Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday, Moon's Day

Monday is Moon’s day (Old English mon(an)dæg "day of the moon) and the beginning of the work week for most people.  I've retired from the 8-5 of Dilbertville, but I find I still begin most of my new projects on Monday - old habits die hard.   

Lately, I’ve been painting again with a vengeance- mostly on rescued wood.   I've posted a few below. I'll be opening an store as soon as I have a bit more inventory.  I already have interest in a few I've posted on FaceBook earlier which is encouraging.   I’ve noticed that I have an obsession with the moon.

  • My cat series, ‘Meowling at the Moon’, sold well a few years ago when I had a small show at Daniel Day Gallery, so I’m working on a new series.
  • My Fems in the Wild did almost as well
  • Small villages nestled in nature are next up.

  • IMG_4595

    blue fem w cat

     I’m still writing.
    • Working on a review of a friends book, which I will post on the Blog as well as Amazon, B&N, GoodReads, etc. 
    • Finalizing some essays to pitch to a few magazines.
    • Attending Lister Hill Library’s WriteNow program - just 2 sessions left, has helped me immensely to organize and create real-time deadlines for my writing projects.  Big thank you to Jennifer Greer for her encouragement and help.  

    • IMG_4594    3 moons fem forest       cat meow at moon

    Friday, July 11, 2014

    Foodie Friday – The Perfect Easy Soothie

    Food for the weekend, or a weekday for that matter, should be easy.  What could be easier than a frosty smoothie for breakfast on a hot summer morning.  I put a lot of good things into my smoothie, so instead of taking out all the ingredients every time I want a one, I prepare 6 or more at a time, then I can go several days without having to go thru all the assembly.

    Breakfast Smoothie premix (store in next to smallest mason jars).
    • 1 or 2 scoops favorite protein powder (follow package directions)
    • 1 Tbs golden ground flax seed
    • 1-2 Tsp ground psyllium husk
    • 2 Tbs rolled oats
    • 1 Tbs Organic cocoa powder
    • 1 scoop MSM (follow package instructions)
    • 1/8 Tsp cayenne (I like heat and it’s good for metabolism)
    • 1/8 Tsp Turmeric (because it’s good for me)
    Make the Smoothie
      smoothie 2
    • 8-12 oz Liquid (I use juice, almond milk or water and sometimes I use yesterday’s coffee)
    • 1 container of smoothie premix
    • Fruit if desired (I love half banana, figs or blueberries in season)
    • 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses (acquired taste – I love the stuff)
    • 3 or more ice cubes.
     Blend til cubes assimilated – may have to scrape down sides. 

     This smoothie usually consumed around 7 in the morning, keeps me going til way past noon.

     Happy Friday – Off to Art show and lecture this evening at Space One-Eleven.

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

    Did You Stop and Smell the Roses?

    I begin Throw Back Thor’s Day with

    Dear Mnemosyne, goddess of memory, mother of the Muses,

    How I wish you interfered a bit more in human affairs as you reportedly did in ancient times, and force us all to slow down and smell those roses.

    I’m still scanning old photos and looking at some of them I realize:mark beret barbie
    • I might remember some names, but I’ve long ago lost touch with the people
    • I have no idea the details of what appears to have been a glorious day
    • I remember wishing in the midst of this or that holiday bustle that I had a fast-forward remote to get it over with. 
    How often go we go tearing through a day so intent on the destination, that we miss the journey?  I know toomany days on my morning 5-mile walk, I arrive back home and wonder how I got there.

    Too few pictures of certain friends tell me we didn’t spend as much time together as we could and it’s too late now.  They’ve passed out of my life and some from this earth. Here's to Mark and Marsha.

    I'm inserting into my life the Zen philosophy of ‘paying attention', and Facebook, however irritatinmarsha 1g it is sometimes, is one of my most useful tools    

    It allows me to keep in touch with so many friends that might otherwise fall by the wayside, because the days are not long enough to visit and talk with everyone every day and many of them live far away. 

    On FaceBook we can share short messages, pictures, family events, our own or our children’s milestones, and arrange to meet-up at various shared events - all those little things that keep a friendship alive and memory fresh. 

    So as Mnemosyne has deserted me, Facebook, that meddlesome thing, allows me to keep in touch and share my friends lives and remember our times together a little better.  

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014

    3 Rules to Get You Walking

    Walk About Wednesdays – Here are 3 rules to help you get your walk or other workout done early with no excuses.

    Aside from walking to Lister Hill for my WriteNow session, I’m walking in the early mornings again as I once did religiously.  There was a time when I was up every morning at 5 a.m. and out the door for a 5-mile walk before getting ready and going to work.

