Please post a comment (now that you can)

havefunweb1_edited-1I just fixed my technology problem, which means you can finally post a comment on my blog! I love your comments and have missed hearing from you.

The solution turned out to be simple: uncheck two boxes on the Settings/ Discussion page. That’s it. No problem—if you know where the page is and that Discussion means Comments. (I didn’t.)

The real obstacle, though, was internal. I’d heard that WordPress wouldn’t let you do that; subscribers had to “register.” It didn’t sound right, but it was easier to do nothing and besides, an inner voice was shouting, “You can’t do it! It’s too hard! You’ll screw it up!” and so on.

Fortunately, Lynda reminded me of the problem yesterday, and I finally dug in and figured out how to fix it.

“Aren’t you proud of yourself?” Margaret has often asked me, and I’ve always said no. Until now.

Finding my way back to the artist’s way

1998jrnlsI can’t believe it was 1998 the last time I did The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron’s 12-week program for recovering creatives. Seventeen years later, it’s a very different experience.

It’s not just that I’m older and at a different stage of life; I’m also approaching it differently. This time I’m in a class—a group of six fabulous women led by Marlene Pelligrino—at Sertoma Arts Center.

The group dynamic changes everything for me. I’m not alone. I get to experience this through my peers, as well as my own private practice. I’m both supported and accountable to the commitment I’ve made.

Basically, that means writing morning pages (three pages fast, unedited, every day), taking a weekly artist date (doing something special on my own), and doing some or all of the exercises at the end of each chapter.

On a larger level, though, this is an opportunity to dream, to dare, to fly. The question is, Can I get past my fear? My self-doubt? My self?

It’s got to be easier than it was 17 years ago. I’m amazed that I took this on when I was at the peak of my career, raising two teenagers, taking care of Mom, managing a house, and keeping our marriage together. (Just writing that makes me want to go back to bed.)

When I finished the Artist’s Way last time, I wrote some stories about my life and my fantasies. Wonder what to expect at the end of these 12 weeks, just as I’m turning 65…

In Which Deb Falls Into Victoriana

dollhouse

What Our Heroine Does While She Can’t Do Much…Or, The Powerful Impact of Chance.

OK, enough of that. The point is, I’ve become somewhat immersed in the Victorian era, about which I know nothing. It all started with—this is embarrassing—A Victorian Dollhouse sticker book. Really.

The “rooms” in the book are evocative of another time, but the stickers, well, they’re just kind of dumb. So I cut up a couple of cheap picture books to make my own house and found some Victorian paper dolls to inhabit it.

At the same time, I started reading some Victorian classics, and was surprised to find how similar that era was to our own. Just as technology has transformed our world, industrialization created a new economy, increased the gap between rich and poor, and upset the old social order. For instance:

  • The protagonist in Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now, could double for Bernie Madoff.
  • In The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte (I didn’t even know there was a third Bronte sister) tackles issues of domestic abuse and gender roles.
  • In North and SouthElizabeth Gaskell presents cogent arguments for the engines of commerce on the one hand, and the rights of workers on the other.

Oh yeah, and they’re great stories, too.

It’s all relative

castcropped bgcastcropped

I thought this splint was bad till I complained and got a new, bigger one.

After wearing the purple one for a few days, I put on the blue one and guess what? It was suddenly much more comfortable. (If the doctor didn’t do this on purpose, he should have.)

That’s how I see relativity: our experience is shaped by the context.

Einstein’s definition (even the colloquial version) is much more elegant.

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

My conclusion: things happen, but the way I experience them is all in my head. This would be a good season to remember that—and let go of my righteous indignation, no matter how justified it seems.

What about you?

Looking up

 

rainbowweb“If you don’t believe in God, just look up at the sky,” my mother-in-law used to say.

Ruth Averitt knew what she was talking about.

I mean, is there anything grander than the show above us? More awe-inspiring? More beautiful?

Nothing except a rainbow, like this one we saw yesterday.

I was too slow to get a photograph of the whole arc,  and maybe that’s how it should be. Because this is obviously a gift from the heavens, a harbinger of good things, and an opportunity to practice gratitude.

