Category Archives: inspiration

SEARCHING FOR WALDO

I had no plans for yesterday, but I was feeling an urgency to be productive.  Next Friday is the end of my Summer 4-day work week.  My Fridays have been full of appointments and errands and being out of town so I felt compelled to spend the day at home doing something that I not only enjoyed but would make me feel like I accomplished something.  I decided to start a watercolor.

I walked into my studio with a feeling of excitement.  I haven’t painted or done any artwork  for way too long.  Over the past few years when that creative urge would hit me, there was always something pressing to take care of and I’d been stifled over and over and over again.  Part of me was terrified that the urge would disappear altogether after having squelched it for so long.

It became evident in the first five minutes that I was going to spend a great deal of time looking for paint, paper and brushes AND a clear spot on my desk.  There was really nothing that I could accomplish without first doing some organizing and clearing away.

So I spent the entire day yesterday, not painting, but working toward being able to.  But my, oh my, that was an experience.  I can’t say it was hard work.  Confusing maybe, and a little overwhelming at a couple points… but I enjoyed it.  After all, my studio is where I’m comfortable and surrounded by things that I love and which inspire me.  I found things that I’d lost long ago and/or forgotten that I even had.  I could write an entire post on that stuff alone.

I really should have taken some before pictures because you can’t really appreciate how hard I worked getting to the after part. As it is, the pictures look like a page out of Where’s Waldo? I would never believe that I could have accumulated so much stuff.  Some of it I need (supplies) but some of it I need (for inspiration, reference, etc.)

My Version of Where's Waldo?

You’re probly wondering what the heck it must have looked like before I spent hours filing away papers and labeling containers, right?  Well, let me tell you… it was a bit crazy in there.

By the time I stopped last night (and no, I’m not finished) it was ridiculous to even think of starting a project.  I have a bit more work to do in there, but at least I know that the next time the urge hits me, I can walk in, grab what I need and start painting.  And that’s a very good feeling.

Can You Say "Clutter?"

Do you have a place in your house where you keep all your stuff?  A place where you can relax and dream and be yourself and play?  We all need one.  And we need to go there often and not neglect it.  I’m vowing to spend more time there, maybe even go up right now.

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I <3 ROBERT FRANCIS

Robert Francis – Junebug – taratata

Confession:  I have an old-fashioned school girl crush on Robert Francis.  I’ve been listening to this song for ages and never get tired of it.  First I fell in love with the song.  Then when I saw what he looked like, I was all, like, WOW.  Sure, he’s a little wee bit scruffy but I picture him clean-shaven with a haircut wearing boots and a long coat kind of like this.  So maybe you can understand the appeal.  Anyway, I was excited as heck when the official video came out for Junebug.  I had already made up kind of a movie in my head.  Now I found the live version of the song and yeah.  Oh yeah.  It’s official.  Paul Westerberg and PD have nothing to worry about but I REALLY like Robert Francis.  And OMG when he says “Merci beau coup” at the end,  je vais cuckoo. (Il me faut un docteur.)   Il est chaud!

As you may know, I have a birthday coming up this weekend.  I’ve compiled a little of my own birthday trivia for your amusement…

  • I was born on Albert Einstein’s birthday.  And although Robert Francis and Paul Westerberg and Gael Garcia-Bernal and PD all hold places   (varying degrees) of importance in my heart, Albert is my hero.  (As is TC)
  • My birthday is pi. (3.14)  This is kind of a new development, but I now celebrate my birthday along with, or should I say, in conjunction withSteak and BJ day.  I’m quite anxious to hear your humorous, yet tasteful, comments about this…
  • I also share my birthday with Michael Caine and Liza Minelli.  I’m sure there are others but I grew up knowing of these two.
  • I am  Piscean and that means I’m about as cool as you can get, not to mention impractical, intuitive and mysterious.  But you knew that.

Ok, these bullets totally screwed up and I can’t fix them because I’m a Pisces and I don’t give a sh** because I don’t.

PS I got a comment that is, for all intents and purposes, spam. But I left it on my sidebar because it  made me laugh like hell.  It’s Mr. Fordinsnorkel or something to that effect.  Look over there in my side bar, read what he wrote and click on his name and prepare to LOL.

Update: Mr. Spam has decided to vacate the premises. Imagine that. Maybe I dreamed him up…

DAD’S PLANT (Part 1)

I have been meaning to share this with you for a few years now. I imagine that you’re wondering why it’s taken me so long and why I’ve finally decided to give it up… I have to admit that it’s kind of personal, that’s part of the reason I haven’t written about it. The other reason is that, well, it may be kind of hard to believe. But I think you know me well enough by now to know that I wouldn’t lie to you and that it’s perfectly normal for me to have weirdness.

