Category Archives: life

reflecting

IMG_0786The Day is filled with raindrops and certainly a bit of melancholia…the news coming out of Orlando is haunting and makes me feel so vulnerable and sad.

I have spent the last several minutes mindlessly digging around in my blog, trying to stay off of FB and the constant reminder of how bad this situation is. 

My blog tells a story and offers a timeline of thoughts from a few years ago; the look back  has been enlightening, I suppose…still asking myself the same questions it seems.  That’s not really good. But, I did find something a, then, 17 year old Elizabeth sent to me that I thought I would share with you on this day of reflection…

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collections

 

van goghI am writing without having coffee yet, my first challenge of the day. We are here in NYC and I have a myriad of thoughts pounding inside of my overstimulated head, so I will put them here. I am enchanted with this city that never sleeps, while exhausted from its endless energy and insistence to push through more discovery and adventure while overlooking opportunities for rest.

It is not that kind of place; it is not the quintessential vacations to Florida where you drop your bags in the spotless condo and instinctively follow the soothing call of the ocean as your bulky thoughts are pushed aside by the enigmatic sound of the sea breeze and you turn into just a being whose only purpose is sensual. Not here. Here, you are always on “go” and here you exist within a microcosm of the world. It is intense.

 On my first visit to NYC, when I was Elizabeth’s age, it seemed different. There was more definition of neighborhoods, it was before Little Italy got absorbed by Chinatown and when the Empire State Building claimed that exclusive title in the skyline. Now, the lines are a bit smeared and the iPhone has taken the place of paper maps and curious looks as you asked directions from friendly restaurant workers and enigmatic people on the street. The dynamics have changed, but everything must move in some new direction whether it is good or not, we must move.

Of course, Elizabeth knows nothing of those days when Kathy and I stayed at the Royalton Hotel because it was “affordable”, before it evolved into the 4 star boutique hotel it is now as it still sits on 44th Street but with well suited doormen instead of wooden windows we could raise and she doesn’t know how unadulterated it was to actually see Starry Night at the Modern because, then, there were no virtual You Tube tours and horrible van Gogh images on coffee mugs; there were only bad pictures in my art history books,  seeing it for real actually made you cry. I have since gone back and stood before that painting wanting that same emotion but it wasn’t there, we have been so polluted with virtual images that when things are  real, they don’t really feel real. Anyway, that is just a foolish negative comment I wanted to take note of and leave behind; New York City is wonderful. It knows how to change and evolve and remain the City of the World.

 I try to get a feeling of the people here; they are all different but there must be some funneled down feeling of why they are drawn here to this most unique cosmos of overdone life, to this place that has so much to give but it is all so difficult to achieve, this place that never stops as it wears you out, this place where life can change on a dime or where the days turn to years and you are still here as your dream becomes a lost vision of youth. It is perplexing to me.

I will join Elizabeth on the surface and just enjoy the sights and sounds and try to see this experience as she does, a place to absorb and to collect life, a stop in the road, to open life up, to split it down the middle and take it all in and move on…I think I am describing youth, oh well, let me throw the word “vicarious” in this scramble of expectations to make the pieces fit a bit better.

 I can’t seem to end this post without a, perhaps cliché, 911 moment. I had one yesterday. Jon and I were walking in Soho and as with most places, the One World Trade Center appeared and suddenly, it was a “Starry Night” moment for me, it was a transcending thought driven by pure emotion. I somehow realized that the way “it” happened was so abrupt, people were just walking along in life and the lights went out, just like that. I could feel that second as I walked alongside of Jon and watched Elizabeth ahead of us, unexpectedly, innocence was lost forever.

I know that no matter how much we live on the surface, that no matter how much we try to distract ourselves with superficiality and illusion, reality waits and it will always exist.

