Archive for June, 2010

New Collage for Latination and a Peacock


2010
06.27


I finally finished the collage I was making to submit for a show at Metro Galleries called Latination.  It has to be Latin-themed in some way, even loosely.  If you click on the link you can see more about the show, and if you click on the Gallery Info tab and then click artists, you will see me!

Anyway, here’s the collage.  It took me a long time to get this right.  It was the bottom right section that was troublesome but I think I have it.

Materials are paint on canvas, vintage fruit crate labels, and my own photos of the sky.

And just for fun I did a small painting.  It’s only the second one I’ve ever done, and considering I don’t know how to paint, I think it’s pretty good.  As art, it’s pretty bad.  But I had fun.  I copied a picture I took of a peacock.  If you click on the “My Photos” tab at the top, then enter the Animal Gallery, you’ll see the photo – it’s number G1-14.  You can also enter the Photo Gallery on the sidebar.

I am under no illusions or delusions that I’ll be a painter.  But since I’m not trying to be, I guess I can do what I want, no matter how crude it is.  I was just thrilled to get the color right and actually have it resemble a peacock!

That’s all, folks.  It’s hot in Bako now – we’ve had a good run this spring of wonderful, mild temps, but now we are in Bakersfield summer mode – over 100 degrees.  Funny how draining that is even when the house is air conditioned.  I’m not complaining, though.  I have a house and I have air conditioning, which probably puts me in the top tier of comfort around the world.  And I have the time to do things like try to paint.  It may all collapse on us one day, but for now I’m very grateful.


Did you see the MOON? Plus art, cell phones, and phonographs


2010
06.25


I’m going to save the best for last – the MOON

Cell phone update

The saga of my cell phone has  gotten ridiculous.  Time for husbands New Every Two, which really means Discount Every Two unless you want a toy phone.  I used the New Every Two as my husband has a new phone.  I got the Droid Incredible which I loved to pieces until I found out I could not put my bluetooth in my ear and say “Call ____.”  Sent back.  Credit received. Got the Blackberry Bold. What a clunker! Heavy, hard to navigate the icons – shame on them!  Sent back.  Credit received.  Decided to stick with Blackberry Curve.  Ordered the lavender one.  Started to program it but I couldn’t find the keys.  Ah – the keys were lavender too!  My current phone is a pink Blackberry Curve and the keys are not pink.  They are silver and black and I can see them without my glasses.  But lavender on lavender?  Can’t see with my glasses.  Sending it back Monday.  Down to one choice – the black Blackberry Curve.  I am waiting to order however.  Can’t take anymore of this.  And they better not charge me the $35 restocking fee for the Droid or the lavender Curve.  Now I will take deep breaths and continue this post with

ANTS

I need more deep breaths.  I watered and cleaned up outside today.  There were no ants.  There are now ants swarming all over the patios and lawns and everywhere.  I must have disturbed a nest or something.  I put a call in to pest control having made a command decision to damn the frogs and hire pest control if that’s what it takes.  Seriously, I hope Adam can find a way to not made the pond toxic.  We had such a bad infestation at our old house once that we had ants coming out of switch plates, and once I found my snake Jake covered with ants!  I grabbed that snake and put him under the kitchen faucet hoping he wouldn’t have a heart attack from the sudden change of temperature.  So I’m not waiting to see ants coming out of switch plates.  I hope Adam calls back even though it’s Friday night and we haven’t hired him yet.  Let’s talk about something more pleasant that won’t raise my blood pressure, which would be

Phonographs and Memories

Do you ever wonder if things you remember about your childhood were really like that? I have fondly told the story of how I would wake up every day and put a record on my phonograph first thing – the same record every day.  My parents awoke to “The King of France had 40,000 men; they marched up the hill and then marched down again.” My phonograph was hand-cranked.  I’ve wondered lately if I made that up, however.  I didn’t.  Because in the move I looked through old photos and there I was in my bedroom with the phonograph and you can see the crank!

Nice to know I remembered that correctly.

Watercolor

Watercolor is hard. I did a watercolor up at the cabin and I have no idea what it is.  I was trying to replicate a journal page but it’s not quite the same.  I don’t even want to learn watercolor – phew! My dad got a lifetime achievement award from the National Watercolor Society.  They don’t give that out very much.  I so appreciate his skill as an artist – a lifetime of work.

So here’s what I did.  Miss Know Nothing trying to learn from the website watercolor.com.  However, I don’t even think I held the brush correctly, although I did remember from time to time to try.This is my masterpiece.  It’s colorful, I can say that, and I used water, that much is true.   However, putting the water and color together is amazingly difficult. So, someone tell me what it is so I can explain it to others as if I did it on purpose.

I’m going to take out that yellow and reddish column.  Would it make any sense to all it Windows?

Now for the MOON

Oh my goodness gracious you should have seen Bakersfield’s moon last night.  My husband, who goes to sleep at 9:00, got up to use the restroom at about 11:15 and just happened to look out his window.  He came in my room and startled the heck out of me – I was doing something on the computer.  (Yes, we each have our own rooms.  It’s called snoring.) “Look at the moon,” he said.  Clouds, almost-full moon, I stuck my camera on the tripod and took 81 photos.

