Monday, August 30, 2010


it makes me happy
when little words
come bubbling up to the surface
from a place deep down within

with loud insistent voices
dressed unashamedly
in the bold and brash attire of truth

or words that clarify
and render crystal clear
some nebulous idea
that had up till now

been as murky
as the sludge
at the bottom of the backyard pond.

i love when that happens.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Shades of Gray

that’s the title of this photo. what does that have to do with the kids in my school district going back to school today? let me explain. one year ago, when this day came around, i had recently made the decision not to return since my reading intervention program had been axed along with my position and i wasn’t willing to accept the re-assignment i was given. i opted instead for early retirement. this program was near and dear to my heart and, while i thought i was handling things ok, i was totally unprepared for the flood of emotion that overcame me on that first day back to school. will this year be different? have i distanced myself enough to handle the transition of a new year without falling apart? so far, so good.

i had lunch yesterday with a recently-retired friend and we toasted our new freedoms. i mean, seriously, while i loved what i was doing for those last 5 years, i spent most of my working life waiting to be not working. the freedom was sooo enticing and i would count the days until each break. does that even make sense?? i loved what i was doing, but i couldn’t wait not to do it anymore all at the same time. weird. and while now, i absolutely adore having the freedom to pursue all of my new interests, i still miss the other life. the setting up the room. seeing everyone again after summer break. the fresh and sometimes anxious faces of the kids. getting organized and implementing new and exciting ideas. yes, i do miss it. i mean i can still hardly bring myself to go through the boxes and bins of stuff i brought home with me.

so, like much of life, it’s not black or white – it’s gray, or maybe polka-dotted or some kind of random pattern or many shades of gray like the photo. it’s good and bad, high and low, hot and cold all at the same time. it’s mixed emotions.  it's life. and it's good.  i'm hoping that it's going to be a good day.

you can read more about my little story and how it is being included in a major art project called “Resilience”, depicting the effects of the economy on individual americans here.
(sorry i can't seem to create a link in the usual way without all the text disappearing - what's up with that??)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Full Moon!

3 times i started out on my walk this morning only to find the moon sinking in such an incredible way that i had to turn around and photograph it.  i'd start out again, but it just kept getting better until it finally disappeared behind the house that you see.  so amazing, but so short-lived!

funny thing is, this is not really the full moon.  that will happen tonight.  so don't forget to step out and take a look.  happy moon gazing!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Unsung Creatures

last week i headed out to the wild animal park. it’s something i would normally not do this time of year, but with the record-setting cool temperatures we have been having all summer, it was fabulous.

i don’t necessarily go for the reasons you might think. oh sure, i love lions and tigers and giraffes and gorillas as much as anyone and i have the photos to prove it! but what i really love is the hiking trails to the outer limits of the park and the opportunity to find a whole array of “unsung creatures”.

 i get there early and head for the outer edges. when i get deep into the park, literally no one is there (yet!) and it’s like being alone in the jungle or maybe on an African safari. it’s kind of meditative, really. i just walk with my camera (and sometimes with music) and wait to see what i discover.

after hiking and photographing for a while, i stop at a very special place at the top of the park. it’s a shaded picnic table set in the native plant garden that has a view of the park and the surrounding countryside. i take out my thermos of coffee, a snack and my notebook.  i review the morning’s photos and write down whatever comes to me. 

this time i had a special bonus! as i was finishing my coffee, a park worker came up and started talking to me. on her arm was perched a tawny frog-mouth (no, it’s not an owl!) . she happened to be a veritable fountain of knowledge about that particular creature and spent a good twenty minutes sharing all of the details with me. how special was that??

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't Forget

don't forget
(in the midst of your harried and mulit-faceted life)
don't forget to do nothing
pour a cup of tea
(or don't)
and sit with it...
look out the window
(or don't)
and try to make your mind a blank slate


stop thinking,
and rehashing
just for a few minutes....
bask in the beauty
of this moment


you are ALIVE,
utterly and completely unique!
be with it

repeat as needed...
your body, mind and spirit
(and quite possible your family)
will thank you.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Neighborhood Hangout

ok, here’s the happier story i promised – it starts sad, but stay with me. after my beloved dad passed away in 2006, a dear friend sent me a check with a note, “buy something to remember your dad”. i didn’t really have a clue, but coincidentally (?) another artist friend was packing up and moving out of state and was selling some of his fabulous “yard art” at discount prices. well, it occurred to me that in his later years my dad had had difficulty walking and had spent a lot of time watching and admiring the birds on his porch. i thought a beautiful piece of yard art in the form of a birdbath would be the perfect piece to remember both my dad and my friend.

the piece was an immediate hit with the “locals” and is continuing to grow in popularity. i don’t know why i didn’t really get the name-implied intent of the piece, but i was just amazed to see that the birds not only hang out there regularly, but they actually BATHE!

i have seen a myriad of different colors, sizes and shapes of birds. i have seen some complex social interactions taking place. i have seen groups hanging out together. birds kicking each other out. birds waiting in line for their turns. fascinating stuff!

