Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Adventure Time

I'm flying to Lubbock Friday morning. It's probably been nearly ten years since I have last flown anywhere. My husband has been with me on every flight I have ever taken. I'm flying out of Houston, so I know it is a relatively simple process (though we will be landing in Dallas, I believe). But still, I am a tiny bit worried about getting to the right place at the right time.
I have never spent the night outside in a tent. Well, I don't know, I might have stayed out in someone's back yard in a tent when I was a kid. But my point is, I've never been on a real live "all night in a tent in the middle of nowhere eat what you bring to cook sleep on sleeping bag/air mattress" camping trip. I know. I've lived a shelter life!
When I land in Lubbock, a woman I have never met will come pick me up and take me to the camping place (unless she is actually an axe murderer, in which case...)

Any tiny bits of discomfort and anxiety I am feeling as so very well worth it, because I am about to fulfill a dream of many years--an item on my unofficial bucket list that I keep in my head (mostly). I am about to meet several of my blogging/writing friends whom I've known only through the internet! I will be seeing Spooky Rach again, after having met her several years back in a cemetery in Galveston. There will be a few friends whom I've also wanted to meet in person who will not be able to make this trip, but we are already talking about another trip next year. Whoo-hoo!
It's sometimes hard to explain to others who do not tool around the internets much (some of whom tend to see the whole process as a bit scary), but I consider my small group of blogging/writing buddies to be one of my tribes. I've felt supported and encouraged by many of them through the years and I hope they feel the same about me. They have enriched my life by allowing me to see women and lives that are in many ways different from mine, and yet there is also the common thread of something-or-other that caused us to connect in the first place.
So, many firsts for me this weekend and I'm looking forward to every single one of them.
(Oh, we're going to a very lovely State Park with scenery that is totally different than anything I'm well acquainted with--and no humidity, how will I survive? I will let you know! There will be pictures to follow!)
More to come. . .

Oh! And in addition to this little adventure, we had a program through the wellness program where they offered classes on learning to swim or improve your swimming. I said if they ever offered it where you could go after work, I would sign up. Me and my big mouth! They offered it right after work and I signed up! I can swim a little bit. I do really well when I know I can stop and my feet will touch the ground! :) But I do want to learn to swim better and possibly utilize my newly improved swimming skills for exercise purposes!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Stormy Metaphors and Beginning Again

I read recently that metaphors are good but you can’t push them too hard, can’t take them literally, or they begin to break down.

I once had a therapist say, with what I construed as disdain, “you use a lot of metaphor when you speak, don’t you?” He was a substance abuse therapist, very cut and dried, but with a wicked sense of humor. I liked the guy a lot but I always felt a bit sorry for him that he couldn’t seem to enjoy the beauty of a good metaphor.

Anyway, I came to realize not long ago that I could not, should not, hold myself responsible for damages done by various storms in my life. I cannot be held responsible for what I did not know when the winds began to blow.

My responsibility after the storm is to assess the damage, to figure out the best ways to recover and work to protect myself better in the future, not to beat myself up because I got caught in a storm.

(Well, I guess there is a whole 'nother direction this could go, if I just foolishly ran into the storm seeking a thrill. But I digress. That's not at all what I did. That's not what I have held against myself for years and years.)

It’s not my fault the storm hit me. Storms hit us all. It is not indicative of a character flaw to be hit by a storm.

I've heaped so much blame (and shame) on myself (and also allowed others to pile it on me). I'd love to stop that now and learn to tell myself in the kindest way possible to begin again.

See? I suspect my metaphor is beginning to break down (or perhaps I've wandered a bit and lost my way with it, not noticing that the wind was beginning to pick up).

But still, life is often a series of storms and falls where we lose our balance (or we are blown off balance, you know, by the storm) and it takes a while to get back up.

I really do know how to spell, but it was late one night when I was working on this "wisdom card." I was engrossed in trying to write legibly with the correction pen. Almost as soon as I wrote the extra "c" I realized I'd made a mistake. I made a mistake on a quote about beginning again with a tool that is supposed to correct mistakes!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In the Flow

I've had this project on my back burner for quite some time. I'd taken a deck of playing cards and did backgrounds on them. The technique was that you glued several of them to a piece of scrapbook paper (this means the back will be nicely finished with minimal work) and slathered on paint and paper and whatever else you wanted to add and then cut the individual cards out. Tonight I decided to start gluing on my various sayings and reminders. I'm calling them wisdom cards and when I am done I will have at least 52 cards with sayings and quotes on them that are personal reminders to me.

It's kind of mindless and meditative work for me. The time flies by and my spirit is quieted.

I took this one into Photoshop Elements and edited it a bit. The others are just scanned in with no editing on them. I may go in and later and enhance the others, I'm not sure.

I have four more but I will wait until another day to post them. And I have many more to do. But for now, I have other things to do that I was supposed to be doing in the time I was working on these. ~sigh~ It's no wonder I am generally always a day late and a dollar short!

