Choice Is King – My New Years Post 2017

 

It’s a New Year. I wonder how many articles, blogs or puff pieces have started with those four words. It is true none the less and here we are fatter, thinner, richer, poorer, wiser or as the real case may be, dumber. What ever little New Years resolution we did or did not live up to, we have arrived at the beginning of one fresh, unspoiled, hopeful year and left that begging, harsh no good tramp of 2016 in our dust. This year will be the BEST. YEAR. EVER!

At least that’s our plans.

But as Judith Vorst helped Alexander discover in his ‘terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”, life has a way of taking all your plans, looking at us dead in the eye as if to say, ” Oh THIS is your plan? Ha! You stupid, stupid girl (or preferred identity )…”. Then she crumples up all our plans and does a hat dance on top of our hard thought out goals. And life can do a pretty good hat dance too, she’s quite agile.

What are we left with as we stare longingly down at all our dreams laying broken on the ground? Our choices.

As good old Albus Dumbledore said to Harry in The Chamber of Secrets, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are. It is our choices.” This statement seems contrite and very “easy for you to say” in the face of an uncertain future, joblessness, death of a friend, depression or anything that is less than a perfect life. We as humans have come to expect that nothing bad should happen. This is the future dammit! Long past are the days of famine and misfortune. We have dentists, doctors and take out Chinese food! We demand that life gives us the best and that we rise to the top like cream.

Dr. Seuss put it best in Oh The Places You’ll Go! A book that at any chance I get, I buy and give to small children, teenagers and adults alike. It is the best self help and life guidance you will ever get. He writes (excuse the long excerpt):

“You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.”

We live in an alternate reality called Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or even this here blog. We judge ourselves and our lives and how it should all be sailing by the people online. It doesn’t stop there, commercials and life styles of the rich and famous reinforce these thoughts. We are so surrounded by all of these perfect pictures of how life is supposed to go ( at least in our heads) that when we are thrown a curve ball or bite down on a lemon, we crumble.

Back to that Choice bit. We have a decision to make when life fails to live up to our expectations. We can shake our fists in the air, blaming the economy, the boss, the wife, the president, the parents, etc and so forth, No matter whose fault it is, if any is to be assigned, in the end it’s our fault if we choose to lay down and just grumble. Our other choice is to pull up our big girl panties and get on with it. That doesn’t mean we can’t grieve or get angry. It means to choose each day how much you are going to let a situation or failed resolve to affect the rest of your day. How much power will you give it? Some days will be harder, you will fail and that’s okay. You can start again the next day or even the next hour. The right choice isn’t always the easy ( or the most attractive, lucrative or fun)one.

I write these words to encourage anyone who is still reading  this and also to encourage myself. Like many of you, it’s been a hell of a year. I don’t think 2017 will be a magic elixir that will make 2016 seem worth it. I do believe that if I set my will and work hard towards my goals and choose each day what I’m going to give power to and how I will react, that my days will be better and I will be better for it, not just better but happier. Happiness isn’t a feeling, like love, it is a chosen path.

What ever your resolve this year, get thinner, establish a better routine, not eat so many muffins (me), if shit blows up, just remember to choose where to point that fan.

Be happier this year folks.

This is Grief (figuring it out, talking out loud)

To the person un-grieved, this is grief, raw and uncut.

I am angry. At you. At the world. At the person who asks me how my day is. I should just invest in name tags that say, “Hello My Name is Maggie, Before you ask, I’m shitty.”

Again, I m angry. At me, mostly. The time I should have taken, but didn’t. The words I should have spoken, but left unsaid. The past that I can’t re-write or wash away. I am angry at my poor judgment. This is the emotion that has taken me most by surprise, I expected sadness and even sickness, but anger was just a quick thought that I never expected to blossom into a reality.

