Wordle: snow

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


After hearing this conversation on Speaking of Faith on "The Meaning of Intelligence", I thought of how much "manual" labor in our society is discredited. Yet, without those willing to to such labor, how ever will the extravagant buildings and bustling roadways ever be complete? However insignificant these tasks seem, they are necessary for progress.

On one of the recent blistering summer days, I surprised my postal carrier for her duty by leaving her an icy bottle of water. Acknowledging her work during that time made her feel valued.

Having "intellectual" conversations with people can be quite enlightening, keeping my brain synapses in constant motion. Yet, there are opportunities to discuss the mechanics of a task that sometimes seem more favorable.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Makes TOTAL sense

Quote from Andy Warhol:

"They always say that time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself".

I've noticed the truth of this statement in my most recent transition of my son leaving for college. The house is empty of his daily presence and my daily routine no longer involves juggling the car keys back & forth. I miss some of the hecticness that kept me grounded, yet I find the calm left behind almost pleasant. Investigating new opportunties encourages me to change my routine, because if I leave it as is, I will be running in place, going nowhere.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Photograph by Alan Ross

Black and white photography captivates me. Light and shadow creates a unique dimension that we rarely see with our eyes. The process of catching this balance has been a challenge in my photographs. Ansel Adams was a pioneer in this art and several have followed. I thank them for the talent they posses and give me goals!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Certainly not like Monet!

A trip to the Art Museum makes me feel inspired to be creative. Perusing through the expansive galleries is a trip through history. When ancient people had nothing more than the tools they created with their bare hands, the meticulous handiwork astounds me.

Today we are provided with gadgets and instructions how to recreate masterpieces... why not establish your own!?

I attempt to free my mind of life's distractions prior to making a trip to the museum in order to fully appreciate the talents of those who toiled (or perhaps not) hours, months, years to create the works that grace the walls of our local (and FREE) cultural venue.

Occasionally I feel a bit intimidated looking at these pieces, frustrated at my limitations in the realm of art. The "mind's eye" is complex going from concept to the process of delivery. Photography is the most satisfying as it is the most direct route.

Perhaps when freeing up my art/creativity space, I shall surround myself with...
artful inspiration!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Love your local...

I adore mom & pop shops! With commercialism at its peak in this decade, the independent merchant is struggling to survive (if they haven't already succumbed to pressure) against the "big guys". You are certain to see me perusing the aisles of those stores for the necessities weekly. When looking for a special occasion gift, a hard to find culinary item or unique book, I am more than likely popping into an IR!

Here is a local bookseller (Subterranean Books) that is a refuge for me!

When looking for unique cooking ingredients, I am apt to head to Global Foods and end with a full cart of culinary delights!

Plowsharing Crafts is another gem in our town! All sorts of cool items from all over the world. Like a museum that is hands on (mostly). Earlier this week I saw crucifixes made from empty bullet shells from Liberia. The artist wanted to create peace after the awful devastation that struck that country... I seriously got chills holding it in my hand & reading the card.
On a lighter note... the "singing bowls" are Gabe's go-to item. (I think if we bought one he would never use it).

I could seriously have a whole blog (hmmm??) dedicated to the local merchants that I support or know people directly affiliated with them. Should you ever be so inclined to visit such an establishment in "the 'Lou"... my suggestion is YES! We will all be better off because you did!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Literary Feast!

I have not visited my local library as often as I had last year. I was pleased to see that the previous construction was finally complete. When pursuing my newest literary adventure, I quickly realized the collections had been rearranged. New genres such as art, design seemed to be coaxing me to investigate their pages.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whatever happened to....

random acts of kindness ? Since technology has prevailed in our daily lives, we seem to have cocooned ourselves with headphones, smart phones, mp3 players and assorted electronic media as we journey through our daily lives. The external populous has become white noise in the background.

Customer service (it was once referred to as the 'courtesy center') is more of a "job" such as helping a customer locate a hard to find item or escorting customers to their car. If another some caring citizen were to help an individual to their car, we would immediately jump to the conclusion this person may be some type of perpetrator intending harm.

Yet, when people are asked to help with locating a missing person, donating blood, time or food for a cause, people consider it an intrusion.