This story is about a plant.  Which has since become three plants.  If my dream comes true, that number could grow to a whole terrarium of plants.  

“Where did this plant come from and why is it special? you may be asking by now.

When my father died in April 1998, many wonderful people sent beautiful flower arrangements and dish gardens, as people are wont to do when someone dies.  A few days after the funeral, me mum was divvying up the plants to assorted family members.  I became the owner of a beautiful and large dish garden.

The only surviving plant member from that dish garden has been with me for 11 years now.  That fact in itself is incredible, considering that my thumbs are not only not green, but utterly colorless.

A couple of years ago I finally was successful at (what is the word?)  Propagating? [ Whatever it is called when you make one plant into two and they are both alive and well.]  The main reason I did this is because I become totally terrified at the idea of the plant ever dying and I figured if there were two instead of one, my chances of saving at least one of two were way better than if I only had one and killed it.

I lovingly refer to the plant(s) as “Dad’s Plant(s)…”  for two reasons.  One, if it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t have the thing(s), and two, because I have never found out what the real name of the plant is.  It’s not because I can’t look it up or even that I’ve tried, because I haven’t.  I’m weird that way, some things are just not important to me.   Due to the amount of explaining that will be necessary for you to understand how important these plants have become to me, I will show you what they look like now and continue with the story another day.  If you know what family this plant belongs to, feel free to tell me.  I will be impressed.  I’ll probly forget two minutes after I go away from this page, but I will be impressed, nonetheless.

Here they are, the original (top) and then he and his brother for your thoughtful consideration:

Original Plant

Plants One and Two

R.I.P. JOHN HUGHES

You’re probly surprised to see me address a current event on here.  Even though it’s not as current as when it actually happened.  But this post is not about the death of a man I admire greatly.  It’s about one of the reasons that I admire him even more now.  Because I did not know that besides being wonderfully talented, John Hughes was also an awesome human being.

Checkiss out and tell me what you wouldn’t give to have experienced this degree of coolness.  Go HERE.

Might I add… next time you feel compelled to do something or are emotionally moved to reach out and make a connection, remember that IF YOU DON”T act, you could easily miss out on something so wonderful that it could change you somehow.  A good friend recently pointed this out to me and I will be doing a post about it in the near (relative) future.

WHADDYA SAY?

Since I’m finding myself with more free time due to the inability to do much more than SIT, I actually could be posting more… if not daily, almost daily. But the thing is that my brain must have been in my ankle and now that it’s broken, I can’t think so well.  Besides, it’s buried underneath all that elastic and hardware.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not getting inspired to write much.  So I’m appealing to you.  What would you like to hear or read or know?  Tell me and if something clicks in my foot head, I’ll do my best to accomodate.

I’m not even coming up with any suggestions.  Everything I think of, I already wrote about.  I guess that happens when you’ve been blogging for as long as I have.

I THINK IT’S HERE

SPRING~ SPRING~ SPRING~ SPRING~ SPRING~ SPRING~ SPRING

gedc0653

Today was beautiful.  I have this feeling of Hope and Promise.  Like maybe everything is going to be okay.  I want to hold on to this feeling forever.

April 7, 1961

That’s when my favorite man was born.  He was a few ounces under 6 pounds and 18 and a half inches long.  Breech birth.  Risky, almost didn’t make it.

His name’s not really Poopy Doo, but even if it was,  I’d still be Mrs. Linda Sue Doo.

What can I say about this man?  The man who’s second greatest joy in life is being proven right.  The man with the gruffest exterior and the biggest heart I’ve ever seen.  A man who worships and adores his grandchildren, as much as life itself.  A man who spoils me and puts up with more than any man should ever be required to, let alone choose to.  He encourages my independence but is right there when I’m feeling needy.  He’s my biggest fan and my toughest critic, but only when invited.

hpim3612

He can fix anything except transmissions or carburetors.  He may not always do it right the first time, or even the easiest, fastest way, (and I’m always sure to point that out…) but he can do it if he sets his mind to it.

He’s neat to a fault.  There is never a toilet seat left up, a sock turned inside out, a toothpaste cap left off or razor stubble in the sink.  I swear, if you didn’t know he lived in this house, you wouldn’t know he lived in this house. Which may not always be a good thing…

He cooks me dinner and cleans up the kitchen almost every weekday.  Just because I go to work every day and he feels it’s the least he can do.  Even when he feels like shit and I try to object.

