Monday, July 31, 2006
Norrie was very happy and Lydia was happy too though Lydia kept trying to claim everything was for her after Norrie fell asleep. I remember doing something like that too when my sister got something which I thought was wonderful.
Some of the best things were made by my mom...she made Norrie's birthday dress and this really cute doll w/ teddy bear, quilt, night gown and slippers. It is so cute! I will have to photograph them and put them up at my mama sews.
I'm supposed to get my car back today. Fitting it's on my birthday. We're celebrating it next Sunday...either a brunch or dinner, don't know for sure. If I get my car back, I think a lot of my low mood will go away. Nice to have transportation again...
Well, I didn't get best in show but I did when Second place at the Bedford County Fair...a lovely red ribbon! So, I was happy about that. I thought it was until Sunday but it turns out it ended on Saturday. I hope the animals were all right as it was so hot and warm. Plus, the prizes have totally fizzled to nothing. I wish they'd bring that back esp. since they charge an arm and a leg for admission and other costs. Maybe if there was a $1-2 entry fee this would create more prizes for all the work that goes into the art, etc. Just a thought.
Lots coming up this week...I have a fabric pick-up in Patton which should be pretty good. I'm looking forward to seeing what I get and what I can make out of different things. Earlier, I got two boxes of upholstery fabric from my neighbor and I am going to be redoing the dining room chairs in mix and match fabric. I tell you when people learn that you work with fabric, you just seem to inherit a whole lot at once! Kind of funny.
Doctors on Tuesday, Unitarian Meeting on Wednesday, Stitch and Bitch on Thursday and two days of Physical Therapy. Well, at least I'll have my car back, thank the stars.
We might be able to get air conditioning for the car too! What we do is go to the junk car lot and get replacement parts from there. They adapt it to your car and voila! Very nice was to recycle and save some cash too.
A friend mentioned that letters handwritten, mean a whole lot more to Congress/representatives. So, I'm aiming to write one this week. See what happens.
I was reading about Gandhi's life and found out he wasn't very good in school and oddly was fired from a part-time teaching position. For some reason, this made me feel a lot better about myself. It's funny how I carry things for so long and only now realize, hey it happens to everyone, even Gandhi.
I had thought we were going to get a rabbit this year, but we might not. Just because we have to make a side patio and cover it. This isn't happening yet, but it will. Still, I think it might be better to wait.
Mr. Nelson is feeling sick. I might have to take him to the vets. I think he drank some rain water that collected somewhere without me knowing and grew some bugs. Poor guy. Wonder if he'll need anti-biotic. I tried to slip him some Tums but he looked at me like I was mad. I ground them into peanut butter and dog food and then he ate it up. He did chase Simone (my gray cat); this is a good sign.
The house is a mess and I have fallen arches. It's muggy and I feel kind of productive. Hope this coffee gets me going. I may have to open my birthday present from my mom (it's hiding in the closet) to cheer me up.
Well, I've got things to clean as Monday is my official clean the house as much as I can day...ugh.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Is it the heat or that 60% of the USA is now officially in drought mode? I feel sad by this and a bit depressed. I try not to read too much news but with the headlines saying another country is invaded and people are getting killed...it's hard not to be touched by that. Why do people have to fight when we have words at our disposal? I know I get angry and sometimes will hit or throw things. I feel badly during these rages and am working on my self to understand why I do this. It makes me sad that people can just go and fly jets or whatever they use and drop bombs on countries with not even a flicker of shame...or maybe they do, but they still "follow orders". This is scary.
When my husband's uncle served in the Coast Guard he was ordered to launch missiles as part of an exercise. He refused to do it. He got into a lot of trouble and they ended up making him a cook. I'm proud of him for doing this. I wish more military would do this...if not for their own conscious but for the people who are really in danger of dying.
And I wish people would take the higher road...you know, the Mahatma Gandhi road; such as peace and peaceful resistance. Did you know that Gandhi read a lot of Tolstoy's writings? If you've ever read any of Tolstoy you'll know he was an incredible person. Born in wealth and power in 1800 Russia, he became aware of the suffering of the "common" man. He realized that ultimate wealth did not give him inner happiness and later gave up most of his fortune to his wife and dedicated most of his time to writing and understand human nature. He was a Christian but stripped away the dogmatism of religion seeking truth by actions of kindness and treating others with respect. This is the fellow that inspired Gandhi and a whole movement in India that would help end or at least bring awareness the horror of a caste system.
For those who don't know what a caste system is read this. Oddly, we in America don't have a traditional caste system but we do in another sense. We categorize people...generalize people...rich, poor, White, African American, Asian, male, female, Gay, Straight, Liberal, Conservative, Religious, Atheist, etc. We do this so we can identify ourselves and so we can isolate or avoid the "other". I can't say I'm immune, as I do this too. However, trying to understand why we do this is a major change in itself. Unfortunately, some people have latched on to this mentality of human nature and manipulated us to not think. If we are angry, if we are raging, if we are hurt, we are not thinking. We are acting out of emotion and not out of love and kindness. Yes, I know this sounds all goodie goodie but would you want to be on the recipient end of getting bopped or bombs dropped on us? I don't think so!
