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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Never Give Up, and May Flowers Day 30

Oh, my! Only 2 days left! Time to start deciding who’s going to get left out of my parade of flowers.

For the 30th time, I’d like to thank Lori for doing this challenge. For those of you who have been following along, I know it is terribly redundant, but there are new folks popping in from time to time, and I want them to know who the mastermind of this project is!

These are my ruby red snapdragons…just LOVE.

I’m working on my whole garden tour. I was going to do it tomorrow for the last day, but I’ve still got another flower I’d like to show you, so I’ve decided to wait and do two days the beginning of June. The first day will be an over view of the garden so you can see how all these flowers work together, and the second a closer look at some of the non-floral inhabitants of my garden space.

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Anyone who has been following along with my creative journey knows that I’ve been doing a lot of back and forth on whether or not I want to proceed with turning my art into a business. Every time I find myself poised to go for it, I start thinking about all the work, the barriers and I begin to second guess myself. I just about get myself convinced that I should just start creating for myself and my family and forget about the business aspects, and I see an empty store front or hear about an art show and I start fantasizing again.

Then I ran across this…

I can’t go a day…I can’t even go an hour.

A Perfectly Simple Day and May Flowers Day 29

My friend Lori is hostessing this May Flowers Challenge. The idea was to present a flower a day for the whole month, but it could be any kind of a flower…a drawing, painting, sculpture, live flower….whatever. I decided to showcase my garden by presenting a flower a day right from my garden, and it’s been a blast!

Today I’d like you to see my Watermelon Diascia. It is a tiny, but profuse orange flower…very dainty! Just love it!

They look so precious in the old metal bucket!

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Do you ever have one of those days that just clicks? Nothing particularly huge happened or was accomplished, but it was just a practically flawless day. In fact, if I had to come up with one word to describe it, it would be that DREADED word “Balanced.” Just a few days after deciding there was no such thing, I actually had one! Go figure!

I got my girls off to school, worked on my internship project, and my Artist Trading Cards. I made a fabulous pasta salad (well two, actually, one for us and one for my daughter’s family) perfect for a warm spring dinner and did a little shopping for the up-coming trip (the weather is slated to be a bit chillier than we had anticipated…do you have any idea how hard it is to find wool glove liners in May???) I pulled a few weeds, did some watering, checked out the bird’s nest, ran a load of clothes, visited with my girlies on-line and laughed and laughed and laughed… Wrapped up with a quiet evening, and reflected on the near perfectness of a simple day.

I could do this again. And again. Soon.

Creating Happiness and Day 28 of May Flowers

I believe that happiness is a choice; a state of being that transcends circumstance. It is not a place or time to get to (as in I’ll be happy when…) but an outlook on life.

I also believe that it is something that can be LEARNED. I think you can learn to be happy if you are not, to cultivate it if you are inclined to do so.

I ran across an article in a blog that sums up very nicely my beliefs about happiness that I’d like to share with you.

This is just the list of 12 ways that happy people are different from unhappy people. In the article the author describes very well, and in a sometimes funny way what they each mean, practically speaking. It is well worth the click over and a few minutes of your time!

  1. Express gratitude.
  2. Cultivate optimism.
  3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
  4. Practice acts of kindness.
  5. Nurture social relationships.
  6. Develop strategies for coping.
  7. Learn to forgive.
  8. Increase flow experiences.
  9. Savor life’s joys.
  10. Commit to your goals.
  11. Practice spirituality.
  12. Take care of your body.

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The month of flowers is rapidly winding down, and I still have so much to show you! Lori Moon, our hostess with the mostest showed us the poppies at her mom’s house, which makes me want to show you the ones I discovered just yesterday. I had forgotten I had planted some last year. They popped up through the ground cover which has taken over that area, and I hadn’t realized they’d come back! The little knobs that appear before the blossom pops looks like some kind of an alien. They are so cute. The sun was shining just right,  so you can see how thin the petals are, but I couldn’t get a good angle on it w/o laying down in the ground cover, and with my new-found fear of rattlesnakes, THAT wasn’t going to happen! Not even for a good photo!

