Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Ballad of Tove

             One can only assume that from time to time the Fates need some comic relief.
   Let me give you an example:  (true story, BTW)

             Michael put a pen in his shirt pocket.  The shirt was white, so naturally, the pen leaked.  Michael decided to salvage the shirt by dying the whole thing black, so he  bought a package of Rit Dye -- black.  He very carefully put it up high in a place where the animals wouldn't get at it.  
             The Fates snickered at this hubris.

             One kitten took such challenges personally, so she found the package of dye and pawed it.  She pushed and pulled and batted it around until she got it off the shelf down to where she could play with it. Then she batted it around the desktop 'til it fell on the floor.   

             At this point, Tove decided to get in on the act.  Now Tove was a dog that looks as if he was put together by a committee.  He strongly resembled the picture of the Slithee Tove in "Through the Looking Glass" -- hence, the name. Tove was not overly blessed with brains.

             The dog thought that if the kitten liked to play with this strange new thing, it must be a great toy, so he took it up in his mouth and chewed it 'til the envelope of dye came open. Then he ran about the house, gracefully dripping dye granules about the house.

             Two of the other cats investigated the piles of dye crystals.  Then, losing interest, they sat down and licked their feet.  After words, they trotted off, with damp paws, over and through the dye crystals, leaving two sets of perfect, dark-blue kitty-prints on the white bedclothes.       

             I walked into the room, saw what had happened and calmly screamed.
             Tove immediately figured something was wrong, so he started to back up, right into the dresser, knocking off the flowers onto the floor.  Unfortunately, Tove had a nervous bladder and when frightened, he tended to pee upon himself.   My gentle scream frightened him, so he peed.
             At this point, the Fates are staring to laugh out loud.

             Pee works as well as anything with dye crystals to make a wonderful dye which stains both wooden floors and linoleum very nicely.   Tove, formerly a honey-colored dog, now had four black paws, a black front & tail, a black face and a very black tongue.   Thanks to the pee, he now trailed the dye where ever he went, and, because my scream, he assumed that I was not happy with him, so he scrambled about, trying desperately to get away from me, imprinting everything with blueblack paw prints.

             Several possible actions occurred to me but I opted for the Humane one.  After I caught him,  I took Tove outside and tied him to the porch rail.  Then I came in and started cleaning up the dye, or so I thought.
             At this point the Fates were working overtime.

             First I swept up the worst of it, but the bristles kept holding the dye in them, so I ended up just spreading it around further.   So I tried vacuuming up what I could.  The Vacuum took the dye nicely too.  The floor head and the inner part of the hose were dyed black.  Also probably the motor and the insides, but I decided not to investigate that.   And because the dye clung to the opening of the vacuum cleaner, I left little perfectly round rings wherever I put the muzzle of the cleaner.

             After vacuuming for a good-long time, I had gotten up all the loose dye -- or so I thought.  The floor was littered with paw prints, both canine and feline, so I started to mop them up.  But the more I mopped, the more I made dye.  Soon the entire floor was several shades darker.  The mop-head was now permanently black, the inside of the pink bucket was getting darker, and the tub where I was emptying the used water was turning grayer by the moment.

             My shoes had granules of dye all over them and when I stepped in some damp floor, I started to add my footprints to the decorations.  I took off my shoes and washed the bottoms of them but then my feet got dirty.  I washed my feet and dried them, but every step I took still left prints because the dye powder was so fine I could not avoid stepping in it, and then my feet would sweat, slightly, leaving still more footprints as well as dying my feet a very pretty dark blue.

             For a good hour and a half, I was making more mess than I was cleaning.  Then it looked like I was starting to make headway. 

             Tove was still out on the porch, howling his unhappiness at being left out of the fun.

             I vacuumed him (which he took strong exception to) and then took him to the courtyard to hose him off, but the outside faucet wasn't working, so I had to take him to the basement laundry room.   Tove looked like a lost cause.   I figured that his fur was dyed 'til it grew out, but I wanted to get off whatever I could of the stuff that would come off.   After about thirty minutes of hosing, the water seemed a little lighter.  Twenty minutes after that, I dunked his feet one at a time in a bucket and got no perceptible hue coming from the rinse.