This is why we need to think and take time to use words to either get our feelings out and then to heal. A lot of leaders aren't using words wisely and this is not right. Maybe it's inevitable...maybe we will always be in a state of war and chaos. I personally, don't agree with this. We can do better to work with each other. We can and we need to.
When I lived in Los Angeles there is a massive amount of people. People, literally, from all over the word are there. Even my Bulgarian dad found his way to California, Los Angeles! There, when you think about it, there are far fewer problems then other countries on a bigger scale. Sure there were the LA Riots and there are some gang/corporate problems but on the whole, on the whole people are working with each other. It's amazing, really. I'm not romanticizing Los Angeles and it definitely has it's caste and poverty problems...still it is working and people are working together.
I guess this post is about working together...looking past people and their speech pattern/color and saying you are my brother and I will help you. You are my sister and I will help you. Yeah, I know I'm an optimist...still.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Other good news, looks like Sen. Specter is planning a bill to sue Bush. I'm so glad there are still a few people out there (regardless of party) with courage to stand up to the Greed Machines.
Why do I oppose this war?
One reason I oppose this war is because of my best friend’s brother. He enlisted because he wanted to get rid of student loans he and his wife had gotten to get a higher education. Only by the skin of his teeth did he survive. He (thank the higher powers) had been taught by his dad basic carpentry skills and was able to get out of direct battle but not before he saw many of his friends wounded and killed. Before he enlisted he believed there was something to this war but afterwards, he realized what a bunch of lies it all was. I'm glad he was able to survive and I hope he'll put his words into a book someday. He is obviously still very hurt by everything emotionally and will have to remember some of his friends by photo alone.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Oh, and for the record here is my question: Do you support cutting social security, education and farmers aid in favor of the war in Iraq?
Let me just say (not that there was any doubt in my mind), I will be supporting the opposition 100%! Not only did Shuster not answer my question (did the whole pick something he likes and avoid the real question) Shuster gave some logically incorrect information as well...he associated the 9/11 bombings with Iraq when it was the Al Qaeda in Afghanistan that did this. This was mixed in with liberating Iraq...All eyebrows should be raised at this strange reasoning!
Apparently, Shuster does think we should cut aid to our elderly, our children and to some of the hardest working people in the United States because he certainly didn't vote in their favor. Just off the top of my head, supporting the bankruptcy reform bill. "The bill makes it harder for individuals to file, and will have a cruel effect on cancer survivors and others dealing with major medical crises."
I admit I was nervous as heck but as soon as I wrote down my question, I was ready. If there is ever a physical town hall meeting, I will be attending and I feel good for sharing my voice.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
This is from the Dalai Lama, about the role of meditation:
"It is easier to meditate than to actually do something for others. I feel that merely to meditate on compassion is to take the passive option. Our meditation should form the basis for action, for seizing the opportunity to do something."--His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I couldn't agree with this more. If you are still confused about what we should be doing in America, remember the faces of those who gave their lives for this wrong war and those parents and family left afterwards.
Then a sick cat came into our yard that looked just like Sampson. It was so ill that it got within a foot of Nelson and didn't run away. I was afraid of rabies so I brought Nelson in. Then I found the cat on our front porch...I gave it food/water and it didn't seem to touch it. The poor cat laid on it's side and acted like it was really injured. So, I called the humane society, no luck. But oddly, when I called my dad-in-law to help me drop off the critter, my mom-in-law said the animal control guy was right there. He came down, got the cat and left a message w/ the people I thought might be the owners or else know of the owners. Honestly, why do people leave cats out? Ridiculous. I felt really sorry about the cat...he looked good other than seeming to have no use of his back legs.
At least this little guy, if he has to be put down, will be done in painless way. I've seen so many animals killed or ill because they were neglected over the years. Very sad. I don't think I need to write out all the horrible things that I've seen from animals being left to defend for themselves. Let's just say, having a safe indoor home is the best option.
I did find out that some cats (feral) can survive and live a long happy life in the wild. These places are called colonies and the cats still need to have vet intervention and ear tags. Interestingly, ear tags help animal control to identify if the cats need to be treated and neutered. I'm glad to see there is some sort of program to protect animals and they are safe in the "wild". I'm guessing the wild is a farm of some sort.
Anyway, I got Sampson's look alike off to wherever he's going and Lydia saw the cat being taken away. She thought it was Sampson. After I showed her Sampson was still here and well, she was all right. But having a cold makes her short tempered and needy. I ended up rescheduling a medical appointment, so this was less stress for me.
I have to admit the deep heat thing I got on Monday seems to be helping a bit. I'm glad because having an inflamed muscle is not pleasant.
Lydia is wearing a pair of kids skates...she loves them. Part of the freecycle stuff. I forget sometimes that kids can be so impressed with something like that. Very sweet.
Hopefully, we'll be able to go to Del Grosso's tonight. I feel so tired but Bob Casey could be there and dinner doesn't sound too bad. Though I have a feeling we'll be too late because Jon is taking forever getting home.
