Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 12

CLEAN: Much of the house! Much in baby steps - but hey, whatever works! Not the DEEP CLEAN of finding things thought forever lost - simply because, no, we haven't touch every item, nor scratched out every corner. But the Holiday dramas should be a wee tad less dramatic in a (haha) more Zen environment. And work will be a bit easier. It does help to put "Hoarders - Buried Alive" on the Netflix  for a little more "you can do it!" And then do it.

HARD: the soil frozen solid around bulbs I should have dug out of pots a month ago...... Hot water and gloves will be put to task in a few days when forecast is for slightly warmer. It's my first go-round with digging up and storing bulbs. I'm a plant and pray - not plant and dig up sort of gardener. New skill time. HARD Lesson learned.

Another HARD - we are hosting a new art doings here tonight. a small salon-style event called Part Art. So I baked a lovely pan of chocolate caramel walnut brownies only to torment myself and maybe a few others. Trying so hard to really lessen gluten and sugar intake. hahahahahahahaha. And Sigh. Husband licked spoon and pan. Boy, the kitchen smells delicious... Yes, it was from a box - don't care. And other members of family are dealing with food issues, so Thanksgiving will be "interesting." There will be plenty to eat - it just might not all be the normal stuff. Normal stuff - plus. We will be thanksful for many things - just not having to be careful putting items on plate. Was hard enough back in the day when all we were concerned about was Calories. Now it's Choosing Foods with Care. My thoughts go out to all dealing with similar doings. GOOD LUCK! and enjoy The Day anyway!

FAST: how we plunked down bear goodies as The Grand Hand Gallery in ST. Paul, MN yesterday. An oil pastel, two acrylic bear heads, and a small pastel are now there along with the pieces shown below. Apologies for glare and angle. I'm thrilled that the work is right inside the second large gallery. And next to Betsy Bowen's wonderful woodcuts. Woo hoo! We also delivered a big bunch of greeting cards - both Holiday and other.

Then I got to run into Wet Paint and buy yet another Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. The third, so far. Argh. Expensive to lose. Expensive (for cheap me) to buy again - knowing that TWO are probably hiding in not quite plain sight. Argh. But the newest one has a strap I tied onto it. The bright tape on the second one didn't help in the keeping-track-of. We shall see.

And now it's Thanksgiving Day Eve. Every day is a day to give Thanks. Seriously. I think of 30 things each day to be thankful for: (sometimes more than once a day - repeats are legal).
Number One is is usually, even with this "LOUD sound" that no one else can hear - I am Thankful that I can still Hear. The next twenty-nine depend of mood, day, and circumstance. Today I am Thankful for the great jazz music of Vince Guaraldi. We know him most from the "Charlie Brown" soundtracks, but he did much more, and like many excellent musicians - died way too young. Check out his work - it will probably make you happy.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Clean hard Fast: 11

CLEAN - Must do much in studio and on kitchen desk in preparation for new art discussion group. Two of us decided that The Van Gogh Cafe concept could not die. Our little doing will be "Part Art" and will not have to rely on businesses for locations. So... I'm offering our home for this Wednesday's first go-round. Topic: Your Favorite one or Two Art Books. We have enough folks planning to come that we think we can have an excellent evening. Yay! And we will be flexible as to dates, topics, etc.
I'm excited to know that a number of folks who can't make this date (day before Thanksgiving) never-the-less are glad that we are keeping the group going. But on to learning more of the art of un-cluttering. Never as much fun as the accidental forming of the stuff. Onward!!

HARD: to watch and journal complete Packers-Vikings four hours of NFL football that ended in an over-time time TIE. Well, did finish writing holiday cards out to soldiers - unless I do a few more....
If you'd like to join in - simply write cards to addressed to Dear Soldier (cards don't need envelopes) and mail packet to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, PO Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456. These cards go out to a wide bunch of our troops - and I'm sure any extra piece of well-wishing mail one gets at ANY time of year is a good thing. (Now THAT was a wide-ranging paragraph!)

FAST: how I fell asleep Too Early in The Magic Sleep Recliner. From about 7 to 10 PM. Blaming lovely hot mashed potatoes and butter, with fried chicken and veggies. And the stress from writing HARD the four hours of football game. It is done now as a practice for paying attention to outside action and  inward thoughts and emotions. Lots of those pages have words that even young adults might find surprising in a simple red spiral notebook.... I haven't written for four straight hours even in college! And perhaps those hours could have been put to much better use, but how they WERE used. A forced "flow'? Anyway. Then of course, between clanging head and over time of Denver - New England game I could sleep when one SHOULD sleep. But morning has arrived. Many taks have already been accomplished, and it's almost time for a walk. A  Relatively Fast One.