             His mouth was harder to clean.  His tongue was a lost cause, but the rest of his face and muzzle were still very dark.  I was in less than a good mood and not much in charity with him by then, so I dunked his whole muzzle in the bucket of water.  Although he was underwater for less than a second at a time, I must admit it did occur to me to keep him under for longer.  I womanfully resisted the temptation. 

             I wondered briefly if he would die from ingesting the dye, but alas, it was vegetable based.

             Exhausted by the battle, I climbed the stairs back to our apartment to survey the damage.  The porch where Tove had been tied had not a single visible paw-print---it was solid black.

            Tove & I walked in to a bluish kitchen floor which had formerly been white. The wooden floor was decorated by paw prints of all kinds, we now had designer sheets, and a gray & white tile floor in the bathroom.  The tub never did look the same and we needed a new mop. 
             Although I did pay my landlord for the damages, I never did get my security deposit back.  But the Fates had a good long laugh about it.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Healing: part 2

A Happiness

I was thinking about Healing the other day when I happened to watch a documentary that spoke to me on the deepest level.  It evoked all sorts of reactions in me and showed me one possible path towards healing when we have been wronged.
The Documentary was  about Eva Moses Kor.  She and her twin sister Miriam were selected for a series of horrifying experiments performed by Dr. Josef  Mengele at Auschwitz. 
Most of you know that Dr. Mengele performed a series of useless and terrifying experiments on Twins.  I say useless, because nothing whatsoever of scientific value came out of them.  The experiments themselves were unbelievably horrific. 
Of the over 3000 twins he experimented on, only 26 sets were still alive when Auschwitz was liberated.
Eva and her twin, Miriam, 10 years old, were among the survivors.
As Eva says in the documentary
“Just to be free of the Nazis, did not remove the pain they had inflicted on me.  There might be another way that survivors can heal themselves.  I have found one way, and that is to forgive your worst enemy.  It will heal your soul and it will set you free.”
She chose to forgive Dr. Mengele.  Indeed, the name of the Documentary is  “Forgiving Dr. Mengele.”
I have to stop here and tell you that I am not sure I could ever be that strong.  No one has ever done anything to me such as she and her sister suffered at the hands of Dr. Mengele.  But I have had my sorrows, too.
There is one person in my life that I still have trouble forgiving, even though it has been over 40 years ago.  I am trying to forgive, but it is hard.  Yet Eva can forgive Dr. Mengele.
Not all her fellow survivors agree with her.  In fact, few do.
And I can understand that very well.  I have yet to forgive General George Armstrong Custer for what he did to my people.  President Jackson and his ‘trail of tears’ is a dirty word in my household.  And I was not even alive when those events happened.  I was not a witness to their transgressions.  I was not personally a victim of their criminal activities. 
Holocaust survivors were.  They were directly and personally affected.  They saw their mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers shot down, gassed, and otherwise brutalized.  I cannot even imagine such things, what they would do to my soul.
Yet Eva, the twin, found the strength to forgive.  When she did forgive, she realized that she had power as an individual.  It set her free from the pain.  It was a life-changing experience.  To be free of that pain.
Eva says:  "To triumph over the pain of the past, forgive.  It is Healing, not just forgiveness.  Getting even has never helped heal a single person.
Forgiveness has nothing to do with the perpetrator,  it only has to do with the victim taking back the power of their lives.”
I wrestle with what she is saying.  This is how I understand it:
 If we carry a grudge, If we cannot forgive, then in effect, we are victims.  Someone else has power over us. 
We have no need to forgive someone who has no power over us, because they have no power over us.  What they do or did does not matter.  It is only those who can affect us in some way that we need to be wary of.
An interesting idea.
 I began these two posts by talking about healing, especially healing from when you have been wronged in some way, and yet now the subject is Forgiveness.   Why?   I think the two are often related.
Can you have inner peace, healing, when you carry bitterness with you?  I cannot.
Earlier I spoke of the one person I have trouble forgiving.  She is long dead now.  My anger does not hurt her.  It only hurts me.  It cuts up my peace, not hers.  If I want to be healed of that situation of long ago, I must forgive her.  But it is hard to do that.  She wronged me!   I had done nothing to her, yet the pain she inflicted followed me and affected my life for the next 40+ years.
It doesn’t matter.  If I cannot forgive her, it may well damage the rest of my life as well, and I do not want to do that.  Forgiveness does not mean that I condone what she did.  It does not mean I excuse her or her actions.   It does not mean that she should not have been held accountable.   It does mean that I must leave her to her fate and walk away.
Now, I have to admit, after 40 years, I do not think about it every day.  In fact, I seldom think about it.  Coupla times of year maybe.  But still, when I do think about it, there is a knot of pain inside me.  It is still there, alive and well, for as long as I choose to nurture it.  In my better moments, I can be magnanimous and forgive her, understanding where she came from.  But I haven’t really forgiven her, because the resentment, the bitterness is still there.  It’s getting smaller, but it still lives.