Well, I'm glad I got the cat some attention and I hope for the best. It's been an emotional day...I even cried when I read Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. I felt like this today.
I just want to go to bed...but Lydia is up from her 25 minute nap (only because she is sick).
Nearly finished with an art quilt!
This one was really fun as I added beads. I've never really using them in my mini/art quilts. I must say, they add a whole new life! I'm going to try incorporating beads in my work more often.
I also need to get more felt...or learn how to make my own.
This meant I'd have to take my machine apart. The dreaded and long needed cleaning of the sewing machine was about to take place. I got out my sewing manual and looked up how to clean out the dust, etc. After reading the instructions a few times, I got the idea and set off. I removed the plate and saw all the dust, thread and lint. It was a tad more than I thought and I began to wonder how I even could sew anything with it that dusty. So, I picked and dusted and got the dust out of layer #1. Next, I had to remove the race. This was a bit more challenging as there are quite a few warnings of all the things that could go wrong. I managed to get it out more dust, thread, etc. The directions say several times "DO NOT OIL". So, I didn't oil but I had a perverse thought of someone thinking, "well, maybe just a drop". It seemed kind of funny at the time.
Well, I got all the lint gunk out and then tried putting it back together. Gave it a trial run and it sewed. However, the bobbin wasn't catching and I could not get it out without removing the plate again. Annoying. So, after about 35 minutes and close to 12:30am, I finally got it in order and felt victorious. I was going to hold off till the next day, but thoughts of little helping hands spurned me on.
I now feel like I have gone where I have always feared and have learned something new. It's a good feeling. Oh, and the machine is working so much better. Interesting how a good dusting helps.
Monday, July 24, 2006
And now, poor Lydia is sick with a cold. She cries her self into throwing up, so I had that to deal with as well. Poor baby.
I don't know if we'll get the yard sale off for Saturday but we'll at least try. Plus, this weekend is Norrie’s birthday and the fair. I'm going to have to have Jon drop off at some friends to pick up some copies of the church by-laws I'd like to thumb through...work, work, work.
Thank the stars my sis-in-law dropped off some paintings for me at the vets as my car is in the shop, still. So, I'm a little stressed even though my fantastic parents-in-law are totally helping out w/ driving. Thank goodness. Oh, and I'm having a consultation to get a cyst removed tomorrow. lol! I don't know why I think that's funny, but I do. I should cover my self with gold stars for handling all of this. sigh...
Oh, just remembered I have to mail off some eBay paintings and finish those two commissions. Thankfully, I'm half way through the commissions!
And the house is a mess. Not that I care but my allergies do and I'm starting to think the sparse look might be a good idea.
I feel really sorry Lydia got sick too. But from my own experience it's short cold of maybe 24 hours. Norrie seemed to feel better after two days.
I'm thinking of taking the two kitty dolls my mom just sent for me to sell and try them out at the local art gallery. They are SO cute. I have to photograph them and the bigger kitty, as well. She made little Mary Jane type shoes on the one kitty doll and it also has beautiful embroidered flowers on the apron. Divine! And makes me so jealous! I've got to practice sewing like that.
As for me, I'm nearly done with an art quilt of a guinea pig w/flowers. This one I used beads as well as appliquéing. Let me just say, I LOVE IT! I will have to use beads more often in my work. It shimmers! This art quilt is about 24 by 20 inches (I'll have to verify it) and when I'm done, I'll definitely be showing it off here as well as at my mama sews.
I'm also working on little hand made birds but I don't think I can sell them. I love them too much! So, I'll show them but keep them for me. hehehe
I feel a slight stress headache from hearing our lovely neighbors practicing drums, again. Times like these I wish I lived on 4 acres of property. Ah, Jon just walked in! Thank goodness.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
So, I asked Jon if there were any replies, etc...and he said there was some oohing and ahh-ing. So, I hope this is a good thing. I really want to win the best in show but I will settle for 1st. Still, I'm nervous as heck and I wish I had entered other categories as well. Oh, well...next year, I guess.
The painting I entered is of a farm scene kind of like from the movie "Babe". A cow, farm animals and off in the distant are lama's. I think it looks really sweet and I tried to be playful with the colors. I did one of my favorite lighting of the sky effects. Basically, it's yellow watercolor paint left to dry and then bright turquoise paint over the sky...such an interesting and beautiful sky.
So, wish me luck on that. Maybe I'll try to do a quilt for next year...though that seems a bit daunting. I wish my mom was here in PA and we could do one together.
Also, Jon picked up some paintings from the local art gallery and I'll bring them in for Monday. I think I might have to get a few new frames as I have bigger pieces I could show at the vet's office.