I’m only going to show you nine, and I don’t need to comment.  Just look.  Wish you had been here to see it in person with me.  The third one I want to title “The Mothership has Arrived.”

Goodnight, moon.


Go Take a Hike


2010
06.24


Has anyone ever told you to go take a hike?  I told myself to do that very thing yesterday.  About 1:00 in the afternoon I decided to find a trail my friend Chris McKee told me about. Just a short distance from the cabin.  I loaded my pockets with important things like my lipstick, my small camera, water, phone, car keys, and set out.

I was a good girl.  I let my husband know where I was going since I would be alone.

The trail of the bear?  That got me wishing I could see a bear but knowing I wouldn’t.  But I did want to and thought how I would jangle my keys and make lots of noise if I did see one.  No dice, though.

So I set out – I was walking too fast.  I kept telling myself to slow down, I wasn’t in a race, I should look around.  So I took many short breaks to look around me.  In “My Photo Tips” on the tabs above, which don’t seem to be working quite right – but I talk about that – always take a look behind, to the sides, etc.  I took my advice.

Here I am, on the trail and happy, wearing that damn shirt I bought at WalMart about 7 years ago for under $5 I think.  It won’t wear out!

Here’s the trail.

Elevation started about 6,000 feet and went up to over 7,000.

First I saw a bunch of pine cones.  All kinds – they should have been labeled.  Close up, a pine cone could be many things.

This could be little hillocks with just a trace of snow.  Or something.  I started wondering about Fibonacci’s sequence in nature and couldn’t believe math had entered my mind, or anything to do with it.  Anyway, I think pine cones follow Fibonacci’s  Golden Ratio.

Now this was cool.  What a great shape; such a graceful tree.

About now my knee was hurting a little.  Oops – forgot the Aleve.  I have chondromalacia patella in my right knee, whatever that is.  It’s an ailment common to runners; however, I never run.  I am overweight – but I get a runner’s problem instead of a weight problem.  Go figure.  Anyhow, I adjusted my gait a little and went on.

Look!  It’s a rock. A rock for the ages. (Slap myself.)  It does have an interesting pattern though, which I could tell you about if I was remotely interested in geology.

I have to digress here – when I was teaching fifth grade, I was almost the only teacher in the school who did science.  I found a tape in the library called Igneous Rocks – yes, a title to excite anyone – but it went with our unit so I showed it.  Who would have known that volcanoes fall into the igneous rock category!  It was the most popular tape I showed all year.  And yes, I do mean tapes.  Schools are always eons behind in technology.  I had to buy my own DVD player.

How about this pine cone?  It landed upright, apparently, when it fell, because I’m pretty sure it didn’t come from that little tree.

About now I was getting hot.  I’d only brought one bottle of water because I didn’t expect it to get hot.  I was rationing.  There was no trail map so I didn’t know how long this was going to be.  I’d picked up a pamphlet at the trail head and it had numbers where you could stop at markers and read about how it would have looked from the point of view of the Tubatulabal Indians who were native to the Southern Sierra Nevada.  However, I put the pamphlet in a crevice where I thought the next person might see and use it.  Why?  I never saw a sign post with a number, and the trail map said “not to scale.”

I saw a butterfly.  I saw a marker. Sign post #12.  Where were the first 11?  Now I wished I had the not-to-scale map so I could find out how many signs there were.

It was a beautiful day.  But I felt a little shivery.  Uh-oh.  It wasn’t all that hot, but I’ve had heat exhaustion three times previously and I know the signs.  I wasn’t going to take any chances. I turned around and went back the way I came.  I was probably almost at the  mid-point anyhow, but I couldn’t risk finding out.

Going back the same way had its advantages, however.  I saw these flowers – I think perhaps they are called Snow flowers although they don’t match google images exactly.  Anyone know for sure?

Here’s a close-up.

When I got back to the cabin (about a 2-minute drive), I looked online for the Unal Trail and found it was 3.6 miles.  I’m sure I went almost two of those 3.6.  I’ll go back another time.  I’m sure I’ll tell myself to take a hike again.


Finally. At last. Summer has come to the mountains. Bliss.


2010
06.23


Finally, at last.

Snow is beautiful.  It’s most beautiful when you have magically been deposited into the cabin with all your stuff, so you can look at and appreciate the stillness and beauty.  It’s not so fun when you have to trudge through the snow, knee-deep, ferrying stuff up the stairs because you can’t get your 4-wheel drive car through the sort-of plowed road.

Bliss

I remember that Creative Every Day Month’s thene for June is Bliss.  This is bliss – the forest in summer.  That is why I am ecstatic that summer has come to the mountains.  The best part is sitting on the balcony watching the blue jays, who ask for peanuts incessantly and I of course provide them. Once in a while I spot woodpeckers and yesterday saw a white-headed woodpecker for the second time up here.  The hummingbirds come to the feeder after trying to drink from our Chinese lanterns, and the nuthatches go up and down the trees looking for insects.

