Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BITS AND PIECES OF THE DAYS


 Since for weeks now (months?) I have been creating simple postcards to send to my grandson in Utah and friends, students, family--even friends of friends--, I thought maybe it was time to post some of them just for fun. So starting today, the intention is to post daily for a while. Let's see how that goes :)

Saturday, September 19, 2020





 RUTH BADER GINSBURG
March 15, 1933--September 18, 2020

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant to be your own person, to be independent. (RBG)

Extrapolating from this means to me to do the research, to think for yourself, to have integrity in all things, to be clear and still respectful, to listen, to care, and, still, as John Lewis said to "get in good trouble."

Let us honor this great woman by continuing her work, with grace and "being a lady."

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

CREATING PERSONAL VISIONS

Creation starts with vision. Vision is a dream fed by desire and fueled by direction from the heart. I know many folks are having trouble getting started on just about anything with the many deterrents in our current world climate. As Constantin Brancusi said, "Ti see far is one thing, going there another."

It takes a lot of action, a great deal of work usually, to achieve what it is we say that we want. Yet dedication to vision leads us to the highest of aspirations.

In the past week I have been blessed to be witness to some folks who have had not only a vision, but the dedication to pull it off. I can only hope to aspire to the same. My long range vision has been the same for many years now. At times it overwhelms me in the vastness of its scope. And, yet, somehow, I always return to it. Causing what I love and what matters most to me through my art, my writing, and even my connections with others to come into being is at the core of this vision. Sharing this life filled with all the joyful qualities of living a full, rich life of integrity and purpose is basic. 

Where will this take me in the coming days? I'm starting simply. We'll see.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

SERIOUSLY??

Guess I need to begin today's blog by making an apology for any strangeness. Google has really changed the entire way one posts and I find it really strange. It's all kind of a mess (somewhat like the pile of pieces on my workspace today.) Like the strangeness of the smoke-filled air has an effect on many of this is that is unsettling (like we need anything more to be unsettling in these troubling times) the strangeness of the new format is kind of pushing my buttons.

I'm sure that eventually I will get some kind of a handle on this and just like learning to live with issues of Covid-19, there will be ways not only to survive but to thrive . In the meantime, though, I've just gotta say, "Seriously?"




 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

IN A FOG OR A FUG

DEJA VU
After a night filled with wakefulness we awoke here in Laguna to grey skies that just never dissipated. Put me in mind to just laze with a good book, but, luckily I received an reorder for some cards I had made based on long ago art.

Betty bought one card from me at the Sawdust MANY years ago, but has decided in the interim to make it her "signature" card. I am flattered and have filled several orders for her over the years.

But, alas! I am now just too far down the line computer-wise from the original image file. This meant I had to do some quick thinking and finally found a way to retrieve and fill her order. WHEW!

The lesson for me? Don't always be moving on so fast. You never know when an old image will be someone's fave.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

SOMETIMES A BLESSING...




Families. Sometimes a blessing. Sometimes a curse. Always ours to cherish.

During this pandemic, many have lost members of their families, either family of origin or close family friends. Those of us fortunate not to have to say this hold our friends and family dear. Yet, even as we hang on tight to our loved ones, we should never forget how tenuous these bonds are. Gratitude and the occasional reminder to tell those close to us just how much we value their presence in our lives can be a part of each day.

Friday, August 28, 2020

A WILD STAB AT SANITY?

It starts with a walk along the water







My wild stab at sanity during these ongoing and often very trying times begins the day with a walk. These strolls generally take place along the shore somewhere here in Laguna. Just the sounds of water and shorebirds are almost enough in their own right. Then, to dip one's toes in the refreshing foam at water's edge.... What a great start to a day!








Produce








Home and before showering, the hours are spent in the garden. I have always claimed to have a brown thumb, but I guess if given enough time on our hands anyone (even I) can do this.











Card making




Many evenings are spent in art play, often producing an abundance of postcards to send to my grandson and to my friends and former students and clients.This can be such a relaxing time and sending postcards is my wild stab at helping USPS survive.