    Somewhere around the time I had the meniscus tear in my left knee repaired (years of various sports injury), I quit.  It’s true that it takes only 3 days to break a good habit, even one I’ve had for over 25 years.  I’m living proof.  The knee was getting painful before the surgery so my walking had gotten sporadic, but after thepark green at dawn gardensurgery, I just couldn’t get going again.

    I pulled out a blog I wrote some years ago and decided implement the rules that kept me walking for so many years first thing in the morning.
    1. Park complete workout outfit by bed – on top of shoes stack socks, shorts, panties, bra, shirt.
    2. Start dressing while on toilet (I always go first thing, so I take my stack of clothes with me).
    3. Grab keys, phone, and small tablet with pen and stuff in pocket (these should be parked by the door)
    I used to carry a camera, too, but with the iPhone takes jusst a good a picture.  I carry a small, as I'm a writer and good ideas seem to come when you're miles from home with nothing to write on. 

    I’m usually out the door in 10 minutes.

    Will this help you get some early morning walking done?

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    What Are You Thankful for Today?

    It’s Thankful Tuesday.

    "I'm thankful for serendipitous moments in my life, where things could've gone the other way."
    - Rick Springfield

    to do list journal
    This quote resonated loudly for me on this Thankful Tuesday, as my injured hand healed right up and I’m typing away as usual today.

    I fell off a chair on an old wooden porch Friday night.  As we all shifted our chairs around to watch the fireworks (thunder on the mountain) around 9 that night, the leg of my chair caught on the old porch and I slid off breaking my fall with my right hand.  Things could have gone really wrong, but they went my way instead of the other way – a truly serendipitous moment.
    • I could have fallen down the stairs – I did not.
    • I could have broken my hand or something else – I did not.
    • I could have shattered my glass as I usually have a real glass – I chose plastic so it did not.

    I was helped to my feet, the chair righted, wine glass refilled and we all watched the gorgeous fireworks and celebrated the 4th of July.  I stayed awhile and continued my long walk home via another friend’s house, and thought no more about it until Saturday morning when the hand was hurting and slightly swollen. 

    It was not bruised and the pain did not feel like a break.  I kept it on ice the entire day and most of the night favoring it as I prepped food and did other minor chores – you have no idea just how much the right hand little finger does in a day.  I have new respect for that digit.

    Fortunately, I had an ARC (advanced reading copy) of a book I promised to review for a friend loaded on my Tablet, so the enforced tenure on the couch with one hand on ice was not total torture.  I alternated between the ice-pack and tall glass of iced wine, which helped.  Did more of the same on Sunday, but not as intense and it was obviously healing.

    I slept with then hand wrapped flat in a silk scarf Saturday and Sunday nights and today the swelling is pretty much gone and I’m just shy of making a perfect fist again.  

    I am thankful for serendipitous moments where things that could have gone so wrong, went just right.

    What are your grateful for?

    Monday, July 7, 2014

    Do You Map Your Week Out on Monday?

    I’ve dubbed Monday, Monday Map Day.  The first thing I do Mondays is map out my week of To Do’s.  This is the beginning of the list that will probably grow as the week progresses.  to do list journal
    1. Pre-write and schedule Blogposts for the week. Very important as I’ve committed to blogging daily for the BlogHer July Challenge.
    2. Outline or hand draft new essay/query for my Wednesday WriteNow 2-hour session at Lister Hill Library.
    3. Finish reading/reviewing Theodora Goss’s ARC of her new book: Songs for Ophelia. Started it Saturday while icing my injured right hand.  Making notes was a challenge.
    4. Paint.  Add new layer to paintings in progress. 
    5. Add hangers to finished paintings, photograph and post to Etsy.  FU with Genie and Ree for 2 of them.
    6. Research markets for essay WIPs
    7. Polish 2 WriteNow projects and submit to magazines.
    8. Take Mom to Doc and day out on Thursday.
    Moving on to Tuesday and hoping this list doesn’t get too much longer. 

    What’s the first thing you do on Monday?

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    Sabbat Sunday

    Sabbat Sunday - At the most literal of definitions, we have:
    1. A day of rest, andback porch sunrise
    2. The Day of the Sun.
    Latin Sabbatum (literally a day or rest, religious connotations came later), Ancient Greek σάββατον (sábbaton),
     from Hebrew שַׁבָּת (shabát,), from Wicca (sabbat).

    Originally ‘a day of rest’,  for most religions it is a day of fasts, of don’ts and other obligations.

    For others it is a day of feast and celebration of the cycles of the earth and her peoples, and that is why I prefer Sabbat.