I was so excited I did an art journal collage page called Finally. At last. (click to make larger)

A walk in the woods

Went for a walk to see what was new out there.  Not much was new, so I had to do something to make the photos interesting.  I took out the color.

In the next photo, the electric and phone lines are crossed.  I used to think how ugly that was and why couldn’t it all be put underground.  Probably I thought that out of ignorance and because my parents were always so critical of anything not esthetically pleasing.  But now that we have a place in the mountains, the lines mean electricity, phones, internet, television.  Plus, I realize the difficulties of doing things up here.  Wires here are good. I like them.

I found an interesting tree- loved the shape.  What I didn’t expect was the background – it looks a little like snow in summer.

I passed a stump.  Then I went back and took three photos.  It’s a good example of point of view – everything depends upon your point of view.  The first looks like a stump, an obstacle to pass.

A few steps further, and a new perspective, it becomes a passage, a way through.

And yet a couple more steps, the same stump becomes a shelter.

The perspective of the passage narrows and you can just imagine taking refuge here.  If you were small.  I used to use examples like this when I was teaching point of view – I miss that part.  The teaching and the kids.  Don’t miss anything else about it.

Finally, I passed a little house that had so many patterns on it and a colorful barrel in front.  So of course, I took a picture.

When I got back to the cabin, I found Tiger and Lily doing what they do best.  (I brought the cats with me this time.)

Yep.  Sleeping in the sun.  For the cats, a blissful activity.

And – since the theme of Creative Every Day month is Bliss, I think you could call these photos bliss.  In fact, just the whole adventure of being here.  Bliss.


Blogging the Bloggers


2010
06.22


Lovely day today up at our cabin.  I love being alone – most of the time.  That’s when I get creative.  That is, if I don’t get sluggish –which is always a possibility too.  Today I spent checking in on blogs I enjoy.  I don’t often get the time to do that, which is a ridiculous statement because I’m retired. But still.

Blogging is interesting.  Many say it is a sign of self-absorption.  Maybe for some, but not for the ladies whose blogs I follow.  And interestingly enough, they all seem to be women.  Yes, I pour out my soul with total honesty, throwing details of my life all around the universe as do they.  I’d like to know sometimes who is receiving these scraps of my soul because I get over 1900 unique visitors a month – small in blogging terms, I’m sure – but who are they all?

So my details are flying through the air colliding with other bits of other lives.  Some of those others stop in, then think, I’m not really interested in this, and go back to colliding with other scraps.  Some stick.  The ones that stick often come from shared blog challenges so we already start with a mutual interest, in my case, in art and life.  Is there anything art and life don’t encompass?

These women sometimes read what I have to say and I read what they have to say.  I always, emphasizing always, come away with something to think about.  Sometimes an insight, sometimes an idea or a new way to approach something.  Once in a while I come away with an enormous emotional upwelling.

That happened to me today.  I was visiting Emma James at Pleasure Notes and encountered her poem The Bench.  Would I always react as I did today? Probably not. But today, I felt the entire circle of life through her poem, the enormity of a life, a single life.  And the possibilities for change that go unnoticed.  I wanted to sit right down on that bench and think.

I headed over to see Julie Jordan Scott at Julie Unplugged, who most recently has written about permission.  In short, giving oneself permission to be oneself.  Sounds so easy.  But as women I think we exist in a web of expectations, imposed from without and within.  Our inner lives are complex and they have to be woven into our public lives.  The web is strong, as is the web of Black Widows, and sticky, and if we’re not careful, we’ll be ensnared with no escape.

Julie is coming to terms with giving herself permission to live as she chooses, even if unconventionally, and why shouldn’t she? As long as we care for those entrusted to us – i.e. children – and do no harm to others, we only answer to ourselves.

We find this so HARD.  I’ve been retired two years and I still have trouble picking up a book in the middle of the day, or watching a movie. I should be gardening, or cooking, or doing something for/with the children or my parents.  I’m having a hard time getting out of the web.  I look at my husband, who works part-time and doesn’t seem at all bothered by taking a nap, sitting on his bed reading, or watching political stuff on television.   And he certainly is not judging me and what I’m doing.  I need to give myself permission, and recognize that I don’t have to be useful to others every second of the day.

Another Julie over at Unabashedly Female wrote about divine robes of feminine flesh.  She talks of our bodies, how This feminine flesh is divine. It robes a home where Spirit and matter are brought together in a miraculous way. Creation has made this humble home for life to come into being by way of this womanly body. I just copied in a part of her post because I cannot write as eloquently as she can.  And she talks about being ourselves, not making apologies for who we are.  Which in a way takes us in a circle back to the other Julie and the topic of permission.