Here is the wall o'bears at Duluth's Blue Lake Gallery. (Except for dancing couple in top row. They should be safey arrived somewhere in Montana  now.) Some bars are older. Some more current. It's fun to see a bunch of them in a grouping!

The acrylic on board in lower right states:"I'm so Bad I'm almost good". Truth. Many layers of "bad" bear underneath the final image. A Lesson in Not Giving Up. One lady bought a print for her son. He is sixteen. I patted her on the back and wished her "Good Luck." Ha! We talked a bit - he sounded like he was an interesting/challenging lad. They CAN turn out to be the best kind. This bear was interesting/challenging.

If you are are visiting BLG,and find these wall pieces are not in your budget there are LOTS of wonderful items there that might be. Bear stuff, yes, but marvelous jewelry, fanciful paper mache animals (to see them is to love them!), and so many other great pieces!

On to finishing breakfast, and woohoo!!, the SUN is wanting to peek out! The walk won't be warm - well it's 32 degrees - that's not too awful for us northern types.

Life Lessons:
1) Don't Give Up
 2) It's FUN to do something nice for others.
3) Bacon, Eggs, Kale & Tea get really cold when one blogs during breakfast.

An Early "Happy Thanksgiving!" wish to one and all!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 10

CLEAN: the patio. Prepping for Winter... whether we want to come or not.

HARD: the FROZEN leaves of kale and chard. I went out into the dark freezy night - armed with knife, bowl, and flashlight. Didn't need knife. All leaves snapped neatly off whereever they were touched. Not thrilling, but easy. So made one last batch of gardeny kale chips the next day, and had one last eggs with chard. Boo hoo. I want Spring already. Sorry, Christmas. I don't care. I want to walk out into warm garden full of buzzing insects and flitting birdies. And I'm a Big Snow Country kid from Northern Wisconsin. Argh!

FAST:how I want Winter to go.
Last night I attended the November meeting of The Lake Country Pastel Society. We watched a demonstration of how to make pastels. All you need are bags of this, bottles of that, spatulas, a hard surface, dust mask, apron, gloves, and will. Will post photos soon. It was quite the fascinating process, and we could have dried samples of a variety of colors and hardness. Lucked into four of the still-damp pieces as well. Most are quite soft- they will be fun to work with when ambition happens to happen.

Upcoming events include: Gift By the Hand at Hudson, Wisconsin's Phipps Center for the Arts (will be ongoing in Nov./Dec.), Landmark Center's Holiday Bazaar in St. Paul, MN - the first Thrusday through Saturday in Dec., and The Very Merry Holiday Fair, Dec. 13-14, in Baraboo, WI. Then the season will be officially over and we will start the applying for next year's art fairs. A person asked recently when our downtime comes. Nope. No downtime. Good in a way. Bad in a way. We won't be doing art fairs, but the doing keeps on going. It's the daily deciding what exactly to do that is the mystery. So many tiny tasks. Lots of Priority One. And the laundry.

Bitch bitch. Moan moan. But, yes, I know I'm lucky to do what i love. Most days. And the web site is up again - hooray! Check out if you're in need of a token bear.

Ever onward. Time for tea and a nap. It's only not-quite eight  PM but the recliner is calling. Maybe it's time for tea and a book. And a nap......


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 9

CLEAN: the interior of my main black back-pack style purse! This is a Big Thing. I can see the things I'm looking for! Coinage isn't weighing down the leather. Pens are one pocket; small notebooks in another! Though wallet and checkbook are both dark they are easily found! For the moment. For moment. But for Now.
Once upon a time I carried no purse. For years only a wallet. Will this time ever come again? It might be something to aspire to. Hmmm. Might have to start shopping for cargo pants - ha!

HARD: to know that our beloved Green Bay Packers' quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is injured. Sports folks get hurt all the time, as regular people do. But we wish magical protections around certain individuals, whether they be family, friends, or favorite public figures. In sports Physics rules. Sigh. Heal well and quickly. We have friends who enjoyed last night's Bears victory at Lambeau Field. Daughter and I toughed out the game at Stillwater's Buffalo Wild Wings till, literally, the last minute. So I have the game - minus one minute - journaled, of course. Woo hoo. And Boo hoo.

FAST: how this past Saturday went at Stockholm, Wisconsin's Stone Fern Gallery. A gorgeous drive there and back along the Mississippi bluff country of central Wisconsin.

This was on ride home, and yes, I know it's not safe photographing while driving at any time, much less along a curvy swervy road. But I clicked till the camera's battery said "No more." Trees are keeping their leaves much later into the season than usual, giving us opportunities for Fall Beauty into even November. The leaves on our apple tree are still green, though most from the maples have dropped.
Saturday's event was fun, if not profitable. Made new friends, ate great pie (the Double Lemon from the Stockholm Pie Company), and drew a few new bears. May have jinxed the Packers last night by getting my first henna design on Saturday. Right now on my left wrist is a beautifully drawn "frame" in which is written: Trust the Bears. Eeek. What was I thinking! It should disappear in about two weeks. Sigh and whew? And always Ha!

