Sunday, December 28, 2014

Thirty Thankfuls - 12/28/14

Today I am Thankful

1) for Hardly any snow.
2) for  Just enough snow.
3) for Being able to indulge in too many Sweets.
4) for pretending that The Unending List of Tasks in done.
5)  for Friends and Family on the Facebook.
6) for having time to go visit the Vintage Toy Exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.
7) for enough sunflower seeds to go around.
8) for all the Christmas Carol movies on YouTube.
10) for being asked to spend Christmas Day with bunch of crazed, yet talented artist friends.
11) for our van making it through the "Puddles" on way to and away from festivities.
12) for "Good Omens" audio broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
13) because I can still squeeze into certain jeans. (Exercising starts again TOMORROW!!!)
14) because the house is somewhat clean.
15) that our grown children were part of Christmas Eve/Day.
16) that squirrels still entertain us.
17) that our two geraniums are surviving the winter inside (so far).
18) that life goes on WITHOUT the writing of the annual Christmas letter!!!!!!!!
19) that this morning I somehow got the VHS tape out of the little television...... (The mysteries of malfunctioning electronic products will remain mysterious...)
20) for the wide varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables on the kitchen counters and in the refrigerator.
21) for getting along with relatives on both sides of the family.
22) THAT WE GOT TO SEE THE SUN SHINE BRIGHTLY THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!! If only for a while...
23) for NFL Football on Sunday afternoon. I am a shallow and serious fan of the various tiny and huge details that go into athletic competition.
24) for almost being caught up with bookkeeping. (This is not our usual style.)
25) another pot of bean soup is burbling on the stove. (This a sentence not possibly typed in my earlier Seriously Bean HATING live. Repeating Life Lesson: People/You can Change!)
26) that People I KNOW can Inspire me. We need not seek far for our Heros.
27) that flower bulbs are resting up and gearing up for Spring!
28) that poets are still writing poetry.
29) we have a New year in front of us - to do good and say  kind words to friends, family, and strangers who might just urn into friends!
30) that daughter and I have almost filled our Good Memory Jars for 2014. (I still have to take time to think about and note more recent memories. Remember to Remember.)

On to the  Fears, Challenges, and Joys of The Day!



Thursday, December 25, 2014

In Honor of Dad, Christmas, and Hysterical Laughter

It is December 25th.

Once upon a time I found a little book. It was old, faded, but called to me.
It's autographed: With much love, Chas Noel Douglas
This poem was in it.

It was probably neither Thanksgiving or Christmas Day when I started reading a random poem to myself. But somewhere in the early reading I KNEW it needed a wider audience. We kids were still at home and so I forced family to gather round. I started again from the beginning and soon the tears flowed and we couldn't breathe for laughing.
Sue, Dick, wink, smirk, and turkeys were involved.
This was a poem meant for US!
And this poem became part of our family feastings.
And also part of dad's, Dick Rowe, funeral service.

We laughed. We cried.
I hope you will, too.

Merry Christmas!
- Sue

From "Uncle Charlie's Poems"
By Charles Noel Douglas
Copyright, 1906, by J. S. Oglivie Publishing Company, Brooklyn, NY


Ma always did the carving in the old days on the farm;
When roasted bird at meals occurred she'd slice it to a charm:
But last Thanksgiving Father said, when Ma was carving ducks,
Her cooking, though 'twas passable, she couldn't carve for shucks.
Dad said agen, he noticed when a chicken came on deck,
Though all the rest got legs or breast, he always got the neck.
Henceforth he'd wield the knife himself, and now I'll go to work,
Events I'll trace, tell what took place when Father carved the "turk."

Christmas mighty soon rolled round, and Dick and me and Sue
Had fixed a little game on Pop, and Ma was in it, too -
We had a turkey on the farm, I'd heard Dad oft remark
He'd pledge his word that very bird came out of Noah's ark.
We chloroformed the gobbler, and though for hours we tried,
No ax or gun (we tried a ton) would penetrate his hide.
When in the oven birdie went Mom whispered, with a smirk,
There'll be some fun for every one when Father carves the "turk."

'Twas Christmas day, the table gay with fixings for the feast,
And ev'ry guest dressed in his best, a score of them at least:
A hungry horde sat round the board as Dad took up his knife,
All sharpened like a razor, for the battle of his life.
Hushed was the din as Ma brought in the gobbler, brown and slick -
Mom winked at me, I winked at Sue and Sue she winked at Dick;
All bowed their heads as grace was said by Reverend Joseph Burke,
Then still as death we held our breathe while Father carved the "turk."

