Share Your World – November 20,2017

Taking a break from cooking – I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year (a challenge for me because I am not a natural hostess) and I’m cooking as much as possible ahead of time. I’ve made cranberry sauce, the stuffing casserole, have Grandma’s Corn Pudding in the oven, then will make two pumpkin pies. The theory is that will make tomorrow so much easier, and the pre-cooked dishes can be warmed in the oven while the turkey rests after baking. I decided a good way to spend the break was to share my world.

If you were having difficulty on an important test and could safely cheat by looking at someone else’s paper, would you do so? No. Because I have always known if ever I were to cheat I would be caught. And that would be worse than getting an answer wrong, even failing the test.

What things in nature do you find most beautiful? Nature. When she’s behaving. I love oceans and lakes, mountains and hills, trees and flowers, the green green grass of home, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, all of Nature’s little critters. The only thing in Nature I do not find beautiful is when she goes on a rampage and lights the grasses and forests in flame, or sends deluges of water, or really loses her temper and sends winds so strong manmade things cannot survive.

Complete this sentence: When I travel I love to…. See new things. Learn what I can about wherever I am. Taste new foods. Watch people. Dip my toes in the local culture.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. My son’s announcement that he would be here for Thanksgiving inspired me to host Thanksgiving dinner. Now it would be perfect if my Kat could be here too, but it’s only about three weeks before she will be. Now I am talking to myself about how people are coming here because they are friends and because we enjoy spending time together. If dinner is not perfect, if my house is not perfect, so be it. If they go home with white dog hair all over their clothing, well, it’s a condiment and I don’t charge for it.

Now, a few more 6″ tiles that have become trivets – part of my exercise in skies.

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When the Semi-Conscious Streams

I have throw rugs in the washer, inked tiles drying, bed sort of made, nothing in particular I care about doing. That is not to say there aren’t things that should be done – just that I don’t care about doing them. Right now. Maybe later.

So I’ve decided to sit down at the keyboard, let my fingers do what they want with whatever my consciousness, or semi-consciousness, comes up with. It’s anybody’s guess.

On the news last night they were talking about how many people would really like to get away from the gift giving at Christmas, and focus more on time together with loved ones. My Kat and Gep and I decided a couple of years ago not to exchange gifts. But Kat and I were not so good at that, so we still gave what we called “token” gifts. This year, we have agreed that the only gifts we will give to each other will be in the form of each of us planning a meal, buying what’s necessary for that meal, and preparing the meal during their time at home for the holidays. Sounds good to me. Besides my grown children, there are only one or two people that I occasionally give a gift, but I have decided that it’s much more fun, and with much less pressure, to simply give a gift if something seems made just for that person, just because I want to, anytime of year. I’m curious how you all feel about that.

I read an article a few days ago written by Tara Isabella Burton entitled “Spiritual but not Religious”. I found it very interesting, and I suspect that might be where I fit. I believe in a higher power, and I believe it doesn’t really matter what that higher power is called – whether it be God, Yahweh, Allah, Genesis, or any other name. Isn’t it really all the same? There is a deity of some kind, a deity with power, grace, love, a larger-than-life parent. Our beliefs stem from our culture, our upbringing, our experiences, where we are in life. It’s having a faith that matters, for me.

I have been playing with inks again – at some point before long I am going to have to decide what on earth I’m going to do with all of these tiles. They’re stacking up. I’ve changed my method of finishing them, switching to a heat tolerant varnish so they could be used for display or as a trivet. I tried clear gloss engine enamel, which is very heat resistant, and was successful with it a couple of times. It appears, however, that the time between coats is critical, sooner rather than later being best, because I started getting a crackle-type finish on my later ones. They still work as a trivet, just have a different finish. Tiles are my favorite surface, although I do some on Yupo or photo paper for greeting cards. Someday I might even market some, except when I make an active effort to sell what I’ve done it starts to feel like a job and I lose my feeling of creativity. Time will tell, as it will with so many things.

Shasta and I have been going for afternoon walks. It amazes me how quickly a dog develops a sense of routine and now around 2:30 or 3:00 in the afternoon, she comes to me, bouncing up and down, barking with her excited, shrill, hurts-the-ears bark, letting me know it’s time. “It’s time, mom! Get up, come on, we have to go!” Our walks are in the neighborhood and are short, but yesterday we did lengthen it. We both need the exercise, my mirror tells me, and Shasta spends less time wandering the yard since Bailey was less inclined to go walking, and now without Bailey. We are adjusting, and it’s going just fine.

I think now I’ll go look for my sense of humor, since it seems to be off somewhere quiet, probably slumbering. The sun is shining and inside I do not feel the cold, so chuckles should be coming from my brain, one would think. Wouldn’t one?

I’ll leave you with a tile I did this morning – one of a series I’m calling “Skies”, simply because I’m practicing doing skies with personality. Reality not required. What the scan of the tile does not show is the silver streaks in the sky, because, you know, reality not required.