I think back to what I learned at the Elizabeth Kubler-Ross foundation, that the Five stages of Grief are:  Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance. 
Grief.  I have known grief, as have each of you.  And I have decided that I do not want to get stuck in an endless cycle of Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining and Fear.  I want to break the cycle.

I want health.  I want to be healed.   I want to be whole.  I want that inner peace.  I do not want to carry around bitterness as my companion.  So, as often as I possibly can, I must choose to forgive, to let go of resentments,  even when it is damned difficult.   I want to be healed, and I  am the only person that can do it.
And as for the times that I find the burdens to heavy to put down, I pray that I find the strength to let go of what I can, to forgive what I can.    I must love myself enough to heal. 
I must recognize my own power and set myself free.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Healing: part 1

Blue Flower

The Post tonight and the post tomorrow are from a sermon I gave last year.

Part 1
 We all need to be healed.  Some of us have physical issues.  Some of us have emotional issues.  Some of us are trapped in bad situations.  Some of us are trapped by fear.  Some of us may be trapped by the inability to let go.   
I am sure there are many other things I have not thought to list here.
I do know that we are all wounded.  We all need healing from time to time.  Every single one of us. 
In the 1980’s I had the good fortune to work for Elizabeth Kubler-Ross at her Foundation for Death and Dying in New York City.  I took several weeks of intense training on what it meant to be dying, what a person goes through, what feelings they might have.  I learned about the Five stages of Grief:  Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining, Acceptance.  
I was given exorcizes to practice on what it might feel like to lose part of your body, or to lose control of it, because that often goes along with dying.   I learned that having a disability is like a ‘little death’, especially if you contract the disability  and you remember what it was like before.
And I learned there were related issues having to do with all sorts of disabilities.    For instance, well over 80 % of marriages fail when a child with disabilities, especially mental ones, is born into the family.  For other folks, contracting a disability is to become isolated from the rest of the world, because even well-meaning family and friends often forget about you when you can no longer participate the way you used to.
I learned lots of things I’d rather not know.
After the training, I was assigned to the Projects in lower east Manhattan.  I was frightened at first.  In real life, it is not nearly as attractive as they show in TV.   The elevators seldom worked and the stairways were really narrow, dark and scary, and they always smell terrible.   But when folks are dying, they need someone, no matter where they live.

The Foundation talked a lot about ‘Healing’.  That may sound strange, speaking of healing to a dying person.  Yet I have seen it.  I am not talking about   “Curing” but  “Healing”.
‘Curing’ would be when your troubles go away.  Most of us do not experience that.  But Healing, ah, that’s different.  I would strongly suspect that a number of us have experienced Healing. 
Healing is Inner Peace, A Calm Strength,  Facing Reality square on, with no anger or fear or sadness, acceptance of What Is.  It is knowing the difference between what we can change and what we cannot change.   It is letting go of fear and sorrow.  It is when we have a profound sense of Emotional Well-Being.
The lessons from the Foundation have relevance to just about every part of life. 
Anyone here who has gone through a divorce, for instance, will recognize the Five stages of Grief:  Denial, Sorrow, Anger, Bargaining,  & Acceptance.  And you also know there is no order to them, nor do you do one and get over it.  Rather, you slide around, maybe feeling anger, then sorrow, then acceptance, then denial and back to anger again. And it just keeps on happening over and over again, no order, no promise of relief, a roller-coaster of emotions, until we might begin to feel numb---only to be plunged back into the morass.  And it happens in so many areas of our lives: losing a job, having a serious illness, or any of a hundred other things.
So we are stuck, all of us, with the problem, of how to heal ourselves of whatever life brings us.

