Monday, March 30, 2015

things worth sharing: 3/30/15

Some things I thought were worth sharing today. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
1.  Remember when people wrote actual letters instead of communicating by e-mail? A fascinating book of curated letters by various artists, each one with hand illustrations and other things creative. More Than Words: Illustrated Letters from the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, by Liza Kirwin.

2. The power of two: how Lennon/McCartney demonstrated the brilliance of creative pairs.

3. A few tidbits of insight from David Sedaris.

4. Stomping out the myth of the "crazy cat lady."

5. The completely ridiculous copyright case regarding the monkey selfie.

Friday, March 27, 2015

deciding against the age-related funk

I never imagined that at this point in my life I'd still be in decision-making mode. As a kid and young adult, I figured that by the time I got here I'd have my home, my career, my life in order. Turns out those ideas just weren't realistic. So here I am, searching out different paths, trying new things and reinventing my life, but now with the realization that I don't have all the time in the world. This is a misconception that we all buy into when we're young. How lovely an idea though: to be able to create one's own life. I get to decide which trail I'm taking or even if I'm going to blaze a brand new one for myself. I get to follow my intuition, pay better attention to my own desires and if along the way I decide to switch paths because something doesn't make sense then I'll give myself permission to do that. I don't have to climb someone else's ladder or work to earn someone else's job title. There's no more "keeping up" with the Joneses. There's just too much else to focus on. I have no idea where I'm going to land in this adventure, and there sure are a lot of unknowns and pitfalls, but what I do know is that the passionate leap is always worth taking. I have now lived more years than my grandfather was given. I've surpassed the age where my father was diagnosed with his first cancer. I can either let those facts drag me into an age-related funk or I can use those milestones to energize me to make inspiring decisions about how I'm spending my time. I wish I'd figured this out a long time ago. It's a lesson we need to teach to those young people that will listen. Our time is precious. We must use it well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

corner view: imagination

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "imagination" and comes from Dorte (Spain).

If you want a terrific lesson in imagination, just watch the children.
To them, it comes naturally.


Monday, March 23, 2015

things worth sharing: 3/23/15

Some things I thought were worth sharing today. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
1.  Words of wisdom from Seth Godin: including thoughts on what to do when it's your turn (and it's always your turn), fear, change, industry, television, what it means to be an artist, and why Neil Young is just like Pythagoras's 5th hammer.

2.  Artist Maria A Aristidou loves her morning cup of coffee like no one else does.

3.  Pushing the boundries, REM creates an interactive floppy disk to promote their album Monster, in 1994.

4.  Seven (really) strange questions that can help you find your life's purpose

5.  Stevie Nicks on journaling and songwriting: "On the right-hand side of the page you write what happened that day, and on the left-hand side you write poems, so when you have an evening where you’re like, “I’m gonna light all the candles and I’m gonna put the fire on, and I’m gonna go sit at the piano and write,” you can dip into your diaries and instantly find a poem and begin."

Friday, March 20, 2015

and then there are the people

For me, half the fun of being at the carnival is getting to watch the people.

These two were not too sure they were going to like this ride. I'd be nervous too!

This little guy wasn't too happy about the noise, holding his hands over his ears from one end of the park to the other.
Little man looks a bit envious of the princess with all of her winnings. Her court had to help carry them all!

But not all of the interesting people were on the ground. Looking up, I found these daredevils doing a little maintenance. Yikes!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

corner view: looking up

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "looking up" and comes from Dorte (Spain).
It was lucky for me that the carnival came to town this week. Searching for subject matter was no problem, but creating this "looking up" post was a dizzying dream!


Monday, March 16, 2015

the carnival came to town!

The traveling carnival came to town this week,
a perfect opportunity for lots of photo adventuring!

Friday, March 13, 2015

of all the words of mice and men....

I see a lot of different people gathering daily in our local coffee shop. There are the people visiting with friends, smiles on their faces, laughing, sharing, enjoying themselves. Sometimes they have kids on their laps, sometimes they're sharing photos, showing off a finished handmade piece or excitedly talking about an upcoming vacation or visit with family. There are readers and writers. There are people listening to music on their headphones, feet tapping and heads bobbing.

Then there are the dressed-to-impress business people. They're earnest, frowny, driven. Their conversations and routines point to their definition of success. Their apparent self-worth depends upon making it to the top, fitting into the "right" group and impressing others with their fancy cars, expensive watches, and big homes. It's all they talk about. Their minds are churning and they hold onto tightly wound daily routines that barely leave room to breathe. They're always working, it's just the venues that change. They spend their lives networking, building portfolios, growing their bank accounts, and amassing the latest stuff. But are they happy? It sure doesn't appear so. Enough is never enough. They talk about their super vigorous exercise regimens, their highly controlled diets, and their latest purchases. They're tired and hurried. Are they ever satisfied?