Society seems to have become a catalyst for selfishness. Materialism (hell, just watch television for 1 hour on a weekend Saturday morning, that is where it all begins!!)

Monday, July 5, 2010

I dont think I am cruel...

With this awful environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been a concerted effort to save the wildlife of the area. Today I was listening to NPR's Talk of the Nation which brought up the matter again. (Previous story )

The statistics of the longevity of these birds after a rescue/recovery from previous events tells me it is damn expensive & not very effective. Granted that the current "spill" (PLEASE, that is no spill... it is an epic mess!!) encompasses a greater area than previous incidents, but if it is so expensive, shouldn't we look at focusing BP's dwindling bankroll on the people whose livelihoods have been impacted in such a devastating way?

Perhaps rather than trying to save a majority of the "visible" wildlife (who cleans off the fish & shrimp... ) maybe focus on salvaging enough to save the species. Euthanasia may be better than putting these creatures through the traumatic process only to die off either during the process or days afterward.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I have come to the conclusion that those who have dark souls should not procreate!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I have returned!

After a month long absence, I realized that I missed blogging... mindless rambling... whatever!

Since I am still living "hand to mouth", I have been draw to discover FREE entertainment. Recently learned about the podcast phenomena. I've been aware of their existence, but delved deeper in the Internet to find all sorts of interesting music, educational, science informational pod casts.

I am a pretty avid NPR listener... enjoy the educational component. Currently the Morning Edition portion has a series about the Criminal Brain. It has been a fascinating show. Brain chemistry, nature vs. nurture and genetic predisposition. Although the information presented is just a glimpse into the research which is essentially in its infancy stages, I am seeking to learn more! I recall how mundane science courses were back in high school & college. Total respect for the field!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Outta the ZONE... comfort zone

Can I say that Senior year of high school has to be one of the most expensive years of school (other than university). Since I wasn't working, funds were at a critical level, so every expense was evaluated for priority. So the studio pictures for Senior year didn't happen. I was going to have a photographically talented friend take on this task, but alas, the family schedules never seemed to gel at the same time. I took on the task with some trepidation, as I seem to work best with objects & animals rather than people. But.. time was slipping away and quickly. Grabbed the point & shoot digital, kid & a couple of outfits & head to a local park & then I have always enjoyed the sitting on the train tracks pictures (I see it as a metaphor for the long track ahead in life...wherever it may lead) so I planned out a trip there as well.

The time of day was less than desirable for a couple of these shots, but we actually had sunshine of a good portion of the day & I had to work with what I had. Regardless, I am rather pleased with several of these. I see room for improvement for things I may do in the future.

When bringing these to a local photo kiosk, I had an employee tell me that making unauthorized copies of professional photos was against policy. With a big grin I told him that I took these photos & he then inquired if I was a professional photographer. Hmmmm?Made my day!

Add Image

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I live in a house filled with control freaks! Each one of us has a particular way of completing a task. Heaven forbid if you leave something incomplete!

Example: the yard was in desperate, DESPERATE need of cutting today. We have had a previous week of rain & cool temperatures which did not aid in the drying out. I had cut around the property line & the driest sections & was going to return to do the "swampland" portion after a bit of a break, letting the mid morning sun dry stuff up a bit. Next thing I hear is the lawnmower running & my dad is out there finishing up the lawn. Seriously, can one not wait a mere 30 minutes?

My mother is just as bad about laundry. I have a pair of slacks I may have worn for 2 hours end up in the washing machine when she ends up doing a 3rd load (daily). Ridiculous!

I know that when women are pregnant there is a "nesting"instinct. I am curious if as you age, a similar pattern emerges, kind of like "finish all your chores before you no longer can do it independently" mentality.

I love my family dearly, but the aging thing is not going well for either of them. I consider my 98 year old grandmother who until a couple of years ago was still climbing ladders to prune trees in her backyard. This woman is beyond amazing. On her 98th birthday last week, she was re-potting plants as her method of celebration. I hope I have inherited some of that stamina!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I have re-entered the work force on a part-time basis, yet I am acquiring additional opportunities for more hours. Quite a shift of pace for not only me but the family as well.

My son has entered the "blogosphere" after inspiration from some of his peers. 13 days in & he is blogging almost daily. Luckily I have been given clearance to read it! So, I must take heed that the student has surpassed the master in yet another facet. I am totally okay with this.

