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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Yes you can

 photo from Tucson in January

One of the things I have learned about getting old is that it wasn't anything like what I expected and having been around a lot of old people in my life, I had seen old age. The biggest thing I can say about what it's like to reach 70+, it's not over until it's over. There are just so many options to learn new things, experience things you haven't, and be open to change or not. It's exciting to be at a point where you can do what you want within the range of your physical and economic capabilities, of course. It's amazing though how much that allows.

Old age doesn't have to be all about crocheting doilies. It can be, of course, but the world is full of other kinds of options. Jim Roberts, a long time friend, illustrates one of those. He sent me the clipping on an interview with him which went into his life, the shifts he has made through the years and something new he began doing at an age many would say you can't do that. Yes, you can.

Old people can find a profession they wanted before but had to earn money; so couldn't. They can start a business or dive into charitable work. They can be photographers, writers, painters, actors, and any of the things they were told weren't practical when they were young. They can travel to new places, take tours, join clubs, or find alone time that their daily life didn't allow before.

As encouragement to that end, I wanted to share an interview with Jim that appeared in the Wahkiakum County Eagle. I scanned and then put it onto my Picasa and hope it will prove readable either by hitting the links or reading it below. I think it's an encouragement to look around and see what alternatives you have but hadn't considered. And if you aren't yet old, about what you might want to be thinking of adding to your life when you get there.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Summer Solstice

It seems to me that I have written, I don't have anything to write, so many times recently that I could just go ditto. It's not that nothing is happening. It's that it is not earthshaking or even worth repeating long enough to write it down. Pretty much that's not a bad way to live  actually. Life is made of little moments that are not earthshaking but just ongoing. They take us forward; we don't really want fireworks every day-- or at least I do not.

So this week we felt fortunate to have our four grandchildren around quite a bit. Two came in for the week and two came to play one day and later spent one night giving us all four under our roof for that night. That all went quite well which is just how you want it to go. Nobody got more than a few blisters or a skinned knee.

My partner and I (known here as Farm Boss) put out the eBook Storm in the Canyon which was received about as I expected considering the two before it-- as in with a dull thud :). To be totally honest, almost nobody cared to read this paranormal trilogy.

From my viewpoint, I enjoyed writing something different, liked the heroes and heroines, and it was fun figuring out the paranormal aspects which I got a lot of help doing from my chemist husband (also known as Farm Boss). But then my liking them doesn't say much since my normal read is not paranormal. I mostly have no idea what readers of that genre really like. I believe in them enough that they will all three go into a paperback which will be called Diablo Canyon with three parts to it (around 110,000 words, I think) and that will be out by the end of June or first of July-- I hope.

Sometimes as a writer, you simply write what you are given, and it doesn't mean a reader will like it at all. I can't even be sure all the readers who might like one of my books will stumble across it. At least though this trilogy was all a pleasure to write, the trailers were fun to create, and the covers suit the books perfectly. That's all a writer can do. The rest is out of my hands. Onward and upward as a friend of mine used to say.

We had to make a firm decision to postpone our trip to Yellowstone. This has been an odd year for getting hay. We need 40 tons of big round bales to get through our Oregon winter when the grass is there but not growing and with limited nutritional value. Raising cattle and sheep, sufficient hay for winter is not an option.

So instead of going to Montana/Wyoming, we may just take a shorter trip around Oregon (after we get the hay) and maybe a bit of southeastern Idaho where I am told there are interesting ghost towns as it was quite a mining area at one time. 

You know, take a vacation or not, I don't feel anxious about it because I live in a place that feels like a vacation to me. It's a place I would choose to vacation if I didn't live here. The thing is though vacations are meant to give us a break from regular routine. Maybe what we should do is pull the trailer to Portland and do a big city trip. Now that would be really different except when I am there a day is usually enough for me. Anyway, all of that is dicey until the hay is in the barns.

So with grandkids back to their families, I am ready to edit. Comes the Dawn, an Arizona O'Brian historical, will be out July 10. It follows Arizona Sunset and Tucson Moon. I hadn't thought of these titles as fitting from sunset to dawn but turned out that way.

And today is Summer Solstice--
At the very least we know we are still near the exact center point when the ‘stargate’ or ‘portal’ is wide open during the solstices. The Sun acts as a doorway to the incoming energies, illuminating and opening the stargate to other realms and dimensions as it rises, sets and tracks across the sky during the solstice time.
Do Solstices matter for attaining something? Well-- sometimes it can.  If you believe in energy portals (I just wrote a paranormal about such), this could be one. What can you do to make it special for you? 
  1. Voice a committed choice for something that will enhance the quality of your life-- big or little thing. 
  2. Eliminate something that isn't working in your life.
  3. Commit or recommit to something you have always wanted.
  4. Litha, this summer solstice Sabbat, honors the longest day of the year and a time to reflect on seasons and cycles.