I end with the innocence from my first trip in 1974 and I begin this day with a true love for America’s city.FullSizeRender (15)

sounds of silence

Its early Monday morning and I am up before 5; there is a storm in the Gulf and I feel a bit anxious. The work week will begin as usual but after today, who knows. I suppose I will buy batteries, fill water containers and gasoline cans, flip over the trampoline, lock up the hens and wait. In my life, childhood and adulthood, we have never left for a hurricane – we are the stayers – the riders of the storm. We will see…

In the meantime, in this early hour, my world is silent and I am here with thoughts. At first, there are so many they bounce around in my head and some find their way to this key board but when they settle down and my hands and my head come together I have one that I decide to share, something that may reach you, something worth reading?? It’s about purpose. I know I have written about that before and it does seem to be a reoccurring theme but it’s something I think of – a lot. It seems our purpose is universal – to contribute to humanity – to recognize that we are all a piece of the same whole but, it seems, the way we achieve purpose changes throughout our lives.

My purpose as a child was very narcissistic – it needed to be, I had to get to know myself so I needed to focus on “me”. I enjoyed observing that narcissism when my kids were little – they were in the “me” world and it was kinda cute – unfortunate for society some people never grow out of that stage and it doesn’t stay “cute” into adulthood.

 Next, my purpose was to please my parents, especially my mom. It was my purpose to make good, or at least semi descent, grades, be a good kid and say please and thank you – that went on for a lot of years. Then society made its way into my cozy world and threw all of its rules at me – that’s when I got pretty disturbed. I was okay with the continuing formal education stuff – but I would have rather gone to the south of France and traced van Gogh’s tracks while leaving mine, but I was still being obedient and living the life that was expected.

 Then there came the huge world of adulthood, that place after school when the world is suppose to be your “apple” – so many people to please, so many directions to take and so much crap trying to sway me – there were so many people telling me who I was and instructions on what I should do (so glad that stage is over and I am sorry I ever even took part in it – I suggest you find an alternative route if at all possible). It took a while , but now I am “here” and I love it “here” in this authenic, but ever evolving place – whew!

So, there are my two bit thoughts – take what you want from it – I believe any form of art is just suppose to draw an emotion – to make your wheels turn – so hopefully they are!! 🙂

What I am trying to say with this early morning, before the storm, post is that we are all an important and unique piece of this whole and each of us should make our own decision about what our purpose is. No one can tell you who you are – it doesn’t matter how many billboards you read, TV shows you watch, magazines you flip through – those “people” can’t define your purpose. It’s something only you can do – your closest friends and even your parents can’t do that for you.

Which brings me back to Isaac – if the lights go out and your world stops for a while, somewhere in that stillness you can listen to yourself, you can get in touch with your purpose perhaps (after you have taken care to be safe of course!). Sadly, sometimes it takes an extreme circumstance to make us stop and listen to our spiritual self – we are so busy being bombarded with propaganda from society and dodging ego we lose sight of our true selves, it gets lost in this world of propaganda and stuff.
 I close with that and it is my hope, my purpose, with this loosely written post that today is focused for all of us; I hope that we can find the time (without the wrath of Isaac) to sit in silence.

 “You cannot discover the purpose of life by asking someone else – the only way you’ll ever get the right answer is by asking yourself”.

Terri Guillemets

And remember to just…

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what to do?

I couldn’t sleep past 5 am this morning even though my bedtime last night approached midnight. It’s good though, I have wanted to see the summer sunrise and hear the silence in my house and I did this morning. There is something special about the beginning of a day – the feeling of aloneness, a place to connect with yourself before the rattle of the day distracts you and you become the chameleon once again. I can see myself more clearly  and I can admit my fears and flaws  and I can get to know me a bit better here in the very early morning when the world is somewhere in the distant and I am “alone” in it. I set goals for myself in the quietness of this morning, simple things like starting a canvas I have already created in my head and packing away the childhood memories in Matt and Drew’s room and then more difficult things like completing  the unending book I began nearly a decade ago, a memoir about Miss Sue and another goal to untie a few more apron strings, to “let go” , to redefine my role as mom and view it more as a sideline “job” while , all the while, wearing my heart on the outside– this is tough after so many intense years of being in the middle of things but it’s rather restful also – less doing and more enjoying. This post is going nowhere…


