Friday, January 26, 2018

ARE YOU A FISH IN A TREE?

According to Clutterbug, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIsmYVuOELQ I am apparently a Butterfly. And, while the majority of the rest of the world may crave simplicity I like, need, enjoy, make merry with ABUNDANCE! It does not take me long to start a collection, especially if the definition of one is three of something. 
Clutterbug divides us all into four cute little bugs. I thought for a moment there was a chance that I could be a Bee but then she went on to describe a Butterfly and there it was hands down the description of my lifestyle.  Apparently, it is also my cleaning style which makes things much clearer in my world.
I have been, SERIOUSLY, cleaning out areas and giving away things. Stop laughing! Seriously, I have. Now you are just being rude you know.
Ok, so I have also been making trips to the charity stores and coming home with MAJOR finds. That's my big fun joy in my life right now. You can get up off the floor any time now.
I invite you to click on the link and take a listen. She's funny, easy to listen to and you just might finally understand why you, my friend, like myself have often felt like a fish stuck in a tree.  

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Experimenting with LIMITATIONS

If you haven't heard of TextileArtist.org, Sue Stone or her sons then you are in for a treat. Pop on over to the website and sign up to receive their email newsletter. I have yet to be disappointed with the amount of information they share or the different articles that they publish.
They are also offering a FREE video workshop on A System for Experimenting with textiles. The first one, Embracing limitations does give quite a bit of information about their mother but there are gems of hints woven within those dialogues.
Make yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy and even if you don't work with textiles the information, suggestions, hints, and systems will help you with whatever medium you are involved with.
https://training.textileartist.org/embracing-limitations-i/



Monday, January 08, 2018

CREATIVE INSPIRATION MORNING

New day, new week, new year, gotta love those new beginnings.  So, let us get this started with some creative thoughts.  I'm going to share, off and on some Youtube videos that I enjoy.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiGZUoT6fAU       and 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=of4STrtLejo

Two different styles of collage/journal artists.  If you have the time take a look at all the other videos that they offer.

Have a wonderful Monday and do SOMTHING CREATIVE TODAY!!

Sunday, January 07, 2018

THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL!

Minus 14 then up to 30 degrees, southerly breezes with a chance of icy rain.  Since Winter can't seem to make up its mind this year I am not investing any money this year in winter play equipment.  I thought about buying snowshoes for walking in the woods but the inch of snow we have had hasn't been that difficult to plow through.
I am going to try, really try this year to do a BOOK CORNER on the first Sunday of the month.  I've got my book list for the year.  These are books that come highly recommended by different sources.  They are also books that are maybe outside of my comfort zone.  It has been far to easy for me to stick with one type of genre when I am working out or what I read before bed.  This year I plan to explore some different venues.
The first book of the year is THE CITY OF BRASS by S.A. Chakraborty.  She is from New York City and this is her first book.  From the book cover:

       "Nahri has never believed in magic.  Certainly, she has power on the streets of eighteenth-century Cairo, she's a con woman of unsurpassed talent.  But she knows better than anyone that the trades she uses to get by palm readings, zars and a mysterious gift for healing are all tricks, both the means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles and a reliable way to survive."
    
I'm only 67 pages into the book and already she has accidentally summoned a djinn warrior, been kidnapped by the same warrior, landed in the brass city of Daevabad. It has my attention, that's for sure.  

If you are interested, give it a read and check back with me on February 4th. We can grab a cuppa and discuss it.  If you finish it early and have any comments send this off to my email, Doginthehole@aol.com and I'll bring them up in the discussion.

If you are interested in the reading list here it is.

January -  The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
February - Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
March -     Hunger - Roxane Gay
April -        Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
May -        Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
June -       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
July -         Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
August -     Artemis by Andy Weir
September - The Radium Girls by Kate Moore
October -     The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
November - Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
December - Nine FOlds Make a Paper Swan by Colum McCann

And the alternative book, if one of these just doesn't cut it for me and I bail, will be Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  I'll let you know in advance if that is going to happen.

So, I hope some of you join me on February 4th.  Happy reading!

Friday, January 05, 2018

I'M NOT THROWING AWAY MY SHOT!!! TWO FOR YOUR MONEY!

January 2017
When I used to look up a word in the dictionary I would find myself wandering page after page looking at other words of interest. The Internet can be the same way for me now.  I will be sent a link from a friend, check out the link, find another interesting link within that one and the chase is on.

This January I was making a list of the things I would like to teach to adults and to teenagers. I've made similar lists before but time, life issues and ok my own laziness haven't produced any results. 

This year after receiving the cd set of Hamilton, the musical I realized that the song, MY SHOT, really spoke to me.  It's now, now then or later for me, it is right now to take the risk, do the things that I think I want to do and do them.

My personal inspirational word for this year is Clarity.
It is seeing what I need to do, what I want to do and getting these two lists into action so the unexpected can arrive. I consider it a "cleaning house" type of physical activity. 

