Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chaos Theory & Perfection

        This was written several years ago, when my situation was different.  But I like it so I’m going to share it anyway. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but sometimes it feels like frustration lives with me.

Like earlier this week when I tried to clean the cat’s litter box and the cat insisted on using it during the cleaning process.

Or when I had just finished actually scrubbing the kitchen within an inch of its life, dishes and all, when my roommate smilingly brings in an entire tray full of used glasses and di from the study. 

It's a conspiracy, make no mistake about it. 

The Universe was not meant to be a clean place. Dis-order, chaos and dust are the rule, no matter what Martha Steward tells us.

In no place in nature do brooms exist of their own free will, nor do vacuum cleaners grow naturally in any corner of our planet.

Given the opportunity, all things attract dust, muddy dogs prefer the couch, sticky children are attracted to keyboards and spidermites prefer favorite plants. 

Somehow, in our household, I was elected to work against tremendous odds, doing the impossible, fighting off the inevitable. It is my job to make the place clean, no matter who lives here or who made the mess.  I don't remember volunteering, nor do I remember accepting the draft notification. Yet somehow it is my responsibility to keep the house shining and beautiful. 

I've pondered about this for years (no comments please), but I have yet to come up with a solution.

I have thought of four basic ways to handle the situation, none of which are satisfying. 
1)   Ignore the situation entirely. I go and play with my art stuff or read my books and have a good time. This works, but only for a short time. Sooner or later I will want to wear clean clothes or drink from an unsullied cup. And it is depressing to live with unrelenting dinginess 

2)  Pay someone else to do the cleaning. This works only if you have a family budget which can afford such luxuries, which ours doesn't. I strongly suspect there may still be things that fall unattended to, anyway. 

3)  Blackmail other members of the household to do part or all of it. This is great theory, but it seldom works in the real world. My dogs cower at the sound of a vacuum cleaner, and so does my husband. The cats simply Hate the dishwater and so do children. Friends, however, can be trained not to date the messages they write in the dust.

4)  Compromise. Do the best I can with the time I've got. It will never be perfect, but I might sometimes be able to make it livable. 

(I should note here that there is a fifth solution – which is to make it fun.  But even I have troubled expecting that miracle to happen)

The real trouble comes with expectations.   I am sometimes too all-or-nothing in my thinking.   I want my home to be perfect, otherwise why bother?

But It’s difficult to have a perfect home when it is actually lived in.  Clothes need to be cleaned, likewise with dishes.  Dogs shed copious amounts of fur and cats bring home half-eaten presents.   

I get so frustrated when my home does not resemble magazine pictures.

I expect myself to be perfect.
I forget that I can't be.

 I compare myself to Grandma Moses, Betty Crocker, Sister Wendy, Mother Teresa and Princess Di, all at once.

You see, I forget that even they only had to be one of them at a time. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Cinderella Story

(Orange Sampler of straight stitches, around 2' by 4')

The Cinderella Story

Take what you like and leave the rest

The Cinderella story is found in many forms in many cultures, from Russia to China, From Ethiopia to England.  Details change from culture to culture, but the themes remain the same.  It is one of the most pervasive human myths. 
In some few cultures, the Cinderella figure is male.

There are some important elements that seem to figure highly in nearly all versions of the story.

-The Cinderella figure is often poor, always worthy, but unappreciated.  In fact, Cinderella is usually  persecuted.

-A gift is given, sometimes by a fairy godmother or jinn, sometimes as a found treasure from an unnamed source.   This gift transforms the Cinderella figure so that he/she is seen as worthy in the eyes of others.  But Cinderella is so transformed that those who might be expected to know Cinderella the best do not recognize him/her.

-However, a Handsome Prince (or Princess or nobleman or tribal leader), does recognize the special qualities of Cinderella and is instantly smitten.

-Cinderella has to leave in a hurry, or is taken away, or is lost.

-After certain trails in which the Prince or Princess proves they are worthy, Cinderella is found again and the two are united.

-They live Happily Ever After.

It is obviously a fairy tale

I believe that there is reason that this story is found in so many cultures.  Jung speaks of the Universal Human longing for love and acceptance.  This need transcends time, place, culture and gender.  We all want it.  We all need it.
Cinderella is an archetypical story of that search for Love.  In this case, romantic Love.   It is, in effect, a ‘chase’ story, chasing after Love.