Julie Unplugged has given herself permission to love her body, even if it is a bit too abundant and curvy.  My body is certainly abundant – but my curves are sinking so all that abundance ends up around my waist.  I am not a pleasing sight naked.  But – why not? Can’t I give myself permission to look like I do and see the beauty in a body, even one outside the norm of “attractive” or “beautiful” which usually means appealing to men?  Actually, I gave myself permission to look like I do long ago.  It was a waste of time and energy to bemoan what wasn’t going to change.  It was more productive to acknowledge who I am and be me.  Not that I still don’t have moments.

And, you know, my body is beautiful.  This flesh has carried and nurtured three children. It’s carried burdens and known joy.  Maybe that is what the standard is – not the appearance. The crystalline microbrains in episode 17 of Star Trek, The Next Generation, called us (and the most conventionally beautiful among us) “ugly bags of mostly water.”

It’s one thing to know something, and another to give yourself permission to live what you know.  Which, I believe, means abolishing guilt.  Giving yourself permission.

I cruised over to Jeanne at The Barefoot Heart, who is always entertaining and straightforward.  She wrote about a blog challenge involving yoga and writing and how she enthusiastically embraced it, went out to buy a yoga mat and CD, and counted down the days until the challenge began.  And then proceeded not to do it at all, while thinking about doing it all the while.  Why, she wondered?  I think I know.  It’s about that permission thing again.  Permission to be who you are.

This is what I mean.  I would love to go to the gym and do all the wonderful cardio and stretching exercises my daughter and her family do.  I’ve joined gyms numerous times over the years, only to stop going.  I realized I don’t like to get hot and sweaty and have to change clothes to do something and then change back, and if I have to drive there to do it, I don’t want to.  And I’m not a morning person so I just can’t do it first thing and then come home and shower.  But when Jennifer was describing the wonders of her gym, I thought, wow, I should join.  But really, I shouldn’t join and I give myself permission not to.  I know from experience it isn’t going to work for me.

So it’s like wanting to do something you know you ought to do, and loving the idea of it, but knowing yourself enough to not do it.  Maybe that was what Jeanne was experiencing.  Maybe not – after all, it was her experience.  You can go visit and read for yourself.

So that was my journey around the blogosphere today along with a few visits I made to blogs new to me that I found on Creative Every Day. There’s so much out there and I can’t find and follow every fantastic blog even though I WANT to.  In the circle of what I read today, there seemed to be a synergy.  Maybe it was just me finding what I needed to find.

And that’s one of the joys of blogging.  You might help me, I might help you, and we all might understand a little more.  If we understand a little more about ourselves and our world, maybe we can stay out of that web and weave our own lives as we wish.

So that’s it for Blogging the Bloggers.


Cock-a-doodle-doo: a new collage and still life for Latination


2010
06.21

Roosters. I have roosters on my mind. Why? I’m getting ready to submit some pieces to Metro Galleries for the Latination show this fall. The art has to be somehow connected to a Latin theme, even if only in color. Don’t know why roosters came to mind but they did, and so I worked on a new collage and a four-part still life.

The collage was different at first, but I wasn’t satisfied. I had flowers on it, but I took them off and added the thin translucent strips on the bottom. Now, however, they are gone. It just finally didn’t need anything else. So here it is the old way.

And here it is the new way:

I like this one much better.  I painted the background, then used vintage crate labels for the sun(flower), rooster, oranges, mission and hills.  The sky is from various cloud photos I took this year.  Trust me, in person, the version without flowers looks much better.

So then I felt like doing a still life.  I used this collage as the background, added some scarves and real flowers as well as a feather rooster we have, and photographed it in four positions.  I had the photos put on canvas so it’s a “four-tych” – whatever that would be.  The process is confusing I know – between painting, collage, still life, photo, and then back to canvas.

I will probably do one other piece for submission. Hopefully, at least one will be accepted.

All You Need is Love


2010
06.20

I’m exploring the topic of LOVE for Coach Dian’s blog challenge. Everyone has been invited to discuss in any way at all one of the twelve subjects this particular art installation (click on “art installation” to find out what it is) addresses, plus a thirteenth added by Dian. The art installation itself is from a Burning Man festival, and asks us to what do we pledge allegiance, learning to see with new eyes and act with new vision in the web of life.  The theory is that if enough people turn their attention to one or another of these qualities, maybe change can be effected.  So far I’ve talked about courage and intention, and for another blog challenge, bliss.  Now for love.

The Beetles said, “All you need is love.”  Were they right? If you listen to the lyrics of almost any pop or country song, love – especially unrequited love or lost love – is all there is to sing about.  It’s like every song is the same song.  The same is true of books – every book is the same book about life, just expressed in different settings with different characters and plot development.  In fact, instead of “all you need is love,” it seems like love, while desirable, messes things up – at least love as we commonly view it.