Any moment can be a special one if we make it so. Every change starts with a commitment to make it so.

What we know for certain sure-- energy portals or not, we are at the longest day of the year and now on our way back to the shortest. Another cycle is completing. That alone should be cool for those who believe in cycles ;)

My granddaughter who was teaching me (or trying to teach me) how to use my smart phone, took the first photo of Blackie and Raven on what we are currently calling our old garden for wont of a better word. It seems what is our front yard should be our back based on where the road is; so it's taking some doing to come up with a word to describe both gardens that we will remember...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

find a rainbow moment

How do we keep a positive attitude in a time when so much seems to be going wrong? I wish I had better answers to that question, but I think it's one we all need to think about. If we become buried in despondency, we can't help ourselves-- let alone anyone else. If we are looking for some super hero to fix the whole thing, likely we will be angry or disappointed. Those only exist in movies, books and comics.

Some say the answer is love. Love everyone, and it will all be better soon. Nothing wrong with love, but it's a word. Sometimes it's easier to say we love the universe, glowing with good will, than to love the one who just cut in front of us in traffic or passed right into us on a narrow road forcing us to brake and move onto the shoulder as far as we can to avoid a head-on collision. How about the person who just insulted us and walked off? The ones who didn't meet our expectations?

Is love really the solution for those who have already been loaded up to believe it's all about them? Or are surrounded by people who put them at the center of their universe? Those who have filled them with expectations that the world owes them whatever they want? You know when I was a child, which was long, long ago, children never for a moment thought they were the center of the family. That was the era of parents being the controllers and in charge.

Is love the solution when a child is depressed, can't seem to get it together, and he's given a prescription that will magically solve problems-- or at least makes it quieter for the parent?

Not to say that medications are bad. I took Prozac some years back. I didn't feel like killing myself nor anyone else. But whatever pill there is out there, there will be side effects and sometimes that can be rage or increasing despondency. I am not suggesting prescribed drugs lead to mass killings. Shouldn't we though be looking at the issue very seriously?

You know the media is always onto the next story. They don't generally finish anything. They stir up rage, pathos or joy and on they go to the next hot story. They don't find solutions. They find problems. 

Americans encourage this with their tendency toward attention deficit, and a constant need for excitement to be entertained or stirred in some way.

Clearly with all these violent situations, the first line of defense for a society is not more guns in the hands of ordinary people. It's the family. That the family will recognize a problem and work to solve it or get outside help. But what if the family is either dysfunctional or helpless and unable to figure out what to do? What if they are so wrapped up in other problems that they aren't paying enough attention? Pretty much every shooter out there has fit into one of those family situations.

I know how many want to think the answer is stopping gun sales and collecting all the ones out there. It won't happen. And because it is the clarion call, other more reasonable steps aren't happening either because of the profit motive but also fear that their guns will be taken if anything at all is done.

I don't think the problem is all centered in our entertainment. How do we explain the worldwide spate of violence? All the fault of the US? Some would love to blame us for sure.

So in the midst of this kind of chaos-- and it is happening around the world, the right wing is screaming that they won the battle of Iraq (yes, it's really what they want to claim), and Obama has lost it. Even after all the billions of dollars poured into there, unless the US wanted to have ongoing war forever, with a steady loss of life, it was inevitable that this would eventually happen. That's the truth that we all knew who paid any attention anyway. Once Bush interfered in a stable, sovereign nation,  cruel though it might have been, we either stayed forever with our men being killed, or we had to get out and take the blame for what was to come. The claim of McCain and Graham is we needed to fight forever there. 

Yes, everybody labels McCain a hero, but his main claim to fame in his own war was crashing his planes and finally ending up a POW who refused to be released until the others with him were also. That's not a war hero. That's stubbornness and maybe courage but it's not about being able to fight a war. He didn't. And Graham never left the US during his time in the military; so what they both know about war is reading about it and pushing it onto other people which is what some would have us doing now with Iraq. War forever and ever-- amen.

Some of what the US is seeing in terms of violence is around the world. Think of the girls in India being kidnapped, raped and then hung from trees, the Pakistani women stoned to death often by their own families, the Sudanese government still threatening to hang a woman for renouncing the Muslim faith when she married a Christian except she never was a Muslim but her father was and that made her one.

