pockets), and somehow in standing up my phone went for a swim. Since I still owe on the phone that now doesn’t work, and its too early to upgrade, I had to reactivate my old phone.

Only me.

This crashing course in reality happens to me all the time. I’m the only one who  flips the SUV on a barely-visible slip of ice, the only one who forgets major ingredients in recipes, the one who gets lost if I don’t write directions down.

I’m sure everybody goes through these things, but sometimes I feel like whenever I turn around there’s something embarrassing waiting for me.

There’s something about getting “older” that is to blame for every slip of the step. Even though it’s an inaccurate assumption, it’s the first one everyone runs to. Oh, she’s not playing with a full deck. She doesn’t remember what you tell her half the time. She just doesn’t pay attention. How easy it is for those words to fall out of one’s mouth. And I suppose the validity of such depends on what side of the fence you’re on.

My son has dropped his phone in the toilet. Very little fanfare was made of that. Mom? Whew! Too many Captain’s and Cokes. How can one get lost when you drive that way 25 times a year? Daydreaming out the window while someone else is driving is not an excuse. Can’t fall asleep? Turn off the TV and phone and just lay there in bed like a zombie for 3 hours!

It’s all so easy!

My husband has been pretty kind to me after the phone incident. He  accompanied me to U.S. Cellular to get my old phone activated, and even offered his new phone to me in exchange.

But somehow I know there’s a little chuckle going on inside, thinking he let me have too good a time at the concert that night.

Well, he just didn’t see the leprechaun that followed me into the stall, That’s all…

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Maud Vantours

Maud Vantours was born in 1985 in France.

A graduate from the Parisian school Duperré, Maud follows a Design training with a specialization in textiles and materials research.

Color, material and patterns have an important place in her work, like paper, which became her favorite material.

She sculpts it in 3D layer after layer, by superimposing paper and colors to create inspired patterns in volume.

Maud’s work transcending a simple material and transforming it into a work of art.

Her design creations are original graphics of multicolored and dreamlike landscapes.

Her patience and intricate skills shine in every piece of artwork she creates.

More of Maud Vantour‘s intricate works can be found at http://maudvantours.com/en/.

 

 

 

 

Granny Goes Gaelic

Green sparkly nail polish. Check. Green sparkle newsboy cap. Check. Green beads with green plastic shot glass at the end. Check.

I’m getting ready to do my favorite thing in the world on St. Patrick’s Day — go to a Gaelic Storm concert.

Gaelic Storm is a great pub band that sings happy music and drinking music and brings the memories of my Irish mother to the forefront. Their musical output includes traditional Irish music, Scottish music, and original tunes in both Celtic and Celtic rock genres. It’s a great time, great music, and a great experience. Every time. The audience is a mixed bag of sexy girls and Irish boys and middle-aged wannabe Irishmen…

…and me. Granny.

I become the woman that is embarrassing to be around.

THAT woman.

The pudgy granny that wears all the cliche St. Pattie’s Day adornments, including this year an Irish-leprechaun-cat-riding-an-Irish-unicorn t-shirt. With hand-painted sparkles.

I don’t know what gets into me. My mother was a McCarthy, her father from Ireland. I was a shallow daughter — I never asked her about her family, her heritage. Nor her fears, her dreams, or her disappointments. I justify my inadequacy at knowing more about my parents to the times. My parent’s generation were not the chatty kind. I guess World War II and the Depression can do that. But I loved her dearly and I know she loved me, so that counts for something.

These days I try and make up for my shallowness by embracing the world my mother came from. I know it’s mostly imagination and fantasy, but there is a direct connection to Ireland in my blood, and I want her to know I’ll never forget.

So I dress in green and sing along with every Gaelic Storm song and pretend I’m in a pub somewhere in Ireland and my mother is not far hanging with her father from Ireland and mother from Scotland. I sing  and “Hills of Connemara” and “Tell Me Ma” and “The Night I Punched Russell Crowe in the Head.” I sway with the gentle ballads and clap until my hands are raw and always sit on the whiskey side for “Me And the Moon.”

The best thing about all this Irish nonsense is that, for one night, we are all one. We are not old or young or black or white. We are one vibration, one thought, one dream. We are simple people singing simple songs. There is no wall, no wiretapping, no conspiracy. All there is is music, love, and laughter.

No one looks strangely at the old lady with the sparkly hat; no one laughs at the green Mardi-Gras beads or the Irish Unicorn on the t-shirt. They see a dreamer, a fellow groupie, a singer of Irish ballads and bawdy drinking songs. We will all share a green beer and green heart and our souls will glow with Irish blessings.

And after all is said and done, I will hang up the hat and put away  the nail polish and hum “Kiss Me I’m Irish” while I drive to work. And I will leave Ireland — and my daydreams — behind.

At least until Irishfest in August.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

 

 

Another Wonderful Share

I must be in a sharing mood this week! I don’t follow a whole lot of bloggers, but the ones I do I really love their work.

Brenda is one of those poets whose words remind me of windchimes. Maybe she and I share a “Friendly Fairy Tale” connection, but there’s something musical about her poems. Do go and visit her website and be enchanted like I am!