Are you making time for you? Do you spend time doing those things that move you? Do you spend your time well, in ways that refresh you and motivate you? Do you make time to follow your passions and to get lost in your hobbies? My Dad used to repeat this Kurt Vonnegut quote to us: "Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, "It might have been."  Sure, we all have things we must do, responsibilities and commitments, but life should be about much more than chasing the money. You have a choice to design a life for yourself, filled with friends and family, doing the things you love to do. There is great joy to be found in achievement, in time, in creative process, in participating in those activities that lift up you and your loved ones, in doing significant work that matters. Make sure to do those things that move you, that make you smile. Make sure that you are truly spending your time well. How sad it would be to one day look back and have to rue "what might have been."  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

corner view: something difficult

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and currated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme. The theme this week is "something difficult" and comes from Dorte (Spain).

It's time for me to go on another news-fast. I’m overwhelmed by the relentless horror that is ISIS, Boko Haram, about national and international crimes against women, the never-ending news of corporate  and political greed that leads to environmental destruction and to the worrisome changes in our food systems, the increase in the number of antibiotic resistant infections, loss of wild animal species and the cruel treatment of domestic animals, and on and on. It’s too much.

Am I the only one that needs to take a break? The only one that needs to turn away for a time from the bad news? To avert my eyes? No, I don’t think I’m alone, but why do we do this?

Sometimes the news is just so horrible that we just can’t comprehend it all. It’s unfathomable. We can’t make sense of it. It seems unfixable, we feel so small and we’re frightened by it. Is this denial? I don’t think so. Unquestionably, it’s easier to talk about the smaller, more hopeful things that are going on. In fact, it’s important that we talk about those things as a way of reassuring ourselves that there is still good in the world, that there still are good people in the world, and to reassure ourselves that we’re going to be ok. At times when the world feels a little too shaky, I think it’s ok to turn our focus inward, to look at the smaller picture for a bit and search for beauty, to focus on the things that are good and give us hope, and to work on making our little corner of the world a little bit better. At some point though, when we’ve had a respite from all the bad news, we need to look more closely at those things that scare us and threaten us. We need to speak up and do what we can in order to increase awareness.  This is the only chance we have of making change happen.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

things worth sharing: 3/10/15

Some things I thought were worth sharing today. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
1.  The mind is an extremely flexible instrument. "Our minds are already pattern-making machines, and very little drawing is actually required to convey an idea. The mind will fill in the rest."  How to make squiggle birds, from Dave Gray. Doodle fun

2.  Magical photos by Russian artist Elena Karneeva.  Elena photographs her children in most wonderful fantasy settings, with companion animals too. Simply amazing.

3.  The largest glacial calving event ever recorded on film. The historic breakup at the Ilulissat Glacier in Western Greenland. The calving event lasted for 75 minutes and the glacier retreated a full mile across a calving face three miles wide. The height of the ice is about 3,000 feet, 300-400 feet above water and the rest below water.  

4.  Quote: “We waste so many days waiting for the weekend. So many nights wanting morning. Our lust for future comfort is the biggest thief of life.” ~ Joshua Glenn Clark

5. Fascinating Kate Bush documentary from the BBC. The Kate Bush Story: Running Up That Hill. If you don't have an hour to spend watching it right now, then set aside 7 minutes to enjoy Cloudbusting. 


Friday, March 6, 2015

making it through the remains of winter

It’s become obvious that my friends are all very tired of winter and I’m right there with them. I’m ready for spring!  I bet your Facebook page looks like mine. It’s morphed over the past months, beginning with gorgeous snow photos and most recently with pleas for relief from the cold temps and the seemingly unending precipitation. Yes, it’s been a tough season here on the east coast and we’ve got a bit farther to go before the warmer season takes hold.

Here are a few suggestions to consider, ways to distract yourself, take care of yourself, and to ease our way through the remains of this crazy, tedious winter.

Be kind to yourself. It’s been a long slog, you’ve been inside more than you’d like and you may be getting a bit stir-crazy. Don’t get down on yourself and don’t start beating yourself up with the shoulds and oughts that are likely creeping into your thoughts. Pay attention to your self-talk and turn any negative thoughts around. Be as nice to yourself as you would be to a friend or loved one. Maybe write down a positive thought or two and post them on the fridge or bathroom mirror where you can see them throughout the day.