I tell you if you pay any attention to worldwide news, we are in a very very violent time. What can we do about it? Not a lot. We can get better gun regs but they likely wouldn't stop a lot of what we are seeing. The latest kid got hold of guns his family owned. We can be careful where our kids are. Force our schools to get better doors and metal detectors with someone there to watch what and who come through the door. Most important, we can make better mental health programs available to schools and parents for the situations where the problems are way behind the reach of the parents. And be damned sure that any meds that are given to troubled kids don't make the situation worse.

Otherwise, try to be happy. Smell the roses. Enjoy the coffee or tea. Savor every small moment. Say I love you frequently. Be as healthy and happy as possible because it all starts with us. Sit in the dirt or on the grass, let the energy of nature enter up into you. Sniff the air. Tiny moments where we have joy-- out from that a positive energy flows. 

Also I might recommend finding creative pursuits. They don't have to be big ones but doing things that make you feel good for the doing and the finishing. I think being creative is very good for the spirit.

Rainbow photo is not one of ours but one I bought through CanStock. I have a lot of fun finding photos that sometimes I can use in book trailers or covers but also in the blogs :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

from another blog

This is a topic I wrote about for Rain Trueax but readers here might also find of interest-- 

If you go there and have an opinion regarding the subject, be sure and comment-- here or there. I think it's a topic that could be debated with opinions other than my own or those I quoted there. :)

I might start posting a link here on Wednesday to what I thought most interesting from there or other places-- along with a photo or two, of course.

(The peacock has been quite noisy along the creek sometimes especially at night where I could swear it's a tropical environment instead of the PNW. He wants the wild turkey hens to come to him but they aren't around. I hope the cougars didn't get them all. Poor lonely guy but getting him a peahen would probably only end up with her dead-- hence he struts his stuff, stays along the creek, runs from us, and has to live out his days a magnificent lone male with no mate-- definitely suitable subject for a 'literary novel' lol.)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Diane Widler Wenzel and a new show

Here is a two posts for one day- Diane Widler Wenzel is in a new show opening Tuesday at the LaSells Center in Corvallis. If you are anywhere near for the opening, be sure you check it out or visit the gallery where the show will be for most of June. 

The show has ten Albany artists each showing ten of their more recent works. It makes it diverse and interesting. Here's what Diane said about it.

An invitation to see Widler Wenzel paintings in a group show
The Albany Artist 10x10 exhibit show cases 10 two-dimensional artists from Albany - all on a different path from one another. Besides myself there will be Michael Linstrom, Marsha Meldfinger, Kurt Norlin, Molly Perry, Rob Robinson, Anna Lee Steed, Irene VanDusen, Michael Moore, Billie Moore at the Giustina Gallery, the LaSells Stewart Center, Oregon State University,  875 SW 26th St. Corvallis , Oregon 97330.  gallery hours Monday-Friday, 9am - 5 pm. The exhibit runs from June 2nd - 26.
Meet Diane and the nine other artists at a reception June 10 at 6:30 - 8:30 pm

 Diane Widler Wenzel's Process

 When I paint my best work, my feelings flow into my work surprising me.  Whether painting with oil, acrylic, watercolor or collage: whether starting with an object in mind or not, one piece flows to the next. Each piece is a record of a facet of my journey. A series of work is a record of my process.  My series include rivers, fishermen and family.  All my work together becomes a visual record of my life. 

When life throws curves or inspiration dries up, I think of my favorite watercolor colors. After painting several similar non-objective color compositions, I ask questions. What if I collaged unpainted, partially folded paper?

Currently I am working on a watercolor collage of some rocks that take on the form similar to an arm in the mouth of a clay cave. Over the wrist floats a well-used, waxed paper envelope with cancelled stamps. The arm reaches for another envelope with a letter and cancelled stamp - Shanghai, July 1, 1900. Symbolism is now again at play.

The painting above is one Diane painted along our creek. She was out Friday starting another one-- a tad smaller :) 

I don't know if the following piece is in this show. She had to narrow it down to ten and she is a very prolific artist, but I am particularly fond of the paintings she does of the ocean and thought I'd include it just as another sample of her work. She really captures the energy of the ocean.

heading toward summer

This has been a week of getting the yard geared up for summer. I am fine with that and enjoying it a lot-- despite concern that if we don't get rain, this may present future problems regarding fire danger. For now, it's just delightful with the climbing roses in full bloom, the new additions to our outdoor lawn furniture which makes sipping a glass of wine outside delightful.

I am so ready for summer but is it ready for me? It better be.

Oh and I need to take some vegetable garden photos. It's looking so good :)