And, of course, once we have found Love, there is the question of keeping it.  Most fairy tales end with “And they lived happily ever after”.
Most of us know well that ending is itself a fairy tale.  In fact, many of us might say that it is not the ending, but the beginning of the real story

The stories that take place after the ‘happily ever after’,  those stories are probably more relevant and interesting than the ‘chase’ stories.  And more helpful, too.

But that is for another blog.

                &      &      &      &      &      &

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lesson #1

Lesson #1

What cheating at cards has taught me

I admit it.  I cheat at cards.  Oh, never when I am playing with other folks, just during solitaire.  And even then, my cheating only means that I can take back a move and try another option.  Having the games on a computer makes it easier, because I don’t have to clear off a flat place to put the cards.

So in solitaire, even on a computer, there are do-overs.  If only there were do-overs in real life.  Except, sometimes there are.  Once in a great while we get to do something over.  But, silly us, when that happens, many of us make the same moves we did the first time.  

Just to make sure that what we did last time really doesn’t work.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day

Today is the day that the United States honors those who have served their country in the Armed Forces.  I have mixed feelings about that.

First let me make it clear that I think we owe our vets -- for the rest of their lives if need be.  They deserve the best care we can provide.  Period.  No exceptions.

But I do not support  the last 6 wars we have been involved in.  I am appalled by them.  From Korea on, we have had no business fighting.  (In fact, after 9/11, we have the best opportunity in all of  human history to end, or at least curtail, war as means of solving problems --- and we blew it, big time!)

I blame the politicians for the wars.  It is squarely in their camp that we sent our youth to be slaughtered or changed forever.  I blame Ego and Greed.  I blame the War Profiteers.

And I blame myself, for not having done more to be a peacemaker.

I want to be a person who loves.  I want to one of many who wage peace.  I want to be a part of a movement to see all people as my brothers and sisters.  I want to eschew violence and restore respect.
I want us all to live in peace and brotherhood.
 And let it begin with me.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Moving to California

 Take what you like and leave the rest.

I moved from northern Indiana to southern California for a job and I had with me my entire family with me.  My entire family, at that point, consisted of 5 cats, a reasonable albeit largish number.  But when you are driving across country, that number starts to feel unmanageable.
I was fortunate, I had a dear friend who was willing to do most of the driving.  And, the cats did not serenade us – much to my surprise.  I had fully anticipated a 2000 mile song of unhappiness.  But the cats settled down in their moving cages and only when we stopped did I hear a questioning sound from the back. 

We knew that we would have to stop at least twice to spend a night in a motel.  But, what to do with the cats when we stopped?   Leaving them in the vehicle did not seem realistic, nor fair.  So the first night we took all the cages into the rooms with us.  Then we set up a litter box and let the cats out to stretch their legs.
Now, this sounds like a reasonable idea, but you have to remember that 2 of the cats were nearly feral and none of them wanted to be put back into the cages for another’s day of driving.  In fact, a couple of them had been downright difficult about being shoved into the cages in the first place.  And a mere two grown women are no real match for a 12 pound determined cat.  (I was also worried that the cats would mess in the room, not in their litter boxes.  Fortunately, they were reasonable on that score.  They preferred the litter to the carpet.)
So, when the dawn came, we showered and dressed, then began the task of rounding up the cats.  As unfair as it was, we took the easy ones first (remember, when you are talking about putting cats in cages, “easy” is a relative term).  We rested after we applied the disinfectants to our arms and hands, then we tried getting the difficult ones.  First, we had to find them.  This sounds like an easy task.  After all, how many places can a cat hide in a small, enclosed room? 
You would be surprised.

My friend and I swore that neither one of us had opened the door during the night, yet we were short two cats.  We simply could not figure out how they escaped.  They were not under the beds, nor in any of the drawers, nor hiding in the bathroom.  We were pretty sure we had not, by mistake, packed them. 
By this time, we were getting fairly hungry and wanted breakfast.  But opening the door sounded like a recipe for disaster.   So we were stuck until we could find them.   Sadly, going without breakfast does not improve one’s temper (or at least not mine).  Names were used, names that are not repeatable in polite society.  The cats ignored us and continued to be invisible.

