Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fending Off the Negativity Bull... Charge

I just got off the phone with and elderly female relative.  She lost her husband a few years ago and this is the first time in her life she has lived on her own.  At first it was scary for her.  Then, slowly she grew to enjoy it.  And I was thrilled for her!

Slowly, however, the dark side is emerging.  She has no one to talk to except the friends that call or the neighbors she sees outside now and then.  To fill the void she watches television.  She watches Fox News.    She listens to the radio.  She listens to Rush Limbaugh.  She reads the newspaper.  She reads tabloid journalism.  All of this is horribly, horribly negative and hate-filled, one-sided reporting.  She calls me the minute she hears of a celebrity who has died.  She calls me with instant news of bad health from another family member or any other bad thing she discovers from them.   She calls me with BAD NEWS.  She is so enmeshed into the culture of negativity that she cannot tolerate anyone else's point of view. I hate talking with her.

It's like hanging around with Debbie Downer.  There will always be something wrong.  They look for it.  And if you aren't careful, you go down with them.  I've made it a point not to be friends with this type of person because I battle depression every day of my life.  It is vital to my well-being that I keep my eyes on the horizon of hope.  I actively search for the good things in life.  They aren't hard to find, either!  But, she's a relative - not someone I can choose or not choose.

Through all of this, my hubby has played a vital role.  Sometimes he takes the calls and says I'm not available but then engages her in conversation and manages to pull her out to the "good old days" and you know from his laughter that she is laughing, too.  He can gently pull her away from the dark side - so gently that she doesn't even notice it - and for a short time, she can see the light in the world.  He has a gift.  I wish I had it.

So, with all this said, I urge you to BACK AWAY FROM THE TELEVISION and get out there to look for the beauty in the world: the arts, the music, the natural god-given wonders that can be found in your closest tree.  You won't find a sunrise or sunset on CNN, or any other news program.  You won't hear birdsong or the wind blowing leaves in a tree on Glenn Beck's radio program, or any other radio program.

I'm not saying we should avoid it or never, ever turn the TV on again.  No.  Especially with things like the Egyptian riots going on now.  My neice is over there working for Al Jazeera, English.  Her car and those of her coworkers had to be searched for possible bombs.  She bought a gas mask, too.  Bad stuff.

What I am saying is this.  We need balance in our lives.  I'm a Libra.  I know about balance.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Just a bit of a nosh

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. 
-- Edgar Allan Poe (1809 - 1849), "Eleonora"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Passing along a request (of sorts)

Julie over at Peaceable Writer is someone after my own heart.  She loves to reuse rather than dispose and purchase more.  Her post on wet erase ink was well written.  In it she asks a question.  Do other people feel the need for refillable wet erase markers? 

Well, Julie, I am for refilling and reusing ANY product that I can.  I've been reusing plastic sandwich baggies until they cannot be used again.  No, I'm not "cheap" - I am concerned for our environment.

Head on over to read Julie's post and let her know what you think.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dear Pillsbury

Let me first say that I like your products.  I buy them regularly and my family enjoys eating meals that I've made with your products.  The fold-over tacos using Grands biscuits were quite tasty!

However, I must recommend that your products not be used for breakfast.  Why?  I'll tell you. 

This morning, while my hubby snoozed on the sofa where he fell asleep in the wee hours while reading a good book, I wanted to fix a nice Sunday morning breakfast.  The kitchen is right next to the living room and knowing that a sudden BANG! from opening a tube of biscuits would shock him awake and put him in a sour mood for the rest of the morning, I decided to open the tube in the back yard. 

Roofers have been swarming the neighborhood after the massive hail storm we had last fall, so another BANG! wouldn't much be noticed, I felt.  So, I proceeded to open the biscuits.  This is what happened:
Yeah.  Right out of the tube and down onto the grass.  I cussed a blue-streak you can be sure!  And then I started laughing.  And then I couldn't stop.  So here I am, several hours later, asking you, Dear Pillsbury, if perhaps there is too much BANG! for my buck?