I also consider the entire month of January a time for reflection, redirection, action and commitment. I no longer make New Year's resolutions. I work those thoughts and ideas into a plan for the entire year and for me that takes more than one day to set up.

One of the links that I was fortunate enough to stumble across came from a Pinterest picture on collage.  Following the link, I found myself on the website of Janie Ridler Studios, www.jamieridlerstudios.ca  A thoroughly delightful, warm, professional individual with a wealth of information at her site. 

One thing lightbulb moment while I enjoyed her website was a reminder of the value of keeping a journal or journals.  I have, over the years kept many of them. And, despite how valuable they have always proven to be, for one reason or another they get neglected or forgotten. Ok, I know the reason, I become unbalanced.  I allow portions of my life to overwhelm me.  I let my boundaries bend and in some cases crumble. 

I come back to balance, sometimes easier sometimes harder than I thought.

January 2018
This year the word for the year is EXPLORATION. I'm not planning on going off on any wild excursions.  It has more to do with exploring deeper that which I already know or have been exposed to. 
While doing my Vision Board for the year I noticed that I kept finding familiar things that seemed to want to be on the board. 
One of those things was Yoga.  When John and I first arrived in Wisconsin in 1969 I took a Hatha yoga class from Ellie Berger at the women's Y, downtown. I may have had a "girl crush" on her because I took the class for five years, adored her and fell in love with yoga and meditation.
One of my very strong beliefs is that EVERYONE I meet and talk to for any length of time has something that I NEED to hear and they NEED to hear something that I have to say to them. Now the what that is can often be a mystery to people that are just applying this belief system in their own world. Now I tend to just keep those conversations foremost in my mind as I continue down the path.
From my vision board to a Christmas Eve party I went and during the course of the evening, I had rather two different conversations with people that were telling me about a yoga studio that they attended and how much I would enjoy it. I did not initiate those conversations and as I have said, I pay attention to these kinds of things.
I visited Perennial Studio.  It is actually a place I have gone by many times after dropping Riley off at her school.  Walking in the door I could feel the beautiful energy in the building. I signed up for a month's pass that would allow me to try different classes.  Silly me.  The first class I went to yesterday morning is the one for me.
Now, I haven't done Yoga for 50 years but apparently, the positions, the purpose of the stretches has never disappeared from my brain bank. Muscle memory is an amazing thing. I went through the entire hour-long class keeping up with the regulars.  When I couldn't or wouldn't kneel because of how weird that feels with artificial knees I adjusted the position so that I could still get as much benefit from it as possible. After the meditation time at the end of class, I was sufficiently spacey that I couldn't find my glasses until someone kindly pointed out that I had hung them on my t-shirt.
I stood in front of the tea bar in their cafe and carefully read the directions for using the loose tea. I carefully put my scoop of loose tea in my cup, added the hot water and sat down to watch it seep. When I say spacy I mean spacy. After taking a sip and realizing it had to be strained and taking tiny little tea leaves out of my mouth I also realized that in taking the class I had truly opened up energy passages in my body and mind. Feeling like I could finally drive home safely I went to the area where we had hung up our coats and stared at all the coats. I knew mine was in there somewhere. I looked under all the coats hanging on hooks on top and couldn't find my coat.  So I did was good old people do I went and sat down again to wait for my coat to decide it was time to go home. After picking some more tea leaves off my tongue I once again attempted to find my coat. AH, success! Now, I was ready to drive.  I want you to know that I did get home safely AND I carefully brought that cup of tea home with me. Not that I really had any plans to drink it now but it seemed to represent something I didn't quite understand and it needed to be tended.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Here's the skinny.

I am a big believer in NEW BEGINNINGS.  I had my new box of 24 crayons, for school all ready to go, when I was 8.
NEW BEGINNINGS get harder as you get older.  We may make the choice but get bogged down in details and get derailed.
A while ago I posted my thoughts on BALANCE, etc. and I bet some of my regular blog viewers thought, WTH!
What's up with this?

A year ago at Christmas time, I found out that my adult daughter was suffering from an addiction and she had been dealing with for the past four years.   Her daughter, my granddaughter has now become my prime concern.  Our care of her which was almost full time for the past year four or more years is now almost 98%.
This is not a problem but it did force a number of changes in my lifestyle.
I send my daughter prayers and love and hope that she can find the WANT and NEED to make the changes in her life.  It is not something that I can do for her.  I have set my boundaries and they are firm.  My sole concern is my granddaughter, a bright, happy, well-adjusted kid that longs for a "normal" set of parents but will be happy with her loving grandparents.