We gave up and were extremely careful as we left to get something to eat.  We theorized on how they could have gotten out or where they might be.  Sadly, we came to no firm conclusion.  When we returned to the room, both cats were sitting comfortably on the beds, but were spooked by our return (after all, we were the enemy).  Unfortunately for them, this time we could see them and where they went.
This time, they did not use the really good hiding places (they saved those in case they would have to use them again).  One went under a bed and it only took tearing the mattress and box springs off the frame to terrify the cat enough to grab it.  The other cat foolishly ran into the bathroom where we could corner it.  We shut the door until we could get to him.

You might think this was the end of things, but no, the struggle had just begun.  Cats, you see, have claws.  Four full sets of them.  Plus teeth.  And if they do not want to enter a 10 inch door to a cage, it is very difficult to stuff them in against their will.  Throwing a towel over the cat and quickly wrapping it up so it has no access to its claws, well that is easier said than done.
Also, trapping a cat in a small bathroom is not all that easy.  There is enough room for a cat behind the commode, but not so much for people.  And it is a very defensible position when you are armed with sharp things at the end of your paws.  In the end, we won, but it was not a pretty sight.

We re-applied the antiseptics & bandages and loaded the cat cages into the vehicle and began our second day of driving, knowing full well that we had at least one more night on the road, with a repeat performance.  It was somewhat disheartening.

I have to share one moment with you.  We were listening my collection of music.  Now, my friends will tell you, I have terrible taste in music.  I listen to new age and old movie themes – and Brian Eno.  No one but me likes them.  Nonetheless, I had the music on loud as we drove over the western plains and up the Rocky Mountains.  Just as we hit the other side of the mountains and began our decent, the whole panorama of the American west lay before us, and the theme music to “The Magnificent Seven” came on. 
It could not have been more perfect.

All in all, moving was a somewhat harrowing experience.  I will spare you the details of the second night and subsequent cage-loading.  Suffice it to say, everyone lived, even thought it was a close call.

But now that we are here, I love it.  Imagine, living in a place where Palm trees grow!

I have no plans to ever move again.  The cats agree with me.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My friends in Virginia say that they have had snow already.  Here, in the high desert of California, it is getting chilly at night.  I imagine that in Australia it is getting warmer.

The seasons change, as do our lives.  We cannot stay the same. We become a new person every day.  We can choose to continue the old person or we can be very different from who we were.  We decide.
Yet some small part of us keeps all the people that we have been, for they are all a part of making us who we are today.  And our choices today will influence who we shall be tomorrow.

May we make wise choices today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Since I was a little child, I loved the way language worked.  I loved puns and double-meanings.   And most of all, I loved neat turns of phrases or new ideas in a cleaver way..  When I was a little older, I started collecting things that people would say.  After a time, I was turned on to the world of quotes.

Then, in Virginia, I met a woman who sold her art in the form of "Bon Mots".  She would write up something and put artwork around it.  I liked it and asked her if I could borrow the idea.  She laughed and said that I was free to do so, but she didn't think it was her original idea.

So lately, I have been taking some of my favorite quotes and putting artwork with them.  They are all on 5" by 7" paper.  I have a limited amount of prints of each of them, and each one has an acrylic frame to display it.  Sadly, I am not a great photographer, so you will have to click on the picture to see it clearly.

The one about is an example.of my 'Musings', as I call them.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

the rest of the Happiness Tips

OK, I'm pretty tired these days and I have lost some enthusiasm for the Happiness Tips.  So I'm just going to put up the rest of them and then get on to something else here.
Thank you for your patience.

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips   

I include here what they said and some of my thoughts on the issue.  I offer this to you in hopes that we may start a dialogue, although some folks have told me they have trouble leaving a message.  Please try.

Tip #6

Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

Tip #7

Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.

Tip #8

Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

Tip #9

Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

Tip #10

Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.

Tip #11

Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”

Tip #12

Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Happiness tip # 5

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips   
I include here what they said and some of my thoughts on the issue.  I offer this to you in hopes that we may start a dialogue, although some folks have told me they have trouble leaving a message.  Please try.
Happiness Tip # 5

Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

Boy, do I agree with this one!  We need each other.  Human beings are meant to live in community.  Social relationships, or friends, are vital to well-being. 
We are so busy these days that it is easy to let friendships slide.  Even those who are healthy find themselves often losing track of folks they enjoy or care about.
Don't do that to yourself.  Reach out.  Keep in touch with the special folks in your life -- and don't waste time with folks who do not care about your well-being.
And for those of us who are chronically ill, we know it’s not an easy thing to accomplish. In fact, even the advice to 'be in community' , may feel like a slap in the face. And old friends may not be around any longer.  Being house-bound or bed-bound does not lend itself to making friends. Sadly, being ill makes a lot of friends and family run in the other direction.   I do recommend on-line groups, boards and chats if you have few In Real Life Friends.  It does make a difference.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happiness Tip #4

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips   

I include here what they said and some of my thoughts on the issue.  I offer this to you in hopes that we may start a dialogue, although some folks have told me they have trouble leaving a message.  Please try.

Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on. A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.

My Thoughts: at least two of the on-line groups I participate in have RAKs, that is, Random Acts of Kindness.  It’s where we send out a random act of kindness.  We may or may not know the recipient.  We may or may not let them know who we are.  It’s just for the fun of doing something for someone else.

What do you think?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Happiness Tip #3

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips   

I’m not sure I agree with all of them and I am not sure it is inclusive of some very other important “Happiness Tips”.

I include here some of my thoughts on the issue.  I offer this to you in hopes that we may start a dialogue.

Avoid social comparison.

Here, they were talking about comparing yourself to other people and it is maintained that this action is Poisonous! 

I totally agree with this one!  It’s a no-win situation.

 If we think we are better than someone, we inflate our egos and put brakes on trying to improve ourselves.   It gives us permission to look down on others, never a healthy thing to do.  .  And there is always the possibility that we may be wrong, the other person Is better.

If we think we are not as good as someone else, we put ourselves down and our self-esteem can suffer.  It’s a good way to cultivate envy and resentments.

You and I and everyone else, each of us has a unique way of looking at things, of expressing ourselves, of being human.  We are each remarkable, unrepeatable, individuals.

 Comparisons always make someone suffer, and seldom, if ever, come from a healthy place.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happiness Tip #2

Tip #2

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips    

I’m not sure I agree with all of them and I am not sure it is inclusive of some very other important “Happiness Tips”.

I include here some of my thoughts on the issue.  I offer this to you in hopes that we may start a dialogue.

Cultivate optimism.

This one I am not too sure of.   I think that cautious optimism might be a better route.  I have often wondered  just where the line is between being realistic and being optimistic.

Yet I am one of the more optimistic people I know.  I look at the bright side when there doesn’t seem to be a bright side.  The only time I get in trouble is when I expect my optimistic ideas to actually happen. 

Most of the time I hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happiness Tip #1

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live - that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Recently, I read an article about 12  things that Happy People do differently than the rest of us. These things are called “Happiness Tips”.    It’s an interesting list, but I’m also not sure I agree with all of them and I am not sure it is inclusive of some very other important “Happiness Tips”.

I decided to write down what I think, one tip at a time.  I serve this up to you to think about your own reactions and, hopefully, start a dialogue.

Tip Number 1   Express gratitude.

This is something I usually do very well.  But then, I have so much to be grateful for.  As I type this, I am on my bed with several dogs and cats cuddling up to me.  I am well-fed and can afford my medicines.  I own the roof over my head and if this isn’t the fanciest place in the world, well, who cares.  It’s home and I love it.

Yes, Gratitude is very important.  To be happy, you have to appreciate what you have.  It’s almost the definition of what it means to be happy.  I don’t understand how you can be happy if you are not grateful.

So what do you think?

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Art Card, based in a large wall hanging used at G.A. for several years.

The following quote is from a book by Roger Ebert:

I do not fear deathBy Roger Ebert
I will pass away sooner than most people who read this, but that doesn't shake my sense of wonder and joy

"Kindness" covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.


The Dahlia Lama says that his religion is Kindness.

Throughout history and in every nation, great thinkers have tried to understand the mind of God and have come up with a thousand different religions, many of them quite good.  They have come up with different understandings of the universe and our place in it.  They have profound concepts and deep thoughts and perhaps they are right.  Perhaps it is important that we say just the right prayers or sing just the right hymns.  Perhaps there are certain churches, temples or synagogues that are the 'correct' place to worship God. 

I do not know.

But I do know this:  the world would be a better place if we all just practiced kindness.

And perhaps, just perhaps, kindness is what we need to do.  It might make us grow in understanding and caring.  Maybe, just maybe, kindness is what will lead us to see our brothers and sisters in every country as people, as human beings, as worthy of our love, care and respect.  Maybe it doesn't matter if we know just the right prayers, or just the right hymns.  Maybe theology is not what matters, but our actions.