For those of us with a physical disability, sometimes more than anything else, it is annoying.  Things that used to be easy are now beyond our capabilities, or perhaps we can do them, but it is a real hassle.  My friend, Anne, used to be a social worker who specialized working with the blind.  She worked with folks who used to be able to see but lost their sight. 
Can you imagine that?  The obvious things are not being able to drive or read, having to buy special, expensive equipment to use the computer or internet.   But there are so many other things as well.  Not knowing where you are if you get turned around or get off at the wrong stop, not knowing what time of day it is by looking at the sky, not seeing what your children look like as they grow. 
Loosing your hearing?  Another devastating issue.  Talk about isolating!   
And so it goes.  Many of us here can speak first-hand to what it is to have physical disabilities.  It is not fun.
But there are other things that need healing too.  The healing of the heart.  Many of us have suffered losses other than physical.  The death of a loved one, or the death of a cherished dream.     Or when someone has wronged us and we feel the victim.
That pain can be carried within us, silently, throughout our lives.  We deal with it, but we are not healed.  Health is inner peace.  We are not at peace.  Healing is letting go of fears, sorrows and pain of loss, but we carry the pain with us.   It seems too heavy a burden to put down.
But a person who is whole does not carry extra baggage.  So, how to put it down?

To Be Continued Tomorrow . . . 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Blue Paisley  ATC
Made with cut paper & ink decorations

It was a long day today.    My plans to stay home and veg -- never happened.  I ended up going out twice and braving the crowds, all for cat and dog food.   I hope they appreciate what I do for them, but I doubt they do.

It's very late at night or early in the morning, depending on your point of view.  I'm watching an old Made for TV movie.  It's not very good but I am enjoying it.  Sometimes, I'm just in the mood for a 'B; movie.    I love cheesy special effects and over-acting.   Right now here are two monsters, fighting each other.  But sometimes the costume slips a little and you can see the human underneath..   Ah, and famous final kiss.  Very satisfying.

I'm actually glad that life is not a series of Happy Endings, but I am also glad that movies so often are.  The idea of  happy endings, implies that there is an end, but in real life we just go on--until we don't. 

And that's about as profound as I can get tonight.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

The View from my Kitchen Window

As I type this, it is late at night on Thanksgiving in the United States.  I hope you each had a good time with family and friends.  By the time most of you will read this, it will be 'Black Friday', the biggest shopping day of the year.  Many of you will be out there, helping the merchants to be able to pay their bills.

Me?  I'm not setting foot outside the house if I can help it.   Actually, I like the crowds and the hustle and bustle.  It's fun, and  they start playing Christmas music over the loudspeakers.  I love Christmas music.  No, the reason I will not be joining you is because I am watching my budget like a hawk.  Frankly, there are too many places where I cannot be trusted.  So it's better to just not put temptation in my path.

Instead, I am hoping to spend a quiet day with the animals and maybe a good book.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy.