So where are you? I long to talk and debate politics and talk about how stupid Obama is or how much you loved a documentary. I wouldn’t even mind a talk about religion right now…When I lay down at night or as I’m driving my truck, you will be the saint I pray to…Saint Billy, Pray for us.

Wait, I am still angry at you! Why didn’t you get help when you KNEW shit was sour? I’m being selfish right now and grasping for anything to hold on to. If I let all of it go, I am afraid in some small way that I will be letting you go and with you all my memories, our memories.

All the to do’s, all the cool clothing I was purchasing, all the top of the line shit I was buying, everything that seemed so important just a few weeks ago, are now just ‘things’. Just things.

And I don’t know how to deal with this grief ( a word I now puke out of my mouth upon saying, so vile).

But here I am and you, you are there on the other side and suddenly death doesn’t seem so bad when I know I have you waiting on the other side for me. I’ll see you when I get there, could be 60 years, could be 20, could be less or more, who knows how the hands of time will sweep us. But I’ll be there and I’ll see you, as you used to say, “here, there, or in the air.”.

Image

 

The Separation of Death From Life….Let There Be Whiskey!

And the story begins this way:

When I was a girl I visited a place called Dixon Mounds. It was an Indian burial site. Enclosed in a metal like shed with just a bridge that spanned the divide, the skeletal remains of hundreds of Indians lay where they took their last breath. It was this singular moment, along with my dads love of history , that began my interest in what was before me, before you, before us.

Now, those people are covered. Legal battles ensued and the argument was that the people should be left at rest and not displayed. It was disrespectful. I can see both sides. Were it my Grandpa,  I would be upset that his last resting place was unearthed and displayed like some trophy. On the other hand I am filled with thankfulness that I saw this, as it ignited a flame inside of me to ask questions about the past in order to pursue a future. As they say, those who learn nothing from the past are doomed to repeat it.

In modern culture and American culture specifically, we are very separated from death. Death is not a part of life but a separation from it. A person dies, they are taken away to some cold place that looks much like a basement and the next thing we know, we are looking at them laying out in a box. They look plastic. The reality has been stripped from us and packaged. In olden days, days of yore, or whatever you wish to call them, we had rituals. No embalming, no three days wait. You dealt with it then and there. You prepared the person for their final journey, wherever that may be. You faced death. You gave over your loved back to the earth.

I think, speaking for me, the separation from death sparks the curiosity about it. I do not deny I love the morbid. I love the skeletons, I love the “dark”, I love the ancient practices. As I said earlier, death is packaged and sold to us in a neat box. We are taught that death is hands off . So when we have chance to peek into that most curious room, we are eager to do so, no matter how disgusting or frightful it may be. This is no justification, this is personal admission.

This is why I take a que from the latin culture ( I love the latin culture), celebrate the person, Celebrate their life. Take joy in who they were and what you learned from them. Talk about them often with your loved ones. Do not let their lives become a whisper.

My Grandma Seibert said that she felt after my Grandpa died that people were afraid to speak with her about him. She said it was as if his life became a whisper. Don’t let people become a whisper. Celebrate.

I have often quoted Frida Khalo, and I will paraphrase here, “When I die, I hope they burn this Judas of a body.” I do not want to be packaged and sold. Burn me,let me become the dust from which I came. And yes that sounds romantic and oh so dramatic ( and yes I may have drank too much red wine). But celebrate me and the life I lived. Laugh about the things that were ridiculous about me, reflect on good times and struggles overcome. Do not display me, but let there be beer and wine and especially whisky.

Yes, Yes!! Let there be whiskey!

Continuing Inspiration

Well the Saints did it. We won the first game. BAM! Inspiration.

So continuing on with the theme of inspiration I am going to post photos of both sets of Grandparents.

Throughout life they have been an inspiration. My mother’s parents for their music and my fathers parents for their love of written word. I owe them a debt of gratitude and more for what they have passed on and the shining example of human beings that they are.  At the end I am posting something I wrote about my mothers dad and I am in the process of writing about my father’s dad, both of them have been missing from this earth for two years (give or take). Enjoy.