What I Really Do During Meetings

Okay, I confess.  I don't really pay close attention at meetings unless I have to take the minutes.  I am not a "meeting" kind of gal, don't 'cha know.  (They mostly end up like something from a Dilbert cartoon.)  Lately, I've been doing this:

This took a couple of meetings.  I finished on the 7th.

My first FULL page!
Yesterday, while staffing a 4 hour seminar at work, I did the lion's share of this page.  It was either this or bounce off the cement walls.  I got so hooked into it that the minute I got home I opened up the sketch book and finished the page.

These were done in "Beany" the Rhodia Webbie that I was blessed to review.  Beany is such a good size and is rather elegant but not flashy - which is how I get away with it.  Ha-ha! 

Now don't get me wrong.  I love my job and more, I love where I work.  I just don't like meetings.  I'd be happy as a clam to just sit at the computer doing data entry while listening to music.  But, living in the real world as I do, I have to take the not so good with the wonderful.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wait.. I'm coming... hold on... I'm coming

**oozes into chair**  OMG, I am so freakin' tired and frustrated.  Work feels like trying to dig out of a sand pit with a fork. 

But, it can't last forever. Ha!

I don't have a single thing lined up to talk about dear readers.  I will eventually.  I hope.  Please check back now and then.

Oh, yeah!  I got my white gel pen to draw on black gesso'd paper.  Can't wait to seriously try it out.  I doodled a bit on a dark blue sticky note at work and a colleague who is a VERY talented artist played with it, too.  I'll post some pictures when I get a page done.

Until then, I leave you with this thought:

"He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it." 
-- Douglas Adams (1952 - 2001), "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Some Quick Stuff

The post-holiday calm is gone.  We got slammed hard at work and I'm looking at a briefcase full of stuff to work on later today.  Monday's holiday will find me at my desk taking advantage of uninterrupted work time as the office is officially closed.  Yay!  No phones or visitors to take me out of the zone.  Plus, I can dress in my weekend clothes making it so much more comfortable.  Ah yeah...!

So, two quick items to note before that briefcase gets opened.  One, if you haven't seen BiffyBean's Mandala Art video, I must insist that you view it.  (Insist?  Well, highly recommend anyway.)  Peaceful music shows off her wonderful art.  Click here to see it.

Next, because of another post of hers, I dashed over to Aaron Brothers and picked up some Liquitex black gesso.  I have a Uniball Signo broad white gel pen on order from JetPens and I plan on doing some reverse style Zentangles in the new Strathmore art journal.  Aaron Brothers has a sale on frames until the 29th, too.  Buy one get one for a penny!

Note: I have no affiliation with Aaron Brothers, JetPens, nor BiffyBeans.  I'm just one of those wacky people that like bargains and great art. 

Okay, no more messing around.  Time to open that briefcase.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

More Journal Pages

Strathmore Workshop 1 - Phase 2

This one was pure fun.  I love a good mystery.

Inspired by BiffyBeans

Diamine Steel Blue and some time on my hands.  (No pun intended.)

Again, a BiffyBeans-inspired page.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tragedy in Tucson, AZ

From Guanabee:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and at least 12 others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event held at a Safeway this morning in Tuscon Arizona. The 40-year-old Democrat was outside the store holding an informal gathering when a twenty-something (according to eye-witnesses) gunman ran up and began firing indiscriminately. The suspect was taken into police custody. Up to twelve people were shot, so there are more wounded.

