Monday, March 21, 2011

Muddy Saturday Mornings are the Best!

Last Christmas I received the wonderful (best) gift of time with Rick and the island. This past Saturday I pulled out my sexy mud boots and headed off to the island.

I share with Rick his love of searching for arrowheads. And the love of doing the happy dance when we find one. This trip we came across a nest of Killdeer Bird eggs....

....and Rick explains to me what the Momma bird was doing flapping around 15 feet away (she wanted us to keep on walking!).

And so we did. Up and down the muddy rows. We each found two (well, actually Rick was 2.5 and I was 1.5) and a pocket full of pieces.

Heading back Rick takes a turn and pulls off the main road. He wants to pick some flowers for one of his favorite ladies who is currently in the hospital (does this "George" never cease to amaze me?).

I felt like I got "promoted" when Rick said I could now keep my arrowhead hunting knife and official arrowhead finding box.

A morning spent with "George", walking in the mud and talking about life and experiences. Sharing the thrill of the find and doing the happy dance. Two tiny bits of carved stone that bring that very much loved giddy feeling....

.... and watching him pick those flowers. He makes me want to be a better person.

Thank you Rick for a fantastic Muddy Saturday Morning!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

And She Huffed And She Puffed....

I am always looking for new art to do. So when a Groupon showed up for glass blowing, I really wanted to give it a try.

I bought two, so I asked Miss Kristi if she wanted to join me for an early Saturday morning of glass blowing.

We showed up at Elements Glass in northwest Portland. We were handed our safety goggles as Aaron heated up our poles.

I chose my colors and then it was off to heat it up....

Once it was hot enough, it was time to start blowing it into a glass ball....

They turned out spectacular. Kristi's was green and mine was blue. On pick-up day we decided to exchange glass balls - I got my favorite color with a little bit of Kristi inside!

And afterwards we spent some time looking at some of the "real" glass works!!

A very fun morning spent with my favorite girl child!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clay Comforts

In one of my beginning Gerontology classes I met another student "Annette".

She has degrees upon degrees and she quickly became a favorite. I would find myself always gravitating to wherever she was sitting. One evening she told the class that she was looking into teaching clay classes to seniors over 55. I didn't quite "qualify" then but I asked her to let me know when she was set up to offer the class.

She emailed to let me know the class was a go at The Multnomah Arts Center. I immediately signed up. I was a bit apprehensive since I have never worked with clay before, not even an ashtray in grade school. But it was something new to learn and...I would get to see Annette!

First day of class, walking into the unknown I see another familiar face from the Gerontology Program. Paul!

I am immediately feeling a lot better about this class - he has put me into a comfort zone. I am ready to build!

Five weeks of learning and building, and meeting new handbuilding clay artists. Most have worked with clay before and have lots to offer. One lady in particular was an extremely gifted lady named Gabriella who was quite proud to tell her age of 86.

She is from Switzerland who moved here when she was 24. She is quick and her clay creations are wonderful. Each class she would remind me "not to think-just do" in her heavy accent voice. I loved listening to her stories as did the other students. She is an inspiration of someone I would want to be like at that age (heck, at this age!), embracing each day and person she comes in contact with.

My creations are done. A Pinch Pot, a Coil Bowl and a Slab Box. Annette let me have her PEACE box and Linda (the lady I sat next to) let me have one of her creations.

After taking the class I received an email from Annette telling me that she was more at ease about teaching the class when she found out that I had signed up to take it. I was her comfort? Just like seeing Paul was mine. And it reminded me how important it is to let your comfort people know. So thank you Paul for being there and for making the class not too intimidating for me - you were a great comfort!

And....I've signed up for her next class. I'm still after that elusive ashtray!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Babble, Babble...and Then I Found $5

Babble, Babble...I think I "might" sometimes babble. It's important useful babble, but none the less, just babble. If it's going into a long drawn out babble, Kristi will give me "that look" and we both smile and say, "And then I found $5". We say that because whatever I am talking about is just about as life shattering as finding $5.

Today I found this article on the onion website talking about how much time is wasted listening to babble bull....