My Grandpa Seibert is the 3rd from the left I believe.

And this is him when he was a traveling Jazz Musician.

And this is my very beautiful Grandma Seibert. My understanding is she was a fan of the jitterbug and she and my Grandpa met at a contest she was in. He asked her to marry him and she said no. Well, obviously she changed her mind.

And here they are again, William Peter and Vivian Virgene Seibert

Here is an old picture of my Grandma Seiberts Grandma, Hattie Belle Brierton. I liked the looks of her and the stories about her so much I named my daughter after her. She was feisty. And a tough cookie. Her husband is Charles.

Now these pictures below are of my G&G Cherrington, Irvin Clarence and Reba.

This is my Grandpa standing next to the tree they often tied his wrist to when he played outside because he would run away. He has a look of honriness. He kept that look and I saw it many times on his face.

My Grandma, ever the lady.

And here they are together in their living room.

From my journal………

On July 5th, 2008

My grandpa died last night.

I knew it was happening for a while. But the last two days my family kept a constant vigil at his house. My grandma would kiss his lips and he would kiss back. At this point she would smile and say “He can still kiss.” Tender moments on the line of life and death bring things into focus. Life is suddenly not about bills, petty differences between siblings or the perfect day, rather it becomes about a person, a good person who lived a life worth living.

I was not able to make it to the vigil nor will I be able to attend the funeral, something I am dealing with by drinking the allowed amount of alcohol for a pregnant lady and having sudden outbursts of sobbing in public places, my shower and anywhere else. My condition only aids in this. A part of me wishes I could have seen him one last time and said my proper farewells. I even thought of calling and telling him one more time what an inspiration he has been to me and how he and grandma has been a cornerstone in my life. On the other side of that coin, I am glad in some way I wasn’t able to do this because my last memory of him isn’t a picture of a wizened old man but that of a robust man looking healthy and vibrant, hands and nails encrusted with oil and dirt from working around the garage or in his rock shop. The last time I saw him I could tell he was weary and that his health was not great but he was still able to sit across the kitchen table from me and sip his coffee.

I can see his tacky blue pants, the kind of blue that was last sighted in the 70’s. Also pictured is the thread bare white t-shirts that were so thin he may as well have been bare-chested. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever saw my grandpa bare-chested except for a chance encounter on the way to the bathroom one night. Having never seen him shirtless I remember feeling awkward. He was a very modest man, in every sense. He did not boast, he was not haughty and he had a sense of decency and morals that have long since waned away in this tiresome world.

The most obvious memory I have of him and the one I dare say most of the family shares in, is his love for music. Not just listening but producing music, every day on his hummingbird. No guitar has been loved more and it rids me with guilt to think of my guitars sitting idly upstairs un-played and needing a good dusting. I have no regrets in my life so far mainly because I do not believe in wasting time regretting, but if I had one it  would be that I did not take more time to sit and play guitar with him, no matter how clumsily my fingers would have hit the chords. He, with my grandma at the piano, belted out old hymns, love songs and music that lyrically and truthfully was a bit morbid. These morbid tales had titles such as “Put my little shoes away” and “A daisy a day”. They always involved someone dying prematurely or were ballads of one lover dying and the other living on in a depressed manner.

Another Day

Funeral arrangements are being made and I am feeling the pangs of not being able to be there. It’s like I am missing out on saying good-bye, even though I know that’s silly. I knew the last time I saw him that it was possible that I was seeing him for the last time.

The cousins, aunts and uncles were all gathered out at the farm for the passing. They played all the old songs to him. As was told to me, at one point they were all gathered at the living room table, Grandpa lay on his bed by the front windows. Grandma got up and went over to Grandpa and kissed him and told him that it was alright, he could go be with Jesus, she would be fine. He looked at her and died. That’s the way it should be I think.  Call it coincidence or what you like but I think there is something there. The human spirit will endure a lot when it thinks it is still needed.

