From the Quote Box – LotR

[Arwen] took a white gem like a star that lay upon her breast hanging on a silver chain, and she set the chain about Frodo’s neck. “When the memory of the fear and the darkness troubles you,” she said, “this will bring you aid.” — J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

NaPoWriMo, Day Eleven

Today’s prompt from NaPoWriMo was to write a Bop: “The invention of poet Afaa Michael Weaver, the Bop is a kind of combination sonnet + song. Like a Shakespearan sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.”

I have to say that it was a beautiful day. I fixed two plumbing issues. I stripped the bed and did laundry. I finished a landscape which was sort of meh, and did a quick little still life of my favorite brushes. I looked at two watercolor-related books. I shook my head over the news. I watched the daffodils start to yellow up. I opened the bedroom window. But the words… been a hard few days.

A Reminder of Ideas, Just in Case

Before the month started I wrote down this:
A reminder of ideas, just in case –
For those days when words didn’t flow from me
When there’s fresh laundry that needs my folding
and everything looks better than the page.
the list of ideas that might be useful.

Oh spirit of writing, where have you gone?

Practice, perseverance, daily commute
The work of dailyness, the clouds and sky
sonnets and haiku and some limericks
Taking time to look, A box full of paint
No ideas but in things. Just do the work.
Beauty. Coming home. Walls full of paintings.
A wall full of my paintings. Hold to joy.
The color of a lake. The length of days.

Oh spirit of writing, where have you gone?

Tonight this list is a whole universe
tonight the words are somewhere in between
Today I painted, I’d say with success
a still life of my brushes. And I fixed
the washer so it works. I folded sheets.
I reviewed the reminder of ideas.

So many books

not enough awake time…

Mid-December, where’ve you been MB?

I have realized that I haven’t been posting here since my return from Wales. I think this happened after my NZ trip too. It seems to take e me time to recover from the jet lag (and after NZ, the bronchitis), settle back into the routine and this time, throw myself into the madness that is holiday in retail. Yeah.

The trip was marvelous. I’m still looking through the photos and thinking about the things I saw and did. It was my first solo trip planning and doing and it certainly taught me a lot. It also taught me that things can and will go wrong and there are always ways to fix or get through it… as long as you don’t keep spinning your wheels about what went wrong. For example – I could not find a place to drop off my car in Cardiff. I missed my first train connection and then had to give up on the rescheduled one but my choice was to keep trying to find a place to bring the car and then how to get to manchester OR drive to my next scheduled bed near the airport and call it a super-long day. Arrived at the B&B very late but that was better than no sleep at all and I was within range of the airport WITH a drop off.

Landscapes were great everywhere. Rolling hills, stone walls and sheep. Just enough autumn color, mostly from poplar and oak. Old there is much older than what is considered ancient at home. In the UK there is a legal right to walk from point A to B, even across privatete land. These paths are marked and mapped and often involved stiles across stone fences or revolving stiles through wire fences or gates that you have to open and close securely behind you to keep the sheep and or cattle where they should be. Sheep poo on your boots, no extra charge. Went to an exhibit at a castle and had money out for entrance fee and the man at the ticket booth looked a little surprised – there’s no charge ma’am!

So many days of wonderful skies. I saw so many rainbows! Rain was often very localized so it might be raining just over there and sunny behind you – the perfect makings of a colorful moment. It poured down rain only a few times. One day, when I chose St. David’s Cathedral as my “good day for an indoor activity” place, it was so windy that it literally blew the water out of the road puddles. I got wet but I didn’t fall over!

Local folks were always ready and enthusiastic in telling you all about their local church or historic fort or whatever. There were enough people standing by to tell you stuff that it made me a little embarrassed on how little I probably know about my own historic stuff.

Had meaningful and considered conversations with folks, everyone from the car rental person to a fellow-hostel-guest about current events. This always started with “so we had this big surprise here (in the UK) recently about the Brexit vote and now you…” and once I’d nodded or given the appropriate sign of dismay, they’d tell me all their fears and worries about the newly elected president and ask all kinds of good questions about our election system and why people don’t vote and … well yeah. All those questions.

I did do a little painting while I was there – darn it I brought all these supplies and I’m going to use them or else! – and you might have noticed that I took quite a few photos.

So will I go back? Yes. And I won’t worry about seeing everything – maybe I’ll spend more time in just one place. Maybe I’ll do Scotland or Ireland too!

keep on keeping on – do the work, do the work

I’m purposely working to be patient and let things dry and do things in stages. Doing a couple paintings in tandem is helpful in this. I’ve also opened up my arches pad of paper and found I can fold and tear it into postcard size pieces which is great for practicing small effects. Big juicy watercolor but in fun small bites.

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The Crazy Ones

Text of the above ad, here. Longer version below.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Sometimes I need to revisit the original. And the original reasons. Because all the rest is just all the rest. I spent a lot of time yesterday with all the rest and today I’m putting it away.

things that make you go – huh

Went to see a new doctor recently. Same practice, different doc. I asked who they had that was new because I needed a change. I got a younger woman who was ok Did a very quick, cursory physical. Declared my lungs clear and my back suspicious spot free. Asked about switching my meds to the by-mail plan that my insurance provides and I explained as best I could about how the process works. The doc allowed that she’d send one set of prescriptions to the local pharmacy and then await the digital request from the online process. She also asked if I needed nebulizer stuff. I didn’t have a nebulizer til a year ago when their urgent care sent me home with one but ok. And she wanted me to take the heavy duty vitamin D stuff, one a week for a couple months and then regular OTC. Personally I think D is the new drug du jour. Don’t go out in the sun, wear sunblock and take all this vitamin D.

A few days later I had the vitamin D, four BOXES of nebulizer stuff (one hundred treatments!) and an inhaler from the local pharmacy. I kept poking at the online thing and hoped it was going to tell me it had worked.

First a big package came with SIX inhalers. SIX! My understanding was that I was supposed to get a three month supply. A few days later I got three of the preventative drug that I really needed. That sort of confirmed the three month supply idea but what about the other one?

And that, boys and girls is how I went from needing prescriptions filled to getting a boatload of stuff for what it would cost for one month’s supply. Ummm thank you insurance company? Where to store it all…