It must say something about the importance of understanding life and love that we listen to music and read books that can be boiled down, at their essence, to almost the same topic.  I suppose because there are endless variations on love and life, and they both involve each of us, we are endlessly interested.  There’s a variation of love going on right outside my window at this very moment.  Froggie love.  Our backyard pond is outside my window and a frog is croaking; then there seems to be a corresponding “plopping” sound, as well as croaks that might fit a category of desire.  Of course I can’t go outside to look because it would ruin everything.  Although my husband and I did go out earlier to find frogs, and we saw this cute little guy heading for the bushes, I hope to eat lots of insects.  Now I’m hoping for lots of tadpoles.

Can love be distilled down to a universal truth? Are the longing, mournful, sad, or happy, joyous and euphoric lyrics about love as  universal truth? I don’t think so.  They are about longing, desire, sex, the idea that the next thing that happens will be the one that sets your life to rights.

Just yesterday, I attended two events that I think define love as it should be, love as a concept that we can pledge allegiance to, and love that can change the world.  Because love isn’t reproduction, infatuation, sex, romance, and it’s not that tingling feeling you get right down to your fingertips when you have physical contact with that one desirable person.  Those are all lovely things, but love is broader than all that.  The first event, a graduation, describes it perfectly.

My dear friend Michael, whom I love deeply, was graduating from a two-year intensive program to be a practitioner at Agape International Spirit Center. Agape is the Greek word for unconditional love.  Through intense self-examination, many essays, and weekly classes, Michael, as a practitioner, can now engage in prayer sessions with people who request that service.  In essence, it’s counseling through self-examination and love.  So Mark and I drove to Los Angeles for his graduation.  This is what we saw.

We saw a sanctuary with walls covered with spiritual images – from Jesus to mandalas to Buddha, from images of Judaism and Hinduism to pictures of nature.  In other words, we had entered an inclusive environment.  Love is inclusive.  Love doesn’t have the energy to waste on exclusion.  We heard Reverend Michael speak, and he referenced God – or “whatever it is you call God, or the universal spirit, ” etc. – in other words, inclusive of beliefs from the traditional to spiritual to any notion you might have of a unifying force.

My Michael had been elected by his class to speak.  As he approached the stage, the spotlight shone on him as if he was a heavenly creature of some sort.  It was just the spotlight – but it created an image of love.

He was received with love.  Love for who he is, happiness that he was speaking – and if there was any jealously or resentment that he was the speaker, it was not evident. He gave a wonderful speech with just the right mix of humor, reverence, thankfulness, and love.

Reverend Michael approached his own remarks without negativity.  He spoke of what graduates had discovered about their strengths and their opportunities for improvement – not their weaknesses.  That may be a small thing – but really, it’s not, because negativity drains us of creativeness, forward movement, and love.  Wouldn’t you rather have an opportunity for improvement than a weakness?

Now, I’m not getting all sappy or anything.  I wasn’t amongst perfect people who float through the week leaving love and peace in their wake.  It’s just interesting to be in an environment where everyone is aiming for that ideal; to be in a place whose very premise is love and peace and inclusion among all faiths, races, nationalities, political leanings – in other words, a place where everyone just gets along.  That doesn’t seem too much to ask, does it? Couldn’t we call that love?

If we could all pledge our allegiance to that kind of love – a peaceful, accepting, inclusive love, and go about our business in that vein – imagine the change we could bring about.

I took a picture of Michael afterwards with Reverend Michael, and when my daughter saw it she said, “I know that guy.  I saw him on Oprah.  I really liked him.”  Apparently he was on Oprah talking about Proposition 8, the California initiative that banned gay marriage.  Which, of course, he thought was a very bad idea – a very divisive, exclusionary, hateful proposition.  He spoke about all the ways the Bible does not ostracize or speak against homosexuality. But Prop 8 passed.  I have to say, personally, that I don’t understand why anyone would meddle in anyone’s private life.  That is definitely not about love.

This next picture is of Michael with the Practitioner who helped him through his studies.  This is what love should be – just sincere joy and pleasure with and in the other person.

The graduation certainly set the stage for thinking about love as it should be – love as inclusion and peace.  That’s doesn’t mean we have to like everyone, but it would sure make life easier if we didn’t waste effort on not liking someone.

Graduation over, we drove back up to Bakersfield (takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours) for our oldest granddaughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party.

All nine of my grandchildren are equally special and amazing individuals, all with distinct personalities.  But I’ll just talk about Ali, the oldest, because it was her birthday and that, together with the graduation, tied in so well to love as it should be.

Ali is beautiful and brilliant.  She is also a person who doesn’t know how to exclude anyone.  Who truly does not have a mean, spiteful, jealous bone in her body.  She must have been born that way, but I know she has deep insights for her age on human nature and has spent enough time observing to form her character in the direction she chooses.

Watching Ali open her gifts was an atypical gift-opening experience.  She took the time to read, enjoy and appreciate every single card – and there were dozens of them – and gift.  She looked at and thanked each person.  She was equally as joyful at finding her favorite gum as she was at finding substantial cash.

You can see the kindness in her face. 

This exhibited to me what love is and should be – just like the morning’s graduation: inclusiveness, joy with every effort, gift or accomplishment, kindness.  How could this kind of behavior fail to spread peace among all peoples and be the true nature of love?

