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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Dogs

Happy Birthday to me! Today I took Bear in to the vet's office for a minor bump which we feared might be an embedded tick, but it was just a scab ... meanwhile, a Jack Russell terrier was being dropped off at the vet. I brought Bear over to him and they got along immediately. I asked what the dog was doing there, and they said, looking for a home. I said HMMM ... I may just take him! Long story short, he will be here tomorrow, at home with Bear and me. Photos will be posted as soon as I can get shots of him and of course, him with Bear. I am calling him "Baby" for now, but I am researching names.

He had been at a shelter for two weeks and was scheduled to be euthanized. I found this out after I had already decided to adopt him. He is being neutered and getting his teeth cleaned and tests and shots and so forth today. He will rest up tonight, and tomorrow ... kabango! he and Bear are brothers!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

YAY! iPod Nano!

By the time my birthday rolls around (it will roll here Thursday), I should have my iPod Nano, my gift from Nod!!!! My Mazda3 has a dock for it, and it holds up to 2,000 songs (jumpin' jehosaphat)!. RobynDogstar sent me two wonderful cards and a mug from her food co-op. I will scan in the cards tomorrow when I am not so lazy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sketch Memory

I have been wearing this lovely green crushable hat since I bought it in Nice. I had long hair then, incredible as it seems to me now, and it was still dyed auburn.
Just ignore the long tresses, and this is me now, out walking the dog in my adorable hat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Slice of the Past

This strip is the very edge of an old painting that I have destroyed. The strips were much more interesting to me than the entire paintings. I plan to keep this one as a bookmark.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Approaching the Great Evaluation

In the process of becoming more fully myself, I am discarding all the standard stretcher bars I own. Standard stretchers are much easier to frame with the frames available in framing shops. In the past I preferred heavy-duty stretchers, for two reasons:
1. They are unlikely to warp
2. They can be hung immediately with the addition of wire on the back.

I acquired all these standard stretchers at the behest of a horrid woman who owned a gallery. She insisted I should use standard size so that frames could be applied. I didn't even end up showing at her gallery because she and I could not get along at all ... so why follow her advice?

I was confused at first about which size stretchers to keep and which to discard. Then I started writing out my reasons for each type, and realized that under the principle of doing only that which I enjoy, I must keep the heavy-duty stretchers. Decision made.

Now I am almost ready for the Great Evaluation!
The Great Evaluation is the process whereby I look over all my finished and unfinished paintings, destroying those which are not to my liking or without potential, finishing those which do have potential, and recycling the stretcher bars of the ones I have destroyed.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Finding Myself at This Age?

Hello, my name is ... uh ... well ...

For whatever reason, I have spread myself so thinly that I am having to pull in my horns, so to speak.

I love these things:
husband and family
walking, playing with Bear
singing, playing the piano
painting, making things
creating and portraying odd characters in Second Life

All these activities will stay. However, in some categories, I have expanded out like a helium balloon ... I have more books than I want, and I had that delightful bike and some Landroller skates, but those are now gone. I have been making so many trips to Goodwill they know me by sight and I now have only twice as many cookbooks and cooking utensils as I use!

The same was true in the art category. I studied painting, photography and silk screen in art school. Then I painted for some years in acrylic on canvas. Then as I became discouraged with the idea of being a painting "factory" I stopped being motivated to paint. Loved ones seemed to be dropping like flies, which also took up my time. I cared for my parents and Steve as they suffered and died.

In the hope of restarting my interest in making art, I bought all sorts of new media, including oil pastels, pastels, a silk screen and inks for making handmade cards, an envelope maker, encaustic materials and book, pencils and sketching materials, colored pencils, alkyd paints (oil without the odor). I have given away all of these materials now, and I am back down to:

Colored Inks

That seems like enough, doesn't it?

The Show Must Go On Vaudeville!

In Second Life we are performing around the grid (the 2nd Life World) with acts of humor, beauty and death-defying feats. See our trailer here.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Unearthed Black Drawings

Among the debris of my shambles of a studio, I found these drawings in white colored pencil on black paper. I have many others, but these I have never uploaded. All of these are drawn freehand (without the aid of a compass). I like the quality of the lines, and doing these drawings helped me to focus through all the deaths of loved ones at the time.

Mandala One

Thousand-Petalled Lotus

Beginning of the Whirlings

Matrix of Matter

Water of Mercy

Fire of Severity

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wish I had a Video of This Song

Loggins and Messina

Peace of Mind

Ain't no use to keep taking abuse
From a friend who isn't kind
A friend in need or a friend that you need
Who can help you through the troubled times
So reach on out and take a hold of my hand
And let me know that your ready to go
There ain't no dues and you can leave your blues behind

And have a little peace, peace of mind
Give me some peace, peace of mind

There comes a time when your friends go blind
And their words become diseased
They threaten your life with the blade of a knife
And set you down upon your knees
Make no mistake for your very own sake
Here's a little word for now
Take off your shoes and let your thoughts be kind

And have a little peace, peace of mind
Peace, peace of mind... make us feel better

Some folks you find speak a mighty good line
They charm you all the way
They take you along on a sweet, sweet song
Then they steal your heart away
But blessed be the one who can understand why
People have to act that way
Cause if I knew I wouldn't even want to say

But have a little peace, peace of mind
Give me some peace, peace of mind
Everybody wants peace, peace of mind
Peace, peace of mind

All we need is some... Peace.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Add a Dash of Love

I ran across this anonymous quotation today:

"Righteousness without love makes us hard. Faith without love makes us fanatical. Power without love makes us brutal. Duty without love makes us peevish. Orderliness without love makes us petty."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mucoid Madness

I am coming out of a rotten cold. Nod got it first, but only by a day or maybe two, so I can't blame him. It must have sneaked into my mucus membranes because on vacation I ate WRONG WRONG WRONG (read DELICIOUS DELICIOUS DELICIOUS)! I was in a virtual coma until Sunday evening, uninterested in whether I would live or die.