Sanity achieved? Not always sure, but at least feels like time well spent.
What are you doing to stay sane?

Sunday, August 23, 2020

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?

The morning harvest
Remember that old rhyme from childhood?...How does your garden grow? With silver bells and cockle shells and pretty maids all in a row. Sounds a bit like someone's garden had some romantic fantasies.

My garden has no romantic fantasies, but I definitely had the fantasy of having a rich crop of black zucchini.

Surprise! Vines going every which way--so much so that I had to daily keep them from taking over tomato plants and other squash. Everything about this particular crop seemed odd to me,but I forged ahead. After all, the seed package said "black zucchini." I was even starting to think maybe my brown thumb had grown green after all.

BUT...I got a big surprise when the first fruit of the vine showed up. "Hmmmm," I thought to myself. "That looks oddly like a cucumber." And, sure enough, picked and cut open, the wonderful smell of cucumber reached my nose.

So no zucchini? I'm gonna try to find some starts somewhere and we shall see, though I pretty much will have to do container plants as garden space is cucumber laden now. Who knew? And, oddly, this is not the first strange outcome in the summer's garden. One of my calebecitas turned out to be a round globe squash. 

Still, since the summer's creativity has turned mostly away from art forms and into the garden, why not have surprise? After all, that is one of the greatest thrills of creativity for me. How about you?

No pretty maids all in a row, but cucumbers anyone?


Thursday, August 20, 2020

WHAT'S MISSING?

The view that saves each day
Moving past the five month mark on Covid-19 now, much of life as we knew it "before" is missing.

I miss seeing the smiles I at least hope are behind those masks.

I miss hugs.

I miss seeing friends and the long, leisurely conversations.

I miss ease.

I miss planning for this year's road trip with Jenna.

I miss teaching and the camaraderie of the wonderful students laughing and sharing and creating together.

I miss all this and more, yet...
There is much to appreciate as well. 

More time for longer walks with my plus one friend, Catharine, and the joy of those deep conversations.

Ever greater appreciation of time spent with family.

Good, caring neighbors

More time to explore books and good writing.

The joy of producing dinner from my own garden.

Thinking, not on the fly, but with a greater depth, about all things in this crazy world.

And more...and always, always, always cool breezes and birdsong to enjoy.


Saturday, August 15, 2020

MAKE IT GO AWAY!!!

One of the problems with observing social distancing, it seems to me, is that we get antsy. Wanting, wanting, wanting...to see friends and family, to go out to dinner easily, to take a road trip and feel the freedom of the road, to not need to always have at the edge of things all the "worry."

So many of the days start to feel as if there is a sameness to them that we push against. Still, change does not need to be measured in big ways to still be change.  

If you want something different,
do something different.
"Same crap every day"
doesn't describe the day, 
it describes your attitude toward it.

Steve Marshall

For me, taking a different direction to a different place on a daily walk makes for a variety I like. Looking for new ways to cook things grown in the garden certainly calls for a change of attitude. I always thought my thumb was way too brown for this gardening stuff. Exploring to find new and often exciting authors to read has been a real pleasure. Reading back through old, old journals allows for seeing things in a new light. Trying my hand at new or even sometimes languishing art forms has been fun.

It just seems there is always some way to move away from that "same crap." And, while there is still a wanting, a longing for this pandemic to be past, there has to be for me an attitude adjustment of sorts. I try...and that's the step to doing it for me.

And too good not to share:
baby owls



Thursday, August 13, 2020

WHY NOT TRY?


It occurred to me the other day out of nowhere (but perhaps the meandering mind just does that sometimes) that 2020 is pretty much a year of limbo for most of us who are being careful and trying to avoid exposure to the coronavirus that seems to be running amok. So the year just doesn't really count then, right? 

With a birthday coming up it seemed a good time to just forego it and have it happen in 2021 then. What a great plan! Save the year for use another time. Hmmmm. Just a thought from that fertile and meandering mind inside my head, but we could certainly try it. 

So no birthday for me this year folks. Check back in 2021 for an update.