Other news, a working on cleaning up piles of stuff from the free cycle things. I now have a plan for a heavy medieval type nightstand. I'm going to collage it! I'm planning to do this to the computer table too but I think it will look very interesting on the nightstand too. I used to paint my own furniture...painted several trunks (wooden/leather) with either a wolf design or abstract like art. Both look good. One trunk has a collage on it too. When I think about it, I did this a lot. Hmmm, wonder what that means. Time to paint furniture! :)
Anyway, I've got to download the pics of the trip up and finish some commissioned work. I like being an artist! Esp. a working one. :)
We're sorting through stuff and will most likely have a porch sale next week...hope it goes well. In some of the stuff we got there are kids games, thankfully. We got an "elephant/fun" butterfly catching game. After repeated wonderings as to why it wasn't working, I trimmed the "nose" and now it works great. So, the girls are having some exercise catching butterflies. Speaking of butterflies, we're going to get some real caterpillars from this great site. They send you "ecologically friendly for your area" caterpillars. Lydia surprised me and told me that a caterpillar forms a chrysalis and emerges a butterfly. Amazing and she's only four. I had to show that off, hehehe.
Norrie is going around using four syllable words like calculator. I feel so happy to hear them say things like that. Of course, Lydia does talk a lot...a whole stream of words pour out and Norrie is getting to that point too. They amaze me.
Here are some recycling projects I do w/ kids art and wrapping paper. Not that we use a whole lot of diapers/wipes anymore we do have a couple of boxes from these around. I like to wrap them up in pretty paper either decorated from the kids or left over wrapping paper. We'll use the boxes for sorting toys, picking up junk from around the house and bringing to the correct room, etc.
1. Get box and trim off edges...I did this one really rough but you can make a smoother cut:
2. Take pieces of wrapping paper/kid art and cover over inside flap. Tape down. Don't worry about it being perfect. Just tape it on in sections:
3. After you tape it up, you can add a little border on the top with some left over colored wrapping or leave it plain. Now, it's ready to use and admire. You could even put art supplies in one like this or their art projects. I may even make a few for me! : )
They are nice reminders of the kids art and wrappings being reused. I also like to cover them up with clear packaging tape to give them a laminated look.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Also, if you don't know what freecycling is check this out and look up your state/city.
Pics of my loot to come soon.
Apparently, all this warm weather has caused my cats to go into hyper shedding drive. The other day I pulled off enough hair from Autumn to knit a small scarf (no, I did not save the hair). And then I hand groomed Sampson and pulled off a small cat of fur. I have to find my cat brushes (which two little house fairies misplaced). Just amazing amount of hair...
Sampson looking pleased from his grooming.
Our rats tipped their sleeping hutch over and we can see them sleeping in a bunch. It must be cooler this way and they look so darn cute!
I gave the girls baths, a bit earlier and they managed to get dirty already. Chocolate and bananas. Oh, and I think they broke the DVD. I haven't told Jon yet. He's already vexed about the printer still not working.
I also sent Jon to get some stuff from Freecycle...so that should be interesting. I think I over planned doing things. Well, after the next week or so, things will calm down. Plus, we don't have church on Sunday! Ha! Being a small Unitarian group isn't too bad, actually.
Speaking of Unitarians, I'm already planning another service. I'm excited about this one too. I'm not going to reveal too much about it just that it's a timely topic and one I can use to inspire people to take action.
Still need to get to the hair shop, beauty salon...whatever they're called. I'm getting to the point where my hands are itching to experiment w/ the scissors. I now know where my gals get the idea into their heads. Ah, well...
I hope we go on a small car trip...we've been doing that once, nearly every weekend but I keep forgetting the camera. So much beauty in the world. Jon drove us to a little river but I was too afraid to get out because of unidentified plants and Norrie being allergic. Plus, I didn't have my epi pen.
I'm reluctant to get Norrie tested because I want Jon to be there too. Maybe I'll take his parents. I'm just nervous because she's not quite yet 3 (end of July) and I want her to be all right.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Just in time for summer...don't we look cute. If you look at Norrie's fingers there is just a hint of black ink which she got into while I was distracted. Can't be too angry as she is sick. Poor dear (said with an eye twitch).
I think I know why I had such a strong migraine/allergy (if it was that)...I was rummaging around my 3rd floor in 100 degree heat in the afternoon w/ no air filters. I was looking around for various art stuff/supplies (and found a good deal of fun things to play with) but about half way through this I sat down and felt like I was in a sauna. Sauna's aren't normally bad but I was moving around and it was very dusty/stuffy even with the windows open. When I came down, I was sweating and red. So, I'm almost 100% it was from this...or heat exhaustion.
Yesterday, Norrie felt awful and I thought for sure she had the flu or something similar to what I have. Fortunately, it may be a summer cold. I think it might be partially allergies too. She's very allergic to grasses we found out a few weeks ago (horrible swelling on the hands, legs...where she touched grass and something called fox tails). So, I've become paranoid about her running out and playing. I think we're just going to have to mow the grass more often or get rid of certain spots so, the girls can play relatively safe.
Obviously, I haven't been doing as much art as I would like to do...just trying to get the laundry under control after being down. It's amazing, when you are sick and no other grown-up is around, how kids will behave. They basically will not give you a moment's peace, will think you are laying down so they can jump on you, and will get into everything. I swear I wished I had a hologram of myself that would be a physical representation of myself and straighten them up. No such luck. And as luck was not on my side, Jon was an hours drive away and had carpooled that day and we couldn't get to his parents or find their cell phone #.
