Friday, November 29, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
I took this quiz on a whim and the results were actually pretty spot on, so I thought that I would share it here and see if anyone else wanted to take it and see what they thought of their results. What color is YOUR aura? :)
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
I have been to Lovin' Cup several times to see my husband play in various bands, and to see other friends' bands play there, too. The food is delicious, the coffee drinks are great, and it is a smaller venue (maximum capacity of about 225 people) so I knew that we would have a nice meal before the show, and that there would be a great view, and we would not be a mile away from the stage like we would be at a much larger auditorium or theater setting.
But the best, most exciting thing was that I was going to be in close proximity to, and be able to be entertained by, an artist that I have LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED for literally as long as I can remember.
We didn't have a lot of luxuries or distractions when I was growing up, but we had the great outdoors to explore, and we had music.
My mom played Melanie's records when I was very young, and when I got to be in middle school and junior high I played them over and over, singing to every song at the top of my lungs. I loved the sound of her voice, the music that accompanied it, and the moody, soulful lyrics which she offered to my angst-ridden heart.
|This image of Melanie, from her Photograph album, immediately takes me back to a very specific place and time in my life. Oh, she is so lovely...|
We ordered dinner from a delightful waiter with lots of flair on his shirt.
We talked amongst ourselves excitedly.
We ate (delish!).
Then we waited. It seemed to take FOREVER for 8 o'clock to arrive!
I had not seen any recent photos of Melanie. I had no idea what she looked like these days. When she came out and walked to the stage it was a thrill to see her beauty and humor radiating from behind her wild head of (now partially streaked with gray) hair.
|Sorry about the crappy phone pictures.|
A handsome young man came out with her, whom she later introduced as her son, Beau! He sat in a chair beside her and accompanied her with various stringed instruments that looked mostly like guitars, but were somewhat medieval looking. He played at times with demonic speed, and other times with tender grace.
|Beau Jarred Schekeryk|
Melanie stood throughout the performance and played a Rainsong guitar that, at least from a distance, looked exactly like the Rainsong my husband has (minus a few dings).
She immediately started making connections with people in the audience, beginning the set with the song Beautiful People. Here are a few lines that really struck me, and set the tone for the entire night:
And I'd gather everyone together for a dayAnd when we're gatheredBeautiful People
I'll pass buttons out that say
Then you'll never be alone
'Cause there'll always be someone
With the same button on as you
Include him in everything you do
At one point she spoke about the death in 2010 of her beloved husband and producer, Peter Schekeryk. In so doing, she let us in, further connecting with the intimate group of people in that room. Her emotion was raw and real. I could feel her loss... and her healing.
Her storytelling and playfulness with the audience made the evening feel special, magical, as if she were there just to make ME happy!
She played a lot of songs that were newer and which I had never heard before, but I truly enjoyed each one. It is rare for me to enjoy so many songs by a single artist, especially when so many were completely unfamiliar.
One of the songs, I Tried to Die Young, had me in tears for the entire song:
There where demons, I know themAnd they still come by
But we’ve become friends, my demons and INow I’m the old girl I never thought I’d become
Does it get any better asks the little girl in my songI’m still learning the answers so I make up things, you seeShe laughs, you’re still the same and you never kill me
My mom yelled out a request for I am Not a Poet, and Melanie obliged:
Every note's an answer, every word's a signEvery man's a dancer, following his own timeI've found a tearful language that translates what I amAnd I cried out loud, but they didn't understandI cried so hard I may never try againNo I may never try, I may never try again
Towards the end of the evening, Melanie performed a song called Smile. She had us do some audience participation: singing along with the chorus, which was perfect for this happy, love-one-another tune:
I SWEAR she looked right at me when she said those last 2 lines![Said with a snarl, in a snarky French accent, referring to the time she spent in France at the beginning of her career]“I don’t trust the American smile. They smile for nothing.I think it’s to disarm you or something.”
[Then, in her impersonation of her own young, naive self] "No, I don’t think so. I smile because I want to make some kind of a connection.I look at someone and I think… we’re connected”I love people who smile...