Kindness.  It's not a bad place to start.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zentangle challange #37 - I think

4" x 6" approx

     Some time ago, when I first discovered Zentangles, I was Determined to learn all about it (that was back when there were only a couple of hundred Tangles).  I decided to make a few samplers, using the different types of tangles.

     I diligently sorted the tangles( or designs) into nice, neat categories:  Grids, Spirals, Plant-like. circle-based, triangle-based, Lines, boarders, backgrounds, etc..  Unfortunately, not all tangles fitted neatly into a category.  And some fit more than one category.   It started to become frustrating.

     But I was still fascinated by the Tangles.  So I decided to try to make the samplers anyway, one sampler for each type of Tangle.   Alas for my well-meaning-ness.  It did not happen.  But I did get  couple done.  The Zentangle above is a sampler of what I then knew of grid patterns.  I liked it OK, but it was lacking something.

     Oh, yes!   Shading.

     So I shaded it and this is what I ended up with:

Imagine my delight when this weeks challenge by the DIVA was on creating a grid!  So, here is my entry!  I look forward to seeing all the other entries by my fellow artists.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Buddhist Story

Floating House
Polymer clay - no paint
Approx 4" x 6"

An old Buddhist story
It is said that the Buddha was walking along a lonely road when a highwayman jumped in front of him.  Brandishing a knife, the thief approached the Buddha, demanding his money. 
“I am powerful, “ said the thief, ”The World trembles at me and does my bidding.  Give me your money!”
The Buddha looked at the thief and raised an eyebrow.  “You are powerful? I am impressed.  Please, show me.  Take the limb off that tree.”  
And the thief strutted over to the tree and with one whack of his knife, he took the branch off of the tree.”  “See.” said the thief holding out the branch to the Buddha, “With one blow I tore it off. “
“Now,” said the Buddha, “put it back on.”
And the thief could not do so.  He lacked the power.
Only children think they are powerful because they can destroy something.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


                                                            Colored Pencils   11" x 14"

Weird name.  Beautiful flower.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Needlepoint Mountains

For a very long time, all my art was focused on Needlepoint and other needle-crafts.   To this day, I love needlepoint.  Unfortunately, so do my cats.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Name Stories

Everyone has a story about their name.  Some folks love their name, Some don't.  I am in the latter category, which is why I never use it.

But I am not the only one in my family with a wierd name story (Which I choose not to share at this time), both my brothers have odd thongs with their names.  And my Grandmother (we callled her Nona) named all of her kids with initials that spelled something.
Papa was Raymond Alfred Tetzlaff - RAT
Uncle Charlie was Charles Abert Tetzlaff - CAT
Poor auth Fern was Fern Arbutis Tetzlaff - FAT
and Uncle Marvin was Marvin allen Tetzlaff - MAT
And they named me with the initials ACT, could have been worse.

But the stories do not stop there.  My favorite story is about my Uncle Marvin.

Like so many young men in 1941, when Pearl Harbor was hit by the bombs, he ran down to the Milwaukee county courthouse to enlist. When He arrived, there was a long line, but He was told that he would need his birth cirtificate. So he decided to get that first. Whne he got the to records window, he was told they had no record of his borth. Stunned, he asked them to look again. They did and came back with the news that they still couldn't find it. "But," they said, "We did find the record of your twin brother's birth."
"What twin brother?" asked Uncle Marvin.
"Why, Gilbert Leslie, of course."
Marvin went home and confronted my grandmother who aid, "Oh, yes. That's right, I remember now. Your father named you that, but I didn't like it, so I called you Marvin."

Uncle Marvin fought the entire war under the name of Gilbert Leslie and didn't have a chance to change it to Marvin until the war was over.

So, care to share your name story?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lack of Blog

As some of you may have noticed, I have not posted recently.  I thought to tell you why.

When I began this blog, I was just coming off my first year of being disabled to the point that I was/am pretty much bed-bound.  The first year was very hard for a number of boring reasons I won't go into just now.  One main problem when you are bed-bound is BORDOM!   Your life is slipping away and you can't do all the things you want to do.  Heck, you can't do most of the things, maybe even all of the things, that you want to do.   You just have to lie there, not doing anything.   Bummer.

But then I felt that I needed to reach out. I am a minister, after all, and my job is to minister to others.  Hence, The Blog.