Feeling so miserable, I didn't even have the strength to punish crimes or move around much. Awful feeling. I think probably felt sick the day before as I didn't feel like picking up anything or sweeping (which I actually like doing...hate doing dishes but sweeping isn't too bad).
Well, we went to the doctors yesterday...everything's all right and I'm going to get a physical, etc. So, that's good. I'm feeling optimistic and glad to be proactive about everything.
Also, there is a break in the weather...a cloudy damp day...hopefully it becomes mild and not steamy humid. I wish I could get used to this weather or at least wear some sort of mask/air tank so I can go out and not feel irritated by pollen. VERY ANNOYING!!
I'm also happy with my new doctor. I hate to sound preferential, but I think a female doctor for females is just so much better. I felt much more comfortable and relaxed...plus, Jon was there and that helped a great deal.
In other news, we've been bat watching in the evening. We have a small screened in back porch and can see bats flying about catching insects. Lovely and fascinating. They swoop back and forth in big arches and are fascinating to watch. Of course, that's about as close as I want them too...
Apparently, some poor bobcat got rabies (most likely from a bat) and attacked some person in a local bike park! Very scary. They had to kill the bobcat and it indeed had rabies...hope the person is all right that got attacked.
Sometimes I think we're really in the city and then I realize, we're not. We're very close to nature here and I often have conflicting feelings about this. On one hand, nature is all wonderful and beautiful. But on the other, if you're allergic to any plants or get attacked by a rabies infested animal, my goodness watch out. I guess I'm not a survival of the fittest person/creature...I probably should live in a bubble (the sad thing is, I'm not really kidding either).
Anyway, I've got things to do...a rat cage to clean, call about rescheduling an eye appointment and see if my car is ready for pick-up. All this while tending to the young-ins and hopefully squeezing in some art (believe, I'll try). I need to write a pile of notes to people. I really want to join the local art group and see how that works. They do group shows, so this is attractive.
I'm so glad Norrie is feeling good...she woke up at 5:30 am (went down at 8 pm) and at first we thought she was going to throw-up. Turns out she was just rested and ready to start the day! What a joy...of course, if she had gotten up at 7:30 am, I'd be even happier. Ah, well.
Oh, Jon and I have been watching original Star Trek of late. Some of it is kind of silly but others of it are very true and still has a message for today. I'm going to have to look up the scripts of certain shows and do an essay blog about it. The original Star Trek was written during an interesting time in American history and reflects a lot of the humanist ideals that America tried to stand for as well as giving voice to opposing views. Not very many shows (if any) do that today. In fact, the times we live in right now are extremely political and yet, we only have a few people acknowledging these things (environment and esp. economics). How are we so distracted by __________(fill in the blank) to ignore basic things like our air/water and the fairness wages? And I do think there are too many distractions and not enough reflections.
While we watched Star Trek, there was a touching scene of Spoke reflecting/meditating a situation that had arisen. We could hear his thoughts and how he weighed both sides of the situation. It was an interesting introspective view...and gave the characters on the show more depth, as well as being a good example of what we should all try doing.
Pray/Meditate for peace
Lastly, I cut my hair. Actually, I did this about two weeks ago...Let me just say, I'm so glad I did it. I never realized I had so many spilt ends. I was planning on donating my hair to locks of love but I feel ashamed at the unruliness of my hair. I wonder if they'd mind. Either way, I feel so much better now that it's cut. In fact, I want to get it done properly and have a little flip cut into it. I also grew my bangs out and it has a "sleek" look...esp. with my long face. It is good to try something new, sometimes and let me just say, what a good way of cooling off. I love short hair!
Monday, July 17, 2006
Anyway, I gave my presentation/essay reading on Thich Nhat Hanh's book Touching Peace. I have read this book probably 4 or 5 times now and have read excerpts from it as well. I initially liked it because it gave physical reasons as to why meditation should be strived for to counter violent feelings and understand ourselves. For example, near Thich Nhat Hanh’s “monastery, a village was repeatedly destroyed by American forces, and each time was rebuilt by the monks. Finally the inhabitants of the village were killed in one bombing raid. Thich Nhat Hanh says that his rage over the situation forced him into a crucial choice in his life: either he would bow to his fury and go out killing the people who had killed these villagers … or he would go to the land where these soldiers came from and teach people there how to live more peaceably.”* It's something I have to think about a lot because of experiences in my past and how I would take-in whatever negative force was there instead of deflecting it.
As I spoke before our group, a sense of peace settled on me. Perhaps it was listening to IZ's song "Kaleohano" as the opening/welcoming song that gave me a sense of peace or an awareness that I was sharing something that is good. For whatever reason, I felt calm and happy. I rather liked preparing the music and even though I had to change two songs to ones I didn't know in the least (and found out one the most difficult the hymnal!), I was able to see the humor in it (and thankfully, controlled most of my giggling fit). So, that was a learning experience.
I also learned that previous fears as a young adult have really been swept aside. I realize now, I'm not as afraid as I was once...oh, I still get jitters and before we got to the chapel I had to stop at the market. I contemplated hiding out in the isles but soon felt silly for that.