a display of last year’s ambition
It’s nearly noon now and I have some reoccurring thought in my head. It’s about change, lifestyle change. I can’t maintain the appetite of my youth – I have to let a few things go before I get weighted down with age and upkeep. I think I will begin with the garden. I have been gardening in one capacity or another since I was 15; Miss Sue taught and inspired me then. I have, by early June, semi abandoned mine and as I look at it I realize it is like a child and needs a lot of attention if it is to blossom and reach its potential. As I look within myself I realize I am not willing to give it the time it needs, at least not now. I have discovered this wonderful place to give me compensation, however, the local Farmer’s Market. I will limit my garden next spring to a square root box containing tomatoes bell peppers and eggplant and maybe cucumbers. Done.


an easter egg chick
 I am still debating about my chickens at this point. I really do enjoy the fresh eggs and do not trust anything in the supermarket so perhaps I will scale down my flock from 18 to just 4. This will have to take its natural course of course, for I do not cull chickens. From this bucolic scale down I propose and post, I hope to unveil time – time to paint, write, and leave, just for small excursions probably to visit my nomadic kids.

Then there is the question of this house – this huge great old house where I raised my family – what do I do? What do we do – us who have rooted ourselves in memories and a place and now want more flexible time and less domestic work; it seems a choice between sentiment and pragmatism – who wins? It’s a great place to accommodate my large family but nearly each day of the year, after Elizabeth leaves, it will be an oversized space for just two people. I do not want to be its slave nor do I want it to be my money pit – I can think of so many other places to throw money, places that make a contribution to someone. I am not prepared to answer this nagging question just now, I think more needs to unravel before I know the answer. I will just pay mind to the contents at this point and try to lighten the interior load and perhaps one day soon, I will know what to do with the rest.
It’s difficult dealing with the wonderful memories of this place – perhaps I stayed too long?

Ok.There you have a fair portion of a summer day’s idle rambling – questions posed, few answered. Exhausting, but it does help to write it down.

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finding purpose

At times, I question my strength and my ability to remain true to who I am and my purpose – it is a constant struggle to stay on course, not to mention a huge hurdle to even find the course. When my kids were small and needy it was so easy – just get up early each day and go to bed late each night and fill the time in between teaching them and being there for them. Now, they are grown and I have time, time to access my days and how I contribute. I don’t go many places or know many people and I plan to do even less of that so I think what I need to do is write and just put it out there, something I can do in the solitude of the early morning when I am just easing out of my alpha state and transitioning into the reality of the day. I have no qualifications other than just observing life for 57 years but if I have a thought, someone else probably has that thought too and maybe I will just be the one who puts it into words and maybe at least one other person will connect with it and feel something from it. I suppose this is what I can contribute.
As I said before, this blog was intended to be a place of pleasantries – positive things I noticed in my day. But as life would have it, it evolved into a place of random thoughts, a place where I go to shout out or sometimes just whisper – it is amorphous now but hopefully serves a purpose.
 Anyway, that’s where I am today – more reassured about the things in life that really matter and because of the affirmation, more critical about whether I am doing something that really matters. It’s about the “purpose” proposal I mentioned just the other day. I feel productive when I write, I sit here and try to tap out words that have impact, words that make you stop a minute and think, like a bill board I guess – a bill board promoting life. Oh my, that sounds ego driven – it is not meant to be. I struggle to stay away from ego and write with pure purpose, write things to think about, things to ponder and possibly affirm what you already know but needed to see. Some days, like today, I sit here with no purpose, no preconception, just a need to write and hopefully, with the last punctuation, I have said something and the sketches of my day have helped you with yours in a tiny way.
just some random visuals to go with this random post – perhaps they will provoke a pleasant thought…

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I thank all of you with an entry from long ago…

I really amazed myself yesterday, I stepped outside of my rational mind and invited a lot of you to visit my blog, sketchesofmyday, wow!! I am always very private and never self-advocating but I did this really bold thing by inviting you – soliciting you??  Hmmm. I suppose I am happy about that but then, perhaps not. I am constantly aware of ego driven situations and try to avoid them totally, especially for myself but then I think, this self-advocacy was not ego driven, it was just something I needed to do…I write, so I need someone to read – simple.

