Sunday, July 5, 2009

Babies are Pure Love

My life has been pretty busy the past month or so and I have been neglecting to write as often as I would like to. Writing is therapeutic and at the same time it helps to confine, somewhat, the rapid passing of time to snapshots of meaningful moments in our lives. Those moments could be as insignificant as spending a day walking on the beach, or as momentous as sharing in the birth of your newest and first grandchild. For me, the latter is the case.

Nothing compares to the pure love of a new baby. I am sure as a first time grandmother I am just a teensy bit prejudiced, of course, but ever since my new grandchild arrived on June 11, I have been pre-occupied with thoughts of this new baby and I would love to see her every day, but am very reluctant to become a pest to her parents. It takes time for new parents to adjust to this huge change in their lives, but sharing the event with family is also part of it, however its nice to give them time alone too. I guess I obsess about my grandchild a little, or did at first, I even had a dream about her when she was barely a week old. Must be grandmother's are just as anxious as a new mother. She changes every time I see her...

The photo above was taken at five days. She is a beautiful and very sweet baby, so healthy and good natured already. This second photo was taken on my son's first Father's Day just after he finished feeding her a bottle. She is barely three weeks old here.

I noticed that my son is not at all shy of pitching in helping to take care of his new daughter. Times have chanced since I had my children so many years ago, but it seems like yesterday Where did 40 years go by so quickly? When did he learn to be such a good Father?

I so look forward to sharing and watching Gabriella grow up in a loving family. The children being born today are our hope for a new and more promising future. Bring her up with love, patience and all the freedom to explore and learn that you can, while also teaching her enough boundaries to keep her wise and safe. Such a joyful time in our lives! We are truly blessed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Spring Fever?

Whatever that is, I guess I have it. Is that when the winter is finally over? In San Diego we don't have much of a winter but you know its over because the days are now longer, sunnier and hotter. I can get out walking in the mornings which I enjoy, and along the way I love to stop and admire the beautiful flowers in my neighborhood. My
own low maintenance yard is rather barren by comparison even though I try to plant a few flowers here and there. Here is one of my neighbor's yard screaming colors by the thousands!

Spring fever is also when I don't feel quite "myself", and move from project to project feeling like the days are way too short. I'm more tired, don't seem to have the energy I start with by the end of the day. Every day I seem to accomplish a lot but there is still so much more to do and no time to do it. I have a habit of making lists of things I want to do then prioritize them, and even that has taken a back seat to other more pressing projects.

My little sewing business "Sew Artsy Creations" is keeping me pretty busy these days which I am grateful for. This week I finished and delivered two special order aprons for a beautician, completed ten new aprons which I will deliver on Saturday. I drove to Irvine, California to pick up five of my sculptures that were in a show for four months. I'm thinking about getting the Lion ready for another show that he will be in this summer. That will entail me getting my hands dirty to make four small pedestals to place under the Lion's feet to secure the bolts to, partly for safe-keeping, and partly so it is more visible from the street. I'll keep you posted on that big art project which will start taking place next week. It entails me shifting my mental gears from working on fabrics, food, and baby showers, into concrete!

Speaking of Baby Showers....last weekend was beautiful for both events and weather.
My youngest son and his wife will soon be the parents of a baby girl in June, my first grandchild, and I am very excited. It is a wonderful thing to know that a part of you will be passed down from your child to another little soul.

His wife's co-workers prepared for her a beautiful
shower at their home. It was without a doubt one of the nicest baby showers I have ever attended. The foods were incredible and decorations superb. Everyone had such a good time. I was asked to bring my famous NY Cheesecake which I did of course.

I am as excited as the parents, and maybe even more so, since I started shopping for the baby as
soon as they told me they were expecting. I also made a few baby gifts, such as baby's first quilt, and some receiving blankets and two large baby bath towels. These were relatively easy to sew but I think the end results are much nicer than the kind you get in the stores.

No wonder they say being a grandparent is better than being a parent. We are more mature, and much more reflective in our thinking, and have a lot more time on our hands to be with our grandchildren, or at least I hope I will.

While I was raising my own children I had to work full time, so the joy of watching them grow up and enjoying every single moment, was often overshadowed by sheer exhaustion at the end of the day. I regret that now,
but it is one of the things we can't change. I did the best I could. I hope that I will be a welcomed and a good grandmother. I ponder on what constitutes a "good" grandmother? Interesting thought...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spending Time

Sometimes I wonder at how quickly time seems to pass. Here it is another Full Moon, and I am reminded that another whole month has gone by. I seem to measure my days, weeks and months by the personal yardstick of "how much did I accomplish today?" How did I spend my time? Where did February go? and March? Seemed like it flew by in a poof of the wind and yet I have so many things on my "TO DO" list that I had to get another piece of paper and tape it to the bottom of the first one that I started somewhere back in January. Now we are a week into the month of April, its almost Easter, and I have just realized -- after reading one of my favorite blogs Life at Willow Manor -- that this is poetry month. So now I feel obliged to post one of MY poems. Thanks Willow for that reminder....Willow has a wonderful blog that is a constant inspiration to me, and I wonder how on earth she finds time to put such fascinating things into her blog, and she writes every day! She is diligent and dedicated to constantly bring forth an amazing place in which the visitor can step out of their day and into her life for just a while. By sharing her beautiful mind, and cultural aspects of her life, music, theater, books, poetry and even daily trivia, she is a true gem. No one who reads her blog will go away untouched by her creativity ! But, I digress...