Winnie the Pooh Memories

 I wrote this story about ten years ago and every word of it is true.
First off, you should know that my family consisted of two much, much older brothers (Jon and Lynn), Mother and Papa.
It took place when I was very sick( I was around 5 or 6 years old at the time).  Mother asked if I wanted her to read me a story.  I was in a very grumpy mood, so I said ‘No!’.  Not fazed in the least, she said, “How about Winnie the Pooh?  You like him, don’t you?”
Now, to tell the truth, at that point I had no idea who or what Winnie the Pooh was, but I was not about to let her win so easily (and besides, I was grumpy), so I said “Winnie the Pooh!  I hate him.”   Mother very wisely ignored my protests (I was feverish at the time) and settled down on the couch, with my head in her lap.  She then proceeded to open the book and read.
Now, the story she chose was one where Winnie the Pooh decides to try and steal some honey from the bees in an old, hollow tree.   Of, course, all sorts of things went wrong.
However, there were some things going on right in my own living room!  For one thing, Papa was sitting across from us in his reading chair, where he had his nose buried in a newspaper.  This was not an unusual occurrence, he read the paper almost every night.  But this night, his hands were doing strange things.   As I watched, Papa’s hands were slowly inching up the sides of the paper, just like Winnie the Pooh’s paws,  climbing up the side of the tree.
I began to giggle.  Mother looked up and saw Papa.  “Raymond” She admonished in a voice that brooked no nonsense.  Papa flipped the paper down and looked at Mother in astonishment.  He pointed to himself (a ‘who me?’ gesture), with his eye open wide in innocence.  He shook his head and went back to reading the paper.  Mother went back to reading the story.
But Mother was at the part of the story where Winnie was climbing the tree, and Papa simply could not contain himself.  Again, his hands started climbing up the sides of the paper.
And I giggled again and Mother looked over her glasses at Papa, who silently protested his innocence again.  And so the story proceeded.  Papa would act out the story, and Mother would try to catch him at it, and he would always look very innocent.  Of course, it didn’t help that Mother had started laughing too and sometimes was laughing so hard she could not read the words on the page.  But Papa still managed to keep a straight face, which sent Mother and myself more deeply into laughter.
Now, when Mother laughed, her tummy shook, which in turn made my head bounce.  I was already laughing so hard I could barely breathe, and Mother’s tummy-shaking finally pushed me off the couch, which made all of us laugh all the harder.  
Then my brother Jon, who was an older teenager at the time, happened to hear the laughter and wondered what was going on.  So he walked into the Living room and realized Mother was reading a children’s story.  Well, he was much too old and sophisticated for that, so he decided to get a book instead.   He pretended to ignore us, but pretty soon, he too was engulfed with laughter as Papa pulled more of his tricks on Mother, who by now was laughing so hard she couldn’t talk, much less read.  And her tummy bounced when she laughed, so that bounced me right off the couch again and I was laughing so hard I couldn’t catch my breath.
Well right about this time, the oldest brother, Lynn, happened to hear all the commotion and he, too, wondered what was going on, so he sauntered into the living room.  And there we were.   Mother was gasping for breath between her laughter,  Jon was howling with laughter on the other side of the room, I was a giggle pile on the floor and Papa was trying to explain, using no words, that he was completely innocent and could not figure out what our problem was.
Lynn, being Lynn, began to laugh.  Now you have to understand that when Lynn laughs, everyone else always joins in.  We couldn’t help it, his laugh was infectious.  So as Lynn laughed, Mother laughed harder, Jon was rolling on the floor,  I was laughing and Papa was sitting there looking very smug indeed.  I do not think Lynn had any idea what we were all laughing at, he just thought we were all very funny.
I don’t remember the rest of the story.  I don’t remember how the laughter ended or who left first.  But I remember the laughter.
And that is my very favorite memory of my family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On another site, I mentioned that yesterday I had a little energy, so I got a few things done.  A friend then posted back that she would like some of my energy.

I had to laugh.  I have CFS and FM, which means that I spend a minimum of 20 hours a day in bed and have to pace myself for the time I am out of bed.  Energy is not my thing.  So for someone else to ask for some of my energy seems very strange.

Actually,I have three major problems:   Exhaustion, Pain & Depression.  Of the three, by far the worst for me is Depression.  Now, you might think it would be Pain, but Pain you can get used to.  You don't always have to be in a bad mood just because you have Pain.  You can be cheerful while in Pain -- at least part of the time.  Frankly, it takes less energy to be cheerful than it does to be in a bad mood.  And being in a bad space doesn't give you any relief from the pain -- you still feel rotten.    

I don't mean to make light of pain.   It wears you down.  It takes a lot out of you.   Nobody, but nobody who has chronic pain can keep cheerful all the time.   Just, it helps to try once in a while.

But as I said, it is Depression that is the real bug-a-boo for me.  Fortunately, I have a great doctor who found a medicine that helps with Depression.  (unfortunately, not all of us can react well to the same meds, so you have to try a bunch of different meds until you find one that works for you)   I was lucky.

But medicine alone will not eradicate Depression, no matter how good it is.  We get into habits, (or at least I do,) and it is so easy to fall into old ruts!  And besides, I am very good at being depressed.  It's one of the things I do best.  Depression and I are old friends.  Why, at one point I was thinking of asking Depression to start paying rent.  (Sadly, he declined.)

When I am good at something, I am loathe to give it up.  Whining, for instance, I am very good at whining.  Procrastination, too.  I am excellent at that.  I have practiced those skills until I am a master at them.  And Depression is right up there as one of my greatest strengths.