Faith and a Gentle Giant

My Grandpa was a great man of faith. I have a rich history tied up in my grandparents love of God. Any holiday was begun with prayer and as mentioned earlier, many hymns were sung, just for the fun of singing of course, but you never doubted that my grandparents really believed what they sang.  “Cannans Land” was not a place of imagination but a real physical location that we travel to when we die. At dinner time we sang the doxology and then my grandpa, a quiet, sturdy barreling man who as a child I believed to be every bit as big as Andre the Giant, he would pray. He would start of by addressing God as “Heavenly Father” and then proceed to thank him for the time with family. At this point his lips would begin to quiver a bit and his voice would become gradually high pitched as he continued on and a couple of tears would slide down his cheek. He loved his family. He loved us. And it is nice to be loved not for what you do but for who you are, bumps, bruises, scrapes and all. I and the whole Cherrington gang were loved by a gentle giant of a man not in spite of who we are but because of who we are.

My faith is weak on most days and on the other days, almost all together absent. I drink, I smoke and I curse like a sailor on good days (sorry Grandma), though never in front of my grandparents. Grandma still has that yard stick.  But seeing the lives of my Grandparents has always been reassuring. It is the little voice inside me that tells me that there is some truth to this God thing after all. It is the kick in the pants that keeps me believing that one day I will go “over Jordon” and find myself face to face again with grandpa at the pearly gates he sang about so often.

Laughter and Humor

Perhaps hand in hand with this faith was my Grandpa’s ability to see the humor in things he didn’t understand.  I knew him for only a short amount of time and perhaps this quality is something he attained later on in life as he grew in wisdom as we all hopefully do as we age. What ever the case, the lesson of laughter in face of non-understanding is a long and fruitful lesson that was shown to me through him. An example of this, was a small conversation between my husband Dale and he. Dale, has many tattoos, something I know my grandparents do not understand but they quietly accept the fact that we continue to get them. One morning, while staying at their house, my husband wandered down shirtless. Dale looked at my grandpa and asked, “You know why I get all these tattoos don’t ya?” Grandpa sat quiet for a moment, shook his head and then said no, he didn’t. “It’s to save money on t-shirts” my husband replied. Grandpa lost it, his head leaned way back eyes closed, upper teeth characteristically jutting out a bit past his bottom set as he laughed.

I firmly believe that Grandpa was able to eat as much bacon and eggs as he did because he worked hard and he laughed often.

Peanut Butter and Dentures

Cheerios, Post Toastie’s and oyster crackers can be found at any given moment in my grandma’s lazy susan cabinet. Along with these staples is a seemingly endless supply of toast, peanut butter and marmalade jelly. In the mornings my grandpa could be found at the kitchen table with his coffee, a Kleenex brand paper towel complete with pills and peanut butter toast. I know he ate the cereal too and dressed his toast in marmalade as well but I remember more mornings with peanut butter than not. He would bite down, you would hear the crunch of the toast and then as he chewed you would also hear the clicking of his dentures as polly-dent and peanut butter fought it out to see who would reign supreme. The peanut butter always won.

I had peanut butter toast quite by mistake the morning after his passing. Dale and I sat in bed at 6:30 in the morning and drank our coffee. I managed to make a good mess of the toast and it hit me, this was the “Grandpa Breakfast”. Denny’s has the “grand slam” and the waffle house has something of similar fashion, we at the Kellett household have the “Grandpa Breakfast”, peanut butter toast, coffee and the optional jar of marmalade I keep in my fridge just incase.