Last week, or I think it was last week, I finally found time to leave my house for--not one--but two occasions and visited with two best friends of mine that I don't see often enough. My friend Terry is a great Pet Portrait Painter and Writer of stories about dogs. She is a lot like me, totally dedicated to her craft but working hard at other things to help support her art. We are always trying to inspire each other in any way we can to work at our art and she was a huge help to me by pet-sitting for my two dogs while I was in the hospital last month. I wanted to thank her for being there for me when I needed help. Getting out for lunch is not the easiest thing for either of us, but we managed somehow to get out in spite of her raging allergies that day.

My other best friend is also an Artist, a Sculptor actually,and we managed to steal a few hours to go to one of our favorite places in San Diego, Balboa Park, and had lunch at another old favorite spot --El Prado. Time seems to stand still there.

There are always incredibly beautiful flowers in abundance everywhere you look, amazing old Spanish styled buildings, and such a sense of peace and quiet that I wonder at it every time I go there.

It affects your mood, and certainly your tastebuds to have lunch outdoors on a patio where you are in view of beautiful grounds in the fresh air and sunshine. Time seems to slow down a little, and even the dessert-compliments of the waiter- was a work of art.

Visiting for just a few hours with another artist, is inspiring to the soul. We connect as friends, and as Artists who inspire each other to keep working and get better at what we do. In this busy life that we are living, it is so easy to lose touch with our friends and share what is happening in our lives. Yes, we can talk on the phone and read blogs all day, watch television, and write letters and emails, but there is nothing like the human contact with another soul that you connect with, spiritually, artistically and as sisters, mothers, grandmothers and friends. None of us is alone in the world. We must remember to nurture our friendships, make the effort to call and set up time to get away from the bus-i-ness of our day even if it IS just for a few hours to stomp around poking into shops and art galleries, or having lunch. It nourishes your creativity and feeds your soul and having laughter and smiles for a few hours is good for your mental, emotional and spiritual health.

So in honor of friendships and poetry month, I am posting this poem for all my phenomenal female friends. This is a poem written by Maya Angelou about herself but I think it is important for all women to remember that they are each phenomenal in their own way no matter what the age.

"Phenomenal Woman"

Pretty woman wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to fit a fashion model's size

But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say, It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips

The stride of my step,

The curl of my lips.

I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,
The fellows stand or fall down on their knees.
They swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,

They say they still can't see.

I say,
It's the arch of my back
The sun in my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I'm a woman


Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,

I ought to make you proud I say,
It's the click of my heals,

The bend of my hair,

The need for my care.

Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,

That's me.

Stay Phenomenal.....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Penguin Crossings

Now this is something we never see in San Diego. This photo was sent to me from my daughter and her husband who are living in New Zealand and working at the Delegat Winery in Marlborough. They are fulfilling a life of "following their dream" for the past few years. They are the kind of people who seem to know where they are going way ahead of when they get there. Many of us wish we could plan our lives and have them turn out like we want, but often get side-tracked along the way and have to make a few detours before reaching our goals.

Kathe and Mark were married in 2005. Less than two years after they married they both decided to quit their jobs, sell their home, cars, and much of their belongings; Kathe a high-school math teacher since college and Mark an accountant; and go back to school to study Viticulture and Eunology, for those who are not sure what that is, The Art and Science of Winemaking. To be precise, they are going to go back to the land to become farmers of grapes and makers of fine wine, eventually that is.

But after graduating from Fresno State they both won a grant to study and travel for a month in Switzerland, France and Italy. They documented their trip in their lovely blog last summer "Travels with Mark and Kathe".

Upon returning last August they both secured jobs working at wineries in Napa Valley and then got hired to work Harvest Season in New Zealand this year. Spring for us but Fall in New Zealand. I am enjoying their experiences and look forward to hearing from them as they progress through the season.
As a Mom, I am sad to see them so far away and they eventually will be settling some distance from where I am now, but its what they have to do and as much as I miss them I am proud that they are both focused on a dream together and are making it possible by being a team rather than pulling against each other as is often the case when two people are as strong minded as they are. Making a decision to change the patterns in your life, your jobs, your home, where you live and how you will ultimately make your living is hard when you are alone, but it can be impossible when you are married unless both people are willing to make the dream a reality. The likelihood of being self employed and being successful at it, are doubled many times over when both partners are willing to do what is necessary to make that dream real. Believe me when I say, as a self-employed person since 1993, it takes dedication, determination and a lot of sacrifice to make your life on your own skills, and not depend on outside employment.