He seldom complains.  He’s a trouper when he’s sick, never whines or wants babied.  Even if I try to play nurse. His patience knows no bounds.  And he will never admit to how handsome he is.  Stubborn that way, and a whole slew of other ways…  Honest like no one I’ve ever met.  Not a prejudiced bone in his body. Respects women, even those who don’t particularly deserve it.  That grand old Southern, military up-bringing.  Yes, Ma’am.

He swears like a truck driver, drinks like a sailor, (on occasion) and has a temper like a volcano, but just every once in awhile.  If a tool breaks or an appliance stops working, duck… because more than likely it will go sailing over your head.  (We have found tools buried in brush piles at the back of our property, I kid you not.)

His passions are few but deep.  He loves good food, the Pittsburgh Penguins, imported beers, U2 and Stargate.  He’s a movie buff and I challenge you to name more than a few that he’s not seen.

And oh my God, does he love and respect me.  I never quite figured that one out, but I return the favor, many times over.

hpim3130

Happy Birthday, PD.  I love you.

“Immensely, Intensely, Honestly, Sincerely, Completely… Forever and ever, Amen.”

PERSONIFICATION

I think one of the most gratifying things about blogging is the unique way in which we connect with other people, especially “strangers.” I hesitate to use that word so I will refer to those people as PWNM. (People/Person We Never Met.)  The very idea of writing a post and publishing it to the world amazes me frequently. The idea that anyone with internet capability can read and respond to everything I write here is difficult to fathom. The fact that PWNM read what we write and appreciate it enough to come back and read time and time again is just plain cool. The reality is that many of us develop relationships with those who read and are read by us. Its a wonderful phenomenon that only a blogger can truly comprehend and appreciate. And once in awhile we are afforded the opportunity to actually meet a PWNM in real life. And then the line between blog life and real life disappears to a degree and there opens a door.

I’d never really given a lot of thought to that door, mostly because I’d never actually had the opportunity to meet someone I’d met online. I know tons of people who have met PWNMs online and actually have relationships, some even as in the serious type. It happens frequently and it’s not a big deal for most and has become an accepted mode of bringing people together.

Only very recently have I been presented with not one, but opportunities to meet three of my readers. Unfortunately, the first invitation, I had to turn down due to a conflict in scheduling, if you will. The third is still in the planning stages and I’m crossing my fingers really hard that we can pull it off. The second one was amazingly, a total fluke and I’m convinced that something or Someone bigger than Serendipity was choreographing the show. I’ll try to keep this relatively short, but I want you to see that it easily might not have happened.

The past couple of weeks have been crazy busy for me and my online-time has been probly half of what I’m accustomed to. I’d been having problems off and on with my laptop since the power outage after a late summer storm. It finally crashed and burned and I only got my new hard drive a few days ago and hadn’t had time to re-install programs etc. Then Thursday afternoon I actually found myself with a small block of time to catch up on some of my regular reads. I happened upon this post.  There was really no time to think, not that I had to.  I’d been reading Out of the Ashes for two years and felt that I knew Michael (M+) quite well enough to meet in person and there was the opportunity staring me in the face.  My first (and only) inclination was to go for it.  The extent of my reservation was that I knew I’d be tired from a week of getting up at 4:30 and working 10-hour days.  But the school where Michael’s son was performing was my old alma mater and only a short drive from my home.  All the signs were there and there was no reason not to go.  PD had some errands to run and had not been feeling great the past few days.  I thought I should mail Michael and tell him of the possibility that I may or may not be able to make it.  I didn’t want him to feel “stood up” if I wasn’t able to be there.

PD and I arrived a little before the time we’d agreed upon.  It was a warm and beautiful night and there were very few cars in the parking lot, being that the show wasn’t due to start for an hour and a half.  We decided to park and get out and walk around until Michael got there.  We were starting to walk up to the main door of the school when I saw someone get out of a car about 7 parking spots off to my left.  As soon as I saw the street light reflecting on the side of his head  *wink*  I knew it was Michael.

There was a big hug.  There were introductions.  (PD, who puts great stock in a firm handshake, was impressed.)  Michael’s mother had accompanied him.  She came out of the car and was surprised to find that Michael had “found” someone he “knew” there.  What a delightful and beautiful lady she is. She is quite petite, even when she’s not standing beside her brawny son. She had some questions about our blogs and how we’d come to “know” each other so well. It was fun seeing her amazement at how we reacted to one another. Michael, I have to tell you that, later on the way home, PD told me that he had the strongest feeling that he’d seen your mother somewhere before. Not “met” her, but “seen” her, which I thought was pretty cool. PD rarely says things like that.