Previously I had served some 5 churches over the last 21 years.  I figured I could use some of my homilies, as well as write some new ones.  Unfortunately, a lot of sermons and homilies have been lost during various moves over the years, so I didn't have nearly as many as I thought I had.  I was having to come up with new stuff.

My brain fog roared into being, making it diffficult to string together a sentance, much less ideas, in a coherent fashion.  Plus, I am very good at putting pressure on myself to 'get something done' -- which creates stress.  Sadly, when I am stressed, Brain Fog moves in.

And frankly, I have not had a lot to say.  At least not things I think anyone wants to hear.

Lately, I have been having several good hours a day, when I can kinda sit up in bed (OK, more like slouching) and do artwork. (I still have trouble reading and even watching movies, because my brain can't always follow the storyline).  When I got into Zentangles, It was wonderful.  Small, easily done items, not too big for bed art and oh, so lovely.  But I could not give up on my love for polymer clay either.  So the Mandalas came into being.  I can get up for a short time and make canes.  Then when in bed, I can slice them and have my roommate bake them.  Later I can put them together.  Again, good bed art.

I have to admit that any art is made more difficult when the cats and dogs try to help.  And while I am in bed, I am easily accessable to them.  Sigh.  I have had to give up on needlework and beading.  Much as I enjoy those artforms, the cats enjoy them more.

As some of you may have noticed, the U.S. economy is . . . having issues.  And some of those issues directly affect me.  I am living on a small pension, plus disbility.  I am old enough for Social Security now and all the talk of getting rid of SS has given me a few sleepless nights.  I'm quite sure that many of you know exactly what that feels like.

I cannot hold down a job, for obvious reasons.  But I need more income (it's very diffiuclt to live on $838.00 a month).  Well, some good friends have been urging me to sell my artwork.  This presents difficulties because I am no salesperson at all.  But some of my work is good and folks like it -- and some of my friends are willing to work at the local art guild for me and perhaps even a booth at the Friday Art Fair.  So, with what little energy and time I have, I have been doing art.    All my energy has pretty much been taken up by the artwork. 

 And frankly, I have not been thinking about the blog.

So, I have not been posting here.  And I pologize for that.  I cannot promise that I will do better, but from time to time I will post a little something here, or share some artwork.   I still have a lot of stories to share.

Now, please do not think I am asking for sympathy.  I don't need any, thank you.  I find that I am now happier than at any other time in my life.  I love the stillness.  I love having the time to think things through (even though it now takes me a lot longer).  I love watching the sky change during the course of a day, or watch my animals, just being themselves and leading their own lives. I love cuddling with them when they are worn out by play or they just want to be close.   And I have a small handfull of phone friends that are pure Gold.  I am blessed, indeed.

So come on back here, whenever you feel like it.  Drop me a note if you wish.  I will try to visit your sites more often and leave notes.

Take care, my friends.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Sorry, I can no longer remember which Mandalas I have posted.  If this is a repeat, well, enjoy again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soft Focus

Soft Focus
7 3/4" by 7 3/4"

Today is one of those days when it all starts out soft and quiet.  The birds are just waking up now (if you listen very closely, you can hear them stretching their wings) and the light is gathering for another day.  Two of the dogs and three of the cats are curled up with me in bed, and a ceiling fan is keeping just the right amount of cool air circulating.

 Life is Good.

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Nother Mandala

Joy after the Storm
73/4" by 7 3/4"

Sorry, I have nothing brilliant to say, but I thought I would share some of my new work.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sharing a friend's wisdom

Eastern  Dragon

Many, many years ago, I was reading a home & gardens-type magazine when I saw a tiny picture on the wall of a dragon.  Now, I love dragons.  I used to collect dragons.  Not the cute ones, but the real dragons (no bias there).  Anyway, I saw this picture and I gasped.  It was beautiful!  So I clipped out the picture and took it to my studio.  I look out a large piece of paper and drew my dragon from the picture of the dragon.  Then I needlepointed it into the picture you see above.  It is about 2 1/2 feet by 4 feet, I think, maybe a tad smaller.  Cost a mint to frame.

Anyway, I thought I would share this picture with you, but what I really want to share with you is today's blog from my friend, Claire.  In it, she talks about the 12 rules for How to be a Drama Queen.  I urge you to read it, it is so worthwhile -- and accurate, too!