Tuesday, March 26, 2019

L is for...


it seems like such a trite subject because I'm a jaded and grumpy person, but it really is the most beautiful and fundamental of emotions.  so I started going through my old posts, looking for an image that represents 'love' to me - I had one specific image in mind, but I didn't know where amongst my many photos it was, and I ran across it so yay - and found a few other 'L' things along the way.

this right here.  this is love.  I love this photo of the love of my life.  

again, is it trite to talk about your progeny as 'the love of your life'?  no, never.  when I was the age my son is now, I would have audibly, sarcastically, gagged at my own proclamation of love towards a child, let alone love for a child I had chosen to Have!  but having loved his father more than I've loved any of my lovers for the brief 5 years (give or take) that we were 'together', and thinking I had never felt such love towards another human being in my life, and how big it was, that kind of 'romantic' love was very different than the way I love our (my) son.  other kinds of love in my life are the love I feel towards my family (whether or not it's returned, because they are my people for better or worse); the love I've felt/feel for my pets, (who are also members of the family); and my love for longtime friends (my chosen family).

I wonder if my kitties have loved each other?

I love this pain in my behind -
we've been friends for 30 years, and are currently mad at each other.

other 'L' images:

I love the LIGHT in this shot


(not one I built, but a cool image I snagged from the interwebs)

oh look -  hearts made of wood chips.  ok, not an 'L', but it works with the theme...

come see what everyone else is posting!

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

K is for...


"the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; a kind act."

typing the word "kindness" into your internet browser will bring approximately 160 million results; from definitions to videos, scholarly articles from professional perspectives to personal opinion pieces from self-help gurus, ongoing non-profit projects to year-long personal experiments, books, movies, and more.

finding kindness in the world may be a bit harder, because everyone seems so bent on hate and anger lately, but it's there.  the best way that I've found to connect with it in my life is to Be Kind To Others for the simple reason that it uplifts both you, and the person/people you show kindness to.  and what better reason do you need?

think of a time when you were kind to someone, and a time when someone was kind to you.  personally, I welcome homeless friends stay with me; send my friends unsigned, art-covered postcards affirming my love for them; give rides to friends and strangers; encourage people who are struggling; regularly donate clothing and household items to the local community; smile at, and make conversation with, strangers; LISTEN to people; tell people when they've done a good job; let people in front of me in line; helped countless people move; and regularly visit an elderly friend, among other things...I don't keep a score card.  acts of kindness that I have received include people letting me stay in their homes when I've been homeless; getting picked up while hitchhiking, or being given rides by friends; been the recipient of clothing and household items from my local community; had a meal paid for by a random stranger; had a community group pay for a new windshield for my car; and had friends help me move (many times), among other things.  I do my best to pay these actions forward, in whatever ways I can.

can you think of ways to do more?  I know I certainly can.  there's always someone in your life or community struggling with something, and there's always a way to help them through.  we live in a time when horrific acts of violence are taking place in many areas around the world on a daily basis, and even relatively safe communities get caught up in random terrorist actions, and incidents like these give us even more opportunity to show up with our absolute best self, and be agents of kindness and understanding.  we rise by lifting others up - this reminds me of the concept of 'Ubuntu', which I will leave the explanation of to the venerable Nelson Mandela:

see what everyone else is posting this week here

Thursday, March 14, 2019

J is for...


I was born Jewish.  that's...kind of the way it works for Jews.  if your mom was Jewish, so are you.  end of story.  you might not want to be Jewish, and that's ok - you don't have to be.  if you weren't born Jewish, and you do want to be, you can convert, which is easier said than done I suppose, but it's an option that exists.  I don't think Jewish people go out and actively recruit new members, but I certainly don't know everything there is to know about Judaism - more at barely knowing anything when it comes to organized religion, past being a neutral observer of a spiritual nature while feeling connected to the traditions as they are preserved through the different temples I have visited throughout my life, without much regularity.  religion is a touchy subject, and all kinds of people have all kinds of feelings about it - sometimes, rather strong ones.  sometimes, those 'rather strong feelings' can turn into violent behavior, and that's where my not caring ends.  I have some rather strong feelings when it comes to violence against people on the basis their religion - it's Not ok.  everyone has a right to worship how they see fit - as long as they're not hurting anyone against their will - and they should be left to their particular practices in peace.  unfortunately, that's still not the case in many places around the world, in our supposedly 'advanced' society/civilization, and while it was the discussion on the rise of anti-semitism under our current political regime that brought me to the page, I decided I needed to do a little research before I addressed that topic.

mixed media collage "Chag Purim Sameach - Purim Happiness" by Debbie Gorin

here's what I learned:  there are three main 'branches' of Judaism, otherwise known as 'movements, streams, flavors, or denominations', and subsets of each.  they consist of Orthodox (Haredi, Hasidic, Modern), Conservative, and Reform (Liberal or Progressive).  there are also Reconstructionists, Renewal and Humanistic branches, Karaites, and more.

In Israel, these groups are referred to a bit differently than they are in the US, with the completely religious people being the Haredim, the 'basically religious' people as Datiim, traditional or conservative people known as Masoratim, and the secular folks as Hilonim.

modern Jews are descended from many ancient sects, such as Samaritans, Pharisees, Saducees, Essenes, and Zealots, with many ethnic and cultural divisions as well, which include being of Ashkenazi, Sephardic, or Mizrachi descent, depending on where your ancestors hailed from.  there are also Ethiopian Jews, the Abayudaya in Uganda, and other sects, all over the world.

some of our ancient groups had special duties in the daily life of the religion, such as the Kohanim, who are the descendants of the sons of Aaron, and serve as 'priests' in the temples, and the Levites - descendants of the tribe of Levi - who worked as musicians, singers, guards, and gatekeepers in the temples as well.  the rest of us are just known as Israelites - members of the other 10 tribes of Israel.