    I prefer celebration to deprivation (I always fast on Mondays).  This day of the sun awaits, and I’m off to enjoy every minute of it.
    Mañana y’all
    walkabout 2

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

    Keep It Simple Saturday - KISS

    It’s keep it simple Saturday – KISS.  I have no chores to do, no serious cooking to do.
    Even when I had a husband, a child and a 5-day a week, 8-5 job, I always kept my weekends simplified down to point that I could:
    • Do what I want when I want
    • Go where I want or
    • Do nothing at all feet jaz aerie  1
    • Hang out on the balcony reading and sipping wine

    It just takes a little planning and a few rules of the road. Here are mine.
    Chores posted on the kitchen calendar and now in my iPhone calendar.
    1. Monday – Vacuum/Dust (usually evenings when I get home, dinners in oven on – I can produce a damned good meal in under 30 minutes)
    2. Tuesday – Laundry (drop dry cleaning on way to work/wash clothes after work)
    3. Wednesday – Clean and mop kitchen and bathroom
    4. Thursday – Cook and freeze larger recipes in portions for weekend and following week’s dinners.
    5. Friday – Cat box cleaned, Trash & Recycle to alley. (morning before 5-mile morning walk)

    Rules to observe daily:
    • Put it back – if you take it out, put it back in its place.
    • Tidy it up – if the couch pillows are in disarray straighten them.
    • Make the bed before leaving the bedroom. (when married, last one up makes bed)
    • Put clothes away.  When you take off clothes, hang it up if clean, put dirty in hamper if dirty.
    • Rinse and put dishes in dishwasher immediately on finishing meal. (I kept rinsing dishes, pots, utensils as I went in food prep, and we’d clear the table together

    Different families have different needs, so you list will be different from mine.  My list is more manageable now that it’s just the cat and I, but I keep to it religiously.  I love my guilt-free weekends of  dolce far niente.

    Do you have any shortcuts that make your life easier?

    Friday, July 4, 2014

    Happy of 4th of July

    For my NaBloPoMo | BlogHer participation I’d planned on making Fridays – Foodie Friday as that’s the day I have traditionally decided what I would eat for the entire weekend so I didn’t have to bother with cooking and could concentrate on writing and/or painting.  I’d put on a crockpot of something deliciously fun: white chili, roast, whole chicken.  I’d prepare a triple recipe of tuna salad for lunch and save the rest for later, or a large frittata (quiche w/o the crust) for breakfast and save the rest for the weekend.  You get the idea.


    This practice began when I worked in that concrete jungle I designated as Dilbertville.  I’ve since retired from that jungle to write and paint and collect my ‘entitlement’, but still find it helpful to prepare food I love and can eat for days for the weekend and longer without thought or preparation other than putting it on the plate. 


    Ah, but this is the 4th of July, and I will shortly be off to John and Karyn Stalcup’s wonderfully restored Southside house for their annual 4th of July party, so I will prepare my ‘covered dish (aka Ziploc container) to contribute to the feast. 


    I’ve decided on an orzo pasta salad.  I cooked the orzo pasta al dente in salt and a pinch of savory; scalded and shocked a bag of Publix pre-cut bagged stir fry vegetables adding a few of my own (I did chop them into smaller pieces); into the pasta and veggies I mixed in a  simple vinaigrette I whipped up (white balsamic and malt vinegars, 1 tsp, of honey, extra virgin olive oil, spicy mustard, dash of salt, pepper, cayenne.  It’s chilling in the fridge as I sip wine and finish reading a book I started on Thursday. 


    I’ll be walking the 7-8 blocks to the party.  I never un-park my car on the 4th of July for a number of reasons.

    1. I’ll be drinking there and here and there along the way back home.
    2. I have many friends in the ‘hood, and there are lot of places to stop and visit and sip along the walk back home.
    3. People come in from all over the city to visit and to watch the ‘Thunder on the Mountain’ fireworks show atop Vulcan’s Red Mountain that go off around 9pm tonight, so traffic is the proverbial ‘bitch’.
    4. Walking home is faster and more entertaining that the gridlock of driving with all the suburbanites trying to get back out of town.
    5. Many of the drivers on the road have imbibed far too much to be driving and I’ve no desire to run into them nor have them run into me. 
    6. I like to walk and enjoy every bit of this unique neighborhood on this my favorite holiday.

    Happy 4th of July y’all.

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    Throw Back Thor's Day

    It’s Throw Back Thor’s Day (aka Throwback Thursday on Facebook & #TBT on Twitter, I don’t post consistently every Thursday, but on the days when I’m in scanning mode, I take the time.

    I started posting because I started scanning all the photos we rescued that the firemen thoroughly doused in putting out the fire that took my home in 2011.  I’m still scanning sporadically.  It was much too overwhelming to do all at once and there are hundreds of them still to go.  I keep going
    though, hoping to get them all into digital before they’ve faded beyond recall. 

    It’s kind of fun to put some of them into PowerPoint framed and prettied up a bit along with a bit of history – my version of scrapbooking.