Only problem is I wasn't quite quick enough on the draw with this thought and friend Catharine had already gotten this thoughtful and fun gift. Maybe we can just call it a pandemic gift instead of a birthday gift. What do you think?


 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

WHAT TO DO?


As the birds called out--the dove with "Who are you? Who are you?" the borrowed song of the mockingbird, and the raucous cawing of the crows,it occurred to me that we had been here before, needing patience beyond that which we could even imagine. Circumstances were different, but the idea that life is what happens when you are making other plans calls out the same.

Our calendars have more things crossed out than written. Birthday and graduation celebrations have been postponed or re-imagined. Weddings ditto. Funerals (and way too many of them for sure) put off, leaving folks with their grief process skewed. Even journal pages seem foreshortened due to the sameness of so many days. What will we find there when looking back over the years

Journal pages: Friend Catharine is writing a memoir and so is revisiting her journal for many of the thoughts she may have had "when." As we spoke of 2001 something called out for a revisiting of my own journal from that time. There are the "Where were you when they first stepped on the moon?", "Do you remember what you were doing when you heard John F. Kennedy was assassinated?", and from that year the simple mention of 9/11 brings back hard memories.

But each of those reminds me of human resilience. The desperation felt at the changes wrought does not last. We keep on.

In the early morning hours of 9/11/2001 the journal pages include a list of goals to accomplish in the coming week. Then, "the dust continues to drift over New York City, casting a pall over everything, even hearts and minds...and we all mill around, reaching out, touching, needing to be close, and isolating ourselves at the same time, wanting and not wanting at once...."

Today, five months into this pandemic of 2020, many of the same feelings are stirred up. In the days and months following that day in 2001 Americans came together in ways that were beyond heartwarming. Can we do that now? Is this Covid-19 so very different really that we cannot reach out to each other even from the very isolation that is imposed?

I don't have the answers, only the questions. Maybe that dove is only asking, "What to do? What to do?"  Can we be patient? Can we calmly accept?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

STANDING SENTINEL?

Watchful waiting
So much of time lately seems to be done in watchful waiting. Still, it behooves us to do more...to live life even as changes roll over us.

So...haircuts on the street. Dining only outside (Question:What about when weather comes?Answer:Deal with it. We are resilient humans after all) Wear a mask. Keep social distancing. Give up a few things to gain even more. Gardening (Who knew so many had a green thumb?) Zoom webinars (There are so many interesting things out there with which to connect.) Long walks. Reading (Again, so many good books and finally the time.).......

What are you doing to live life as the changes come?




Thursday, July 30, 2020

IS THERE A ROAD MAP?

Is there a road map?
Coyotes howl in the too near distance as nighttime descends here in the canyon. Busy mind wrestles with the cares of the day even as some small creature is probably losing its last hold on life.

On my mind: Our parents lived to be 90 and 104 so people tend to say things about the long life my siblings and I should expect. But, even without a pandemic, that isn't necessarily so. As I worked on things related to our mother's trust earlier in the day, the fact that my brother had passed not long after mother even though he was just 75 was on my mind. No guarantees.

And so, no guarantees? Then shouldn't we rightly grab onto all of life that we can while we can, living it to what is fullness for each of us? I say yes. Grab onto the mane of that horse called Life and ride for all you are worth.

Sure, there's Covid-19 and I am not advocating tossing your mask, foregoing social distancing, or any other foolhardy actions. But what can you do to live fully within the confines of what is given? Find it. We do not have to live in fear, negativity, and anger. Seek the joy in each day that fulfills you. As that slogan says, "Just do it!" 

Ride with the wind at your back and a smile on your face.




Sunday, July 26, 2020

EVERY DAY?

Postcards galore
"Create every day! Make it your job."

Well, my job got in the way of my commitment to twice a week on this blog. It was on my mind to write yesterday, but I just got carried away with a new series of fun pieces and worked on it way into the night. 

How I have found myself creating lately is by finding usefulness in the creations. Cards, postcards, etc.--small things that can be sent to hopefully brighten someone's day. And, it may be my "job,"but it also brings joy into my own day as I work.