Update: Darci Slaten, spokesperson for University Medical Center in Tuscon, says Congresswoman Giffords is ALIVE and in surgery. Slaten confirms that Giffords was shot in the head. The other victims are either in critical or serious condition. One is a child.
 Please join me in sending prayers and good thoughts to the families of the people involved.  Special prayers of comfort to the family of the child.  Thank the Cosmos that the gunman was caught.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I Did on My Post-Holiday Vacation

I've been on vacation this week and with Friday on the horizon I'm sitting back and smiling.  For once I've had a wonderful "stay-cation" here at the old homestead.  What made it that way was letting go of stress inducing things like plans.  Whenever I make a plan for my time off, monkey wrenches are tossed in faster than a plumbing disaster at SeaWorld.  This causes me undue stress and I can't wait to get back to work.  Not this time.

I've been puttering around with my art stuff.  Zentangles and the Strathmore Visual Journal workshop have kept me busy.  I've also created some other visual art pages that I'll post this weekend.  The peaceful meditative feeling of working without words or preconceived thought is quite addictive.  I urge you all to find some form of art to work on.  We might even put the pharmaceutical companies on the endangered list.

Rewriting my NaNo novel has begun, too.  The first step was to clean out all the stuff I highlighted during the first draft scramble for 50,000 words.  I'm now back down to a bit over 45,000 and there are plenty of darlings to be murdered, let me tell you.  I'll print out what I have next week, read through it, make notes, and see what I need to start on after that.  I do know that the beginning will be cut down to a preface - if I even leave it in.

The best thing that happened so far is that I was lucky enough to receive one of the mailart postcards that Julie from Whatever is working on.  She's participating in the Mailart365 project. 

I have some postcard stock here that I think I'm going to work on and send out, too.  Thank you, Julie!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Boomerang Phone Service

Or maybe I should say it's more like rubber?  Anyway, just after I posted the last article on this blog we went off line again.  This time instead of the really loud obnoxious klaxon type sound on the line we got total silence.  Much better in a way, really.

So here comes today's technician.  He's a very nice young man who has been here before.  Several times, in fact.  This time Hubby meets him and leads the way to the phone box on the house.  When the repair is completed and he is waiting to be sure Hubby can get on the Internet, he says he shows no record of a repair call from yesterday.  So, I am summoned (hair dripping from the shower) to talk to the young man.

I describe what happened yesterday: two big trucks in the alley, one has a cherry picker, the call of one man to the other for a "J" hook, etc.  Today's technician gives me a grin.  "Oh, those were the cable guys.  No wonder your phone was out.  They don't know what they're doing when it comes to the junction boxes.  They must have switched something and it looked wrong at the box."

"But we're fixed now, right?"


Hubby confirms that he's online when he turns the screen to us.  Google home page is up and looking wonderful as usual.

So, regardless of departmental jabs, we are back online.  The question is, for how long?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Still Waiting for the Phone Repair & Visual Journaling

The Qwest technician has not made the repair yet but was promised to be here by noon.  The Internet finally settled down to staying on but is quite slow in responding.  Ah well.  At least I have access!

Julie from the blog  Whatever  called my attention last week to a free series of visual journaling workshops by Strathmore.  I started my first page and am eagerly waiting for the next step in the project.  Mine won't be done like the project will be mostly because I won't have all the "ingredients" to participate fully.  That won't stop me from gathering the information for future use or from doing the instructed step my way.  Doing the art is the main idea.

This is what I've done on the project so far:

It's sparce, but I wanted to leave room for what comes next.  I'll post another picture when I get that far.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Happy New Year to all!

Our phone is out and our Internet is off & on again since our lovely rain from last Wednesday.  The phone company is so deluged with repair calls we aren't scheduled for our repair until Tuesday morning.  The telephone infrastructure desperately needs replacing around here.  But I have to give a shout out to the repair technicians who come out in all kinds of weather to handle our complaints.  Thank you, Qwest employees!

So, while the Internet is up, I want to send out my best wishes to you for a blessed new year. 

Change is coming.  I will be making some in my life (gently so as not to jar the old attitudes back into place) and I know that there are changes coming "out there."  Well, good or bad, we as a human race are adaptable and have survived this long in history because of it. 

Again, have a Happy New Year!