Rocks, bucket loads of ‘em

I always thought my grandpa had brought back buried treasure when he and grandma would come home from Arizona. In the back of his truck would be at least a couple boxes of rocks. A good bit of them looked like large balls of gravel but Grandpa knew what lay inside. Fire argot was my favorite. I loved to hold it up to the light and see the little slits of orange and red glow. It was like magic to me. Fool’s gold was another favorite because what kid doesn’t like something that looks like gold? I have no doubt that as I write this there are still buckets upon buckets of rocks down in his basement. He lined his drive with them and people admired them so much that they admired them right out of his driveway. Just inside the back door of their house is a three tiered thing that holds more rocks of various sizes, colors and shapes. He made bolo ties and found old jewelry settings and filled the empty rings or broaches with some of the smaller rocks. Some were just cut and polished into various shapes and left to sit in baskets. Poor Grandma had to think of new places to put them every year.

Ornery

My grandpa was ornery. There is a picture of him by a tree as a child. A story goes along with that picture but I can’t remember it to do it justice, something to do with punishment. I think he was tied to the tree so he wouldn’t run away. Anyways that look and smile on his face is the same I saw on him as an adult and it seems to say “If you only knew what I did”. I think the orneriness was what gave him his lust for life and passion for metal detecting, rocks and collecting random parts to random things at garage sales. He was always tinkering. His hands were never idle.

When I was young he told me he would pay be a quarter for each bucket of walnuts I picked up. This sounded great until I saw the bucket-it was 5 gallons. I ended up making 3 bucks, that’s a lot of walnuts folks.

He once brought home from Arizona some “Rattlesnake eggs” in a manila envelope for us grand kids to marvel at. Of course once you opened the envelope a loud rattling noise went off and caused you to drop the envelope and run. I think it gave him joy to watch our reactions and as a result I do a lot of things like this to my kids. It’s just funny.

Moles

My grandpa had an on going feud with the moles in his yard. I imagine the moles will in some way miss him, though perhaps not the shovel head or the gun. Grandpa was a patient man when it came to ridding his yard of pesky varmints. He would stand waiting for one to pop its little head out of one of the many holes it had dug and once it did, well that was the end for the furry little varmint. (Varmint was a word used by him for me when I would steal the pen he kept in his shirt pocket; He would laugh and say “You Varmint!” I believe he stopped wearing his pen due to the frustration of me stealing it all the time)

Passing of the torch, so to speak

I am glad I am able to see some of the little things that were apart of my grandpa in his children. From what I have observed, My Uncle Tim received his laughter and orneriness, My Uncle Sam his curious nature and knack for bringing home odd items at yard sales, My Aunt Theresa his orneriness and spunk and my mom his love for toast and coffee as well as collecting things, though in her case it happens to be sea shells and tea cups, not rocks. I am not sure which is better. I would love to say I have some of his wonderful qualities, I don’t know about that but I am the proud inheritor of his whistle that could be heard at various times during the day as he walked through the house. It wiggled and that’s pretty cool.

Memories

It is funny little memories that help us to remember a person as they were. These moments carry some element of the person’s character, their love, their passion and their humanity. When I think of grandpa I will always think about bolo ties, cowboy hats, peanut butter, rocks, moles, garage sale gadgets, forgotten verses to songs in which Grandma was always quick to remind him, along with many other random things. All of these things by themselves make no sense but put into context with Grandpa makes all the sense in the world. They remind me of the great man he was and finally it brings a smile to my face and makes the day brighter.

Thank you Grandpa for your laughter, your humanity, your music, your honesty, your faith and your heart, I am a better person having known you.

Art, The Artist and the Home

When I was married some 11 years ago a book was given to me by my mother called ‘Hidden Art’. This book is by Edith Schaeffer. For those who are unfamiliar with her, she is the wife of the late Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer. Though I am not what most would consider Christian, I find a lot of good things in this book. It makes me realize I should have read it 11 years ago when it was given. But as the old adage goes “Better late than never”.