 

Gathering in the sky are low, heavy mists: snow clouds shaped by Zeus and Thor.

via Star Swords — Friendly Fairy Tales

Just A Second

I love this blog and this blogger. She reminds me of who I am … or moreso, who I should be. She seems to have more patience than I do, that’s for sure. But we can all learn a lesson from her lesson. Enjoy!

notquiteold

There’s an old joke:  The definition of a split second is the interval between when the light turns green and when the guy behind you honks his horn.

We all know we’ve been there too….both as the honker and the honkee.

But I’d like to suggest – as part of my Year Of Kindness – that we give it a rest.

Let’s try to give everyone just a second or two more of our patience.

I’m not asking you to wait until you’ve missed the green light completely. Just give the poor schmuck a second.

And here are a few other moments of patience we should consider:

– When you ask your spouse to do something, and he says “Sure,” but remains on the couch. Give your loved one the benefit of the doubt. Maybe ten seconds’ worth. Or if you love the person, maybe even 20. He might get…

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Feeling Better = Writing Nonsense

Now that the pain in my back is almost gone, my mind is free to wander — and that’s always a scary thing.  Here are some cosmic thoughts (past and present) to get you going this fine Tuesday evening —

  •  If you ever get stuck in a time warp and wind up in another time, you can always become a bard. Think of all the lyrics to rock and roll songs you know!
  • If time travel is impossible, why do I hear myself saying things I said ten years ago?
  • Coca-cola is green without coloring. Ewww.
  • They say it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Does that mean if I tried to read the dictionary backwards while sitting in a bathtub and singing God Bless America and I didn’t want to stop until I was done singing and the house caught on fire because my cat knocked over the candle I had burning in the other room and I had to stop reading the dictionary, was it better never to have tried that stunt in the first place?
  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  •  It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?
  • Why does everyone on TV eat Chinese food out of the carry out container with chopsticks? I have yet to see one actor eat Chinese on a plate with a fork! I mean…come on…
  • The theory of relativity suggests that before the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, space and time did not exist and matter was packed together in a tiny ball. Okaay…how tiny is tiny? As if it matters…
  • You spend your entire life living and eating and dancing in three dimensions. But according to superstring theory, there are at least ten dimensions in the universe (M-theory actually suggests that there are 11 dimensions to spacetime; bosonic string theories suggest 26 dimensions). Try walking and talking in that! (fyi the article is amazing..you have to check it out..10 Dimensions)
  • Most of us are a walking storeroom of facts — we’ve just lost the key to the storeroom door.

Have a great rest of your week!

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Michael Parkes

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Born in 1944, Michael Parkes studied graphic art and painting at the University of Kansas, and then traveled for 3 years through Asia and Europe.

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Parkes is both a uniquely talented painter and master of the art of original stone lithography.

He is a painter, sculptor, and stone lithographer.

But more so he has been called the world’s leading Magical Realist.

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It has been said of Parkes, “His work evokes a mysterious atmosphere, which can often only be deciphered with the help of ancient mythology and eastern philosophy.”

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More of Michael Parkes‘ striking work — sculpture, painting and lithographs — can be found at Michael Parkes.

Who Are They Singing About?

musicI’m sitting around this kinda warm Saturday afternoon, resting my pulled back muscle (which now is mostly my sciatic nerve), listening to music, trying to beat down the A.D.D. part of me that wants to run around and do a dozen things at one time.

I’ve been listening to the Rock Show on Sirius, and they’ve been playing a lot of great tunes from my youth. Ah, yes. My youth = my choices = my alternate choices. What could turn out to be a melancholy trip through the 70s through the 90s (I don’t consider anything past 2000 as my “youth”), actually turns out to be a voyage into song lyrics.

This time the words that haunt me are lyrics that sing about magical, powerful, beautiful women and whatever they did to have a song written about them. The song that struck me first was Hollywood Nights by Bob Seeger:

She had been born with a face
That would let her get her way
He saw that face and he lost all control
He had lost all control
Night after night
Day after day
It went on and on

What kind of a face could make a man lose his mind for days and nights and nights and days? Or one of my favorites, Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac:

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

What kind of woman is thought of as taken by the wind? Does she fly? Do her thoughts lift her higher and higher? What about:  Rhiannon rings  like a bell through the night — clearly an analogy to her solid, musical soul breaking the silence of the night. Pretty powerful.

There are better examples than the ones I’ve given. But you get my drift.  Super women. Gorgeous, powerful, mystical women. Ruling and running their lives just the way they want to.

What would it be like to  born with a face…That would let her get her way? To be so beautiful, talented, genuinely breathtaking that you could have anything you want? You could go to any department store and pick something off the rack and actually wear it. You would barely have to exercise to keep your marvelously thin and voluptuous body. You would have men and women at your feet. Loving you, wanting you. From a distance — right next to you. You’d always have a date for dinner or the movies. The flowers would bend in reverence to your awesomeness.