Taking a look at my list of priorities last year I noticed that I had moved SELF CARE & HEALTH right off the list.  In the first few weeks of working on my focus journal, I found that I
often had little in that focus area other than, Go to the gym.
With this new news about my daughter, I needed to take a good hard look at my well being.
I was officially classified as obese.  I think the word that the medical establishment likes to use is morbidly obese.  I get it.  I've been off and of, up and down, inside and out on diets since the birth of my first child, ok, before that.  I've done stupid diet, happy diets, disgusting low-calories, hospital-sponsored, liquid diets. I've taken pills that dropped the weight and made me dance with joy and when snatched out of the medical professions collective hands, watched that same weight come back on in lighting speed and doubled just in case I planned on doing something stupid like that again.
Long story short I had a talk with my doctor and with her support I made the decision to have Gastric By-Pass Surgery.  I did not take this lightly.  I did the research.  I talked with people.
One of the diseases that I had because I was obese was Diabetes Type II.  It was under control but I do not want this particular disease.  I could lose weight and it will go into remission but if I gained it back, it would return.

I had the surgery, and the doctors admit that they do not understand why this happens,  but before I had even left the hospital, the Diabetes Type II was gone.  Lab test showed my numbers were well within the normal range.

I am now well past the six-month mark and down 70 pounds.  I feel great. I have a 4-ounce tummy which allows me to eat,  s l o w l y  about a cup and a half of food at a meal.  I eat PROTEIN first then my veggies and fruits.  I have two protein shakes a day with fruit and whey. I do not drink, eat sugar, white food products, caffeine, anything bubbly or bread products. I go to the gym 5 times a week. I drink 64 ounces of water a day and get in 60 ounces of protein a day. I still love to cook for my family and friends but have lost interest in actually eating most of that food.  I prefer to stick with foods that I know my new tummy can handle and will agree with me. Doesn't mean I haven't experimented with things but the side effects aren't worth the effort.

I've had to buy new clothes which you might think is a hoot and a half but at first, it was a huge anxiety trip. Going into a department store and seeing the huge selection of clothing and sizes I found myself wandering into the plus sizes just because it was a "comfort zone". 
I'm now past that stage and delight in finding that there are a lot of smaller sizes at the resale shops then plus sizes. 

So for those of you that emailed me asking what was up. Here's what is new in my world.



Wednesday, January 03, 2018

6395 Surprise!

My computer has been to the Geek Squad three times since Thanksgiving.  I thought it was dying.
I thought perhaps I had "fried" the hard drive. Of course, I have no idea how in the world I could have done that but it was one option that was tossed in my direction on one visit. I panicked when I heard that. Long story short, John told me to just get myself a new laptop and call it my Christmas gift. I did.  When I went to pick it up I had a new Geek squad employee helping me, Uriah.
Uriah and I started talking about the fact that they were unable to load all my photographs from my old laptop onto the new one. WHAT? For, the amount of money I was paying for it that seemed hard to understand.  Uriah sighed and told me that if HE had been selling me on a laptop and knew that I was a photographer, THIS PARTICULAR model was the last one he would have recommended.
He then brought out my old (all of two years old) cleaned, fixed and finally finished downloading the MASSIVE file that Microsoft had been trying to load for God knows how long.
I looked at my old computer now "shiny, oh so shiny" and then at the new one which they had transferred as much as possible on to. I looked up at Uriah and said, "I think I feel sick."
Uriah, nodded, "I understand and just to let you know you can return the new one up to and including Jan. 15th."  What a perceptive fellow.

I waited one day then Riley and I took ourselves back to the store, returned the new laptop.

The only problem is that Microsoft and their massive download has rearranged things AGAIN on my computer. For some reason, my photographs are not showing up available for me to view and select for my blog.

I did what I usually do when perplexed I poked around clicking on things that looked like they might be hiding my photographs. It probably would make sense for me to actually write down where I was poking around so I could find my way back again. That would be the Wise Woman's Way.
Instead, I found myself with a list of jpg numbers in front of me. So, not being the Wise Woman I simply clicked on one and thought, hey, let's just go with whatever this shot is.

So, that's what you see.  Number Img_6395jpg and ohhhhh that's a pretty one.

Riley and I had a girls day out yesterday and one of the places that we stopped in was the Hospice Resale Shop, Agrace.  Small, packed and manageable I love that store. Riley and I discuss everything, from an antique highchair which she thought would be perfect for her cousin, Brigid but I reminded her that it didn't have a seatbelt so I didn't think Aunt Caitlin would approve of it, to a stuffed bunny that I told her if she wanted it was coming out of her money.

Getting back to the photo, I had a dream the other night and I saw a window with all these clear glass bottles in front of it. Each bottle held a beautiful pink or rose-colored flower. Now, I may not be a Wise Woman but I'm not stupid.  I've had this type of dream before and that involved seeing a kitchen with lots of glass windows and rows of beautiful blue bottles sitting on the windowsill.  That was before we built our house and when the house of finally finished and we had moved in I realized, as I was putting some cute little blue bottles I had found in a resale store, on the windowsills of my new kitchen that dream had come true.

So, Riley and I picked out some pretty clear glass vases and bottles and then rooted around in the silk flower bin and found pink and red roses.  I'm not breaking the bank here with these purchases but it will be interesting to see if something comes from this.

At least, when I look at my window I see color and not the snow or the cold and yes I know you can't see cold really but I know it's out there.  I know it's minus something.

But, I see HOPE, SPRING, COLOR and PINK which always makes me smile.