I told Michael that I was surprised at how calm he was in person. It was the first thing I noticed about him.  He is almost what you would call soft-spoken but not shy at all.  He’s so very genuine and personable. Not at all intimidating and a great conversationalist. Articulate and purposeful in his speech. I felt not one iota of awkwardness or uncomfortability from the first second we spoke. Aside from how laid-back he seemed, he was as I expected him to be.

Early in the meeting, Michael pulled out a camera (I’d forgotten mine due to stupidity and being in a big hurry) and said, “We have to do this.”  My immediate thought was, and I said, “Michael, Jeff should be here.”  He agreed and commented that he’d just had the same thought.   (Seriously, Jeff, we wish you could have been there. It would have been the peanut butter icing on the chocolate cake.)  Michael handed the camera to PD, pulled up his shirt sleeve to reveal the famous bicep and here you see the end result.   (Keep in mind, I’d been up since 4:30am.  Did I mention that???)

tn3

PD and Michael talked about their shared appreciation for weaponry (they each collect swords and knives.) We talked about our families.  Michael shared some of his summer to clue PD in on his activities with Compassion.  He asked about my “addiction.”  I reported that I’m down to 9 cigarettes per day and am still down two pounds.  When I got up the nerve to ask him if I was what he expected, it seemed that he didn’t even think about it and just said “Yes.”  I have yet to find out just what it was that he expected… But according to him, the impression you might have of me from reading my blog is most likely the real me. We talked about so many things and then all of a sudden it was time for us to part.  But it became a great memory and a wonderful experience and I can’t wait to see what he writes about me we agreed to get together again sometime.

If there were a rating system for meeting PWNM, I would give it 3.99 stars.  The .01 I subtracted ONLY because there was no food involved.  Hehe.  Next time we’ll go the full 4 stars, whaddya say, Mikey?  🙂

All kidding aside, it was great meeting you and your mom (nice bonus) and I’m anxious to hear how the play went.

*********************************************************************************

*sorry, I couldn’t find a way to make the pic bigger.  you’ll just have to lean way in.

TREASURES

I just came on here real quick to see who’s been around and I have to say this… (forgive me, this is fast…)

I don’t know how I ever got so lucky to have the friends that I do.  I swear.  In my everyday life, I’ve been blessed many times over.  And in the past couple of years, I’ve not been a very good friend to those I cherish.  I haven’t made the time to pick up the phone and set up lunch dates or even just take the time to get together to catch up on news.  At the end of the day, I’m tired or busy.  I rush home to get away from all the crazies and take refuge in my wonderful house where I call the shots and shut out the bad noise.  Sometimes I even let PD call the shots.  But I feel safe at home and it’s where my “stuff” is that makes me calm and the only demands I’m facing are the pile of dirty laundry, a heap of unread mail or the dust on the hutch.  Unscary stuff.  Stuff that I can tackle when it suits me and I know I can do a good job and not be judged or watched over my shoulder.  I do it my way, not to suit someone else’s specifications.  I have lately come to appreciate the difference in the way I feel once I step over the threshold into my and PD’s house.  It’s like feeling someone wrap big, strong arms around me when I need a hug.

Gawd, where did that come from? (My new favorite expression.  Thanks, Maddie)  I started out talking about how I’ve been blessed with friends.  Back to that…  Anyway.  I love to come home at the end of a work day.  And at the end of the work week, it’s even more inviting.  And if I have to leave, it better be for a pretty good reason.   I’m turning into a freakin’ hermit, aren’t I???  Well, it’s like this… It’s scary out there.  There are mean people driving on the road, pushing shopping carts in the grocery store, behind the window at the bank, at the gas pump next to me,  across the room in the restaurant, all over the place.  Who wants to deal with them?

I know, I’m exaggerating.  But if I don’t have to deal with negativity, I would just as soon not.  And very little of that finds it’s way into my house.  I’m very selective about inviting people into my home and I’ve gotten into the habit of screening my calls ( largely due to campaign calls, thank you very much. NOT)

Ok, I need to wrap this up and go to bed so I better get to what I was planning to say In The First Place.