We are almost at the end of the tunnel of high school... a mere 12 days until the graduation ceremony. The frenzy of end of the year banquets & award ceremonies has ceased, leaving us with tranquility for a brief moment or two.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Watching him grow.....

My son's final high school prom was this weekend. How quickly the 4 years went! I gathered the 3 consecutive years of obligatory photos prior to the event by the "parent paparazzi"....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


One of my favorite events at the MO Botanical Gardens

The structure of these flowers are stunning...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Got Apathy?

(It has been quite a while since I last posted... not from apathy, just life)

Tonight I attended one of the last 3 board meetings of a parent group I support (and have for 4 years). Since my son is graduating, I will no longer be on the board, but will transition into a member role. The past 2 years, I have seen the same 8-10 faces attend these meetings yet I know that there are several other parents of students that could attend. Even when I was employed full time, I made an effort to attend meetings and get involved. It saddens me to see the group disintegrate into a group of 3 families supporting kids.

When starting in HS, you were overwhelmed with invitations to join the XYZ parent booster club of various activities & then there is the abyss of the school sponsored parent organization that was WAY too large of an umbrella to join. I opted to stick with the activities my son was involved in, a more direct route. In the past few years I have seen students become leaders in particular areas, yet I only see the parents pop up at performance time to bask in their child's skills. By no means do I expect to have near the involvement of elementary school, but sheesh! There are plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved in a way that is not too time-consuming. I am sure the kids notice the absence/presence of parents in the periphery of the activities.

I recall in middle school/high school when I played soccer. Dads & moms would be on the sidelines at home games shouting words of encouragement/frustration at their daughters. My parents never came to any games. I doubt my performance would have enhanced, but I just remember the emptiness when the game was over. My mother says that she would have been appalled if her parents attended one of her events as a teenager.."that was our time to do our thing". She attributes it to her generation.

Sure, society has changed with both parents working crazy hours (if they are lucky enough to still be gainfully employed) and there may be young children at home or other family matters to handle. Is 1 hour per month average too much too ask of parents? I can imagine they spend at LEAST that on self-indulgent activities.

For the last 9 weeks (hard to imagine) of my son's high school run, I am going to continue to show my support & hope that others take notice. Hope it sets a precedent!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Not what I expected...

Last night, my son & I attended a performance of "Dog Sees God" at the university he will be attending in the fall. Initially, I was surprised by the size of the theater. It has a capacity of 250 which is 1/2 the size of his high schools. I will say that the acoustics were fantastic and it does make for a more intimate performance.

Now, for the actually show. I knew the premise of DSG (the Peanuts characters created by Charles Schultz have grown into teenagers and a pivotal event starts the show), but I knew this was an "edgy" show that was not endorsed by the Schultz estate.

The characters certainly have "issues" that are contemporary to society.... didn't they always ?
Many instances of colorful, harsh language was off putting at first but finally the storyline developed into introspective exchanges between the characters. Not all the characters are lovable, although they make light of the adolescent rites of passage.

The conclusion of the story is quite moving. Laughter had subsided, replaced by a few smiles when honest observations were stated in a melancholy manner. As an adult, I look back through my life & see people in my life who played a role.

As the pen pal correspondence was read, I will admit I teared up, such sage observations & the final puzzle piece was set in place.

It is definitely one of my favorite live performance shows.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Art Imitates Life... or is it the other way around...

A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession. --Albert Camus

A man paints with his brains and not with his hands. -- Michelangelo

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.--Thomas Merton

I had a bit of an epiphany today. I was visiting a local art gallery and chatted for a while with one of the artists in this co-op. He had some health issues & turned to his art for comfort... also realized he is able to make some money as well as share his talent with others.

I have been creating resumes, re-creating resumes & completing application after application without much luck the past 10 months. Art has been my conscience nagging in a whisper throughout this process. Perhaps I need to give my artistic energy some time in the forefront and see what happens... shifting perspective.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Girl for Hire

What does a girl need to get work in this town??