Interestingly enough, the only yellow in the flower is in the center. I LOVE how the camera picked up the thinness of the petal with the sun shining through it as a whole different color!

Notice how the back petals are red in this one? That is the real color. You can see just a bit of the yellow on the front petals in this shot. And see the furry stems and pods? They crack me up!

Just Being… and May Flowers Day 27

Wow! We’re nearly to the end of of 31 days of May Flowers. I wasn’t sure at the beginning of the month that I would have enough different flowers blooming to show you a new one every day, but as it turns out, I’ll even have some to spare!

Today, I’d like you to meet my Zinnia. These are a snail’s favorite delicacy. Fortunately we seem to have a small snail population so far this year, plus I’ve gotten over my hesitancy to kill the little suckers, so I’m on them faster. Last year I thought we might be able to compromise, and they could have some of the plants, and I could have some. But they had different ideas, and wanted them all. I had to come to terms with the fact that I could let the snails live, or I could have a garden, but not both. So, I’ve opted to have a garden. I put out snail bait, and so far I’ve only lost one of my plants.

I love the hot orange color, and the prolific blooms.

Check out the offerings from the others participating in May Flowers by going over to Lori’s blog.

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I got out into my garden a little late this year, but I’ve been making up for lost time in the last week. I’ve been strapping on a back brace to help take the pressure off when I’m bending and doing light lifting. It’s helped a lot, and I’ve gotten a lot done – pruning, weeding, rearranging, planting, watering…I love it all, and I’d forgotten just how much.

Every day after I’ve finished up, I’ve poured another cup of coffee, grabbed my camera and gone out to sit and enjoy. The birds and the bees are out in force, and I love the sounds of the buzzing and chirping. Although we live in a neighborhood of houses fairly close together, it is very quiet. There is a big hill behind us that someday will be lined with starter castles, but for now it is mostly natural, and I can almost fool myself into thinking there is no one around for miles.

I’ve come to treasure this part of my day. I go over in my mind all the people and things I’m grateful for, make plans, savor the taste of my coffee, feel the warmth of the sun on my face…think. It’s good time. You’d have to know how busy I usually stay to appreciate how unusual this is for me. I’m normally fretting over my to do list, trying to make sure I’m doing, doing, doing, getting lots of things checked off. This is not productive time, at least in terms of concrete things accomplished. This is time for just being. And, surprisingly, I like it.

Aging, Pain, Crabbiness and May Flowers Day 26

I’m going to tackle aging, pain and crabbiness first. It’s become a real topic of discussion in our household lately. Mr. Tattered is now on Medicare, and I turn 60 in a few weeks, so it’s bound to come up. As we look back on family pictures from days of old, and the current ones, it’s hard to miss that we ain’t spring chickens anymore!

Aging really didn’t bother me much before now. I flew through 30 and 40 like they were nothing, and even 50 didn’t phase me all that much. But with 60 looming? Hmmm. Not loving it.

And now, with my back injury taking so long to heal, I’m facing the possible prospect of chronic back pain, and it really has me taking another look at the aging process, and how the pain of aging alters our outlook on life.

I’m a basically cheerful person, with a happy disposition most all the time and a positive outlook on life. Even at 59 I’ve had a bounce in my step. I have known crabby old people, and I have known happy old people, and I always thought it was a choice. And, of course, I always knew I would choose happy.

Now I am not so sure it’s a choice.

I normally have a high pain tolerance. Things that would have many people crying, like slamming a finger in a car door, cause only a flinch. Even injuring my back didn’t cause me to cry. But the day after day pain is wearing on me, and I am beginning to see how debilitating chronic pain can be. It casts a a pall over your whole day, perhaps even your whole life. The bounce in my step is gone, at least for now, although I get a glimpse of it now and then.

I haven’t given up. I am working on strengthening on my back muscles, and I refuse to concede defeat. I still have hope that this situation isn’t permanent. But it is making me look at crabby old people in a different light. Maybe they DON’T have the choice, after all. Maybe the pain of aging is just more than they can take with a smile on their face.