So, back to work I go...heigh ho, heigh ho 😃 And maybe I can make up for my oops by posting three blogs this week. We shall see.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

WHO ARE YOU? WHO AM I?

What I CAN do
The urge to write "real" persists in knocking on my door. But what IS real? Who am I in all that is going on in the world right now?

Am I the older, wiser person who believes I understand the world? Hell, no!

Am I the Pollyanna who sees all through rose-colored glasses? NOT!!

So what is real for me on this July day 2020? 

I worry. I know moments of despair. I rage. I cry. I wonder why I seem to have no wisdom to impart, why there seems to be no context in which to focus merely on what I can control.
Everything is not fine...and nothing I can do is going to make it so.

And yet...there is the garden to tend. There is the writing I've committed to doing. There are mini-art projects to keep creativity going. There are wonderful and wise books to read. There are Zoom opportunities to hear authors talk about their work. There are YouTube videos where more gardening tips than one could ever use reside. Recipes to try. Friends to contact. Walks in new places and old, and increasing the miles because there is the gift of time.

And, speaking of time, much of what seems to be lost during this pandemic will eventually be restored if history can be believed. But time? It will be gone, not to be replaced or restored. Some things relating to time will just never be. And so I grieve. Being real, I need to acknowledge my grief for not only what IS, but also for what will never be.

That's not negative; it just is what is on this day in July 2020.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

IDLE TIME??NO WAY!

handmade cards one way to go
What are you doing with the idle time that seems to show up right along side of Covid 19?

Neighbor Bina and I were talking about how our use of time seems to have changed as the world around us has too. For myself, my brown thumb has been found in the garden for one thing. Might as well grow some of the groceries and have that fresh taste. And of course there's also a whole lot more baking and cooking going on lately as well.

Making cards to send to friends has been one of my greatest pleasures with time to do so. I laugh that sometimes it seems I might be saving the USPS single-handed. 😜

Realizing that journaling and this blog have not really been "enough" for writing, I also asked friend Catharine to share some writing prompts. Got the first one today and had some fun with it here:

Whoosh! Pet poodle Horace at my side as I drove at a good clip around Crater Lake, my orange VW Beetle seemed to break not only the Zen of the moment but the sound barrier as well. (Seems there is more to this story, but I finished with the prompts...can you guess what they were?)

What are you doing so not to have too much idle time (some is good, of course) on your hands?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

THE ABC OF IT ALL

Back in March (oh, such a world away now!) and inspired by friend Michael Thorstensen's newest ABC book, the following was created after a mostly sleepless night ruminating.

A is for alphabet, action, Amazon, and attitude
B is for Bed rest, bailout, and bully
C is for coughing, contagion, caring, and cooperation
D is for deliveries, distance, and denial
E is for Economy, e pluribus unum, and extrovert's challenge
F is for facts, Fauci, friendship, and finding ways
G is for generosity, gatherings limited, and global
H is for helping, hopeful, and hand washing
I is for isolation, imagination, and inconceivable
J is for judicious, jogging, and jokes
K is for kissing no more, kitchen time, and knock out drops
L is for listening, loving, and laughing
M is for moments, masks, and moratorium
N is for no touching, nurses, and nesting
O is for ordeal, order online, and oxygen
P is for patience, positivity,and politics
Q is for quarantine, questions, and quiescent
R is for rest, rationing, and reading
S is for social distancing, sleeping, and seed planting
T is for testing, time, and toilet paper
U is for understanding, Uncle Sam, and unemployed
V is for virus, visits curtailed, and vaccines
W is for washing hands, watching, and waiting
X is for X this thing out
Y is for young get it too
Z is for zipped right through the alphabet

Much has changed since March and, clearly, much has not. I'm sure many of you could add to this as I probably could to. We soldier on, as they say. Stay well. Keep a sense of humor. Hope it ends sooner rather than later.

Here's to no more sleepless nights.