Current resume -- check
Glowing references--- check
Complete Work history detail---check
Professional attire-- check
Decent interpersonal skills -- check

I've done the song & dance plenty. I know what employers are looking for in an employee (I WAS the one inerviewing employees). As sincere as I am in these meetings, I really want to end the interview with.... "So rather than wasting any more time & energy, this job seems pleasant enough, just tell me now if my application is being tucked away by the time I leave this parking lot".

Occasionally I see potential in a position & I then learn from the cold voice at the other end "Oh... we forgot to update the website, sorry, we filled that last week."

I know I am a capable individual that can adapt to many environments, but it does get discouraging to get a foot halfway in the door to learn they just needed a doorstop.

Back to the drawing board....


Seeking to find natural beauty in this time of year. Cold temperatures and grey clouds seem to drain the creative spirit. Caught a glimpse of the sun & had a moments inspiration....

Valentines Day... more snow!

I call these "branch-cicles". I will have plenty of work come spring..... enjoy this as it lasts!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rites of passage

My son is in the final months of high school. It is the "lasts" of several things... last parent/teacher conference, last xyz event... it is getting to be quite realistic at this point. Not too many tears at this point, just a sadness.

I was taken aback the other day realizing the expense of raising this child of mine! I played with some generic numbers & I am amazed I have not needed to take out a loan for him! I stopped calculating when the $ amount reached $135,000. That is a small house!!! (And I haven't added the college expenses).

As the kids in high school have their Senior Skip Day, Senior Prank (hope no one gets arrested), and all the camaraderie, parents are left in the shadows crunching numbers, reassessing monthly expenditures & praying the scholarships come through.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No rest for the wicked...

On one minute writer the subject is rest for today.

HA! I recall when I could rest leisurely on a weekend morning with a book & a cup of coffee in the living room or back patio. Those days are long gone. Whether it is household chores, running errands, meetings or medical appointments, rest is sometimes a foreign term in this household!
We live in a combined household, as my parents are older & we still have my bother who is autistic living at home still (really not fond of options). Therefore, since I am relatively "able-bodied" I am the go-to person for things.

As I am writing this I am finishing up laundry, letting the dog out and sitting with my brother until he falls asleep. So, is this resting? Eh? I am physically resting (all well & good) but mental rest! AH... that is what I crave the most. How nice to have your mind go somewhere peaceful. I think the only time I do that is when I listen to music... mostly instrumental. It is like a cerebral spa that wakes up synapses in your mind that have been neglected.I usually do this when I am doing housework and when I go to bed, although with the events in Haiti, I've been listening to BBC-World Service to keep in the loop. Now there are some people there that need to rest!

As my good mate, Forrest Gump once said.... "that's all I have to say about that"

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The television news stations are riddled with images such as these. As I sit in my relatively spacious intact home, watching the footage of the aftermath, I have a surge in my stomach, (perhaps my soul) that aches for these people.Their lives just getting back to normal from a hurricane a few years ago. And now this.

Lives changed forever, children left orphans (one baby was shown 15 days old... mother was crushed in collapse, infant just had lacerations, cared for by Dr. Sanjay Gupta), parents losing children.... just horrific reality. And it IS reality. Just, not ours (directly)

Feeling helpless, what can I do? I contact red cross (line is busy, go figure,) end up e-mailing a list of my abilities, skills and contact information, I have little $$ to survive on myself (unemployed for a year and a week), but I have 2 hands and a caring heart that can , and need to help.

A simple yet honest quote I encountered:

"All that matters is what we do for each other." -- Lewis Carroll

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Putting it on the back burner....

Single parenthood is not for the timid. I did not dream of being a woman who would be raising a child on her own. Like many young girls, there would be a handsome, romantic, successful gentleman to sweep me away into a life where we would create a home that mirrored something off "Leave it to Beaver" or "Family Ties". **enter reality check**

So my knights wore aluminum foil (flimsy) and rode on a donkey (or were just a plain ass). I realized that the family unit was not a mutually exclusive vision for my little family. We went our separate ways (keeping our son in the balance... well, some of us tried).

Fast forward 15 years... still no knights in my future. However, I have learned that I am a strong, independent, relatively intelligent female that can fend not only for herself & her little lion cub, but her whole family unit. Granted, these past years have been riddled with trips to the hospital, shouting matched, slammed doors, hurt feelings and tears (yup, plenty of those).