Is that the lesson this injury is supposed to be teaching me? I have been a bit less than sympathetic to Mr. Tattered’s aches and pains over the years. And I certainly have found crabby old people to be a pain in my backside. I have often thought to myself that they need to “man up” and get over it. I am wondering now if I have been too harsh in my judgement, now that I have spent some time walking in their moccasins.

I have to admit, I’m anxious to get out of them, and back into my high heels.

Lord, almighty…light bulb moment. I just realized why my mother-in-law held onto her high heels for so many years after she was unable to wear them anymore…man do I feel like a jerk for scoffing at that (even though I did it out of her hearing.)

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For my flower of the day, I’d like to present my delphinium. I just love the blue-edged blossoms. I have trouble getting the delphinium to return year after year, even though they are supposed to be perennials, so these are new. I’ve planted them a little more out in the open this year, in hopes that they will have an easier time coming back next spring. I hope the color is as shocking on your monitor as it is mine!

If you’ve been going over to Lori’s main May Flowers blog, you’re probably getting tired of the reminder, but just in case, she’s a wonderful photographer, as well as a very special lady…

ATCs and May Flowers Day 25

Happy May Flower Day #25!

Today’s offering is Geum, a dainty little flower on long, stately stems that produce blossoms nearly all summer as long as you continue to “deadhead” or cut off the dead blossoms. I have them in both red and yellow, and just discovered a bright orange variety.

Have you been by to check out all the other flowers being presented on the main May Flowers Blog? My friend Lori Moon has been combining her art, architectural features and the flowers of NYC…

You’ll recall that I have talked about ATCs several times before…Artist Trading Cards? My art group does a swap every month. Each artist does 3 cards and mails them to the hostess, who then distributes 3 different ones to each participant. So every month, I get three little treasures in the mail.

This is one of the three I sent, all a variation of the same theme…

And these are the three lovelies I got back!

Thank you, Sally Rose, Kim Hyer and Carol Bray! They are beautiful!

I could never have full-sized paintings from all my artist friends (not enough wall space even if I could afford them!) so it is great to be able to have little samples!

Next month’s theme is “Mellow Yellow” and I have no idea what I’m going to do! Ha! Inspiration doesn’t normally hit me until the moment I need it!

Facebook IPO and May Flowers Day 24

The month is winding down. It’s hard to believe time is flying by so fast. I’m running out of month with so many more flowers I want to show you!

Today I’m showing you my purple salvia. There are many varieties of salvia, but this is one of my favorites. It has a larger bloom than many others, and the deep purple is very dramatic, especially when paired with hot pink and white and yellow as it is in my garden.

I’m guessing most of the world knows that Facebook went public a few days ago and had a very disappointing debut. The talk on the business shows is all about the concern that Facebook will struggle with being able to make money because they have not come up with an effective way of monetizing the site on mobile devices. There was a big discussion about people being unwilling to pay for services.

Before they got very far into the discussion, I mentioned to Mr. Tattered that the people discussing it were obviously not big users (if at all.) Finally one of the panelists said that it is too a much a part of people’s lives for them to ever let it go over a few bucks, and I thought, jeez…no kidding.

I came to Facebook late, and in the beginning I rarely used it all.

But that all changed with a business art class that set up a Facebook community for class discussions, and I found my tribe.

Although some of the group have either met a few of the members, or live close enough to get together every once in awhile, we are spread all over the globe, and Facebook is our primary means of staying in touch. The core group of roughly 50-60 women visit every day off and on throughout the day and evening 7 days a week. We share our art, our lives, the trials and tribulations of child rearing, illnesses, job problems. We help each other with sources for materials, critique classes, give technical advice, and act as each others guinea pigs. We encourage, commiserate, pray for, laugh and cry with each other. We GET each other. We are friends. No, we’re family.

And without Facebook, we would not have met, and we certainly would not have a means for ongoing relationships. We are not about to let that go away. And if that means paying for it, there is no doubt in my mind, we will. And multiply that times many, many other groups across the world, and you’re talking some serious coin.

If Facebook were to start charging $10-$20 a month for access, would you pay? My answer is not just yes. It’s HELL, YES!

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