FAST: how I'll have to work to create new pastels for Blue Lake Gallery. Heading to Duluth early on Saturday, Nov. 9th, to hang around the gallery (11AM - 3 PM), deliver our goodies, demo some techniques, and basically goof off in a nifty city for a day. Come visit this lovely gallery and clothing shop if you are in the area or feel the need to head out on a road trip. New goodies are being added for you Fall and Winter shopping consideration. And the staff is friendly and helpful. Yes, they are!

Continuing a Thankful November - What are you Thankful for Today?

Today I'm thankful that for about  from 5 - 6 AM the ol' tinnitus was so faint that it was almost not an issue. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, and I APPRECIATE know that if it happened while I was flat in bed maybe someday it will happen when I'm standing up. Gotta love those Simple Almost Quiet Pleasures.

Today smiles will be on face more. Yup. Giving me/us a Smiling Challenge and Smiling as this is typed. Try it? Even for just part of the day? Even if you are alone? Even if you're cynical? Can't hurt, unless you do it too hard or too long. Perhaps a bout a Smiling will even bring on a Short Laugh. Even if this makes somebody mad. It's sort of fun to smile at angry people. Dangerous, yes, but fun. On to it!

Happy Nov. 5, 2013!


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Clean Hard Fast: 8

CLEAN: most of the good ol' garden. Giant sunflower stalks chopped, folded, and picked up by the garbage crew. Much soil turned over and ready for the start of next season's adventures. Any suggestions for planting experiments? No broccoli next time, but I'd like to know of varieties of Kale that would be fun. This year's kale and chard are hangin' in there. Nice to still see patches of real green amid the mucky browns.
HARD: to tear oneself away from Facebook.
FAST: how the day went today at Stockholm, Wisconsin's Stone Fern Gallery. Didn't sell a book, but did get a custom order for a mom and cub bear sneaking a peek through a screen window. This will be a fun project for the winter. I appreciated the 'No rush" comment from the couple ordering this piece, but also was glad that we did put a "Finished before Spring" boundary. Artists, this is a lesson in "You never know." Had the woman not gotten ill in the Boundary Waters and not visited a northern Minnesota hospital where one of our Mom and Cub paintings was hanging, this commission would have never come about. She has wanted a similar piece for SEVEN years. Today we met for the first time, had a great chat, and started down the decision list for the couple's own special bears.
 Of course, the day also included a morning visit to The Stockholm Pie Company. DECISION TIME? Yikes. I was swayed by the article by Jane and Michael Stern, of "Roadfood" fame, stating that the Double Lemon Pie was one of their top picks for 2012. My 21013 slice (with a dollop of fresh whipped cream) was also delicious. (Though we've never been disappointed by any flavor pie from this tiny booming business.) I went back a second time, too late in the afternoon, to pick up something for hubby, Todd. Two pieces of pumpkin pie remained; I left them for two later customers. Sigh. Pie.

Did wear out camera battery clicking Beauty there and a bit of back. Even stopped at a Scenic Overlook near Stockholm this morning to pretend I was on a mini-vacation. Chatted about Northern Wisconsin with a gentleman walking his tiny ball of snarling (for just a tiny bit) white fluffy dog. And of course we had to mention The Beautiful Day. This means that the sun was out and the landscape wasn't the past five day Grey. Ye haw!

Tomorrow holds a day "off" - just because. And cheering for football teams that are not The Green Bay Packers. (Don't know if I can cheer for the Vikings...) Daughter, Tara, and I will visit the local Buffalo Wild Wings on Monday night to cheer on the Green & Gold. We will wear our colors and I will journal the plays and emotions. Because that's what we do. We will listen to Wayne and Larry - she on iPod, me with radio headphones - instead of national broadcasters. We will hope that radio transmissions are ahead of TV because this makes watching what happens "easier."

Now it's time for a cup of tea and trying to stay awake a while longer. Some people are attempting to write a whole novel this month. Some folks have committed to Not Complaining. I'll stick with thinking  "I'm Thankful For.... (at least 30 things at least once a day). But will keep the Not Complaining practice up as best I can. (Just not PLEDGING the Pledge.)  Find a Great Challenge to attempt by month's end. If you start tomorrow you have two less days of not having to do it! Baby steps, baby steps. Ever onward. Be kind. Think your own thoughts. Perhaps give a compliment every day till Thanksgiving Day? Yup, I'm blithering. Time for tea.