Now that my son is 18, I see life changing, quite rapidly so, in a great way. When he was 15, he was eager to get his first "real job", as a bagger at a grocery store. He was promoted to the grocery department, but realized that wasn't his style & went back to bagging. Opportunity knocked when the coffee shop opened in the store & he jumped on that! He had been there almost 3 years. Great work ethic for a kid that age.

Academically, he is finally challenging himself as he did as when he was in elementary school. He has great attendance & is quite involved in school activities. He's had a few "gotcha's" not turning in homework, but the majority of his work is on track.

College days are drawing closer & closer. He has a handful to choose from & we are working together to make the best decision for him. I am rather amazed of the dialogue that comes with this. He is a great critical thinker.

This weekend he was awarded a scholarship for his pursuit of a theater education degree & the realization that I have raised this fellow essentially solo & he has turned out to be a remarkable individual. He may not be the athlete that his father wanted him to become, but making himself available as a parent was not a priority.

It is overwhelming at all we have accomplished. I remember clear as day when he was a toddler holding his hand knowing those days would be a sweet memory & hoping that I would be a "good enough" person to be a single parent as it was becoming evident this was the inevitable road we would be traveling. By no means am I super mom, I made mistakes, said things aloud when I clearly needed to hold my tongue, but I did my best to do right by him in my heart.

I am proud of my son, for being the genuine person he has become. I cherish our mother/son relationship and the honesty of our conversations. The days with him living in the nest are dwindling too quickly, yet I am eager to see him take flight.

It's not the childhood dream that I had, it is better!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A new view...

My son apparently knows his mother relatively well. For the Christmas holiday, he gifted me a new digital camera & an SLR camera. He had loaned me his digital frequently as my 1st digital was a mere 1.3 megapixels (a gift from my father back in 2000) and was not quite keeping up with the demands I had on it.

The SLR is used and the lens filter has a chip (easily replaced, when funds start flowing again) and is missing a lens cap, again, fixable. However, feeling the body of the camera, looking through the viewfinder to see that fabulous little window on the world is delicious! I began playing with photography in high school & dabbled in developing photos for a bit in college as well. As I grew older, I was distracted from the hobby. With the explosion of digital media/photography, I began admiring work from others and I found myself taking potentially great photos with less than stellar equipment. (Although, regardless of equipment, some photos are just fabulous in their existence).

This year, I will cherish both of my gifts by using them to create portraits of my world. So many opportunities lay in waiting & I am looking forward to reacquainting myself in the photography realm!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hello 2010...

A new year is upon us, finally. Not the best of the 2009 for this family.

Typically, people make resolutions, right? Well, we know how many of those end up as a blurred memory by Groundhog Day.

I am sort of putting a spin on the concept and making a to do list (aren't goals just dreams with an end date attached??). Curious if this list gets 50% completed by Dec 31. Time shall tell....

1. Write & publish a short story (either locally or online). I was published in a newsletter regarding having a sibling with autism, which although cathartic, it was quite an enjoyable experience.

2. Enter a fabulous photo of mine (taken with either a SLR or digital in this calendar year) in a contest for serious contention.

3. Pay off debt. I have been working on this for 2 years but I will clean it up (pending a steady paycheck) no later than Oct 31.

4. Take a real cooking class--- serious technique stuff, not "How to Boil Water 101" in the local school adult education brochure

5. Make a lunch date & actually keep it with friends I have reconnected with recently. (The caveat here is that "keeping it" is contingent on family health issues).

6. Journal 6 stories from my grandmothers youth. Somehow I will have her tell me a "story" rather than get blown off. At 97 she is still coherent about her time in Lithuania/Germany & I want to have some of her legacy in print. I also need to do something similar with my parents. My REAL goal is from my grandmother's memories.

7. After I lose 5 pounds/inches, gather clothing that no longer fits & donate to a shelter.

8. Make 10 blankets for NICU & bring them to hospital.

9. Repaint/redecorate at LEAST one room in the house. Redid the main bathroom this year & other than removing the wallpaper, it was quite inspiring.

10. Take a camping trip with the family this year. We all need to get out of town for a bit. I think one last family vacation before Gabe leaves for university will be cohesive for out family unit.

** Okay off to print the list to post it on the calendar board. Watch for progress.... ♥