Move! Take the stairs, put on some music and dance around your livingroom, take advantage of the daylight and temperatures of late afternoon and get outside for a walk with the dog or to take a few short minutes to begin that winter yard clean-up.  Explore yoga, go bowling with friends,  find an indoor pool, stretch, bend, breathe deep. Do any little thing that will work those muscles and get your heart pumping.  A little bit of movement will pay off in a big way. It’s not only great for you physically but will have positive impact on your peace of mind, well-being and chip away at lingering anxiety.  You’re going to feel better!

Get out there and enjoy live, local music. No kidding, music is good for the soul. I know it’s cold but once you get to the venue it’s going to be nice and warm. Better yet, arrange to meet friends there. Move, dance, talk, eat, drink, sing, enjoy. It’s the perfect therapy for a cold winter night!

Indulge yourself. Allow yourself the gift of an afternoon nap. Spend some time browsing your favorite blogs, doing some crafting, calling a friend, watching a movie. Distraction and downtime are good for you and break up your usual routine in a good way. To relax is to refresh and recharge.

If you’re not doing it already, begin writing. Set aside 10 minutes a day to sit quietly and write…about anything. Put your thoughts to paper, journal your activities, make lists, find and document things that you’re grateful for. You’ll be clearing the cobwebs in your mind while at the same time stimulating your creative juices. The bonus is that one day you’ll be able to look back at your work and enjoy what you’ve done and the memories you’ve documented.

Refresh your menu! We’ve all been enjoying comfort food during these cold months.  This is a good time to try out a new soup, stew or chili recipe and there are lots of on-line resources for you to search through. Try something different: a new taste palate, a new ingredient. Wake up your senses and try something new. This is also a great time to start increasing the amount of veggies and fruits into your daily meals. We’re heading towards spring/summer months when we’ll be eating lighter so start adding these fresh foods now. Your body will thank you.

Do something nice for someone else. The simple act of doing for someone else takes you out of yourself for a while and changes your focus. You both will benefit. Better yet, make your generosity or act of kindness anonymous. I recently secretly paid for someone’s order at our local coffeeshop and they had no idea. It made me feel great and the big bonus was that the recipient in turn secretly paid for someone’s breakfast order at her next stop. Double great! She felt good about being both the receiver and giver of gifts that day. A chain of kindness was born that morning. Try it…you’ll like the feeling!  

Look back. Pull out your old family photo albums. How often do you take the time to sit down and look through those photos and relive the good-old-days? Seeing photos of your kids when they were small, photos taken while you and your spouse were dating, seeing photos of family members far away or long gone will take you away. This precious time is sure to bring a smile to your face and warm your heart.

Focus on making your home more cheerful during these cold months. Bake up some homemade bread or cookies and fill your home with soothing aroma. Turn on some music and fill your space with calming background melodies. Turn on lights, open the curtains, light some candles, put a fire in the fireplace…anything to bring some extra light inside. It’ll make all the difference.

So take heart. Warmer days are on their way and at some point you can look back at those lovely snowy photos on your Facebook page and know you made it through the tough 2014/2015 season with style, grace and creativity.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

corner view: cuddly

Corner View is a weekly appointment - each Wednesday - created by Jane (Spain) and curated by Francesca (Italy), where bloggers from all corners of the world share their view on a pre-arranged theme.  The theme this week is "warmth" and comes from Beth (US).

Pye, our sweet pastel torti, was a tiny little thing when we brought her home. She connected instantly with my husband and over time has grown to love me too. Pye though, is deathly afraid of the world and everyone in it.  The only other connection she's ever really made in her 14 years was with our Golden, Maggie.  I think that Maggie knew that Pye was a special kitty and needed some extra loving. Pye has made a home for herself in our bedroom and rarely strays from there. Maggie was the only reason that Pye would venture from her upstairs retreat. They frequently would be caught snuggling  like this. Maggie has been gone for some time now and Pye has lost her cuddle buddy. It really is a myth that cats and dogs don't get along, isn't it.

Monday, March 2, 2015

things worth sharing: 3/2/15

Some things I thought were worth sharing today. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
1.  The most beautifully illustrated Velveteen Rabbit volume I've ever seen, artfully reimagined by Japanese Illustrator Komako Sakai. So touching! 

2.  In this 11 minute podcast interview, Gordon Lightfoot chats with Growing Bolder Radio about his long and fascinating career, including his friendship with Dylan and why they each consider the other his mentor.

3.  Quote:  "I think these difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way and that so many things that one goes around worrying about are of no importance whatsoever." ~ Isak Dinesen 

4.  Created by students and faculty in the communication and computing science departments at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University, you can take a 3D virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica and other art-filled Vatican spaces  The four Papal Basilicas are included, along with the smaller Sistine and Pauline chapels.

5.  Have you run through all of your winter soup recipes and looking for another to finish out the season? This Curried Red Lentil, Pumpkin and Cauliflower soup will knock your socks off!