Anyway, after the service, we did a visual meditation of blowing bubbles...and yes, I was inspired by Spongebob on some level...I would have preferred blowing bubbles outside but it was way too hot, so we did indoor bubble blowing. I think it went over nicely.
When we got home, we turned on our electric bubble blower and it was rather inspiring to see the bubbles lift off into the air currents and spiral out of sight. Very poetic in it's own way.
Here is an actual breathing meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh:
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, I see myself as a flower.
Breathing out, I feel fresh.
Breathing in, I see myself as a mountain.
Breathing out, I feel solid.
Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.
Breathing in, I see myself as space.
Breathing out, I feel free.
I may just be volunteering for another service...I think I'll incorporate meditations as part of the opening prayer or reading when ever I volunteer to do this. We used to do a small meditation when I had my yoga class in California. Wish there was something like that around here...actually, I just remembered something. Jon wrote me and said that a monk from Vietnam has just bought a property off of eBay in Eastern PA and is planning to start a small monastery! I wonder if it will be a bit like Plum Village in Monastery in France? What a nice thought... Makes me even happier that we moved here to PA.
I was supposed to drop off some paintings at the vet's office but my car in the shop and I need to contact the gallery to get a few paintings from them. It's funny how when one starts to move in the direction that is right for them, things start to flow in a good way.
Trying to pick up a few things around the house since I'm house bound...no car & too hot to go out. I also want to plant some gourd seed from a gourd I let dry out from last year. It was kind of cool to see how hard it got...actually, Mr. Nelson broke open the base perfectly (like a little cap) and I could scrape out seeds with a cork screw. My grandmother used to buy gourds and make doll beds, I believe, spoons, and bird houses. Kind of a cool tradition, actually.
I have to say having a "speaking engagement" gave me all sorts of energy and I did quite a few art quilts and other projects. I think it's good to have something to look forward too where you're the giver and not just the recipient.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Anyway, as you may have guessed I do like the show and often think of myself as either Mrs. Puff and on some occassions like Spongebob or most likely Mr. Krabs (he has this really cool doll-o-rama stand...wish I had one!). Well, I was looking up quotes by Spongebob and found some really good ones by a minor character...Sheldon J. Plankton. They are really funny as, being a graduate of college, these thoughts often go through my head...
"You can't do this to me, I WENT TO COLLEGE!"
"Now it's time for my well thought out and college formulated plan!"
Oh, and an un-college related quote "Goodbye everyone! I'll remember you all in therapy!" I don't know why but they really crack me up. I'm just weird. Oh, and I had some coffee...sorry, folks.
Sent off a late b-day present to my favorite 10 year old niece! Wow...I can hardly believe my little Katie is 10. Dang...these are the times I wish we hadn't moved across the US and stayed near my family. And why hasn't anyone invented a transporter yet!?! I mean, really! Of course, I'd be too chicken to try the darn thing out...but still, I like the idea.
~~Oh, I need to take some allergy medicine...my ear is ringing, I feel a bit dizzy, irritated and it feels like I have a cold but it's not. ugh.~~
We accidentally left Odie outside on the porch. Thankfully, it was a warm night and he didn't seem to mind. He was safe but I'm just shocked at how pooped I was last night. I was trying to get the girls to fall asleep and had them cuddled next to me...next thing I know it's 4am and I had slept with my clothes on! I hate that...and not brushing me teeth.
Here's a list of things that annoy me:
1. my foot falling asleep
2. making a huge list of plans and not doing one thing on from it
3. stubbing my toe
4. washing the dishes two (or more) times in a row
5. Forgetting to do something or forgetting something I was meaning to do/say
6. Spilling food on my self
7. Getting a headache
Well, that's enough annoyances. Things that make me happy:
1. Having time to paint
2. coming home from some event/outing and greeting my family
4. Watermelon without seeds
5. a cool day that is bright and sunny
6. Selling my work on eBay
7. Playing the piano/guitar
Of course, I have a more I could add to this list but I'll stop here too. Speaking of cookies, I increased the cookie recipe I made yesterday by 3 and gave some away. There is quite a bit more and I admit this was one good batch of chocolate chip cookies.
I also stayed in the house the entire day...except for going on the porch. Too humid/hot to go anywhere and the car's radiator might be headed for that old car dump in the sky. It's at the hospital right now...hope it doesn't cost a fortune.
I've been rereading Thich Nhat Hanh's Touching Peace...trying to get ready to talk about this. We shall see how that goes.
I wish I could make my eyes pop slightly out. I don't know why this is appealing but it is.
Ah, the girls have discovered the microscope...I bid you adieu.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
I finally got to see the whole of "Off the map" which was on my list of movies recommended. It's an interesting film about self discovery and redefining our past so we can embrace the present. Or at least that's what I got out of it.
It's funny I watched the film about half way through and had to stop...two little gals kept interrupting and just making it hard to focus on a film that calls for attention. It's full of visual beauty as well as interesting dialog. Apparently, this was originally a play and was adapted for film. The very first scene is a detailed look at a painting. After this, a set of the house is just so stage-like it makes you wonder if it's going to go beyond the confines of a room. The film does and though the main character, Bo, is a bit overly cutesy at times I was able to get into the story.