This pure happiness is love.  Ali is holding up a picture Jackson sent for her birthday (or Jackson’s mom, my daughter Karen sent).  Apparently it is a dinosaur brain.  Jackson’s almost five, and dinosaurs are very much on his mind, so what more precious drawing could he make?

I’ve probably run on enough about this.  The Beetles are right. All you need is love.  Love that embraces, includes, celebrates everyone.  Behavior that leads to peace.  It would be hard to kill someone whom you celebrated, wouldn’t it? War might disappear.  Don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon, but the more of us that join the positive force, the sooner it will happen.  For me, that’s love.

Cell Phone Saga


2010
06.17


Couple of years ago or maybe 1 1/2 years ago or even less – I have a sketchy grip on time – I made the decision I needed a smart phone.  Why? Because I could I suppose.  I was ready to cough up $29.95 a month for unlimited usage.

Got a Blackberry Storm – the first edition.  Send it back because it had a major problem – it went to voice mail before I could get it out of my pocket and answer it.  Of course, since talking on the phone is the least we use it for, maybe it wasn’t a major problem after all.  But still.  Verizon couldn’t reset the number of rings before going to voice mail.  Forums on internet suggested I was not the only person who could not answer my phone fast enough.

Got a Blackberry Curve.  Loved it.  Except I could upload photos to Facebook and Twitter only intermittently.  Now, since so many people are hanging on my every move, this was a big problem.  Scores were forced to sometimes go an entire hour without an update of some sort from me!

One day at the cabin, I plugged my camera charger into my phone and my phone did not like that and ceased to work.  I had insurance which I paid every month.  I called Assurion and a new phone was here overnight.  A new reconditioned phone.  Soon I could not use “L” on the keyboard and it was taking way too long to try to say something without using the letter L.  So I called Assurion and we went through all the resetting and rebooting and and and.  It got better.  Except sometimes email worked and sometimes it didn’t.  Assurion said send it back.

Thus I received my second new reconditioned phone.  It was ok except the keyboard seemed sort of sunk in the phone and I had so much trouble texting.  My daughter thought I was making this up until she used my phone and said, “Oh, this is way different than mine.”

I decided to get a new phone as my husband’s “new every two” was available and he didn’t need it.  Why? Because recently when I was out of town he decided he needed a new phone and, without asking me, he went and bought one outright.  He didn’t know about the new every two.  I decided I wouldn’t buy insurance because the reconditioned phones were a pain.

I read reviews and reviews on all the Verizon models and finally decided to wait for the Droid Incredible.  It came.  I loved it.  I learned a little more about it every night.  Until the night when I determined I would solve the bluetooth problem: why could I pair the phone and the bluetooth, but when I pushed the bluetooth it didn’t say “Please choose a command.”  Ok, the bluetooth must be broken – I bought a new one.  Still couldn’t do it, but doggone it I was going to solve this.

The Droid Incredible has a big problem.  You cannot use your bluetooth.  Oh, you can talk hands-free on it but you cannot dial hands-free.  That’s a problem in California.  So you stick the bluetooth in your ear, pick up the phone -driving all the while – and push the voice activate button on the phone.  Then you find the number you want and dial it, and then you can talk into the bluetooth.  How do I know this?  Because I found a forum on the web – about 54 pages – of people complaining that they can’t fully use bluetooth with their droids!  I called Verizon.  Indeed, all those people were right.  So I sent the droid back.  This is ALL droids folks – from every carrier.  There is now one single droid from one carrier, and of course I forget which, with which you can use bluetooth both ways.  Google, why did you do it this way?

I reactivated the Blackberry Curve while I waited to have the droid credited so I could order the Blackberry Bold.  Yes, I’m sticking with Blackberry.  Sorry, I-phone users, I have Verizon and don’t want to switch. (Cymbals should be sounding somewhere right now – a cell-phone user just said she didn’t want to switch carriers!!)  Sorry Google folks whom I generally love, I do need my bluetooth to talk to me.  Sorry the rest of you, but the blackberry actually has nothing wrong with it, it’s easy to use, and does what I need.  I don’t play music on my phone or watch videos or television shows or play games.  I only need so much phone.  I don’t really care if I can squeeze photos bigger or smaller, or get the app that lets me put different colored wigs on my photos so people look silly.

The reason I got the droid incredible in the first place, by the way, was for the 9 megapixel camera with flash. Which indeed, was terrific.  And the droid was FAST. I did like it so much.  Bummer to go back to 3.2 megapixels.  Total bummer.  But that bluetooth has to be able to talk to me.

So here I am.  The Bold has arrived and it’s charging.  When my husband gets home tonight, we’ll call Verizon.  We’ll switch the BOLD to his number and deactivate his Motorola.  Then we’ll switch the Bold to my number, deactivate my Curve, and reactivate the Motorola.  Then I’ll have to get this phone all set up again and if it doesn’t work, it’ll be back to a flip phone that isn’t very smart.