I myself have always suffered from less-is-really-less syndrome. Unfortunately, I do not suffer from extreme beauty, brains, physique, or mobility. I’ve always been on the average Joe/Joelyn side. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the best — truly best — at anything. From modeling to brain surgeons to ballet. To be sooooo great because everything came naturally to you.

Alas, I will have to leave those wonderings to the mystics. We make the most of who we are and what we have and leave the rest to mystics. Or writers.

But it would be great if they’d write a song about me…

and no…not Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen…

 

You’re Never Too Old (or Out of Shape) To Start

thI don’t know if it was climbing the cliffs at Devil’s Lake or swimming laps at the local pool or wild sex on the beach, but I’ve been knocked out the last few days with one granddaddy of a pain across the small of my back that’s gone from explosive shots  to a single shooting pain up one gluteus maximus.

Actually, it wasn’t mountain climbing or Olympic swimming or wild anything. I don’t really know how I threw my back out of wack. But now that I’m older, it takes longer to get it back into shape.

And that scares me.

It scares me because it shows that I’ve got less and less time to make my body right. That at any time a bad back can turn into sciatica or spinal compression fractures or ankylosing spondylitis.

I know that there are people who live with pain all their lives. I suppose most of what I’ve lived with I’ve lived with. You know? But when you introduce something new into your spectrum of experience it opens the door to more possibilities. Possibilities of more pain, uncomfortableness, sleeplessness, and more.

Back to the back pain.

This is a real eye-opener for me. I know my front carries extra baggage that pulls on my back, and I’m starting to take care of that. I’m starting to walk more, but I say that every year, and peter our about a month in. I am at the age where anything can and will happen if I don’t start paying attention to what I eat and drink and how I move.

And that’s the fact, Jack.

I know I can’t turn back the hands of time, but I can certainly strengthen the hands I have. It’s never too late to start stretching more, walking more, slowing down more. Maybe that’s an old-lady thing, but it’s a smart thing, too. It’s one thing to fight cancer. Been there, done that. But it’s another to let your body fall down the weakness well and not do a thing to pull yourself back up.

Like some kind of commercial, I am here to tell you to PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY. No matter what age. It’s so easy for a rash to turn into psoriasis, a scar into an infection, a limp into arthritis. It may be that one will turn into the other anyway, but it’s much smarter to take care of these things up front. Stretch before you pull a muscle. Clean before it gets infected. Eat healthy instead of fatty.

I have always been one to put off taking care of myself last. Kids, husband, my cat — everyone but me. Now that I’m older I’m starting to feel the effects of everyone else first. And it’s time to pay attention to the only one who is going to be with me through the very end.

The good thing is that getting in shape now will enable me to climb those cliffs or swim those laps or…

Well, you know all the things you can do when you’re not achin’ and painin’….

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Library Interiors

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~~Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

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George Peabody Library, John Hopkins University

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 Grand People’s Study House, North Korea

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The State Library of South Australia

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Royal Danish Library

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José Vasconcelos Library, Mexico

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Abbey Library of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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Royal Monastery Library of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain

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Admont Abbey Library, Austria

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Bibliotheque Nationale de France, France

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Salt Lake Public Library, Utah

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Spring in February

163921-beautiful-spring-dayI don’t know about you, but a flash of great weather gives me a flash of positive energy.

It’s February here in the Midwest, the land of snow and slush. Yet this past week has teased temperatures hovering around 60. Us Midwesterners know this is only a tease — a mere peek at the lace trim of a very lacy slip.

But we fall for it as much as if the slip fell off the manikin.

I saw a post on Facebook that showed 40 degrees in California (hats, gloves, muffs), vs 40 degrees in Wisconsin (shorts, open windows, bbqs). I thought that was really silly until I found myself driving home from work with the window wide open.

What is it about weather change that brightens the dullest spirit?

When it’s warm I tend to walk outside a little more…get away from the madness of the office or the madness of cleaning house and just breathe. It’s such an inspiring image, isn’t it? Walking the wooded paths, wandering along the deserted shoreline, gazing at the arrangements in a Zen garden…

Of course, that plateau lasts all of one day.

Work, kids, house and car repairs, all need to be dealt with, rain or shine, warm weather or blizzards. Life has a lot of nerve interrupting our serene moments with things like “dinner” or “soccer practice.”  How will we ever reach nirvana? How will we ever become one with the Earth and the Moon and the galaxy above when we have to work on the computer or wash the dishes or fix the lawn mower?

That is what days like today are for. The dream that someday we will be able to wander along in the sunshine, not too hot, not too cold, contemplating and meditating and finding our place in this world. The hope that our food will be fresh from the garden, our houses sparkling clean and full of fresh air, and our dreams will become our reality.

I am more to thinking that this burst of fresh air and 60 degrees just makes me high…

Sunday/Monday Evening Art Gallery — Ercole Barovier

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Ercole Barovier (1889-1972) was the son of Benvenuto Barovier and a member of a centuries-long lineage in the family company, Vetreria Artistica Barovier & C. founded in 1295.

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 He was named the artistic director of the company in 1926, and quickly rose up the ranks of the family business.

After becoming sole proprietor in 1936, he merged his family’s company with the Toso family to become Barovier & Toso in 1939.