So to give up Depression takes a lot of guts.  It is not easy.  I doubt that I will ever be completely free.  But Depression is not nearly as much fun as it is cracked up to be.  And it's boring, Soooo boring!  Which means there is some incentive to make new friends, like Gratutude, or Laugher.

I do have a secret weapon against Depression:   You see, I live with dogs and cats.   They can be a sure-fire cure.

But, it is not quite as cut an dried as you might think.  Yes, dogs are affectionate, yes, cats are warm and cuddly.  But they can also be a pain.  You don't believe me?  You try sleeping in a double bed with five cats and three dogs!  It is not easy!  You get pinned down under the covers and you can't move.  For the entire night.  You can't move.  Or try having lunch.  As you are calmly picking up your peanut butter and butter sandwich, all of a sudden,  (guilt!)  you feel as if there are eyes, watching you.  And there are!  Dogs sitting in a semi-circle on the floor, looking oh-so-hopeful.  Cats trying to sneak up on the table to steal away the sandwich.  They are ruthless -- totally without ruth!  Or if you have a nice candy bar that you have been saving up, you get it out and start to open it, but the phone rings and you get up to answer it.  By the time you remember, it is too late -- the candy bar has disappeared under the couch.  Then the couch growls at you.

But then, later, as the darkness blankets the earth, the dogs come and cuddle with you in bed, the cats walk on your keyboard before flopping down on it.   Then they look at you and start purring.  

Life is Good.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Theme Music

Butterfly Wannabe

Theme Music

I just saw a commercial on TV that began looking like an ad for a big budget movie.  Then it turned into an ad for something else, saying that it wasn't a movie, it was what happened in real life.  But the music continued underneath the words.

It started me thinking.  One of the things that makes our lives mundane is that we do not live with underlying music.  Music somehow makes things more important.  Music also sets the emotional stage.

For instance, take a scene where the hero is walking slowly into the sunset.  If the music is serious, heavy music with low notes, you are likely to think the mood is sorrowful or at least serious.   With short high, quick notes, you are likely to think the mood is hopeful or maybe even funny.

So that started me thinking:  What if we all had theme music for our lives? 

Now, most of us would have different times when the music would be serious, and other times when it would be romantic, or comic.  But what is the underlying theme?  What would we hear most often?

I began wondering about my music.  What would it sound like?

Like everyone else, I have had my peak moments and my times in the Dark Pit.  And sometimes I make a marvelous martyr.  Unfortunately, I am one of those who takes myself far too seriously.  The music would often be dark and somber, heavy on the organ music.  Something suitable for a good Batman movie.   Over-dramatic.

But there is another part of me, that if I listen very carefully, can hear in the far distance a little Pink Panther music.  You know, the music of someone who takes themselves very serious but is really quite comic.  Frankly, I would far rather have the Pink Panther than Batman as my theme.  Being a tortured soul is not nearly as much fun as it is cracked up to be.

So once in a while, I stop the heavy music and listen for the light, mischievious steps of an off-color feline.  I hope to learn from it.  I hope to stop playing the nartyr or living in the Dark Pit.  I would rather dance in the Sunshine.

Let the music play on.

BTW, what is your music?


Cactus Flower  (3 1/2" by 3 1/2")

Too tired to write anything today.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A glass of water

Art Trading Card (3 1/2 x 2 1/2)

Y'know, sometimes I get really tired of folks who ask me "Is the glass of water half empty, or half full?"

Silly question.  The glass is completely full. 
It's half water and half air.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A New Beginning


OK, folks.  I finally know what I want this blog for.  It will not be a diary.  Although most of my artwork is for sale, this blog is not for advertising the artwork, just for sharing it. (you can always send me a message if you are interested in any of it  )  What this blog is for is my 'take' on things. 

I am finding that daily posting is difficult for me, so this is what I am planning: 
- I will post some artwork every day (well, almost every day.  I am perfectly capable of slipping up now & then.)

- I will post some writing about five times a week, which means there will always be something new to look at and most of the time there will be something to read as well.

Please keep coming back.  Feel free to comment.  Tell your friends and send them my URL.  Become a 'follower' (that will tickle my ego).  And, enjoy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sharing the Good Stuff

(Blue Hopes)

I have nothing profound to say today, but I do have a delightful blog to share with you.  This particular bit of writing is really worth your time -- and don't skip the comments, some of them are pretty good too.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This is the Original Zentangle Drawing

As those who know me well are aware, my art medium of choice is Clay, even though lately I have been fascinated by Zentangles.  So one day I did a little Zentangle and then I thought it might make a good wall-hanging in clay.