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
First #1: I made my first hand crafted, Coptic stitch bound, watercolor paper art journal.
|Watercolor paper, folded and stitched into a journal.|
I made the stitches a little too tight, so it didn't want to stay closed all of the way. I put a stack of big, heavy books on it, and she's right as rain now. :)
I used the thick backer board from the watercolor paper pad as the cover, and covered it with some cute scrap-booking paper as a base upon which I will embellish, probably with some vintage paper decoupage, a bit of acrylic paint, maybe a found object or two... But I was pretty pumped about having made a book that looks like an actual book!
Every step in the process of making it was thrilling to me: using my bone folder to make crisp edges on each folded piece of paper; using my new awl to create holes in the paper for stitching through; punching the holes in just the right spots of the front and back covers; waxing embroidery floss for the binding; snugging each stitch as I aligned all of the layers, adjusting as needed. I love love love using my hands to create useful things. SO satisfying.
First #2: I spotted the first baby geese of the season while driving to get my daughter from school.
|I had to get this photo from Free Stock Photos because the parents of the actual cute baby geese that I saw would not let me anywhere NEAR said cute baby geese. :o/|
|Luscious lilacs in my front yard.|
First #3: I went with my mom and daughter to my first Melanie (yes, THAT Melanie) concert!!!
Which I have decided needs it's own post, because it was so dang special!!!
So, tell me: What have YOU been awe-struck over lately? Are you more likely to feel awed by something that you made happen, or by something you just happened across?
|Part of a displayed collection at Rochester Museum and Science Center, which is a constant source of wonder and enchantment.|
Thursday, April 18, 2013
|A badge from The Journey of Letting Go e-course by Jeanne Oliver|
In one of the "philosophy" videos for this course, she talks at length about taking responsibility in your life and relationships, and being honest with oneself and others. Much of what she said really struck my heart.
I have been finding many opportunities lately to practice using open honesty to remedy situations. In fact, we had a "Thing" in our family this week, and her timely discourse on the subject of taking responsibility helped me to figure my way through it.
The skinny of the Thing is this: The New York State Educational Department has implemented new (soon to be nation-wide) standardized testing for children in grades 3-8. My daughter is in 7th grade. She heard through the grapevine that some parents were choosing to opt their children out of this testing for various reasons. She was piqued, did some research, and presented her findings to her father and myself.
We initially put her off, saying, "What's the big deal? You are smart and always do well on these tests. Just suck it up, do your best, and get through it." Nice, huh? (Do I smell a Parents of the Year award? Or did I forget my deodorant???)
She didn't give in. She insisted that we do some research for ourselves, and we would see what she was upset about. She was morally opposed to the whole dang thing.
So I did some research. I found a lot of compelling evidence both for and against the testing. I also did my usual Facebook poll, as I have done in the past when I was looking for a swath of viewpoints on a particular subject.
In the end, I decided that I would send the principal of the school an "opt out" letter which was adapted from a letter that was sent to me as a template of sorts. The original letter had been written by a parent who was very familiar with the education system, and he shared it with the intent of educating and giving the tools to other families who felt the same way. There is a copy of the letter after the break at the end of this post.
We heard immediately from my daughter's principal. He respectfully let us know that we could opt our daughter out if we chose to, but that she would be required to sit quietly in her chair for the duration of the testing. No reading. No talking. No sleeping. Just sitting. Quietly. If you know my kid, you understand how truly difficult that would be. The tests are 1.5 hours each for ELA on three mornings this week, and then 1.25 hours each for math on three mornings of next week. It may not sound like much each day, but it would get old for her in a hurry.
So, the Thing in our house continued. We talked and talked and talked, and finally decided that at this time we would acquiesce, and retract our opt-out declaration. I am a weak social anarchist.
After that, we were able to settle down and get back to regular stuff. My research on the NYS standardized testing was concluded, and I was able to continue with my usual momma/ wifely duties of grocery shopping, laundry, workouts, animal care and (YAY!) my online art lessons.