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Over the course of his 50-year activity, he invented numerous decorative techniques which contributed significantly to the renovation of art glass.
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From the beginning of the Thirties, he dedicated himself entirely to experimenting with new multi-colored effects, in particular he perfected the colorazione a caldo senza fusione technique (staining heat without fusion) which he first used in 1935-36.

 He was active for fifty years in the company, and amassed a portfolio of no fewer than 25,000 designs.

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Barovier’s work is part of many major museums’ collections around the world. 

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More of Ercole Barovier’s work can be found Ercole Barovier.

Get Together Now!

mihai-criste-tuttart-2Driving up north to our 10th (or so) annual Ski weekend has me thinking about family and friends and how important they are in my life.

Do you do any “annual” things with your family or friends?

You should.

We have our Polish Sausage Making Party every year — those that participate say we’ve been doing it for 15 years. I look back on my life and remember the girl’s shopping weekends we used to take just so we could stay overnight and drink and eat and gossip and not drive. Further back, I remember fishing trips I used to take with my family; sticking bamboo poles in the muddy bank, playing hide and seek in the woods, and whispering about the strange old hobo man that lived in this nasty little shack down the road.

I wish our minds held more memories, don’t you?

I know I went places, did things, with family and friends. I get glimpses camping with my oldest being only 1-year-old, of taking my in-laws to Las Vegas two weeks before my mother-in-law served divorce papers to my father-in-law. I vaguely remember spending a week out in Seattle visiting a girlfriend when I was younger, and another week visiting a friend in Texas.

But that’s all I remember.

I didn’t take many pictures back then. The cameras were clumsy, and who wanted to bring film to be developed all the time?

These days my phone camera is full. There’s not a get together I don’t try and snap, a sunset I don’t capture. And that includes this ski weekend.

As I get older I find I’m forgetting more and more — not so much a dementia thing, but I’ve got 560,640 hours of experiences in my head. A bit much even for a human computer to recall.

That’s why doing things with family and friends is so important. So many of us hide behind the ego’s judgement of “they should call me” or “they didn’t invite me.” So we therefore skip over thinking or calling or doing something with those who really make our life full.

I learned long ago that it doesn’t matter if I’m the one who’s always calling. So what? Some people have quirks in their personality that stand in the way of their desire to do the same. It’s the same with planning things. I’m always “complaining” that I’m so busy all the time, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Being busy means interacting. Growing. Discovering. You can’t do that locked up in your house behind a computer screen.

I encourage those of you who are on the bring of making plans to MAKE THEM. Don’t let whose turn it is spoil the possibility of a wonderful time. And wonderful memories.

One day your memories will begin to fade, and all that will be left is the smile that was created the day it happened. And if you’re lucky, that’s a hell of a lot of smiles to keep you going.

Happy Valentine’s Day

thIn going through my PPL (Past Post Library), I noticed I’ve never once written on Valentine’s Day about Valentine’s Day.

Why do you think that is?

I do have a husband that I’ve Valentined in my heart for over 35 years. I have two great sons that also deserve my Valentine, along with a sweet daughter-in-law, her great parents, two sets of great best friends, and my two Valentine grandkids.

But somewhere along the line I never connected my love for them with Valentine’s Day.

I know it’s a holiday created by Hallmark, another way to cash in on human emotions. Nothing wrong with that. Candy, flowers, heart-shaped cakes, all fall into the going-the-extra-mile for your sweetie. There are online articles about 10 Valentine’s Day Flowers and their Meanings, Celebrating Valentine’s Day with a Box of Chocolates, and other romantic inklings to set the mood.

The love of my life has never really given me anything for Valentine’s Day. And that’s been over 35 years. Am I insulted? No, not really. I knew 35+ years ago that he was not the roses and chocolates type. And that was alright. It still is. For most of my life there was so much more we could have done with the $50 he would spend on flowers or wine. My Valentine’s Day gift would be an extra pizza in the grocery cart or rent a movie from Redbox.

Times have changed. We are in a better financial place than we were 10, 20, even 30 years ago. Our Valentine’s Day money went to taking my grandson to see the Lego Batman Movie. That was fun — that was love.

Yet…

Three girls at work today had flowers delivered to them. Does that bother me?

Well, a little.

I could say that my hubby shows his love for me in other ways…

…he gives me money to go out and buy my own flowers.

I guess that’s Valentine’s enough for me.

Why Can’t We Slow Down?

tumblr_ln6ma5pk1i1qkmpj8o1_500Do you ever have times/days/weeks where you are fumbling so out of control you finally have to stand still and say STOP?

I don’t know if it’s a symptom of (self-prescribed) A.D.D., but I constantly find myself in swirling situations where I’m turning and falling and rushing and not finishing.

And I can’t take it.

The other day I dropped something. I bent to pick it up and hit my head against the table leg. Then I stood up and dropped it again. In turning to reach it I swiped all the paperwork off the table and into a raining mess. The raining mess knocked over the stemmed wine glass with a trace of milk still left, breaking the glass and spilling milk all over.

I had to stand still, close my eyes, and count to 10.