there is definitely some maintenance involved. i no sooner fill the bowl with fresh water than a big bruiser will fly in, engage in some major splashing, leaving it half empty. it’s worth it though. to me it’s a very lively and active remembrance of a very special man and also a tribute to a good friend!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Down Side

i've been wanting to share this since we got back from our road trip a few weeks ago.  but i've been hesitating.  why, you ask?  well, like most of us i think, i enjoy sharing happy and encouraging posts.  i mean that's often how i get my "inspiration fix" - from reading them - and i'm guessing you are the same in this regard.

yet something is nagging me to "tell the whole story".  it's the truth factor i guess.  while it's a fact that we saw so many amazing and glorious sights, i feel that by sharing only that i'm not telling the whole story.  it's also a fact that there were many miles of nothingness.  but beyond that, something really stood out on this particular trip and it's a little scary.


many of our small towns are dying.  while i'm very well aware that the economy is in trouble, this was a real in-your-face reminder.  towns that were perhaps hanging on and getting by just a few short years ago are giving up.  pretty much every one that we passed through had boarded up windows and "for sale" signs galore.  i ask you, who is going to buy these places?? 

we stopped and bought a few things from some that were still open just to give them a little boost, but the writing is on the wall.  one guy had prices on all of his shelves and fixtures and couldn't afford to keep the A/C running. door open for ventilation and flies buzzing about.  cot and microwave set up in the back of the store.   kind of a look of desperation in his eyes.   it's hard to know what to say to these folks.

i wish i knew the solution but it's part of life, as with so many other things.  glad i got that off my chest, though.  it's just a story that i felt needed to be told.  i promise a happier post next time!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Makeshift Studio

as some of you know, i have been craving a little studio space.  a space where i can mess around and not have to clean up afterwards.  a space where i can spread stuff out and not worry about it.  a little space that i can call my own.

i have a lovely office space that i share with my hubby, which has our computers and all that office-y stuff.  it's great, but it's not right for paint and paste and the like.  so when i work on that kind of thing, i have resorted to the kitchen table.  it works in a pinch, but i haven't been able to lay stuff out and stay organized with my supplies.  plus, the worst part is, everytime we have company, the whole conglomeration gets packed in bins and put out of sight.  then i seem to have a tendency to keep it there for a long time....

i've been thinking about this for a while and finally made a move to make it happen.  we have an old garden shed in back of our house.  we ae not really big on gardening (maybe some day!), so it just kind of sits there sheltering a bunch of junk. 



this weekend we set up a table inside.  i covered it with a cute little luau tablecloth, anchored down with plant pots, and proceeded to cart my hodgepodge of paraphernalia out there and set it up.  basic would be an understatement here.  it's essentially open-air, it's got a gravel floor, no heat or cooling, electricity or water. it also happens to be frequented by critters - mice for sure and, consequently, the neighborhood cats.  but still I'm excited!  it's my very own space, seaparate from the house, and i can lay everything out so i can see what i have.  so far, i have been in organzing mode -  i have yet to sit down and start on a project.  we'll see what happens!!

(in other news, the coral tree is in bloom!!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Daily Practice

Creating a Life Worth Living

what a concept! it’s one of many detailed in this book 
 that i have latched on to and i’m so glad i did. not long ago, i was lamenting how i tend to get so caught up in chores and so many competing “shoulds” that i often end up sabotaging what should have been my creative time. i feel like everything else needs to be done first. i still struggle with this, but this one simple concept has definitely made an impact!

(writing at lake stanley, idaho)

the daily practice is something that you commit to everyday, preferably at the same time. the key is that you only commit to about a 15-20 minute session. it needs to be one of your creative endeavors, something you really enjoy and look forward to. you do it no matter what, then you are free to do other stuff. well, what happens for me is that the short commitment time hooks me in and, once i get started, i do often spend longer, but not a lot. then i can do whatever, but i feel so much better, knowing this time has been spent. and the time adds up, so you can really make some progress.

here's a quote from page 228, "it may feel irrelevant when you give it time in your hectic life, but the truth is that if you continue to return to your daily process (whatever that may be), your creativity will burst forth in all sorts of unforeseen ways."  i like it!!

i actually have chosen 2 daily practices, although i don’t always do both of them. one is writing. i have a huge interest in the whole concept of creativity and it seems that i am writing a little “curriculum” of sorts for a possible workshop, retreat, or ??. i just started writing and, well…. that’s the direction it took, a little piece at a time.

my other daily practice is photoshop work. i have to tell you, i have a real love/hate relationship with photoshop. to me it is like a vast desert that i wander around in. some areas i’m very familiar and comfortable in. other areas i knew once but have forgotten. and then there are those areas that elude me, that make me feel humble and like i’ll never be a true native. i have resources – books, cd’s, tutorials, etc., but what i totally lack is the discipline required to sit and learn new skills. once i learn them, i like them, but oh… the procrastination! so the short sessions are much more manageable. i’m including a few of my little experiments here.

likely, some of you have aleady discovered the truth in this powerful concept.  if not, you should give it a try!!