Many times I wished I had a partner but was too busy working to build my business to take time to find one. I look at my kids and wonder if any of them learned anything from the examples I set for them by my own life - both good and bad -- and I am certain that something sank in.

One thing for sure, the love of travel is predominant in both of them, a good work ethic, ideals toward perfectionism and strong moral values. All the basis of a good start in life.

Though they won't admit it I think they also learned from me what NOT to do in life. They are both having the time of their lives and seeing many beautiful sunsets around the world. Those are the memories that will last - many years to come. Bless you and your "journey"...

Photos compliments of Kathe and Mark from New Zealand.

Creative Genius

A New Way of Looking at Creativity and Genius
I have always dreamed about going to Italy to study sculpting while taking in the experience of the land, the people and the food and wine, and just maybe never coming home. So it was fun to read about the experiences of someone who had done just that. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the book "Eat, Pray, Love" while living in Italy, India and Indonesia on a work/live sabbatical. The book became a best seller. She talks in an 18 minute segment on TED, about the fears that artists have of becoming "extinct" after creating their best work. Or worse, the fears that all creative geniuses have that once you create a great work of art, or in her case writing a book that became a best seller, you can't repeat it? Your pool of ideas has dried up? What about those artist blocks that seem to last forever while we are living our lives? And where does the creative genius come from? Are we even responsible for it? What about our creative ideas and dreams that never manifest? Maybe some dreams are just never meant to manifest? What do you think?

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Power of Stones

Sacred Stones?

For most of my life I have had a strong attraction to things made of stone, and of course-to stones themselves. I believe in the power of stones to affect us energetically, although some people find this is hard to believe. "Stones are just inanimate objects, globs of dead weight!" I've often heard. Not true. Not only did ancient people believe that stones hold the secrets of the universe within them and the wisdom of the earth, they believed stones had power to heal illness and impart magic and protection for our bodies and spirits as well.

Now I do not have first hand knowledge or proof that any of

this is true, I do know that stone is definitely more than just globs of dead weight because I have learned how to shape stone with my sculpting tools and know that it can come "alive" in my hands. In addition while practicing therapeutic massage for 12 years, I experienced the healing ability of stone, when heated and placed on the body, in a practice I engaged in for almost ten years....heated stone massage or better known as "LaStone Therapy". The stones bring great healing not only to the client on the table but to the practitioner as well. After 12 years of doing deep tissue work for many hours a day, I never incurred injuries to my hands or arms and feel that the stones actually prevented me from any invasion of negative energy while working on my clients. Usually I would go home after a long day of work more energized than when I started but for sure, more at peace.

So I was not surprised when, a few months ago, I was thinking about Carnelian and how much I needed to find a carnelian stone for myself. I do not usually purchase jewelry, but I have learned to heed my mental obsessions when it comes to stones. I have a large collection of stones and crystals that I have collected from places near and far, and they are as precious to me as anything I have, even though most of them are not valuable gemstones, to me they are more precious than gems. I actually have a Carnelian ring that I purchased over 20 years ago but it no longer fit my finger so I decided to start a search and see what I could find. I did not really have any justification for needing to have Carnelian but when I looked up the healing aspects of Carnelian, I decided it might be important for me to add one more to my collection.

I came across a wonderful website for a man in Vancouver who makes the most unique and interesting jewelry; his name is Bill Fedoriuk and he is a custom Jeweler and Designer from Salt Springs Island, in British Columbia on Canada's West Coast. I was intrigued with one in particular so I emailed him to see if the ring was still available. He sent me a photo of another ring that he had instead, and I decided at that moment for whatever reason that this was the stone I was looking for, or, it was looking for me.

Hindsight is wonderful when it comes to analytic topics such as this, because I can look back now and know that it was right to follow my intuition about getting the Carnelian; at the time it did not make sense at all. Now, I can say that I know why I needed or wanted that Carnelian, or was I just following the guidance of my body's wisdom? Knowing now, that I was ill, or was about to become ill, it's easy to say that by following my body's wisdom to get the stone, I was actually aiding my healing process-in advance.

Our bodies have a knowing about everything - of course or they would not be able to function automatically as they do. We, as consciousness "all knowing" thinking human beings are so busy "thinking" usually, that we do not listen to our bodies. This is a training that we must engage in daily...learning to pay attention to what is going on "inside" of our bodies, by stepping outside of our busy minds for just a few moments to pay attention to what is needed. The answers are always there if we listen and pay attention to where the answers are coming from.