Then the reprimand begins.

Who drinks milk out of wine glasses anyway? Why didn’t I just do the dishes and wash the glass when I was finished? Why are all those papers on the table anyway? Why aren’t you paying attention?

One time I was running a little late for work; stepped out of the car in the parking lot and slipped on a slice of ice right next to my door. Those bruises have finally faded.

Why didn’t you leave for work earlier? Didn’t you see that patch of ice when you pulled in the parking space? Don’t you watch where you put your feet when you get out of the car?

It’s like I’m moving through time and space too fast. Keeping up at work and keeping up at home is a non-stop travelogue for me. I find myself forcing myself to slow down. If I don’t, I get bruises from car doors, misplace my glasses and/or keys, lose earrings and other items of jewels — all kinds of stupid things.

Where am I going in such a hurry? What ever happened to stopping to smell the roses? Watch a sunset? Watch fireflies? I know I have to slow down. To think before I do. I’m not as flexible as i was 20 years ago. And I’ll wind up in the hospital if I’m not careful.

It’s just that with (self-prescribed) A.D.D. I feel at times I can’t sit still for 5 minutes. I’m either itching or swinging my leg or flipping through TV channels or snacking. I’m always afraid I’ll be left behind if I don’t get it all done. That I’ll be standing at the end of the driveway waving goodbye to everyone else because I couldn’t get ready on time.

This is especially true because I’m older. Every forgotten thing is Alzheimer’s; every hesitation is senility. Every broken glass is old age; every pain is cancer.

Although I do believe you can’t do everything, be everything to everybody and still keep your sanity, my unconscious mind is trying to prove different. It thinks that if I keep going at 150 mph, I can outrun the grim reaper.

Maybe it’s time for a speeding ticket or two.

 

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst

7-the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurstOld one are good ones…they make me smile..

This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this story line is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

We start out the week with the most noble of intentions.  Perhaps we have a satisfying experience meditating Sunday morning, or are able to sleep in a couple of extra hours.  Maybe our football team finally won a game.  Nonetheless, our day is delightful, and we end the night feeling satisfied.  All is right with the world, with our This is the power of the unicorn.  It is the magical sensation that connects earth and sky, dreams and reality, kids and parents.  In this hazy-yet-authentic state, the world is a soft, mystical place, offering rewards and blessings at every turn.  You could actually lose those ten pounds or finally clean off your desk, or finally start reading that novel you bought five months ago.  You are still based in reality, but the remnant good feelings are enough to move you towards the light and find satisfaction in the simplest things.

Monday comes along, a tough day for many.  A majority of us will drudge our way to work, blinking at the shortness of the weekend, and find our nine-to-five groove again.  Tuesday seems to be a lot harder than Monday.  Our failure to go to bed early over the weekend now is catching up with us, along with laundry that has mysteriously piled up and the bills we swear we mailed yesterday.

Wednesday is hump day and we wonder just who is doing the humping.  Our resolve not to eat ten chocolate chip cookies in a row is weakening; our commitment to walk a mile or two after work is being thwarted by thunderstorms or ice storms or plagues of locusts.  We can never get our hair to do what our hairdresser did; our plans to cook Coq a Vin has gone by the wayside, seeing as the chicken is still frozen and we don’t have any red wine in the house to cook with anyway.

Thursday creeps into our lives with a thread of hesitancy.  After all, school has scheduled your son’s basketball game at the same time as your daughter’s piano recital, both of which are at the same time as your bowling league, which is at the same time your favorite TV show is on, which you would have recorded had the your DVR not been full.

By Friday your resolutions are out the window along with that novel you can’t choke down anymore.  The weekend is coming; that means a thousand activities shoved into a mere 48 hours.  It means going to visit your mom on the way to  free-sample crowds at the grocery store, and coming home to an overanxious dog who just dumped the garbage all over the kitchen floor.  It is hoping the video store still has a copy of that brand new movie that everyone is talking about but you, and trying to decide whether to cook a gourmet meal or just throw sausages on the grill.

This is the bratwurst part, the raw-meat-of-reality part. Bratwurst is a wonderful German sausage, filled with flavor and spices and grilled to perfection.  How metaphoric that little pocket of meat and fat is!  It is the answer to all the cosmic questions in life! It fulfills the need for sustenance (it is a food group), it nurtures your creative side (sauerkraut?  Mustard?  Hot or German?)  It is available in abundance (you can buy them in three pound boxes), and it affords you the freedom of choice  (10 minutes on the grill; burble them in beer and onions for 15 and grill for 5; slice them up and fry with potatoes for 20).

How clear it all becomes!  This little sausage is the answer to all metaphysical speculation, the answer to who we are and why we are on this planet.  It is tasty and filling, satisfying those inner child needs and outer kid bravados.  It ties the madness of the week up into a link that goes down easy and can be burped out in a satisfying form later through the night.  It is the spice of life.

I never thought of unicorns and bratwursts as the symbols for Life; I always thought that symbol was that little stick person with the big egg head.  Now that I have been enlightened, I can see that symbol does look like someone celebrating the bratwurst of life, arms out, joyous and all encompassing.