You know why?  A funny thing happened this week.  After I started up the Curve again, for some reason email wasn’t coming in.  Only texts, tweets, and actual phone calls.  It was nice.  I didn’t feel chained to my phone.  This morning, though, when I turned on the Curve, I started hearing beep after beep.  Oh my gosh, I thought, the emails from the last few days are all coming in all of a sudden – and they were.  And I didn’t jump with joy and say hooray!  O frabjous day! Callooh callay!

Because when you get everything instantly, there’s nothing to anticipate.  To wonder when you get home and check email, if perhaps there is an exciting one from someone.  Usually there isn’t, but still, it was kind of nice to think there could be.  After all the email has arrived on your phone, it’s not so fun to look at the computer.  What’s the point?  It’s sort of like email vs. snail mail.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, people communicated with snail mail.  If you were away at college and your boyfriend was at another college, getting the mail was always so full of anticipation, disappointment, joy.  Then came email and you didn’t have to send real mail, so you couldn’t hold the stationery, admire the pattern, read it over and over.  I guess you could print out an email and carry it around, but it’s not the same.  Now, you can read something on your phone over and over again, but it has no scent, texture, intimacy.

I know, times change, and I’m a big proponent of moving with the times.  But I must be honest. I didn’t miss no email on my phone and my heart kind of sank when it came back.  I’d leave the phone in another room instead of putting it in my pocket and being chained to it. I didn’t have to respond to the constant beeps and dings.  Well, I’ll get over it.  By tomorrow I should be back in full operation, and if all goes according to Hoyle, I’ll be able to get those photos coming again over Twitter and Facebook.  That should relieve a lot of anxiety out there.  Hold on, people.


Intention – I’ve Been Intending to Write About This


2010
06.15


Before we start: I’ve realized that some folks are unaware of some of the features of a blog.  Whenever something is underlined, and putting your cursor on it shows it to be a live link, you can click and go right to whatever is being referenced.  Then just back arrow to go back to the blog post, or if it opens a new window, click back on the blog window.  Also, you can click on any photo to make it bigger and use the back arrow to get back to the blog.  With photos, keep in mind that the resolution has to be reduced to post, at least in Word Press, which is what I use, so you may not see the quality of photo you might expect.  The bigger you make a low-resolution photo, the grainier it will be.

"Jewels of Intention" by Michelle Oravitz

Intention on a personal level: Another quality on Coach Dian’s blog challenge is intention.  We all understand intent – the specific purpose for whatever it is we’re doing, and the end result of that purpose – what we hope to accomplish.   We don’t give it much thought usually.  We know in a vague sort of way that we need to do the laundry or water the plants, go to the market or call someone.  Then as we progress through the day, we either do or don’t do those things.

I think many of us are now thinking of intention differently, more fully.  We are thinking of actually acting with intent – not sleepwalking through something.  If we go through the day with intention, we have to think about what we’re doing.  It gets a bit muddled with purpose, or even something like being responsible.  What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Take, for example, visiting my parents.  That’s something I usually don’t look forward to these days.  But I do it.  I don’t have to technically, but of course, as a responsible daughter, I do.  My purpose for doing it isn’t often well thought out – I just know I’m going to, and if it ends up I don’t make it today, there’s always tomorrow.  To a degree.

What if I approached my visits with intention? Knowing it’s an important part of the day for my parents, and giving them the time it takes to have a comfortable conversation, I could relax during the visit and stay present.  After all, they spent a lot of time raising me – now I’m “raising” them.  Strange things happen when you relax and stay present – you may learn something,  internalize and remember the story that’s being told for the hundredth time, actually have a good time.

So that’s the difference then.  Visit perfunctorily, or visit with intention.  Either way, I’m going to do it.  It brings the concept of intention to a new level, rendering the dictionary definition sterile.

The artist who did the installation at burning man, asking us to consider different attributes and how actualizing those attributes would make America better, is having an effect on many of us, and we never heard of him and never went to Burning Man (although I’d like to).  Such is the power of art.  Because this person asked how we would pledge our allegiance to something, what it might mean for the world, we’re thinking about it.

I think one effect of people truly acting with intention is unexpected: the end of multi-tasking.  Yes, I know we are never going to not multi-task, especially women, because we can do it so well.  But if we telephone someone with intention, knowing we are going to set a lunch date, or just catch up, we’ll really concentrate on it.  I always find it unnerving to talk to someone and hear pots clattering in the background.  I know that person is putting an equal importance on doing the dishes – but not intentionally.  With the concept of intention, we could have a meaningful conversation and actually remember what we talked about.

I Skype with my friend William.  If we’re doing it on video, he concentrates on the conversation.  Kind of has to or he’ll appear very rude.  And basically I’ll say, let’s talk later when you can concentrate.  But if we’re Skyping without video, I know that he’ll be talking to me, perhaps someone else on Skype, there may be a Facebook chat going, and he’ll be responding to text messages, and looking up something on the internet.  If we were conversing with intention, it would go faster (there wouldn’t be huge gaps in response time), meaning trains of thought wouldn’t be broken and we might actually consider what the other is speaking about.