Dad shed his coat and bared his throat, and then he butted in,
The gobbler's hide to cut he tried, but couldn't pierce the skin;
Its breast he jabbed, its neck he stabbed, and gave it such a slap
It went right swish clean off the dish and flopped in Sal Smith's lap.
'Twas soon put back, again Dad hacked; oh, things were going some!
When Dad's knife slipped and off it whipped the top of Father's thumb;
Dad stomped the floor, and strange oaths swore, while Reverend Mr. Burke
Begged Heaven, in prayer, our lives to spare while Father carved the "turk."

We fixed the old man's damaged thumb, then Dad, sad to relate,
Upon the table knelt and chased the turkey round the plate;
One knee was on the gobbler's breast, the other in the pie,
While gravy flew on me and Sue and hit the ceiling high,
We ducked beneath the table, 'twas the safest place to go,
While Pop was wrestling up on deck we breathed a prayer below;
Then came a crash, an awful smash, in my brain long 'twill lurk;
That deafening roar, when on the floor, went Father and the "turk."

We scrambled out and picked Dad up; you should have seen him prance -
The carving knife lodged in his shoe, the fork was in his pants,
His face was smeared with grease, his beard and whiskers full of pie,
Ere he could see Ma dug out three potatoes from his eye.
Then old "Doc" Jupp patched Father up, and said 'twas very plain
He'd turkeyitis of the pants and gravy on the brain -
Another gobbler soon was cooked and each one set to work,
And ate, you bet, but don't forget 'twas Mother carved the 'turk."


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Places and Peace

Today is past mid-December in Stillwater, Minnesota. After a few balmy melty unusually "warm" days (for us) this morning's temperature is a more normal Twelve Above Zero. Snow is on the ground. Not much, but enough to make stuff white.

I've spend an hour walking circles in the house - to the sounds of Tibetan bowls ringing. On YouTube. Not listening to Bach or Mozart or the local or national sports-talk radio chats. Quiet dings and lings and pings. No, I did not walk the slow Zen meditation walk. I sped around at a good mid-speed. Accomplishing things as each footstep landed. So Not Zen. So Darned Sue. But the Sunday paper is in the recycling bin, a plastic art fair bin has been unloaded, backs of greeting cards cleaned up, candles played with (yes, I mess with those lighted wax melters, I do), towels folded and put away, and thoughts thunk.

Some day I will simply walk.

But what is on little mind is a wee bit of rest. Hahaha. And where one imagines this could happen.

These places exist. These chairs are real. This lake is iced over now, but will be softer water come next summer. Question to self is: Will you take the time to Simply Sit?  I do not know. Relaxing is a sort of hazy dream.

Yes, I can hear Aaron Rodgers' "R-E-L-A-X. Relax" in brain, but always through the ding ring ching kring of ye olde tinnitus. I get a tad guilty repeatedly bitching about this - knowing good friends and family members are dealing with much more seriously stuff - but it's still a major factor in not much remembering the sounds of "peace and quiet."

Quiet is not happening. I do still attempt a sort of Peace. Seriously. This is where Zen practice does help. And Yoda helps. And friends and family help. And places help.

Here is Plastic Yoda thinking Yoda thoughts while surveying the beach at Grand Marais, Minnesota, in July of 2014. Lake Superior is a place of both peaceful or violent beauty. It is one of My Places. I "go" to Lake Superior when I want to relax. No, not usually to Grand Marais. Usually the brain goes automatically to a small rocky beach at Little Girl's Point - in Northern Michigan. A beach right behind the home of an aunt and uncle. i don't know why, it just does.

Or it goes to The Upper Falls at Potato River Falls in my home town of Gurney, Wisconsin.

These are my Peace Places.

I hope you have a few of your own....

And I hope that the Green Bay Packers win out the season.

And I hope that you find a hour or two of True Peace during this sometimes frantic and  painful Holiday season.

Peace. Relax. Enjoy. Smile. Pass it on!

Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Festivus, and All Best Wishes to all in Celebrating what you find worth celebrating!

Sue the Strider
Facebook page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thought for the Day

History is made by those living in the times.  We are making ours now, and those who follow will make theirs. The recording and destroying the records of history is matter for another day.

Here is one sentence from the pen of Thomas Jefferson:

Peace and friendship with all mankind is our wisest policy, and I wish we may be permitted to pursue it.

On to our average unremarkable days. They are never really average. And bits of each day, or The Whole Day, are often remarkable (Remarkable: worthy of attention, striking, unusual or surprising).

PEACE and FRIENDSHIP are Remarkable. If not with all mankind, perhaps with one's neighbor or relative or simply that new person at the coffee shop.