This book brings art back to the basic form, which is in the home. Before art was an easel painting, a mural, a sculpture, a fashion outfit, a rock song, a classic novel, a play, a poem or a creative movement group testing the limits of the human body, it was found in the everyday items of life we now take for granted due to mass production of the item a thousand times over. Chances are the silverware set, the furniture and the spread on your bed can be traced to another million homes all over the world. That is the way it is now. The everyday items of long ago, took longer to make and were meant to last a lifetime and beyond. So great care was taken in making the furniture, the kitchen tools etc. If you were going to have something a life time, it better me made very well and since it was going to be around for  6 or 7 decades well, it may as well look great too. Who wants to stare at something ugly for a lifetime?  Art in the common place items of daily lives enriched the lives of the ancient man and continues to do so today. Hand made items have really seen a comeback since people are starting to value art more. They want something that is personal and made to last. They want something to express a part of their personality.

When you step back and look at your house and the things in it, from the color of paint to the bed sheets and from the cups in your cupboard to how we arrange food on a plate, we tailor these things because it brings us something pleasing. The books we read over and over offer us something that perhaps we ourselves can not put into words but by reading the words on the page our unsaid yearnings and desires are given a voice. Music and poetry is the same way. Even classical music with it’s lack of verse and chorus can explore and communicate love, anger, hurt and celebration. Art inspires and encourages us; it makes life beautiful and worth living.

Today, in the burst of commercialized arts and the quest for immortality through them (i.e. American Idol, So You Think You can Dance, Hell’s kitchen etc), we have put art and artists on a pedestal while we lowly subjects look up straining to glimpse the greatness of the new “Top” artist or art. Todays “instant” culture forgets about our own skills, citing that we have not the talent for music, drawing,writing etc and so forth. Yet we do not try and our perception of art is warped. The perception is if we can not turn out Mona Lisa’s or if we can not sing like Ella Fitzgerald than its not worth the investment. We are not all meant to be Picasso’s and Raphael’s (personal favorites) nor are we all to be Kerouac’s or Nabokov’s and for that matter we can’t all sing or move like James Brown. This having been said, I do believe we can still create to enhance our personal lives and the lives we come into contact with.  Creating for some is simply sitting down and educating ones self on the how to’s of a paticular art and to others it is getting your hands dirty so to speak. I did not think I could draw at all until I picked up two books about 5 years ago that told me otherwise, They are “Drawing on the right side of the brain” by Betty Edwards  and  “Drawing the Human Figure” by Arthur Zaidenberg.

In Drawing the Human Figure Zaidenberg talks about how anybody can draw and he goes on to express his frustration when he hears people say they can’t.

“The expression “I can’t draw a single straight line,” repeated ad nauseum to the art teacher by countless people who then go on to say that they would love to express themselves with a pencil or brush is typical of the lazy, unenthusiastic way which most people approach any problem even though they vaguely wish to solve that problem. To be literal about it, no one can draw a straight line, freehand. An artist is never called upon to draw a straight line in drawing humans or anything else in nature. There is a curious absence of straight lines in nature. On the contrary nature seems to abhor straight lines and the subtle curves of every natural object are a challenge to the artist, they are so beautiful and emotional. So you see that if you cannot draw a straight line you have the prerequisite of an artist, the ability to draw curves.”

When I read the above, at this point in my life I was trying a lot of new things. I had moved away from my New Orleans which had been home for 11 years and I was past the terrible two’s with my daughter and sailing somewhat easily into the 4th year and realizing I needed to invest in me before ‘me’ disappeared. I picked up this book and between reading it and putting into practice the instructions, I was on my way.  Sure I sucked but didn’t you fall when first tried to walk? Same concept. You have to re-train your mind. We are used to microwaving everything, that is, we want things instantly and so we have become extremely impatient beings. I had a bonus being married to an artist but I have my own style of art and he has his, everyone is different and you have accept your style just as you have to accept who you are in life. You can not go on in life always wishing you were like “so and so”, you will fail if you do that.