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Share Your World – November 13, 2017

What?! November is half over already? But it just got here, didn’t it? Time is going way too fast for me. Speaking of time, it’s that time again – time for sharing our worlds.

Do you ever sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes? There are no parks nearby my house, although there are a couple in the bigger town down the road aways. So, no, I don’t sit on a park bench for more than ten minutes, and if there were a park with a bench nearby, I probably would not anyway. I do sit on a chair on my deck in the nice weather for more than ten minutes on a fairly regular basis. It’s hard to sit for long if I’m not doing something while I’m sitting.

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles, turn on the flashlight or use your cell phone for light? I light candles and the two oil lamps we bought specifically for that reason. When we first moved here, power outages happened fairly often, but in the past few years they are much more infrequent. Which is good, because my house is all electric, so when I lose power I have nothing. Except darkness. Candlelight. Oil lamp light. The good thing about an e-reader is they have their own light, so now I can still read.

Would you rather be given $10,000 for your own use or $100,000 to give anonymously to strangers? This question is one I’d rather not answer, because although I’d love to be generous and have money to give away, my budget is very tight, and there are places I’d like to go, things I’d like to see – so, at risk of appearing to be selfish (because I guess I am), can we make a deal here? Can I take the $100,000, keep $10,000 of it to fund my travels, and give the other $90,000 away anonymously to strangers in need?

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. Inspiration is still running low, although I did come up with an idea for a series of greeting cards, which I may or may not follow up on. Here’s a sample of what I’m thinking of doing:

I did appreciate a dinner with several friends and their other friends on Veterans’ Day. It was a potluck, and as usual, there was far too much food, all of it delicious. The company was good, and conversation enjoyable.

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Share Your World – November 6, 2017

As regular as clockwork, Cee has tossed us another challenge to bear our souls and share our worlds.

Would you rather take a 2 week vacation with an organized tour or take a cruise of your choice? Can I just do both? I mean, I’m retired, I have nowhere I have to be. Both appeal to me in different ways. The cruise would be so relaxing, and offers a wonderful opportunity to get a taste of different countries, just enough to know whether or not you might like to visit again in more depth. An organized tour could be good, if it didn’t just go to the big tourist attractions, but led you off the beaten path a bit. How about I just take the cruise, but on days in a port I hire a local guide to show me the local attractions, including some that might be a bit obscure.

Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swing? I did like swinging as a child. There was such a wonderful sense of freedom and being in command of my world on a swing, flying high into the sky (or so it seemed), with the wind in my face. I don’t know that I’d say I get excited when I see a swing now, but it would be nice to have one of those adult, fluffy chair type swings hanging from a tree in my yard. These days, I think my swinging would be more gentle – but I bet there would be days when an old-fashioned swing would be just the ticket – soaring high into the sky again.

What is the most important thing that you ever learned ? (I bet it’s not something you learned in school) I think the most important thing I ever learned was that I am a lot stronger than I would have given myself credit for. That there is a lot I’m capable of doing when I try. That I am a survivor. That’s a benefit of being a working single mom, struggling to survive on an income that does not allow for frivolity.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I’m still having trouble being inspired or appreciating things. I’m weary – weary of what the world we live in is becoming, weary of ineffective leadership, not looking forward to the gray days of winter with it’s restrictive weather. But – I have appreciated some of this week’s sunrises, I appreciate having friends near enough to share a cup of coffee and a little camaraderie, I appreciate having the privacy of my own home and a yard that is large enough neighbors do not hear the words I speak from inside my house or out on my decks, I appreciate the warmth of my furry girl who likes to cuddle in bed on cool nights, I appreciate the contact with my kids and the knowledge that I will get some of their time during the holidays. I appreciate that I wake up mornings and am able to get out and about without assistance.

Playing with inks is a good diversion for some of my mornings, and I recently decided to play a little with my What’sIts creatures. Here are a couple that will end up being the front of a greeting card at some point in time.

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Salt Water Rivers

Yesterday morning I had to get out of bed at 5:30 a.m. That’s 5:30 in the dark hours of morning. That’s a time I’m quite certain was not meant for man. It was for a good reason – taking a friend to an early appointment – but it resulted in a rather animated discussion between myself and I. Myself was protesting, feeling that no one should be up when the skies are still the black of night. Myself was claiming it was unfair that I was requiring it to do so. I told myself that it’s good for it to sometimes do something that it didn’t like, and it was for a good reason. Myself continued to protest, claiming myself had earned the right to get up when the skies were lighter and to move with a studied slowness through the morning, before myself was required to actually perform like a human. I know to pick my battles, because myself can become petulant and difficult to deal with, so I chose to ignore myself, and move on with my morning. Result was that both myself and I survived that early rising, although we did nap a bit more than usual later in the day.