Ever onward and Fare-thee-well,

*Art doings this weekend: Friday/Saturday, Dec. 12 -13, we will be vending at "The Very Merry Holiday Fair," 323 Water Street, Baraboo, WI. Check for more info,
This will be our last art fair for 2014. It was a year of low lows and high highs. And old friends and new. Whew!
FB Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios

Saturday, December 6, 2014

In Five Minutes

In five minutes one could:

* Walk five minutes, write a quick note, think about stuff one is Thankful for, feed the birds/squirrels, thumb through 2015 Seed Savers garden catalog, microwave BACON, text a friend to ay "Hi,", read a short article, take a photograph - or many many photographs or a short video, choose the next book to read, think about a favorite prson, write a check to a favorite cause, pick 3 things from closet to give away, DUST STUFF!?!, sweep the kitchen floor, empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, water the plants, throw something away, brush the cat, dog, guinea pig, run five minutes, listen to part of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," turn off the TV, watch the sun  rise/set, pause, be done. *

Not all of the time - but often - the little chiming timer on my phone or the loud buzzing timer on the stove help me through the day. Focus, boundary, focus.

On to the open-ended day now.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another Attempt at Happy.

Some times you just have to start.
The bruins have often not been "happy" of late - and bitching grumpy looking bears can be as boring as we whining humans. Time to attempt Change! Think Happy. Think Hopeful. Happy. Hopeful.  Let the Scribbling begin!

Hmmm. Made an outline area. Sometimes creating a boundary helps an idea to come. This time - not so much. So get that Ultra Fine Point Sharpie Marker going.

 Trying to make a relaxed yet controlled series of lines isn't always easy. Not in this case anyway. But "Keep the pen moving" is good advice - whether on is writing or drawing. Scribble scribble. Hmm.... this is not going well. So much for those 10,000 hours. Not happy with results. But this is only a page in a small sketchbook. And there are "trys" to be tried. Art supplies are close at hand. Time to change plans in mid-bear? Yes, I do  -  early and often.

Concentrate on getting other than sad or angry  expression with those eyes. Don't worry about correctness of anatomy - that's for another days' practice. Scribble scribble. That poor Sharpie Marker is getting quite a workout.

Unfortunately,  much evidence left by poorly drawn Sharpie lines cannot easily be "erased," but these lines depict the trial and much error going on. Folks think that we artists most often whip things up surely and well. Umm.... This drawing proves otherwise. But now the eyes are starting to say SOMETHING if not much....

On to some color. A bag of Prismacolor colored-pencils is almost always with arm's reach - though not always filled with the colors one would would wish. Today is no different. There are also a variety of soft pastels on the table - still not put away from commissioned project. Hmm. I like goofing off with sketchbook pieces. Note to public: "No real bears were harmed in the making of this only-O.K. drawing." Scribble. Light and dark; define more shapes; try to remove some lines. Hmm. Failure on several fronts. Think and do. Grab a piece of white pastel. Please note that I NEVER use soft pastels in sketchbooks.But this a day for not giving up. Try Anything! Hmm.. It sort of works in somewhat hiding lines around nose and mouth. And the paper is rough enough for the particles to hold. Huzzah! Now to remember not to plow Sharpie through pastel. One trip through pastel powder can kill the line of almost any type of pen. But... colored pencil moves over pastel area peachy keen. Glimmer of Hope? Maybe. Print REMEMBER to WONDER because the words showed up in the brain. If this is not a Happy Bear, it is, at least, a Wondering Bear.

More daring is coming up. Time to bring out the Big Gun. Ignore the above sentence concerning markers. This Fine Point (ha ha) Sharpie Marker fears not! I wanted to define areas around eyes and head. If using this sort of tool you cannot afford to be tentative. Even your mistakes will look as though you intended to make them.

Draw draw; back to more pastels and colored pencils. Have "fun" coloring in The Words. And REMEMBER them. Scribble scribble. This drawing is far from being one of my best. But it taught me to try Something New. And it reminds us all to Wonder. Thanks, Bear, for the thoughts you forced me to think, and the marks you allowed me to make. I hope that you're  a wee bit Happy.

Fare-thee-well, and may this be the start of Reasonably Happy Holidays!
 - Sue

Exhibition info:
This Saturday (Dec. 6) finds us vending at Color Crossing in Roberts, Wisconsin.
 Sunday (Dec. 7) we'll be  attending exhibition reception at Stillwater, MN's Artreach St. Croix. We put the Bears (most of them) in the current "Horses, Bees, and Bears" show that runs through early January.
Next Friday and Saturday we will be vending at "The Very Merry Holiday Fair" in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
Facebook Page: Sue-Rowe-Studios