I myself am an Israelite, as I have no idea what tribe of Israel I'm descended from, but I know I'm not a Kohan or a Levy, because one knows such things.  I was raised in the Ashkenazi tradition, though one line of my ancestry boasts Sephardic heritage, and while my grandparents were more Conservative, my parents tried out being Reform though they weren't big into temple life at all, and I for my small part got closest to Reconstructionist, but only at a glance.  I go here and there, as the need arises, which it does on occasion during a holiday, or following a death in the family.  in Israeli life, I'd be Hilonim.

check out Anita Rodriguez' 'Crypto Jew' series - I love them!

there is religious violence happening all over the world, and I was going to link 15 different sources of information on the various conflicts and where they're taking place, which I may still do, but I don't have the energy at the moment because there's been too much anti-semitic rhetoric in the news lately, and it makes me want to say So much to So many people, that I get exhausted just thinking about engaging in all that talk with many who don't even understand the issues, so I just back up and close my mouth, and watch the incompetent debate the uninformed, and feel I don't even have a say in a discussion that concerns me personally, and how hurtful that is, especially given my own issues...

in any case, be nice to each other.  especially to people who are different from you.  enough war over insignificant things.  even if it's just an excuse for war, or conflict of any kind, it needs to stop.  tolerance is the order of the day, and we need to actively participate in seeing that goal achieved, to the point of making ourselves uncomfortable for as long as it takes for the playing field to even out for everyone.  I want to link this post to ABC Wednesday (now that it's Thursday) and move on, because 'real- life' threw me a curve, and I need to deal with it.  see you next week~

link to the blog, link to the links

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I is for...


or in my case, lack thereof...

as a kid, I liked twisting hangers into elaborate shapes and suspending them from the ceiling of my bedroom.  in school, I was more of a 'doodler' than a painter or illustrator, and working on a flat plane didn't really excite me all that much.  bas relief was...well, a relief, and I took to macrame in a way that suggested I innately understood how to tie knots.  while I disliked woodcuts/linocuts/intaglio/relief printing in general, I enjoyed embossing and screen printing, and loved sculpting; wheel-thrown pottery made me so happy, I tried to major in it during my first college go-round.  during my second run at higher education, I discovered darkroom photography, and jewelry making - silver, not beadwork...I learned beadwork on my own.  I made my own polymer beads as well as using seed beads for earrings and necklaces, and I employed fabric paints to liven up thrift store clothing to sell at flea markets.  I sewed and crocheted pouches, painted runes onto smooth rocks, and sold them as sets.  and always, through it all, writing writing writing...poems, essays, manifestos, dreams, and prayers.  maybe even a love letter or two.

where did I get the energy?  where did I find my reasons why?  it was just...my life.  how I lived it.  it was what was.  when did it stop?  I built labyrinths - from sticks, from stones, dancing the patterns out with my feet in the snow.  it came through me because I invited it to; left space for it to manifest; made myself a vessel for art to fill.  at some point, I started giving that energy away to others, for their own use, and that (I think) is when the conduit began to close up on me.  for sure, it never went away completely, as we are ultimately who we are.  while I was pregnant, I knitted for the baby, but mostly to keep my hands busy to prevent myself from smoking cigarettes.

once the baby came, all my art went into stories and songs, puppet shows, and spontaneous games of imagination and wonder.  these cardboard boxes are now a kitchen set, complete with refrigerator, cabinets, and a stove with a working oven door!  this metal tray is now a 'dinosaur beach', with sand, a lake, and Lego trees for the herbivores to graze on!  these cotton balls and pipe cleaners are now painted bugs!  this old sheet is now a canvas, and this spray bottle filled with watered-down paint is an airbrush!  crayons, clay, leaves, and rocks, we could make anything out of everything!  markers, colored pencils, feathers, fabric, jars, cigar boxes, tissue paper, safety goggles, paints, driftwood, and small found metal bits are to be found in abundance in our supply closet - there is always a project or three waiting to be finished these days, and more keep piling up.

so where is my inspiration these days?  did it fight my increasing fat for space in my body and lose?  did it get blown out my eardrums with each subsequent rock concert?  did I miss seeing it slip out the back door with my diminishing sight?  or did it simply get fed up and leave, with the last vestiges of my patience, and a certain amount of my sanity to boot?  how rude...look, I'm tired, and I don't have the fire to work on a project for 14 hours straight anymore, or three days in a row without the need for nourishment or sleep.  gone are the days and nights of locking myself in the darkroom until the work was done.  gone are the days and nights on the road, chasing markets and dreams.  gone are the poems that hit the page just so ~

I make myself write something every week to share, just to practice - use it or lose it, as the saying goes - but there's nothing inspiring about the things I say.  not like 'back in the day', when all the cool kids drank my rhymes like they were reason; not like when I was a walking inferno that you couldn't help but notice, because I glowed with the molten heat of my own possibility.  now I'm just tired and overwhelmed, and most people are compelled to look away, if they even see me at all.  do I remind them of their own forgotten dreams?  is my skin a map of their failures, too?  since you can't draw from a dry well, it's important to nourish the well so that it may fill - how do You feed it?  what brings You inspiration, and fills you with the need to create?

click here for the ABC Wednesday site, here for participating blogs!