Watching an HGTV show last night, one of those where the very industrious and ambitious, not to mention attractive, couples finds old broken houses, and turns them back into the queens of the neighborhood in no time flat, succeeding in making quite a good profit. In this particular case, the female of the couple is very pregnant, and although the renovation purportedly took 60 days, her pregnancy looked to be at the point of delivery at the beginning of the 60 days, and I spent my half hour feeling badly for her that she had to be so very large for such a long time. And continue to be so very large for such a long time during the next episode where they turned one more dilapidated structure into the queen of another neighborhood. I’m pretty sure I would not have tolerated a pregnancy that kept me at gotta be going to deliver any moment stage for so very many months.

The weather is making it apparent that we are heading to another winter. How can that possibly be? Didn’t we just get over a winter? Can’t have been that long ago, because it remains quite vivid in my mind. So where the heck is my lottery win (the one I’m going to win without having to actually buy tickets) so that I can buy myself a winter on a warmer coastline, one that allows walks on the beaches whenever I choose. It would be a good test to see if I can tolerate winters that are gray, foggy, and rainy better than I tolerate those that are gray, colder, snowy, and more gray. Or black and white. In the winter our Ponderosa Pines, those that are green in warmer months, appear black against the white of the snow and light gray of the skies. Uh oh. It’s not even here yet, and already I’m complaining. It could be a long winter.

Now you’re wondering what any of this has to do with salt water rivers, aren’t you? Well, nothing, now that you ask. I do have a little story about salt water rivers. One I hesitate to share, because you will come away from hearing it wondering about my intelligence – if, indeed, I have any intelligence. But since I’ve teased you with the headline, I suppose it only fair to tell you the story.

When I am a passenger in a moving vehicle, when I am required to do nothing but sit there and let my mind wander, my mind does exactly that. Wander. Into the clouds. Away. Rendering it completely useless. Do not ask it to put together cohesive, reasonable thoughts. The result was a time when husband was driving us north on the western coastal highway 1, high above the ocean, providing a beautiful view of the ocean and the coastline. I had the map on my lap, being navigator (although he didn’t listen to what I said, because he had experience with my navigating abilities), and noticing all the rivers connecting to the ocean along the coast. My thought process – if it can be called a thought process – flowed down through my vocal chords and triggered my facial muscles to open my mouth, so these words could pass through, out to the open air where they could be heard – “those rivers must be salt water, since the ocean water is flowing into them”. Those words were followed by a very brief period of silence. Laughter ensued. Hearty, loud, laughter. And the story was remembered to be shared with one and all when we arrived where one and all were. Frequently. Over a period of years. Yep, “Vera”* and her salt water rivers.

*The Vera reference came from the TV show at the time called Mel’s Diner – one of the waitresses at Mel’s Diner was a lovely lady, gentle and sweet, and less than bright. She was named Vera.

Sigh.

Now to share, with more to say about this later, my most recent tile destined to become useful for display or as a trivet.

Seems to be a recurring theme for me of late – skies, mountains, water.

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Share Your World – October 30, 2017

Here it is – another Halloween, the day prior to the “month of the dead” celebration. Over the years, the meaning of Halloween has changed – a lot – now being the day/evening for children to practice being frightening, in a nice way, and to fill their bags with sweets and treats. When I was a child, and when my children were children, it was a fun evening. Now, living on a dark, rural road, with no children around, it is simply another day. I’m fine with that – it’s one of those “been there, done that” things for me. But – it is also the beginning of a new week, and time to join Cee in sharing.

Where do you eat breakfast? My preference would be to eat breakfast out, at a place where it is cooked for me, served to me, and cleaned up afterwards by someone other than me. At home, left to my own devices, breakfast does not often happen, but when it does, it will consist of complex foods like a smoothie, a bagel with cream cheese, an English Muffin with lots of butter. You know, complex foods that take maybe a minute to prepare. And it will never ever be right after I get up – breakfast is most appreciated a couple of hours after I’ve gotten up. At least a couple of hours.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want have a evening with? My choices are simple – not complicated at all. My first choice of people I’d like to spend time with, any time, is always my kids, my Kat and Gep. Next in line would be my friends, congenial, with like interests, comfortable. It would be a relaxing evening. I am beyond the point in life where I am looking for challenges or much stimulation.

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be? Oh gosh. Maybe an Oak tree, strong and sturdy, flaunting my flamboyant colors in the fall, providing nuggets for wild critters to store for winter. And in the heat of the summer, providing shade for all who wish to linger near me and a place for the birds to start their new families.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week? Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. I’m not sure what it was that inspired me, but this week I have felt more inspired to indulge myself with my inks, deciding to create whatever moves me at the moment, with no consideration to whether it’s something others might want to buy. Because I’ve concluded that attempting to make art that might be marketable takes away the fun, the freedom, of making art. But this might be the source of another blog post one day.

And now, to share one of the “creations” I came up with this week:

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Happy Halloween

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