What this multi-tasking may be doing to young people as far as attention span, quality of work, and ultimately quality of life, is a whole other subject.

On a larger scale: If we all improved our intention personally, pledged our allegiance to living with intention, we would have a more focused, meaningful world.  We’d improve our quality of life.  More and more people think, however, that if enough people collectively focus on the same thing, change could be made to occur, perhaps even physical change.  Pooh, you say, that’s ridiculous.  Maybe it is, but I can’t say that with certainly because I just don’t know.  I’m willing to entertain any thought to improve our planet. –  they do stuff like that on Star Trek, pretty much my Bible.  We’ve only touched a small part of our minds.

Tomorrow I’m going to watch two world cup soccer games, write some fundraising letters for the Fannie Lou Hamer Statue Fund, refine my list of what I need to do, and start doing some of it.  I’m going to make a turkey meatloaf for dinner, finish off the marinated beets I made earlier this week, and have a gigantic salad (I have so much lettuce to use.).

Soccer is a good example of intention, because you can’t watch a World Cup game meaningfully unless you sit down with undivided attention.  You have to understand what you are going to do and do it entirely, or there’s no use.  You’ll miss it all.  Try it.

These are just my thoughts, off the top of my head, without reading anything about intention first except the definition.  I may have it wrong, but I don’t think so.  And writing this is a good reminder for me to act with intention – I’ve been trying to make it something I internalize this year, with varying degrees of success.


World Cup as Art


2010
06.14


Waaayyyy too early (My granddaughter puts lots of extra letters in words these days. It’s the style.)

My first World Cup adventure was going down to Sandrini’s Bar at 7:00 AM to watch the opening game.  I admit, it was lots of fun, but it was waaayyyyy too early for me.  I’m usually lucky to be ready to leave the house by 10!  But I wanted the experience, and I wanted to watch South Africa play on their own turf.

United States and England

However, we turned on the United States/England match at a more civilized hour, and the first thing I noticed were patterns.  It was amazing.

I guess the lighting was just right to cast those shadows.  I could barely watch the game, I was so intrigued with this.  The players look like they are on skis.  Crossed skis going up and down the field.

I knew the shadows had to stick with the players, yet I still expected them to stay behind when someone moved.  I’d never quite noticed what a unit a person and his shadow is.

You see why I have the photos. I bolted for my camera and tripod because I didn’t want to miss anything, and once I started – well – I could have shot the entire game on the television.  Even the poor resolution was interesting – because the players look like they are outlined – an effect I think they offer on photoshop.

The most amazing things happen by accident.  The players are almost in a semi-circle in front of the semi-circle. Don’t you just love this? I haven’t seen shadows like this on any of the games since.

These were great – with two players so close, their shadow skis criss-cross.  I was still waiting for someone to walk out of his shadow – my mind still wanted it to happen while knowing that was ridiculous.

Reminds me of a photo I had fun with of my granddaughter and grandson looking at the Kern River, which I called Shadow Skiing.  I loved their shadows.  I think it’s in my art gallery.  I have to say, I am not a photo shopper.  I’m quite sure I could not recreate this.

I think I captured one of the big moments in the game by accident…

…judging by the look on this spectator’s face.

I put the camera on black and white to check that out.

It almost looks like a moving tick-tack-toe game.

Another double cross, and the guy on the left standing on the circle has one of his shadows obscured.  Well, I could go on ad nauseum, like I do with the clouds, pointing out how each shadow is different from another – but I won’t.

Commentators

The English commentators are so interesting.  I don’t watch soccer on television (I’ve watched plenty of soccer on the AYSO fields) so I don’t know what commentators usually sound like. I’m used to them practically screaming commentary in great excitement, like in Olympic skiing.  But these guys are more measured.  And they have a better vocabulary.

In saying something about the Paraguayans, the commentator called them “obdurate Paraguayans.”  Have you ever heard a sport’s commentator say the word obdurate?

They described the play of the Italians in the European cup: “They looked like dinosaurs.”

After Paraguay got the first goal today, all the players were jumping up and down, and the commentator said, “the Paraguayans are absolutely frothy.”

One more – the television focused on a fan in the stands in some sort of outfit – a mascot maybe.  The commentator said, “It’s not mandatory to come to World Cup matches in disguise.”  It’s worth watching the matches for the commentary, even if you don’t like soccer.

Leaving you with shadows

End of post.  Shadows and patterns.  Can’t wait for Portugal and Ivory Coast tomorrow – with Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best in the world playing for Portugal, and Didier Drogba, an amazing player and humanitarian playing for Cote D’Ivoire.  At least I hope he plays – he has a broken arm.

I’ve posted these shadows before, but apropos of nothing, here’s a little Robert Louis Stevenson poem along with grandchildren and their shadows.  But you’ll notice that they are about to leave their shadows behind.  Stepping our from behind their shadows.