I did buy myself a fancy new planner and was working a bit on laying out some goals for myself. I'm trying to live a more intentional life. And also to get myself a little better disciplined and organized.

(I should make it clear that the first two cards are quotes that were spoken to me, I did not write them.)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Word of Enlightenment

I sent this to a friend, who replied with this: "Oh yes, true.  But what I keep hearing from The Department of the Interior is that the OTHER thing that screws us up is having a deep sense of how we WANT things to be, along with a sense that we shouldn't want that, or that we should never inconvenience anyone else by trying to get it."
Yeah, well, that is one of my ongoing battles, the tension between knowing when the picture in my head of how things are supposed to be is a big fat load of pomposity and when it is a legitimate expectation of how life really is supposed to be. I almost always hear it as a big fat load of pomposity, and that I shouldn't inconvenience anyone by trying to get what I want. My "Direction of Correction" is in learning that sometimes others will be inconvenienced by things I want, and that does not mean I am selfish for wanting what I want.

If you don't get your tension right, you're sewing is gonna look all fonky, and the threads will eventually get all entangled and break. If you don't get your tension right on your bicycle chain, you're gonna fall off and bust your arse. Life can't work like it's supposed to work when you don't have your tensions rightly adjusted.
(I was just fooling around in my journal and did the one up top with colored Sharpies, then edited the photo on my phone by putting the frame around it and decided to also do a black and white version.)

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Gallery Five: The Light Arrived

This is my photo for Gallery Five of the 52 Photos Project. The prompt is "The Light Arrived." I had the blinds open in my room and noticed how the shadows of the trees made the light dance on the floor like flames.

And I've been reading this fascinating book, "How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice,' by Pat Schneider. Both of these quotes are from different places in the book. I've been taking quotes from the book, typing them into my notes app on my phone. I wanted to finish the book this weekend but I still have a couple of chapters to go.

This one is an old Russian saying, according to the author of the book I'm reading. She cited Alexander Solzhenitsyn as having said it. 

Just noticed I spelled the author's name wrong in the photo above. Dang it, guess I'll have to go back in and fix that. Good thing this is a phone photo and text app I've used. That will make it all the easier to fix. Just not tonight!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

52 Photos Project, Gallery Four: Good Luck Charm

I had to think a bit on this one. I don't have anything specific that I always carry with me as a charm to bring me comfort or luck (unless we count my phone, with it's camera!). I have many things that I like to have near me, things that bring me comfort, if not luck.

One thing I do always have with me might be words, in my head. I try to keep those positive and affirming and comforting.

These are a few of the words I've been carrying with me this week. I started a little project (there's a Facebook group) where I'm doing some kind of artsy thing on an index card a day. The project will run June 1st through July 31st (I don't know if I will last that long). You can use their prompts or you can go rogue and do whatever you want to do. She also offers a weekly theme, if you don't want to follow the daily prompts. I am loosely translating the first week's theme of "text" and doing little collages with stuff I've cut out of old magazines.

The "tiny, heartbreaking commonplace" is from CS Lewis' book, "Grief Observed." I read it over the weekend. It was a helpful book, with some new to me insights on the grief process that turned out to be true to my own experience with grief once I read about them.

 I've begun the process (again) of opening an online store to try and sell some of my "thangs." That necessitates me being brave. And the time seems oh so right. I've slowly come to terms with some issues that have held me back in the past and it feels a little weird at my age, but I think I'm finally growing into myself.

I stumbled across this quote today and I feel it is quite appropriate for me. These are words I will surely carry in my head for luck and comfort.
"For the artist, the hardest part of your job is knowing when it’s finished. May you finally release your work with confidence even though you know there is more you could have done. May you reject the temptation to wait for qualification, certification, permission or perfection, working instead from your smallness, your weakness, and your pain. Let yourself be human, as it’s your humanity that touches the soul, not your expertise." Emily Freeman, A Blessing For The Finishers.
I have no wisdom to add to this one, other than to say I am trying to do a better job of living the day I have while I have it. I am trying, that is the key. Sometimes I am failing miserably at doing that because of a certain dissatisfaction I am experiencing in my life which causes me to want to be somewhere other than where I am. And, as Forrest Gump would say, "That's all I have to say about that."

(My contribution to the 52 Photos Project, Week Four)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

52 Photos Project, Gallery Three: Sugar

 Sugah, is that a sugar spoon I see in that ant pile?

(I am from the South but my sense of proper etiquette has faded lately. I never was too good at formality, to tell the truth!)

"Self Portrait: Artist at Play"

I did not realize I was so well reflected when I took this photo with my phone.

I think I'm going to want to print this one.
And this one:

There is something quite Zennish about polishing (cheap) silver(plate) while sitting on my porch listening to the birds sing. I bought the set at a second hand shop and thought it was complete place settings because it said there were 64 pieces. There might have been 64 pieces but there were only 6 forks, and two of those were a different pattern from the rest! 
I originally thought I might use the pieces for some sort of artsy-fartsy craft project. I might still do that. 

This is my quirky contribution to Week Three of the 52 Photos Project.