If we have a pain somewhere, that pain is telling us something. It is up to us to pay attention. By taking care of our bodies as we would a small child tugging on our shirt sleeve to get our attention, we tell our body that we care, we are attentive to its needs. Maybe it is a virus that needs attention, or hunger or just being tired. Maybe you feel a strained muscle, or a more serious illness that is about to spring into action to a full blown near-catastrophe. In my case that is about what happened but to my good fortune, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. What could have been a much more serious problem was nipped in the bud so to speak. I like to think that it was because of the energy of the Carnelian which I wore constantly after I received the ring in the mail, that I also followed all of my other intuitions until the day I had surgery and was asked to take the ring off, that I was able to heal in a week after my surgery. Others might just say it was the skill of the surgeon, or the medicines I was taking...perhaps it is all that and who is to say the stone did not help to arrange all of this in place for me? There is no proof but its one of the sweet mysteries of life to ponder.

I like to think that all of these stones in our life have a sacred nature and power to them, not unlike the stones of ancient Stonehenge which no one has yet been able to determine the real reason for their existence. But, to the ancient people from before 2500 bc, who took the time and trouble to drag them over 250 miles from their original place in Wales, to where they now stand, they must have been very sacred. Modern man cannot even conceive of the immense amount of manpower and ingenuity it must have taken to move stones that are estimated to weigh over 50 tons without the help of equipment such as what we have today. So in spite of technology, through the sheer power of belief in the sacredness and power of the stones, they were moved.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Photo of Stonehenge by Lucille Pine

Friday, March 6, 2009

Changing the Way I Think

I'm back to my office now, and feel better than ever. After a month of serious illness, lots of discomfort, then a surgery I hadn't planned on and now into recovery, I feel like a new person. I have left all that behind me and am ready to tackle the rest of this year with a renewed spirit of enthusiasm and energy devoted to first, being grateful for the blessings I have in my life, and to being alive. There is nothing like being disabled for a few weeks to make you realize how little control we really have over our lives. I am practicing letting go and surrendering to that which is, and trying each day to find something to be grateful for. I can usually find more than one thing, but at least one. For example, we have had two weeks of somewhat sunny and warm (for March) weather here in San Diego and I noticed in my back yard the first wild flowers to pop up from under the weeds. I could not resist taking a photo of them. In addition, my lemon tree has been unusually prolific this year sprouting lemons like crazy. Maybe its trying to tell me something...."when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!". I heard that quote before but never realized how true it is.

In my last post I was still healing from Shingles, but that, in fact it got a lot worse and landed me in the hospital one day, and in an attempt to discover what was really going on in my body the doctors ordered a CAT scan and discovered a large tumor growing inside that was not supposed to be there. They did not think it was malignant but highly recommended removing it. Luckily I went for the surgery, in and out in one day which also amazes me, and I am fine now only one week later. It always amazes me how the body can recover from something and bounce back when we stop fighting and surrender to what is. I cannot say that no negative thoughts ever entered my mind, going into surgery, but I worked hard at focusing on my healing instead of "what if's". I am grateful that I had a son and daughter-in-law living close by who were able to drive me to the hospital and pick me up and take care of me for a night or two and that I had an entire week to be alone and heal in quiet. There is nothing like being at one with yourself when you need time to process what is going on in your life.

My best friend Terry who is a fantastic Pet Portrait Artist offered to pet-sit for my two big dogs, Oscar and Heaven, and I am so grateful to her for that. One of the things Terry is famous for is offering creative advice when I need it most, and she sent me a little reminder for my refrigerator today which I will share with you. It made me realize again how important it is to have friends to help you re-evaluate your thoughts at times, especially when we are feeling a little vulnerable. Everyone feels that way at times,
and I am no different. As an artist, Terry can appreciate how difficult it is to survive and stay positive, as Artists, but stay true to yourself even though you do other things to pay the bills. I have had to re-invent myself several times in my life, but to me that is just part of being a creative person. The fact that we CAN re-invent ourselves is the beauty of life. We should never get too attached to what we do or how we make our living--that does not change who we are inside or that we still think of ourselves as Artists. In fact it made me realize that changing our thoughts about what we do and who we are is part of that attitude of gratitude I was talking about earlier. Being grateful for our creative spirit, our creative talents and our creative ability to turn lemons into lemonade, means just that...we ALL have the ability to be creative in times of economic stress and it does not mean that we are any less than, if we are not creating the "kind" of art WE think we should. It only matters how we think about what we do, and ourselves. I made a promise to post this on my refrigerator and remind myself every day that I can change my thoughts in an instant from negative to positive and it does indeed change how I feel and how well I function in all ways -- physically, mentally and spiritually. Thanks Terry....