And the significance of the unicorn part?

I’m not quite sure, but I will ask the one standing behind me after I find out if he wants mustard on his bratwurst.

Don’t Do It Just Because Everyone Does It

street-arts-animationThe other day a friend asked me why I didn’t put my Sunday Evening Art Gallery on Pinterest. After all, there is a larger audience, and it would get better coverage.

This is probably true. When one writes something, one hopes a lot of people will read it and like it and share it. It’s true. It’s the same when you write a book, or paint a painting. You want people to see what you see, feel what you feel.

But what you wrap your creativity in says a lot about you, too. The colors you choose, the things you sketch, all showcase your views on love, life — everything that makes us human.

We all have dreams of how we want our world to be. Most times we fall short. Not a big deal. We all can’t live in our dreams. But we can create our dreams. We can create atmosphere, characters, life, death, love — anything we want. Any way we want.

When I think of art galleries I think of the Art Institute in Chicago, or Blue Spiral 1 Gallery in Asheville, NC I visited last August. I think of the special care galleries take to showcase their artists. The way they display collections and single pieces. Pottery, sketchings, paintings, steel work — all stand out on their own because of the way they are wrapped in creativity.

That’s why I created the Sunday Evening Art Gallery.

I created a space that feels classic and comfortable and is open 24 hours a day. You can have a cup of coffee in the morning and wander through one of the galleries, or a glass of wine in the evening and catch three or four.

The art is unique. Amazing. Styles most people have never seen.

Why post it side-by-side with dozens of other posters? Why let the beauty, the fun, the uniqueness get lost in everyone else’s shadow?

The same is true for whatever you create. Don’t use the colors everyone else uses; don’t make the same shapes, the same poetry that everyone else does. Not unless you love what everyone else does. Put your own spin on your dreams. Color and paint the world the way you see it — the way you want others to see it. Do it your way!

And let me know where to find you and your dreams. I’m always looking forward to learning, seeing, discovering something — and someone — new!

P.S. Do stop by the Gallery — bring a glass of chocolate milk with you and stay a while!

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Fractals

In the mind’s eye, a fractal is a way of seeing infinity.
~~James Gleick
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A fractal is a never-ending pattern.
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Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.
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They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop.
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Geometrically, they exist in between our familiar dimensions.
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Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals.
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Fractal: A set which is larger than the universe.
~Soumya Prakash Sahu

 

The No-No’s of Office Protocol

a0a4925a0f035cdf664fbd910cbc0297Having worked in an office all of my life, there are certain faux paxs you just don’t do.

I mean, you live with these people 8-9 hours a day. Five days a week. Some of them know you better than your family knows you. So you try and keep some decorum around the office.

You don’t read out loud. Even though the music blasting overhead is enough to make sheep fleece uncurl, don’t add to the chaos by reading or re-reading anything out loud. Like your emails, your checking account balance, or the sentence you just typed.

You don’t pass gas by your desk. It’s one thing if you are walking down the hall or through a group of people standing smack dab in the middle of the aisle. They block, they pay. But sitting at your desk, there’s no one to blame, no one to look at, but you. That’s why women have doors on the bathroom stalls. Some of the noises that come out — you don’t want anyone to know it’s you.

You don’t keep your cellphone turned on. In the age of cellphones, some companies allow them, others do not. But there’s nothing more distracting than your ring tone of “Star Wars” or “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” going off in the middle of your typing in a spreadsheet. Buzzers are off, too. People can just imagine what’s going on with all that buzzing.

Speaking of cellphones, don’t talk about your personal life on the phone either. No one wants to know your husband’s favorite color toilet paper or how many times you stepped in dog puke. No one wants to hear your lamenting your weight or your social life or your choice of friends. Take it to the car or parking lot. The far parking lot.

Don’t bring smelly foods for lunch. Seafood Marinara and Fish Stew are wonderful meals at home, but to heat them up in the micro in a tiny cafeteria and then opening up their pungent odor at your desk is enough to drive men wild. And I don’t mean in a good way. Wars were fought for less than stinky fish smell.

Keep your wheezy, sneezy, contagious body home. Your constant drooly and drippy mess does not blend well with the silence, the muzak, or the temperament of those around you. Plus your hacking soon will become my hacking, and I already make enough noise.

Keep your boobs, butt, and navel to yourself. Hard working slaves aren’t interested in a peek at anything but a spreadsheet or a computer screen. If you think it gets you a better job, think again. Bosses have their own boobs, butts, and navels to take care of. And they’ve learned to keep them private.

Have I done any of these faux paxs?

Do you think I’d tell you if I did?

What are those old sayings — it takes one to know one…who smelt it dealt it…yakkity yak don’t talk back…

 

It’s Time to Stop Fighting

heartThis post is being written with a lot of trepidation.

I am not a hellion, nor am I a pansy. My age has nothing to  with the depth of my feelings or the dedication of my causes. I am no better nor no worse than any of my peers. I have had ups and downs and rewards and punishments just like everyone else.

I suppose this confession is to reassure you — or most likely myself — that I’m not over-  or under-reacting.

