Coping, Dealing and Being Kind

I’m resurrecting this from July 2012 after the Colorado theater shooting, when I reposted it from 2001. We’re all dealing with a lot, coming from all different directions, on top of the normal wear and tear of living.

In the moment, the best we can do before doing anything is to think, BE KIND, both to others and to yourself.

We may not agree with everything everyone else thinks, but nothing is gained by name-calling or accusing others of being crazy etc. We need to be able to live with people and ourselves day to day and months from now.


This was sent to me after September 11 by my friend Gail, who got it from a co-worker. Much of this parallels what is taught to EMS providers about post-incident stress reactions/stress management. Continue reading

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Being An Artist and Why Moms Rock

Tonight after we messaged our good nights, I get a message from Mom with a link

6 Ways to Balance Your Day Job
with Being an Artist

It tells of a doctor who also teaches pastel classes and how he combines his work life with making art, in six ways. I’m going to list them here but do read the article for his details. I was so touched by Mom sending me this link and also pretty happy because some of these things I have been figuring out on my own and they’re true! The article discusses these:

1. Do 20- to 30-minute timed studies, without prep work.
2. Always have a palette and painting gear ready to go.
3. Keep painting clothes in the car.
4. Learn to love what’s local.
5. Teach or join a class.
6. Set goals and clear intentions.

1. I used a timer when I quilted both to keep on task and to keep from over-doing and causing injury. Painting, I’m trying to get started sooner, more directly, and do more shorter/smaller paintings. I tend to get too fussy and stopping sooner and staying simpler is a continuing theme.

Sketching in scene at OOMs

2. Gear is in the car and has been for awhile. Recently I moved from an LLBean type tote bag to a backpack and upgraded my tripod. My goal was to simplify my gear – it’s way too easy to bring way too much stuff – to make it easier to go a little distance more easily. The tripod fits into a side pocket of the pack and a couple clips take care of my folding chair. Having it all in the car though means I can stop on the way home or after an errand or I can grab out a sketchbook and small palette and brushes and just go do something. I would add to this: have some duplication of gear if you can so that you don’t have to take everything out of the car if you want to work at home.

3. I don’t keep painting clothes in the car except for big brimmed hat and my hiking boots. My work clothes are pretty casual though and I’d wear them anyway. (I do keep a couple t-shirts in there in case I get called to a current-events type rally/protest)

4. This came up in class today, that you can spend a lot of time driving around looking for places to paint or you can just figure out to paint in your yard and spend the time painting. Although I have painted a little in the front yard lately, I have figured out a few places along my travels and not too far from home to go and paint. I can choose based on light conditions or where I’m going but it saves a lot of time. I figure if Monet could paint a cathedral multiple times I could find something to paint at my local pond or master the geraniums. I do try to take alternate routes when traveling to scout out new places to paint.

5. I can say that I’ve enjoyed each watercolor class I’ve taken locally. I’ve been encouraged and supported and learned stuff. And, even more importantly, it is a commitment to spend time doing this. Side bonus: people think you’re more serious if you say you’re taking a class and that’s ok too.

6. I don’t know if I have set goals exactly but I’m sort of going with – what’s the point of waiting? Do it now.

Bonus: Buy flowers and fruit to paint and use the cats as models. Thanks Mom!

In order to arrive…

A facebook friend tagged me in his post of this great quote, saying it was quoted by the poet Robert Lax shortly before the German invasion of France in May 1939. It’s a keeper, no matter what your denomination.

In order to arrive at having pleasure in everything,
desire to have pleasure in nothing;
in order to arrive at possessing everything,
desire to possess nothing;
in order to arrive at being everything;
desire to be nothing.

Book One Chapter 14 of “The Ascent of Mt Carmel” by Saint John of the Cross

From the Quote Box

It is something to be deep in the snow in winter, to be deep in the yellow leaves in the autumn, to be deep in the ripe wheat in the summer, to be deep in the grass in the spring. It is something to always be with the mowers and the peasant girls, in summer with the big sky above, in the winter by the black fireplace. And to feel — this has always been so and always will be. — Vincent van Gogh, 1885

TGIF, and for a new book

Molly better hope the book doesn’t fall over on her because it’s big. Really big. It came in a big box stuffed with a lot of crumpled up paper to keep it from moving around. The first handful of pages are double page spreads of paintings… It has a ribbon. It’s beautiful. It’s the US release of the show catalogue from the Melbourne AU exhibit:

Van Gogh and the Seasons

Kittens Becoming Non-Kittens

I had this head-jerk, omg moment the other day. For the past week plus I’ve been all “ooooh, my sweet snuggler, my adorable little hugging kitty boy/girl, you want to give me smooches and I’ll give you smooches right back, all the head butts you want, oh so purry, I love you, all the eyeblinks and more, oooh let me give you kisses…”

Wait.

It’s been awhile but suddenly my head jerks up and I think – wait, this I have known before. I’ve been here, seen this, and have already scheduled the little operations that this is all about.

My kittens are growing up! Waaaah!

You know kittens – those adorable little fluffernuts of brainless fun and excitement. Not to say that kittens aren’t adorable and often snuggly etc but most of the time they’re already off on their next adventure. That’s why so many of my photos of them are them blissfully asleep, so perfectly beautiful and peaceful and sweet. (and why last week I did my first Facebook Live episode – five minutes of adorable cat siblings snoozing together in all their snoring, twitchy loveliness.)

But this week – this week Harry’s like ‘come on, I’m here to lick your face because I love you so much. I’m going to wrap myself around your arm and purr. Hey, can I follow you up the stairs and hey will you pay attention to me. Like NOW?!” Meanwhile Ginny is oooh I’m going to reach through the banister and watch while you hang up your backpack because I love you so much and am so excited you’re home and I love you so much. Hey and can I sleep right by your knees? And don’t I look adorbs while I’m running into the cellar where I’m not supposed to be?

Yeah. That first rush of hormones. Super adorable. Super loving. Yup. Please let it stay just like this for one more week.

World AIDS day 2017

We did some talking about World AIDS day today, specificially about Product RED and the impact it makes on AIDS in Africa. It was an almost cheery video. I looked behind me and all my young(er) co-workers… many at the age of those who were killed by this mysterious, emerging disease. It wiped out so many and there was no hope to offer.

I flashed back to reading that article in the NYTimes (paper edition) which announced that doctors were puzzling over this new disease which seemed to shut down the immune system and which targeted young men… I thought about my co-worker Rudy who died of AIDS, his family denying his whole life.

And I looked at these young folk, ready to do good for those affected in Africa. It’s good but I had this moment that this “problem” has been moved to somewhere far far away.

We’ve come a long way, baby?