 I know that now and then I will write something that will be just what you needed to read – the universe puts it out there for you like that. Anyway, thank all of you for giving me consideration and no matter what, I will continue to write and paint and if along the way, my writing and my painting stirs an emotion in you, then it has purpose.
 I found what follows from a long ago post in the deep corners of my blog and it is so “right now” for me so I have to share with you, my “new” friends.

September 18, 2010

roads

It is Saturday morning in late September (and I really should be back in school – Rod Stewart) and I sit here wanting to write something positive and uncomplicated – the way I would like for my week end to be. I think of the quote my daughter sent to me yesterday, the one by Thoreau that says,

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you’ve imagined,”

and I am inspired. While hanging out sheets or mindfully making supper this week end and being still for a moment, I will think again of what my dreams are and try to clear the path that leads to them. Time is not waiting for me. I have realized that you need courage to follow your dreams because you must break away from the status quo and you must do as Frost says, take the other road,

“the one less traveled by”

daunting for most. I have not, as of yet, left the beaten path and I fear I may not ever. Life has led me to responsibilities and routines that are necessary to maintain. There are times, however, when I see a clearing and an opportunity to wander into the place in my head where I have my dreams. I feel encouraged that one day I will step off of this predictable path that I am on and just be. The place that I am now is a pleasant place, it is safe and enriched and all is well here, and for that I am grateful and thankful. This other place is just a place that only involves me – it is where

I

am and in time, I will find it. Meanwhile, I will relish these days and the people I am privileged to share them with…

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.

Alan Alda

my walk in the September woods

the promise of citrus in late October

a spider lily from Miss Sue’s garden

wildflowers in the woods

a Christmas tree

eating fallen pears

meeting for brunch

morning glory and cypress vine

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piddling

Confusing, that is how we can make life.
I just want to have lots of time to piddle – to go through the last 25 years and sort and frame and store and disgard and remember. I see how life goes so quickly and how we put cherished things aside like photos and friends and Easter bonnets and we stack them high and stash them deep in closets and up on shelves thinking we will get to it later and then later is 25 years and they have become the piles of our lives, the trail of bread crumbs that take us back.  I am serious about tending to them. I have, by now, seen life begin and end and I know the time in between is short –  I don’t need a quote by Emerson to remind me – I want to see about the piles I have left behind in corners so that the places up ahead can be my focus. Put things to rest and clear the path ahead… I want this but it may not be something I can achieve for time and sentiment burdens me. I know this about myself and constantly struggle with this conflict – I somehow know which part of me will win – it will be the soppy side of me that is left standing when it all is done. I just know that.
 And I want to paint – just for the pureness of it and so that there is something on the wall to remind someone of me. Narcissistic? Maybe, but maybe just artistic?
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unloading

I have I a new laptop – this one is just for me and I plan to tote it around and, hopefully, catch most of my thoughts that travel through my head each day and exit each evening – never making it to fruition. Someone. someone very young, on our faculty died  unexpectedly this week and I, once again, understand how temporary and sudden life is.I have taken a long time to unload baggage that is surplus and societal . I continue to do so hoping to get to my core soon. It is so freeing to let so many unnecessary worldly things drop and walk away from. I find myself putting value only in intangibles – imagine the free space that gives me! I wrestle with anxious emotions still but I am working on that – more faith is needed here. Anyway, writing my thoughts down in syntax, caring for my family, planting potatoes, preparing healthy food and a twenty minute nap in a room with an open window is what I hope this day brings for me.
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