Just last week I started my post by saying It is as if I am handling a puffer fish or prickly bush with my bare hands. For the world of politics is indeed prickly. But this week prickly has turned vile. It is no longer screaming at the TV or sharing a sentence or two on Facebook.

In only a couple of weeks I have watched this political nonsense start to tear families apart.

Sounds so over the top, doesn’t it?

But in the past few weeks I have heard several first hand reports of one family member tearing at and apart another family member because of their political preferences. Yes, the problem between family members probably existed way before the change of the Guard. But this cavern between political preferences has opened wounds that finally were starting to heal. Or at least left alone.

People are just getting nasty.

Kids are ripping on their parents. Adults are blowing up on their kids. Generations are berating each other because of their political preferences. Then one thing leads to another, and things are said that cannot be taken back. And what started as two people disagreeing turns into people digging into the very foundation of what makes us human.

This isn’t right.

With all the anger and hatred and mistrust shuffling between people, it’s hard to see the good in each other. Parents who have given up everything so their kids could have a better life now are nothing but stiff, selfish old people. Younger kids with a chance to make things better are nothing more but self-centered spoiled brats.

Yet these are our children. These are our parents. These are our aunts and uncles and best friends’ kids. These are the people who we depend on for love or friendship or just a smile.

We have to stop ripping each other apart.

We can be involved, we can be passionate. We can march and we can protest. But we can’t change what is at this moment. This administration, the past administration, are a specimens of their own. None have made their way up from poverty, adversity, or war. They have never worked as a waitress or a sales clerk or a garbage collector. They don’t care about “us.” They don’t know us, they don’t see us, they don’t hear us.

And that point of fact is why we should never turn against our family. Not for this.

Not for them.

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Edgar Artis

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Edgar Artis is an Armenian fashion illustrator who is using everyday objects and paper cutouts in order to complete his beautiful drawings.

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He draws women and in dresses them in something from the real world.

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Edgar uses flowers, feathers, burnt paper, fruit and all sorts of other materials to make  beautiful dresses.

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His illustrations are full of grace, imagination, and playfulness.

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These are not just your average fashion designs, but real works of art.

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Edgar’s art makes you realize that anything in life can be modeled into a beautiful moment of art.

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You can find more of  Edgar Artis’s amazing creations at   https://www.instagram.com/edgar_artis/.

Don’t Let The Day Ruin Your Day

as-long-as-i-dont-write-about-the-government-religion-politics-and-other-institutions-i-am-free-to-print-anything-pierre-beaumarchaisIt is as if I am handling a puffer fish or prickly bush with my bare hands.

The world of politics is truly doing a whirling dervish these last few months. A lot of my friends are afraid, angry, embarrassed, and/or happy with the state of affairs.

This has led to very charged postings lately, both here and on Facebook and Twitter.

I am happy to live in a time and a world where I can express myself freely. That the Feds or the KGB don’t show up at my office or my house to have a “little talk.” But freedom of speech also can lead to heart attacks, headaches, palpatations, high blood pressure, dizzy spells, acid reflex, and a whole lotta other maladies.

And that’s what I fear will happen to all my friends and contacts if they don’t stop raging.

Let me make this perfectly clear — I AM concerned. I AM stressed. I AM worried. Every morning I drive to work and listen to the news I want to smack myself on the forehead and say “What NOW?” But I tend not to talk about it on social media.

I wonder if all this absorption into the ways of the world are preventing my friends from writing their blogs, poems, short stories, recipes, and whatever else. If it’s draining the desire of crocheters so that all they can do is one looonng doublestitch. If all painters want to do is whip paint at a canvas, ala Jackson Pollock.

I’m sure this madness is not limited to the U.S. I bet if I ask my Australian friends (waves to the few I know out there) or my blogger in Spain or the U.K. or in Germany (keeps waving) I’m sure their country is messed up too. Maybe not as obnoxiously, but just as particularly.

I’m not saying don’t get involved. I’m not saying don’t get emotional. We all need to have our voices heard.

What I am saying is we need to have our creative voices heard too. Don’t let the politics of the moment curb your appetite for self expression. Funnel your emotions into something other than — or besides — social media.

Use your passion to create something that will outlast the politics of the day.  Write something marvelous.Paint something inspiring. Play an instrument like an angel. Show the world you are better than the nonsense around you. 

Because you are.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Walk In the Dark

20170123_181755I worked late last night. The sun had already dipped below the horizon, and even the ribbons of twilight had twisted into charcoal gray shadows. I drive through the countryside, past full cornfields or soybean fields in the summer, stretches of empty farm fields in the winter.

As I drove along the deserted country road, I had the strangest urge to pull over to the side and just take a walk through an empty cornfield. Of course, I couldn’t because: a) I was wearing only dress shoes, b) it was only 32 degrees out, c) it was dark, turning to black dark.

But the desire made me think past the temporary roadblocks.

If all other circumstances were constant, i.e., warmer weather, gym shoes, a tad more light, I still would think twice about crossing the field. I would be afraid that someone would come along and — well, you can just imagine. I would clearly be at a disadvantage because I am: a) 5 ft. tall, b) 60+ years old, c) know nothing about self defense.