What really intrigues me is not so much the family but the artist or the character that transforms into an artist, William Gibbs. I was so interested in this character that I looked him up only to find he was purely mythical in nature. The art showed in the beginning of the film and credited to the made up character of William Gibbs is by Stan Berning a prolific, contemporary artist.
So, after so web snooping I found out that Berning is the artist responsible for the beautiful work filmed so tenderly. I even found out that the artist really did do a painting on wallpaper "scrolls" and later mounted it to linen. Of course, guess who wants to try this out? Yep...and I found some old wallpaper in my garage of all things dusty and forgotten. So, I may be trying this out...
The film is that sort of film that makes a person want to give painting a try, or live simply for a bit or go hunting for berries or some such thing. If anything, the "Off the map" makes you feel a bit like taking time to think and contemplate...something that is often missing in this hectic world of ours.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Anyway, if you give it a try, please share your results! :-}
Anyway, allergies, humidity, and just plain ugly weather make for a very grumpy Emily. Plus, my car is acting crazy...gas pedal got stuck going up hill and the only reason I didn't crash was because I tried switching gears and finally got it in park. Scary to say the least. Also, my radiator is acting up. We're going to get these taken care of as soon as possible.
On the other hand, I got all the customers work sent via the mail and I even talked to a local venue about displaying my work. I just sent a press release to the local paper (again). Hopefully, it will get printed.
Nelson is acting crazy because it's way too hot outside to play and as soon as he comes in he goes wild. I threw his blanket on him and he got tangled in it...haha...good exercise for his Majesty. Plus, he looks cute...like an Ewok.
In the meantime, I have taught Lydia how to sew! She's four and now can make little things herself...she's very proud of her work and I am too.
Anyway, that's it for now...got to get some sleep and work off this mild migraine from today...
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I learned an important lesson, however. 1. Never put seeds you care about into pure compost...90% will not survive or get past the seedling stage because of the heat of the compost. 2. Don't put a pumpkin in your compost unless you want a pumpkin growing there. Well, I've found out that last years pumpkin was not entirely devoured by Autumn's chipmunks, as I thought. Rather, I've got a massive and beautiful pumpkin plant growing in the side of the compost. So, we're going to have pumpkins for October, I guess. Kind of a nice surprise, actually.
I also learned, to my great surprise, that you can in deed take a grape vine snipping, put it in water and grow roots! Now, I will be planting a grape vine and next year will have grapes!!! Very exciting.
After I composted for a bit, I worked in the garage which is in great need of TLC. I've got junk in there from the previous owner, my junk and stuff I want to fix, etc. Well, I was sorting through there and found an entire encyclopedia from the 1950's or so, about eight phone books from the 70's and a working tape recorder with mic!! This is awesome as now I have more than enough ephemera to work with for collageing and probably sell some on eBay. Plus, the cool thing about the recorder is I found a tape with the previous owners voice on it and could hear how he talks! Very cool. I also found some of his old soldier papers, stuff from when he was in the military and some stuff from when his dad was in the military, perhaps. Also, lots of old fashioned checks, receipts and business accounts. Very interesting. Other things have to be tossed because of mice getting into it and other things are just broken. But I was amazed to see all these things. Fascinating and like a walk through history.
Well, later on I cleaned out my desk in the bedroom and repaired a few drawers that kept falling apart...I felt a little like "This Old House" or one of those shows on PBS that have lots of repair/make it yourself stuff. I ended up finding a lot of "missing" things and about half my hair clips which little hands seem to like to play with a lot.
But best of all I found my glue gun. I've been searching for it since yesterday and after looking for it on all over the house, I sat down and there it was in a basket by the computer! What a relief.
I am just so thrilled the grape vine has roots! I feel like this is a good sign as I used to take clipping of rose bushes and grow roots on them in water all the time in California. It makes me so happy to know I can still do this in PA.
Anyway, I have to do a few things in the basement...working on some new artwork w/abstract elements, trying to finish some puppets (esp. now that I've got the glue gun) and feeling pretty good about some grape roots.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
"Britons questions described Americans as uncaring, divided by class, awash in violent crime, vulgar, preoccupied with money, ignorant of the outside world, racially divided, uncultured and in the most overwhelming result (90 percent of respondents) dominated by big business."
They said we had little or no spirituality basically, were obsessed with money matters and were mainly apathetic. I hate to agree with this, but it just seems like the case.
It saddens me to identify with an America like the one drawn by the British. What bothers me most is I can't disagree with a lot of the descriptions used. However, I do challenge them in that there are uncaring people on one hand and there lots more caring people on the other...I see this every day from people helping others emotionally, physically, monetarily. I see caring people going all out to rescue a bird injured by an electric wire or a dog lost. Yes, there is cruelty and apathy and these should be criticized and learned from.
I can definitely say we are divided by class and very much so by race...just thinking about New Orleans and the lack of response to the area is a huge example. I also learned that because a lot of the constituents of the area are in such poverty that they rely on pay check to pay check living, many just didn't have the money to leave the area. This is America where you have people living on $500,000 and more. Oh, and trillions are spent on this war we have going on in Iraq. Amazing.