I have been able to draw and paint my way through some of the confusing issues in life and open the door to some of the creativity that was shut in. I did this just by doing what I didn’t think I could do. I have repeated this through out the years, trying my hand at several different areas of art. A few years back I wrote a local paper in South Carolina where I was living for 2 years and submitted some writing and lo and behold I wrote for a year with them, pulling out 2 cover stories and about 6 other articles. Also during this time I decided to play my guitar (s0mething i taught myself to play11 years ago) and sing out at a bar and then out at a couple house concerts, something I have never done, was scared shitless to do but did. And I am still standing. I learned to sew quilts by watching my mother sew as a child. I love sewing quilts. I started sewing them about 6 years back. They aren’t fancy or complicated, they are the most simple design you could create but I get satisfaction from creating something I see as beautiful and my home and those in it benefit from it as well.

This is the age of information. Your “how to’ book is the internet (or if you prefer something tangible than the library). That’s not to say the internet is always going to be right (obviously) but it is a good starting point for someone who is just looking to learn a little more. Who knows where learning just a little more can take you. You may find something you want to know more than “just a little” about and it could catapult you into school and on to a career.

Understand, I am not honking my own horn or saying “look how great i am” (though, yes I am proud of these things) but bringing it back to Edith Schaeffers idea, anyone can do art in some form and the richness and outlet it brings is more rewarding than gold. Especially with today’s pressures on adults and children to conform to wishy washy popular demands on clothes, music and lifestyle, it can be a lifesaver. My mind is chaotic on good days, with information, to do’s, demands and wants all fighting to be forefront. And then there are your regular life struggles involving friendship and family. For me, writing, playing and listening to music, drawing and reading (and yoga) all offer me solace from the angry storm inside my head…most days. Everyone has those days where no matter how they try to balance, they can’t. And that is OK, there is always tomorrow. Art has offered me self awareness, confidence, a new way to see the world and a road that leads to a better me mentally, physically and spiritually. Even if I didn’t put my hand to paper or sing or do any of these things myself, I think just seeing and involving the arts in my life would still make me more aware and in tune with life while doing all the things just mentioned above.

I know from evidence that taking the time to learn something new or bring something new into your life, though challenging, can be very rewarding. My grandmother went to college and graduated with a bachelors in the arts when she was in her 60’s. I think she was my first example of an artist. Though not your typical writer, musician or artist, she takes time each day to journal and play piano. Her decoration style is eclectic. As a child I found her decorations really very funny and still there are some I wonder about but it is a picture, a glimpse of who she is. When I walk into her apartment I see her personality everywhere. She is not afraid of who she is, that is what art has brought her.

So before I bore you to tears I will close. I have no brilliant closing statement. Only that I want to bring art down from that famous untouchable pedestal and  back into our homes. There are obviously some who will become the great artists of their time but to not pursue an interest because you’ll never be as “great” as them is folly. Beside, how do you know until you try? Plus, art appreciation is just as important as the artist themselves, with out the appreciators the great artists of time would go unnoticed.

Without further adieu I will step off my soapbox. Below is a couple of  paintings I did shortly after I started drawing and one of my quilts. There is also a painting a friend did. My house is covered with paintings that friends have done, many of them are not “painters”. They do however enjoy the process and what it does for them. There is also a picture of a wall in my house. It brings me happiness to see it on a daily. Each of these projects taught me something about myself and I had fun doing them.  My next post will involve pictures of things that inspire me in life and in art.

Painted on cardboard, top choice of poor people everywhere 🙂

I never could quite get this lady's face correct. So one day when I was feeling particularly frustrated, this is what happened.

Originally my mom made me a quilt with these squares of materials but it started to deteriorate so I took it apart and re-did it, adding some of my own material.

My wall. As you can see I like animal skulls. Paintings done by friends.

My friend Andrea did this. This was one of her first attempts at faces. I love it and it hangs in my kitchen over my tea caddy.