I know that sounds silly, and in some ways it is. But women have always been at a disadvantage when it comes to going off on their own. We are easily bullied, pushed around, beaten, and worse. We always find ourselves having to “prove” we are able to take care of ourselves.

We do take care of ourselves, of course. We travel by ourselves, drive by ourselves, go to restaurants by ourselves. But we don’t often wander through the woods or fields by ourselves. Not when there’s little or no light.

I find that very sad.

I think it’s unfortunate that so few have affected so many. It’s easy enough to bully women to begin with, but it’s worse when our own fears of adversity stop us from doing things we really want to do. It’s one thing to do things alone in a controlled environment, but take off to walk the beach or the woods totally alone — second thoughts. Always second thoughts.

I don’t mean to make this a sour grape thing — I have friends who don’t let petty things like crazies stop them from enjoying life. They are smart, sharp, and pay attention.

I supposed I’m easily spooked. I have a safe path through the patch of woods behind my house that leads to the back gate, and the whole area is wire fenced. Yet you won’t catch me walking that path in the dark. I don’t like that there may be things I can’t see just at the edge of sight. Same is true about empty country roads. Or endless cornfields.

To quote my favorite Mrs. Dudley in The Haunting:

I don’t stay after I set out the dinner, not after it begins to get dark. I leave before the dark. We live over in town, miles away. So there won’t be anyone around if you need help. We couldn’t hear you. In the night. No one could. No one lives any nearer than town. No one will come any nearer than that. In the night. In the dark. 

Funny thing is — it’s not the spirits of the dead that frighten me. It’s the spirits of the living —

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Tatsuya Tanaka

“Everyone must have had similar thoughts at least once.”

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“Broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boat.”

“Everyday occurrences seen from a pygmy’s perspective can bring us lots of fun thoughts.”

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“I wanted to take this way of thinking and express it through photographs.”

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“It would be great if you could use it to add a little enjoyment to your everyday life.”

How could we not be fascinated by such work?

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More of Tatsuya Tanaka‘s amazing work can be found at  http://miniature-calendar.com/.

Copy quoted from Tatsuya Tanaka website.

Where Have My Bloggers Gone?

admin-ajax-phpMy method of reading/following blogs is of my own design. I don’t read every day, but rather pick an evening and read through as many as I can. Sometimes I click on “Manage” Reader and go through the list of names I’ve followed since I started blogging.

I was kind of sad this evening, for I clicked on a number of names and found a number of people who haven’t written in quite a while.

Where have they gone?

There are millions of bloggers one can follow out there — who knows what prompted me to follow A instead of B. What caught my interest as opposed to those that didn’t. Be honest. You can only read so much, follow so many people. You owe your allegiance, your attention, to the writers you really enjoy.

So what happened to those whose prose I enjoyed? Whose opinions I shared?

I imagine it’s what happens to most of us.

Life.

Our career changes, our family changes — our place in the writing world changes. Maybe we have burned out our point-of-view. Maybe our style has changed. We’ve turned into painters our needlepointers or quilters, our creativity exploding in new directions. Maybe we’ve had babies or found a new job. Maybe we’ve moved or got bored or started a new blog somewhere else. I don’t  think about the ultimate reason people have stopped writing….I like to believe in happily ever after. Like being immortal.

I’m always adding new reads to my list — but I do miss the old reads. I understand the need to move on, but I still like to linger in the shadows of the past.

There are times when I get the urge to just stop blogging, too. Like I’ve said all there is to say. That my readers really don’t get much from my writing. Yadda yadda. We all tell ourselves the same crap when we hit that plateau. But I soon come to my senses and see how much my writing in here helps me out there. Because of my continuous writing — here, there, and everywhere — I have become a better writer, and am now being given a chance to write at my place of employment.

Others continue writing because they’ve found redemption, release,  and rebirth through their words. They share information, research, spiritual thoughts, funny stories, poetry, recipes — whatever makes them happy. And we love them for it.

The world of creativity is a huge place. When you close one door, another opens. To those who have moved on from their blogs, go for it. Make your now the best you can make it. To those who are still looking for their place in the writing world, keep on blogging.

And  hey — drop me a line if you come on back.

 

 

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Jen Stark

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Jen Stark (1983 -) is a contemporary artist whose majority of work involves creating paper sculptures.

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Her artwork mimics intricate patterns and colors found in nature while exploring ideas of replication and infinity.

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Stark takes construction or acid-free colored paper and intricately cuts each sheet with an X-acto knife, layering the paper into a topographical landscape of color and bold shapes.

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Stark’s works have been inspired by many things around the natural world such as infinity, topographical maps, fractals, designs in nature, microscopic patterns, wormholes and sliced anatomy.

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In her own words, “I love thinking about how enormous shapes out in the universe can have the same patterns as tiny microorganisms under a microscope.”

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“How geometric shapes and certain spiraling patterns apply to designs in nature big and small.”

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More of Jen Stark‘s work can be found at http://www.jenstark.com/.