Thank you Adonai/God/Goddess/Allah/Great Spirit/Higher Power/Universe, for this amazing planet and all your creation.

Messing around with color

red1Don’t you love it when you get outside yourself… lose track of time and space…quiet the inner dialogue…and just be?

That’s what happened this week when I opened a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for years— playing with color, by Richard Mehl—and started doing his “graphic experiments for exploring design color principles.”

Doing is the key word here. You don’t really read the book; you do it. And anyone can (that means you—and your mother, daughter, grandson, neighbor, barista—anyone).

red5The first exercises, for example, require just cutting and arranging colored squares on a grid, like those you see here. And doing that is teaching me a lot more about color than any of the daunting books on color theory (which make my eyes glaze over and my brain shut down).

red3So why did it take me so long to get around to this? Because you need something before you start: Color-Aid color swatches. I actually ordered a small set (2″x3″) right after I bought the book, but by the time it came, I was already onto something else.

Typical.

Too bad for me, because these swatches are a fabulous tool, not just for this project, but for anything that has to do with color. There are 314 cards in the full set, and each one identifies its hue (color), shade (color plus black), tint (color plus white), and other distinctions I don’t pretend to understand. There are 17 levels in the grayscale alone!

Turns out the universe knew what it was doing, because now is the perfect time to get into this. After all, you don’t need a thumb to punch squares, arrange them, and lose yourself.

In fact, you don’t need anything. You just have to show up. Kind of like life.

I’d like to write a cheerful post

But I’d be lying.princesswb

Two things are happening in my life right now, and either one would be enough to make me seriously crabby. But both at once? #@%$!!!

First, I have a cast on my right hand—thumb, to be accurate—and I can’t do anything. By “anything,” I mean wash my hair, drive a car or button my shirt, not to mention write or draw.

At the same time, my house is a wreck. Literally. Sam is redoing the ceiling in Samantha’s room, which means that all her stuff is on the landing, sheetrock is in the living room, and sawdust is everywhere. In other words, chaos.

It’s tough on an order freak like me.

But as usual, there is a gift in the midst of the darkness. This time, the gift is my daughter. Samantha is basically living in my room, which could have been a disaster, but has turned out to be a blessing.

We’re getting to know each other in a new way—a way that is more reciprocal, more compatible, and more fun. If we can keep moving in this direction, it’s worth all the rest.

The NC state fair and me

chaircloseup

This year, the state fair felt like a slide show of my life. Image after image, each reminding me of years past.

Put them in chronological order and you get a brief history of me.

  • 1974: Richard Sands, my first husband and the reason I moved here, couldn’t get enough of the Italian sausages.
  • 1978: Larry Shirley played a lot of games (and spent a lot of money) to win me a stuffed bear.
  • 1980: Jim Johnson and a group of friends insisted on Al’s french fries, one of the best tastes at the fair.
  • 1982: On my first date with Sam, we rode the Ferris wheel and got our handwriting analyzed.
  • 1983: Sam and I celebrated our “anniversary,” a few days before our wedding.
  • 1992: Ben and Samantha rode the kiddie roller coaster at least 10 times in a row.
  • 1997: The kids panned for gems as long as we’d let them.
  • 2004: Samantha’s drawing won an award and hung in the education building.
  • 2007: Sam and I toured the exhibits—everything from the largest pumpkin to the best decorated cakes.
  • 2014: We spent most of our time at the flower and garden show, where I saw the huge chair (above) and other photo ops (me as a daisy, which I’m too vain to post).

You gotta love the fair.

Reuse, recycle, recover

couchweb1If a piece of furniture has “good bones,” you should recover it, my mother told me. Turns out to be one of the things I actually listened to.

So in the 42 years I’ve had this couch, I’ve covered it in everything from red ultra suede to fat denim stripes, a southwestern  design, and a yellowish pattern. (And those are just the ones I remember.)

This time, I searched for a navy and white fabric, something crisp to match the new quilt I love. But navy—the real navy, so dark it’s almost black—is  not in style at the moment.

Then I remembered that every time I recovered this furniture, my mother said, “I like mattress ticking.” ticking 3.27.41 PM

She was right, as usual. Not only is this the least expensive covering ever, it’s also our favorite.

Thanks, Mom.