The whole time, though, in the back of my head (and sometimes the front), were nagging thoughts about how I had handled the situation from beginning to end. I was embarrassed. I had conflicting emotions over whether I had researched enough, given it enough thought, given it TOO MUCH thought, and why I had backed down when I was cornered. (Okay, not really cornered. Counseled. That is more fitting.)
I decided that this would be another great opportunity to take responsibility, be honest, and thereby allow the situation to unfold and resolve in a peaceful, satisfying way.
So I wrote another letter (see also after the break at the bottom of this post) to the principal of my daughter's school. And then I wrote this blog post about it. And I feel much better about it.
Of course I am not perfect, and a lot of people may disagree with me, but I am really trying to put myself out there, including my faults, and take comfort in knowing that I am not just a bystander. I am reaching out, learning, making connections to other folks in the hopes of enriching each others' lives. That is so important to me.
|A work-in-progress of a class project (color and additional embellishments will be added). I was inspired, for sure.|
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Earlier today I had a brief exchange with a woman, Sarah, who has done some work with my husband in his recording studio. She is a talented musician and writer. I have only spoken with her briefly a couple of times in passing, but she took the time to send me a note to let me know that she can relate to a lot of what I have written about here on my blog, and that she was glad to see that she was not alone in her struggles with staying focused. I replied to thank her for the (much needed and appreciated) encouragement, and to commiserate, saying, "Unfortunately, for whatever reason, I have great difficulty getting motivated without a hard deadline hanging over my head."
I have been like that since high school. I was the one who waited until the night before a big exam to study. I never wrote a paper until the day before it was due - staying up all night to crank it out in a haze of exhaustion and frustration.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have so many ideas in my brain (and in a fair number of notebooks and sketch books) for art projects, essays, articles, novels. But there is no hard deadline. And I am woefully out of practice. And add more lame excuses here...
After a series of hits to my already fragile confidence, I was feeling weak and vulnerable and hit a low point this very morning. A rock-bottom of sorts. I have been feeling disappointed in myself for not using this precious time that I have been given to really work on writing and creating art.
I am terrified. Of myself. Of failure. Of disappointing people I care about. Yes, still. *sigh*
It's ridiculous. I know. But there it is. I count myself as a very lucky girl. I have so many blessings in my life, and please know that I do not take that for granted for even one fraction of a second. But sometimes when life's challenges dig at me long and hard enough, I can still feel my old, scarred-over wounds.
Then I marinate in self-pity for a while. I stomp my feet, cry, curse, huff and puff, or some combination of those tantrum elements. Aaaaand, then, somehow, I find a way to get some perspective, pick myself up, dust myself off, get back to work. So, without getting into too many embarrassing personal details (too late??), suffice it to say that I had a tough morning.
And, as it has to happen after a visit to rock-bottom, I put on my game face and got to the business of pulling myself back up:
- I answered some long overdue emails.
- I found homes for more of my art supplies in my new basement studio space (I need to get some pictures and post an update on this transformation!).
- I did some research online that needed to be done.
- I watched a couple of Donna Downey's "Inspiration Wednesday" videos on YouTube. She is always a treat!!!
- I made myself a delicious and nourishing green smoothie. Yum!
|Yes, I know it looks like sludge, but it is ZOMG delicious!|
I also had some help from The Universe in the form of some amazing happenings:
- Sarah's note was the start.
- I got a glowing response, from an artist that I truly admire, to an old watercolor piece that I posted a photo of on Instagram .
- I "happened" to see an article posted on Facebook by Tiny Buddha which, miraculously spoke to EXACTLY what I needed. They have a knack for that.
- My darling husband came down to my studio/ cave and we gave each other a good old-fashioned pep talk. That ALWAYS makes me feel better. <3 li="">3>
What do YOU do when you are feeling down or uninspired or unfocused? Do you have any tips or tricks to share that others might find helpful? I'd love to hear from you all!