(And a thanks to Catharine and her writing class for reminding me of this whole alphabet thing. 😀)

Saturday, July 11, 2020

WHAT MATTERS MOST

Essential playtime
"Is your life organized around what matters most to you?" In my earlier counseling/coaching days this was a staple question asked of clients. It popped into my head again today as I commiserated with myself about the many things that seem near impossible these Covid days.

As the question and the commiserations rambled around in my mind I realized that, while there are so many things like time with family and friends and road trips and teaching workshops--things that matter A LOT to me--other things have begun to show up that still feed my soul. 

My brown-thumb gardening attempts are challenging and yet showing signs of success. Finding ways to stay in touch with friends and family calls on creativity at times. Enjoying the time for reading, watching webinars of unfamiliar, often intriguing authors reading their work and talking about the process of writing for them. Taking ever longer walks and exploring new pathways. These things have begun to fill the time in fascinating ways that have begun to "matter" too.

We humans are really pretty adaptive so perhaps what matters most can adapt and evolve as well.

The sun shines not on us, but in us. The rivers flow not past, but through us, thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell of the substance of our bodies, making them glide and sing. (John Muir)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

LEST WE FORGET

Low tide





Feet mooshing in sand
Sun kissing skin
Breeze ruffling hair
Sanderlings skittering
Gulls squatting together
Waves lapping onshore

Glorious
Blessings
Gratitude

Joys of being alive in the moment

Saturday, July 4, 2020

WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

With all that is going on in our country and around the world on this July 4, 2020 I found myself turning back to this piece created many years ago. It bears words that from long, long ago that spoke to me then and continue to do so today in the midst of the upheaval.

Again, I ponder the words. What do I find worthy of honoring? What would I choose to cultivate? And what, really, on this Independence Day does freedom ultimately mean to me?

So I thought to share these thoughts and the questions that arose from them with whatever follower chooses to read this sporadic blog and hope that you, too, will be moved by these words from another time and another place that just seem to continue to echo down through the years.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

SOFT SOUNDS IN THE SILENCE

Solace
As I drift off to sleep each night the sound of a lone owl softly hooting in a nearby tree brings a gentle smile to my face. It is a lovely sound that somehow brings the solace of normalcy (or is it the normalcy of solace?)

The sounds of nature are often what brings comfort to counter the aggravations of a given day. Whether the soft lap of waves on the shore, the hoot of the owl, the cooing of doves, the trickle of water in a lovely brook, or a soft breeze blowing through the trees, these sounds in their very softness temper the noises of our everyday world. Hearing these things, I for one find myself eased by them.

What are some of the sounds that lift your spirits?

A creek in a canyon

Saturday, June 27, 2020

TRICKY BUSINESS

In the garden
"Working with goals in creative work is tricky business."__Beverly Cassell, founder of Artist Conference Network

Beverly's words have stayed with me over the many years since being active in ACN. They were just some of the many words of wisdom that made for breakthrough creative process.

So, goals. In 2019 one of many goals was to write this blog two times each and every week. And, yes, somehow I seem to have managed that. It just made sense then to continue, to "Keep It Simple" as I titled the first blog post of 2020. 

The "tricky business" part seems to have shown up primarily in the form of Covid-19. It seems that (again, keeping it simple) I have lost my commitment to the goal.

We have all been affected by this pandemic in one way or another and sometimes in many ways. So commitment to a goal might have come up for many of you as well. For me, the blog-writing has fallen away in part because it has at times felt there was nothing about which to write. Sure, I know that is incorrect. But, in trying to avoid talking about the elephant in the room I just seem to have found myself lacking inspiration.

Still, I could write about what small things I have been creating. The gardening, which seems to have taken a large chunk of some days, could also provide writing fodder. What about plans for creating workshops in the future? Where are those plans in process now? Or write of the beauties of nature on the many walks each week. With my love for the sights and sounds there should be plenty there. So, yes, there are many things to write on this blog.

The "motor" stalled, but right now I am committing again to the goal. Beverly also stated that the creative process "doesn't tolerate much in the way of 'shoulds' around goals." No "shoulds" here then; just a commitment to being in action and to simply observe what shows up instead.

For right now, I've begun. Now back to the baking and the gardening. Back soon.