Open-Minded Man Grimly Realizes How Much Life He's Wasted Listening To Bullshit
CLEVELAND—During an unexpected moment of clarity Tuesday, open-minded man Blake Richman was suddenly struck by the grim realization that he's squandered a significant portion of his life listening to everyone's bullshit, the 38-year-old told reporters.
A visibly stunned and solemn Richman, who until this point regarded his willingness to hear out the opinions of others as a worthwhile quality, estimated that he's wasted nearly three and a half years of his existence being open to people's half-formed thoughts, asinine suggestions, and pointless, dumb stories.
"Jesus Christ," said Richman, taking in the overwhelming volume of useless crap he's actively listened to over the years. "My whole life I've made a concerted effort to give people a fair shake and understand different points of view because I felt that everyone had something valuable to offer, but it turns out most of what they had to offer was complete bullshit."
"Seriously," Richman added, "what have I gained from treating everyone's opinion with respect? Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
According to Richman, it was just now hitting him how many hours of his life he's pissed away listening intently to nonsense about celebrity couples, how good or bad certain pens are, and why a particular sports team might have a chance this year. The husband and father of two said that every time he's felt at all put out or bored by a bullshit conversation—especially a speculative one about how bad allergy season was going to be—he should have just turned around, walked away, and gone rafting or rappelling or done any of the millions of other things he's always wanted to do but never thought he had time for.
At various points throughout the day, Richman could be heard muttering to himself that he couldn't believe he was almost 40 years old.
"Twenty minutes here, 10 minutes there. It all starts to add up," said Richman, who sat down and figured out that between stupid discussions about favorite baby names and reviews of restaurants in cities he'll never visit, he'd wasted 390 hours of his life. "And you know what the worst part is? It's my fault. Here I thought being considerate to others by always listening patiently to what they had to say was the right thing to do. Well, fuck me, right?"
According to Richman, he started thinking about how much time he's flushed down the toilet being an approachable person after a work meeting in which he let a coworker, David Martin, ramble on and on with an idea everyone knew was "total shit" the moment the man opened his mouth. Richman said that a single glance at the clock made him realize he had just spent 14 minutes of his finite time on earth not playing with his kids or being with his wife, but listening to garbage.
"It was like I stepped out of my body and saw myself actually listening to this man's worthless drivel—but it wasn't him who looked like a moron, it was me," Richman said. "I was nodding my head like an asshole and saying ridiculous things like, 'Right,' and, 'I see your point, Dave,' when I should have just said, 'Dave, your idea isn't good and you are wasting our time and you need to shut up right now.'"
By his estimates, Richman's receptiveness has resulted in 160 irreplaceable hours of listening to grossly uninformed political opinions, 300 hours of carefully hearing out both sides of pointless arguments, and at least a month of listening to his parents' bullshit about how important it is to be open-minded.
Eighty days have been wasted on the inane blather of his college friend Brian alone.
"All those hours I could have been relaxing, or reading all these great books, or getting into shape, or working on side projects that I'm really excited about," Richman said. "But instead I've been listening to overrated albums recommended to me by my asshole friends."
"Did you know that in my life I've listened to five days' worth of people talking about their furniture?" he added. "It's true. That's a trip to Europe right there."
While Richman has vowed to cease being open-minded to absolute horseshit, acquaintances reflected on his approachability.
"I love Blake," coworker David Martin said. "He's such a good listener. A lot of people are closed-minded and self-absorbed, but Blake always makes an effort to hear where I'm coming from. The world could use more people like him."

Too funny....hits home both as the receiver and the giver.

On Sunday, Kristi and I decided to go for a walk over in the Alberta area. There was a new art showing at the Guardino Gallery. One of the featured artists was Mar Goman which I wanted to see since I had missed seeing her art when it was at Scrap. Along with hers were others that were just a delight to see.

Mar Goman

And others....

After leaving the gallery show we visit other art spots (some allow you to even touch!)

and of course my favorite art supply store Collage

The rest of the day is spent walking and laughing and of course me babbling.

And then, just when Kristi was about to give me "that Mom you're babbling look"......

I found a dime! ... I picked it up and the babble continued ...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Australian Awakening

About a month ago I joined The Collage Collaborative, a group of collagers. Each of us began a 5x7 piece, and then that piece is added to by 4 additional collagers. A few people dropped out and a few wanted in before the first round was completed. One of the new collagers wanting in was Lorri from Australia. I love her art and her blog. Her drawings are wonderful and I soon found out you could purchase them as cards (you know my love of cards!) at I ordered several so I could part with a few.

I then discovered her other creations at her etsy shop. Once there, I found my "Joy" necklace for 2011.
What I really enjoy though is reading her blog. She is so open about herself and her life. She recently posted a piece written by Virginia Swift called "The Awakening", which I thought I would share as well.

The Awakening

A time comes in your life when you finally get it... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH!! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes.

This is your awakening.

You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate, or approve of who or what you are...and that's OK. (They are entitled to their own views and opinions). And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself and in the process a sense of new found confidence is born of self-approval.

You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it's not always about you. So you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety & security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace & contentment is born of forgiveness.

You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look and how much you should weigh, what you should wear and where you should shop and what you should drive, how and where you should live and what you should do for a living, who you should marry and what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children of what you owe your parents. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with and in the process you learn to go with your instincts.

You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" looking for your next fix.

You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a by gone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don't know everything: it's not your job to save the world and that you can't teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love. Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable or important because of the man on your arm or the child that bears your name. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes.

You learn that just as people grow and change so it is with love... and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms...just to make you happy.

And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely...And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up". You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK...and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things that you want... and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands.

You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won't settle for less. And, you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you to glorify you with his touch...and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect. And you learn that your body really is your temple. And you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear. So you take more time to rest.

And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn, that for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve...and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen.

More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perseverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone and that it's OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time. FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

And you learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you.

You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about; a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath and you begin to design the life you want to live as best as you can.

by: Virginia Swift.

The words are a very much welcomed reminder and needed self reflection (well, except for maybe that darn wind chime!); they come at just the right time. I am so glad that Lorri became part of the collaborative and that I found her blog so I could read The Awakening. My "Joy" necklace is on its way here, along with some other unknown goodies (Thank you Lorri!)...I am giddy!