I took a homeopathic preparation recommended by TWO sisters... Umcka. It is tolerable to take, and seems to make my colds' duration shorter.


Bear and I were planning to take a walk after 4PM, when the sun will not wither my delicate Irish skin and boil my delicate Irish brain. We went out on schedule at 4, and walked around a large-ish block, only to find it starting to thunder ... it did this yesterday, and poor Nod had to walk the beast much more. I looked out a bit later, and it was sunny. We tried again but it was still raining ... they have a saying here that sun + rain = devil beating his wife, the raindrops being her tears. But in this case it may have been Jerry Falwell being beaten by God for his behavior on earth.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happy Birthday, Steve

Tomorrow (well, in a 3 and a half hours) Steve would have been 42 years old. His family will be coming to our house tomorrow to ... think of him with love.

Billy Collins Action Poetry

Robyn sent me the address to this site and I enjoyed it tremendously ...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Secret

I confess I have not read THE SECRET, the book that millions are reading in hopes of having all their desires fulfilled. I think, from reviews and comments I have read, that The Secret describes visualization as a way of getting what you want. It takes skill to do this well, and knowledge of how the subconscious mind actually works.

I first tried this method 20-some years ago. I visualized a ring made with a cabochon-cut lapis set in silver. I could only picture the setting vaguely.

Along with the visualization, I stated to my subconscious mind:
"I have a beautiful lapis ring that I can easily afford, and it is the right size." I pictured it on my hand.

A few weeks later, after having visualized this ring morning and night, I was invited to attend a Gem Show. I was walking around when my eye was attracted by a huge bank of glittery, primary-colored rings. I was about 30 feet from the display, so I know, looking back, that I could not actually have seen the display in detail.

I walked over and gazed at the rings, hating them, but then saw that there was one very different ring there, that did not fit in at all. It was exactly the ring I had been visualizing! I asked the price, which was quite affordable for me, leaving just enough cash to buy myself a burrito and a soft drink. It fit perfectly, too.

The setting was vague, just silver sort of mashed into a semi-decorative order around a gorgeous lapis in cabochon cut. The very vagueness of the setting is what convinced me that this was indeed the ring I had visualized; someone had picked up on that suggestion and made it for me! My subconsious mind had arranged the "coincidence" of my finding it.

Later on in my visualization experiences, I found that sometimes I could not picture my desired outcome at all. I took this to mean that the Lord Of Life (or LOL, that is, Laugh Out Loud) did not intend me to have whatever I wanted in that particular visualization.

I also found that some things happened in my life that I had not visualized. I believe that some events in our lives are karmic. Plus, visualization is all very well, but the general shape of my life was to some extent determined. Place and date of birth, race, gender, birth order, parents, religion, schooling, all influenced my belief system, which of course, affects my visualizations.

Some of this belief system was negative thoughts about myself. Where these thought patterns come from varies, but getting them OUT of my brain was an important task. Success in visualization depends upon the overall theme of thoughts. Let's say I visualize, for example, that I will get a good job, a short commute from home, with good hours and a great salary... but during the day I think to myself that I can't possibly get that job because I am stupid, or unattractive, or whatever, those thoughts will override the visualization, especially if they are long-term habitual thought patterns.

So, how do I get those ugly thoughts out? By retraining ... which is surprisingly simple to do. I learned to listen to what I was saying to myself and counter the negative with positive statements about myself.

I am always trying to visualize and sometimes it works, and other times it does not. I always have to listen to my thoughts. The inner conversation tells me what I REALLY want. If I am saying I am a loser, that is what I WANT. If I say I am an attractive, intelligent, successful person, that is what I want, both consciously and subconsciously. This practice, listening to my thoughts, transformed my life for the better, and it is something I practice constantly. Negative self-talk can creep in ... vigilance, vigilance!

Tom Killion's Woodcuts

Tom Killion has been making woodcut prints since the late 70s and has used the old Japanese woodcut techniques to produce images from his drawings of the California coast, the High Sierras and other areas. Click here to go to his website. His prints are also available as notecards and in blank books, available through Seabright Press.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Yosemite Vacation

We just arrived back home from Yosemite. It was a wonderful vacation, and we stayed at the Wawona Hotel, which is very comfortable and secluded. The most famous hotel is the Awahnee, where we had lunch twice. Both hotels are wonderful. From the Wawona we had to drive about 45 minutes to get to Yosemite Valley, over winding mountain roads with huge rocks on one side and steep ravines on the other. There were dogwoods in bloom everywhere, and all the deciduous trees were just starting to leaf out. The waterfalls were in full flow, and that is a treat, since in the summer they dry up.

We drove to Mariposa, CA via route 140, where there is a rockslide that covers the road ... we had to take the one-way temporary bridges and road around it, crossing the Merced and back over again.

We visited the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, an easy hike for me (my foot and ankle are still pretty sore). There were all levels of activity available.
We also drove down to Kings Canyon National Park, where we saw this breathtaking canyon. I am so glad we made that trip. It took all day to go there and come back, but it was well worth it.