So I did, and this is the result:

This is the Clay Zentangle I made from the Drawing

A day to myself

Fluffy Stuff

A long last, a day without commitments, a day to relax & rest.  A day to do artwork. 

Amazing how healing that can be.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Favorite things - list #1


Recently, someone challenged me to list just ten of my favorite things.  Now that's difficult, because there are so many things I like.  But here's my first list.  I'm sure there will be more.  Oh, and you are invited to list ten of your favorite things as well.

1)   The gentle snoring of sleeping cats
2)   Autumn weather -- not too hot, not too cold
3)   Cooling breezes on my face
4)   The laughter of friends
5)   Having a whole block of time to do artwork
6)   Reading a favorite author
7)   Discovering an old black and white movie classic that I have not seen
8)   The smell of newly-baked bread
9)   Crisp celery
10) Counting my Blessings

Your turn.


Wild Garden (Private collection)
There is a story about some sacred pilgrims.  These Pilgrims do not carry food or supplies on their journey.  Instead they rely on the charity of those they meet.
Part of the discipline of being a pilgrim is to trust that they will be provided for, and they beg for their daily food.  They have begging bowls specially made.  These bowls are broken after being used, because the bowls are now sacred and to use them for every day would defile them.

The bowls are specially made, as I said.  The potter knows that his/her work will be made only to be destroyed.

I have to tell you I read this with great dismay!  As an artist, such ideas fill me with horror! to watch something with all that work and care in it being destroyed  is painful!   I have the same feeling about the beautiful sand paintings done by Native American or Buddhists that have to be destroyed when the ceremony is finished.  It hurts!

But the book explains that the potters don't think of it as making something to be destroyed, they think of it as making something to be sacred.

Things as sacred.

When I was a child, I was taught that it was wrong to value 'things'.  It made you materialistic.  'Things', I was taught,  could never be sacred.  But I was supposed to take Very Good care of my bike and my books and my clothes and my toys. 

Now, I am the only daughter of the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter of the oldest daughter in a family that hands down things Matralineally. 
When Mother died,  I got all her books and silverware. 
I fought very hard Not to get her dishes or furniture. 
I was also given quite a few boxes of other 'things', some that she had gotten from her mother or her mother's mother.   Family photos (not labeled in many cases so I have no idea who these people are), family diaries (again, I have never heard of some of these folks), watches that don't run, jewelry made from human hair (it itches!) and the ever-popular 'unidentified objects'.

I have one box I packed up in 1979 that has not been unpacked since.  There have been about seven moves and it has travelled along happily with everything else. 
So while I have tried to avoid having things that are sacred to me, I ended up carting around things that were sacred to someone else.

Actually, I have not told the truth. 

It is not one box. 
It is many boxes. 

I have a whole back room full of 'things' that are in boxes.  And they too have not been unpacked for 20 years.  

There are things from both grandmothers, and long lost relates I never met. 
There are things that my first-grade teacher warned me "someday you will want this", so I kept them. 
There is every report card I ever got, plus a complete collection of all my detention slips. 
And there are lots of things that are not in boxes taking up room in my house.

The other night, I was listening to someone talking about a disaster that happened to them, their house burnt down or something horrible like that.  She was saying how terrible it was to lose everything you own.  She said "Just imagine what it would be like if everything you had was destroyed." 

For a brief moment, I thought about it. 

To my surprise, the first emotion was relief. 

Just imagine, not to be burdened with all those 'things' any more!  Now, I am not trying to minimize how awful it was for that person to lose everything.  It must have been devistating.  I am only reporting my own twisted reactions to an imagined scenario.

Following that lead, I realized that there are a few things I do like, that do hold a special place in my heart.  But all of those things are packed away, because I don't have room for them.  

I have come to the conclusion that it is OK to hold some things dear, but if you have ten thousand things, then the things that you do hold dear get lost.

So I have made a decision:
I will tackle that back room full of boxes. 
I will send things off to relatives that will value them. 
And I will throw lots of stuff out. 
And I will never packrat again.


Check with me next summer.