I will not try to defend America...as a whole country we have failed ourselves and betrayed ourselves countless times over. We promote and accept laws that would do the greatest damage to our elders, to our children, and to some of the hardest working like farmers and the working poor. It enrages me and makes me realize how very much we have to work to correct and at least talk about these things.
I do believe in hope...something very few associate with America, apparently. Some people still believe in hope because we have people from other countries trying to make it to and in this old United States. And these very people are scorned, made fun of and treated as inhuman because of their color, language or class level. When my father came to America, he came through a program that sponsored people of the Christian faith and was able to get to America as one seeking asylum as well. I know many people who come to America are in very similar circumstances or worse. For my dad, his was coming from a country (Bulgaria) that was under a dictatorship rule at the time...one that didn't allow freedom of religion or worship. And yet, in America he was made fun of because of his accent and the way he looks. Actually, he still is treated poorly (but that is another story).
And these are the very things that made America such a great place. The freedoms like being able to say what needs to be said, the religious freedoms and yet within those very freedoms we have people taking advantage of them and trying to change the laws to deny us of the very rights we celebrated on July 4th.
Another part of the poll was that Americans are ignorant of the outside world and are dominated by big business. Boy is this ever the case...just thinking about all the businesses that once were something in America are now manufactured in countries under the poorest environmental standards, the poorest treatment of workers and the cheapest possible pay. Why did these companies leave? Because we wanted better pay, better or clean air? Did they leave because we had the nerve to say no, we don't want you to dump crap into our waters and cause cancer in the people and environments? These are freedoms we took for granite and we allowed big business to run away from their responsibilities and crap on the weak and poor in other countries. Yet, another reason why we should be boycotting products that are made under poor working conditions and under corrupt laws.
I see this poll as a time to reflect and see how truthful we can be about ourselves. Do we get defensive and try to justify our actions (or inactions) or do we say, enough. Time to make a difference. Time for me to reduce my TV time and volunteer at the neighborhood park committee. Time for me to propose ways for the city to put in walking paths to stores instead of pure driving. Time for me to support local small business venues. Time for me to look past the packaging and find more substance and quality in my life.
I believe the saying that it just takes one person. One person to say, I'm going to pick up trash, I'm going to plant tree seeds, I'm going to talk to that person and get the ball rolling about cross walks and so on. It's a matter of saying I will try.
I remember once someone said, "That's my good deed for the day." I liked that so much I try to do at least one good thing a day. Sometimes I barely make it to one good thing...others, I can do a few good things. What can you do today that will qualify as a good deed? I'm sure there are plenty of people out there we pass by in life...can we share a smile? Can we say "Good day to you"? We can and we must try.
I, for one, am ashamed of the poll. Not because of the poll but because of what people think of my America. I'm not a nationalist but I do live in the boundaries of the US and feel like I, we can do better. We can do better. Whether it's sending a handwritten letter to congress or protesting in the streets, we must do this if we have a sense of our selves, to protect our brothers and sisters near and far and those we will never know.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Prayers for Peace
A selection of prayers from various religious traditions.
A Native American Prayer for Peace
O Great Spirit of our Ancestors... Give us the wisdom
to teach our children to love, to respect, and to be kind to
each other so that they may grow with peace in mind.
Let us learn to share all the good things that you provide
for us on this Earth.
A Christian Prayer for Peace
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to
those who hate you. Bless those who curse you, pray for
those who abuse you. Blessed are the peacemakers, for
they shall be called the sons and daughters of God.
A Muslim Prayer for Peace
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created
us and made us into tribes and nations that we may
know each other, not that we may despise each other.
A Jewish Prayer for Peace
Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we
may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat
our swords into plowshares, and our spears into pruning
hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation.
Neither shall they learn war anymore. And none shall be afraid.
A Buddhist Prayer for Peace
May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings
of body and mind quickly be freed from their illness.
May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those
bound be free. May the powerless find power, and
may people think of befriending one another.
A Hindu Prayer for Peace
O God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
O God, lead us from darkness to light.
O God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti unto all.
A Jainist Prayer for Peace
Do not injure any living being. This is the eternal,
perennial, and unalterable way of spiritual life.
Forgive do I creatures all, and let all creatures forgive me.
Unto all have I amity, and unto none enmity.
A Baha'i Prayer for Peace
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity...
be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home
to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light
unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body
of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and
a fruit upon the tree of humility.
A Sikh Prayer for Peace
We attain God when we love, and only that victory
endures in consequences of which no one is defeated.
A Zoroastrian Prayer for Peace
We pray to God to eradicate all the misery in the world:
that understanding triumph over ignorance, that
generosity triumph over indifference, that trust triumph
over contempt, and that truth triumph over falsehood.
A Shinto Prayer for Peace
Although the people living across the ocean surrounding
us, I believe all are our brothers and sisters, Why are
there constant troubles in this world? Why do winds and
waves rise in the oceans surrounding us? I only earnestly
wish that the wind will soon puff away all the clouds
which are hanging over the tops of mountains.
I found this at belief.net