    Having been an Air Force Brat through all of my school years, we moved every three years.  I made and lost more friends than many people will ever have.  I find pictures of past friends and am amazed that I remember their first names.  Fortunately, in 1962 Mom let me buy the school annual for the Pyote Panthers, so I could look up the two fellow brats I’m with in this photo. The Pyote School was an old brick building that contained grades 1-12.  There were 10 seniors and 7 juniors, etc...

    Mom had chopped my hair again and I hated it, but beauty shop was not in Mom’s lexicon.  I was into can-cans and circle skirts which made my 22 inch waist look even smaller.  I kept a 23” waist into my 40’s which cost a lot in alterations as nothing off the rack ever  fit me.

    So here’s my throw back for this week from Pyote, Texas 1962.  

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    WalkAbout Wednesdays - The Hill

    Thanks to the interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything. - Charles Kuralt

    Hoda and KLG have ‘wines day Wednesday’ and although there will be some wine a little later in my Wednesday, this one is and has been walkabout Wednesday for me for the past few weeks.  In my walkabout, I find I'm seeing things I ordinarily miss along my way.

    I’ve been parking on Southside by the post office at some of the free curbside spaces and walking the 3-1/2 blocks to the Lister Hill Library for their 2-hour 10-week WriteNow sessions.  Lister Hill has no parking lot; the nearest lots are 2 and 3 blocks away and cost $4; the closest meter I found was 2 blocks away and I’d have to dash back before the 2 hours is up or be ticketed. 

    Free parking is better, but as 18th Street is one steep hill (feels like 45 degree angle), I don’t walk mindwalking downhill to the sessions, but all the way back up that same hill, in this summer heat, is out of the question.  I’ve opted for the local transit trolley which is only a quarter for under 62 and 10 cents for seniors (yay, one more perk of being 65).

    I signed up for WriteNow in late May, and I have been merrily walking to every session, and arriving by and usually before noon every Wednesday since, hence walkabout Wednesday.  Most of the sessions are on the 4th floor in the Edge of Chaos.  I love that name and the room, which is a huge sprawling space with two walls of soaring almost floor to ceiling windows and murals on all exposed wall space and columns. 

    With the exception of me and one other participant, the group is comprised of academics from the sciences here at UAB working on various theses, article reviews, and dissertations. 

    Dr. Jennifer Greer, seen here behind a column helping a student, is available for quick critiques, direction, opinion, help with organizing tools and more.  Once each month, she conducts a luncheon lecture with food catered by Newks (pretty good sandwiches).  She hands out some rather handy tools to help organize our writing, many of which I’ve revised to suit my non-academic writing projects.  One in particular, has helped me immensely to set deadlines for essays that are done on spec and hence have no ‘real’ deadline other than mine

    I’m confident, I’ll have most of my essays submitted to various publications by the end of the sessions and hope more than a few of them finds a home.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    What Are You Thankful For?

    “Thank you is the best prayer that anyone can say…” – Alice Walker
    It’s the only one I ever say.  Just before I turn the bedside lamp off at midnight every night, I write at least 5 things in my gratitude journal that I am grateful for.

    Last Tuesday evening’s list lead with two items that are often repeated in my journal as well as out loud on any given day.
    1. Thank you for the strong healthy body and mind that are mine.
    2. Thank you for my mother’s continued excellent health.

    I am thankful that at 65, I am healthy and strong as is my 81 year-old mother.  Once a week on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, I pick her up around 9 or 10 a.m., and we’re off. 
    My gift to her and, truth be told, to me is a day of doing whatever she wants to do, going wherever she wants to go.  I know for sure, that we will:
    1. Shop. The stores and malls may vary, but she is a consummate ‘Mallee’ who loves to go ‘saleing’.
    2. Eat & Drink.  We’ll stop for lunch and a beer or two at whatever restaurant strikes her fancy.
      1. China Buffet for a Tsing Tao beer and  all you can eat, and boy can she eat.  At 5’2” and size 8 you’d never know.
      2. Jim ‘n’ Nicks for Taco Tuesdays’ fried catfish tacos and Modelo or Acapulco for Fajitas and Dos Equis.
    3. Shop some more – Birmingham has a plethora of large and small malls and then there are the vintage stores and Salvation Army stores, etc.
    4. Party. We invariable stop for a happy hour which includes bar food or appetizer and something good and wet.
      1. Bonefish grill is a favorite for Whiskey n Soda tall and an order or two of Bang-Bang Shrimp.
      2. Dodiyo’s for Wine or a Stella Artois and pizzette and hummus.
      3. Brio’s for a Peroni, bread and olive oil and shrimp cocktail.
    5. Shop.  We always stop at Publix grocery store up the block from her house for miscellaneous grocery items on the way home.  She buys a six pack and I a bottle of wine to take home.

    We’ll unload our treasures from the car, turn on a rerun of some show we both like and sit and sip and chat a bit before I go home. 

    What are you Thankful for?