I wanted to say that, reading the comments you have all so kindly written makes me feel so very fortunate to have you in my life.  Not just on my blog but in my thoughts and prayers.  I carry you with me all the time.  You have no idea how often I think of you (yes, You) during the course of a day.  A funny thing you said or something inspiring you took the time to write.  And it seems that I’ve been kinda (ok, very ) needy the past year or so and those of you who have stuck by me and offered your ears and prayers and thoughts, I want to tell you how much I appreciate it and how great you are.  I’ve been wanting to make time to personally email quite a few of you recently to tell you just that, but in a more personal way.  And that time has been hard to come by with the hours I’ve been working and trying to keep some semblance of a life too.  But being able to come here and see that you’ve thought of me and cared to say so means so very, very much to me.  The mails you’ve sent are also precious.  I have a support system that I can rely on And I Don’t Even Have To Leave My House. (that’s what the whole idea of this post was, why it took me so long to get it out, I have no idea.)

Thank you and if I could I would order a big ole group hug right about Now.  🙂

EPIC Part Four

After talking to Michael about our night at Mr. Smalls, I may have screwed up the chronology of things, but hey, I’m old, what do you expect?

I did remember this detail which I meant to share. When we met Noah, he was carrying his “performing shoes” which instantly reminded me of Paul Westerberg. They were white leather with pointy toes with a buckle across the instep. Much like this. When I told him that he made me think of Paul, he thought that was cool.

Last to emerge from the van was pretty, petite Anna Bulbrook. She met us with a smile, chatted a bit (She had her formal musical training in Boston) and apologized for having to move on, but she just had to get into some air-conditioning. I guessed traveling in a van with four hunky male musicians all across the US might warrant asking for some comfort wherever one girl might find it… She graciously posed and signed “Linda – Always a Pleasure! X X ANNA” in my magazine and off she went in her cheerleader outfit and if I remember, ballet slippers.

Shortly after, we were inside admiring the architecture and ambiance of Mr. Smalls. Mike and I found a nice spot at the end of the bar to hang, with the intention of going up closer to the stage when the music started. While we were standing there and it was starting to get crowded, I noticed a girl next to me, having a hard time gathering up about 8 bottles of Heineken from the bar. I leaned over and said that she looked like she might need help and she thanked me and asked me to follow her. We were delivering beers to The Band as it turned out and she motioned for me to hand one to “that guy” who turned out to be a smiling Noah who said “Are they putting you to work now???” and thanked me.

The first band who played was Electric Touch and I was really liking them. I’ve gotten four of their songs on iTunes. Here are some YouTube vids of them. Love In Our Hearts, Call My Name, Saved, and Sonic Touch (which I can’t seem to find a link for.) They had great stage presence and wonderful dance-ability. I spoke to one of the band members after their set and told him that I thought they had a great sound and he seemed real happy about that. Ok, yes, he was cute too. I did notice.

So by the time that Airborne Toxic Event came onstage, I was all warmed up. We were lucky to find ourselves about ten feet from the stage, a little bit to the left of center. I was thrilled that they played every single song that I wanted to hear. Even after having listened to them for months, I still can’t say that I have a favorite song of theirs. One by one I’ve dissected the lyrics; every note, hook and bridge and by the time I get through a song, I like it as much as the one before it. When they played Innocence, though, it took me to an entirely other place. It starts off with an ethereal viola played by Anna. I closed my eyes and just let the melody take me away. A few minutes into it, I was aware of a change in the sound. I opened my eyes and there was Noah, picking up where she left off, but playing his bass with a bow. It was truly awesome. It sounds like an entire orchestra is playing. Learning what I have about their background and what’s been happening in Mikel’s life the past year and a half since the band has been performing together, all their music has more meaning and depth for me. A lot, ok, most of their music is about the harsher side of life, the struggles we all face, heartbreak, loneliness- but it’s as if there was a conscious decision to take the sadness and angst (love that word) of the lyrics and put them to upbeat, exciting, in-your-face music. Which totally appealed to me from the very beginning.

As Mikel has a background in writing, his lyrics are descriptive and heartfelt and even haunting sometimes. I actually got tears in my eyes listening to them play Sometime Around Midnight. Not surprising, it often makes me cry. His stage presence was one to behold. He comes across quite genuinely humble but with just a teeny bit of cockiness… I think inside he knows damn well that he’s a genius. So we let the cocky part slide. It’s just barely there, I don’t think it even got noticed by most of the audience. I think he’s earned it anyway. Like when I asked if he’d take his glasses off for the picture. The way he chirped “nope” was so cool. With the accent on the “P”. It was with a tiny little smirk as if he was saying don’t even think of f—ing with me. That’s all I have to say about that ;-P

On that note, I can’t keep my eyes open another minute. My fantasy about being a music journalist (and why Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies) ? I don’t think I’d be very good at it. It’s hard work. But it would be oh so much fun!