Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Experimental Art

3-31-10 accepting brain

When working with my experimental acrylic paints, I never really know how a piece will turn out. As I pour layers of paint on, the appearance changes as it begins to dry. Sometimes it takes days to fully dry and I find it interesting to watch the changes which take place.

The new piece I had pictured yesterday... which was pictured mid-way in the process... AND I liked it at that point and probably should have walked away from it then..... (a good artist knows when to stop).... I do have a problem knowing when to stop.... so I just have to tell myself.... there are no mistakes, since it is all an experiment. Once I practice on enough of these, maybe I will learn just the right point to stop myself from adding more and more paint.

Here is the final painting as of today.

This is larger than most I have been working on. This is on a 12 x 12 inch canvas. I know this abstract type is not every one's cup of tea.... but I just fall in love with the bright colors and the way the paint runs together.... it fascinates me.

I am also fascinated by how my taste is art has changed as I age. I am enjoying work that is more abstract and colorful. I am bored with realism.... since beautiful photography can capture that.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I believe in miracles

3-30-10 grateful brain

I’m reading the book “This I Believe”..... the original book with Edward R. Murrow, copy write 1952. I have found this very inspirational and will want to comment on this more in future blogs…. Of course this has me thinking about what I would write on this topic.

This week I would have to say….. I believe in miracles…. The miracles big and small; the miracles that surprise; the miracles that arrived at the precise perfect time, the miracles that let me know that the Universe- the Creative Spirit- the Holy Spirit- God (which ever term you feel most comfortable with)…. Provides for each us in a unique way.

We are not always provided with what we want or think we want. We may not even understand what has been provided for us, and we may even be provided with hardship and suffering; but I believe we are always provided with what we need to evolve and grow our spirit in God’s light and God’s love.

I believe a miracle happened to me this week. Greg and I have been lazy on the weekends we spend in KC and we had not actively sought out a new church home here. I still am involved in my church in DM and didn’t feel the need to attend while in KC. Sunday, however, I was inspired to attend a church in KC for the first time. This was a church recommended by our former pastor.

Greg and I both enjoyed our first experience at Village Presbyterian Church and I was happy to see a notice in their bulletin about a “Call For Artist” for their 4th Annual Art Show in May. The topic this year: Peace, Love, Friendship.

Those of you, who know me well, know that for the last year I have been obsessively working on my new experimental style with acrylic paint and doing many pieces dealing with hearts and peace signs.

I believe the perfect art show was provided for me at the perfect time, so of course I have to jump in with both feet. I called and will be getting an application for a spot in the show. Those friends in the KC area please save the date May 7th, a Friday evening 5:00-7:30PM for “Art & Hors D’Oeuvres” at Village Presbyterian Church on Mission Road in Prairie Village!!! Maybe some of my Des Moines "peace sisters" can attend as well??

PS: Here is new piece I was working on this weekend. I think I'll call it "Bleeding Heart Liberal".... in honor of my friend Teresa who helps me to understand myself better.

According to a recent email "test/quiz" provided by Teresa, I am not officially a conservative AND not a Liberal..... I guess that leaves me somewhere in the middle.... split in two.... a place I have become familiar with these days.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memories kept

3-29-10 record keeping brain
Last week my surprise arrived in the mail earlier than I expected. Several weeks ago, I had ordered my 2009 blog to be printed using

My friend Renee had told me how she gets her blogs printed every month or so. I had been meaning to do it, be here it was well over a year and I had not gotten around to it. So finally the first part of March I sat down (it was easy) and ordered this. I decided to print the whole year of 2009 at once. The cost was around $100.

When I opened the box, at first I thought it was a new work manual, since it had my brain picture on it.... I picked the cover and color and look; and I'm happy with it.

Already, I am finding this fun to look through, but I think this will be even more fun to look at years to come.

I realize that I especially enjoy the pictures and recorded events of 2009, so now I will have a better vision on what I want to blog about this coming year.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lazy weekend

3-27-10 sleepy brain

Rainy spring weekend in KC.... relaxing, but looking for some inspiration today. Hope to see Molly for some shoe shopping perhaps later today.... or I'm thinking of being creative and painting these gourds to create some cheery birdhouses.

Although, I do find their natural coloring pretty cool... beautiful just as they are.

It would also be a good day for a movie.... Outdoor yard work will have to wait for another day.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A few loose ends

3-26-10 TGIF brain
Last Saturday evening Greg and I enjoyed dinner out with our friends Ann and Roy at the French restaurant in downtown Des Moines called Django, which is in the Hotel Fort Des Moines. It was my first time and I found the food delicious, especially the dessert!

Mid meal, we heard loud cheering across the room by the bar area and this turned out to be the reaction to the end of the college basketball game which had the Iowa team UNI winning over the #1 team the Kansas J-Hawks. Glad I wasn’t watching… I would have been really “split-in-two”….. having connections with both Iowa and Kansas. But deep down, I am glad that an underdog team like UNI could win! Everyone in Iowa is very excited.

I always enjoy my time with Ann and Roy since they are some of our more “cerebral” friends, yet they also have a strong “spiritual bent”….. I always learn new things from them. Ann was telling me about her new favorite Internet site at ( ) Ann likes a good discussion on topics without the hype or loud noise, posturing and rudeness you find on cable TV news shows. At this site you find two people with opposite views talking rationally to each other about a variety of issues.

Ann's favorite people to listen to are these guys Bob Wright and Joel Achenbach.

After dinner we walked a few blocks down to the Des Moines Social Club where a kick-off party for the DM Women’s Roller Derby. Roy was interested in this. We rubbed elbows with some of the “cheeky” gals (as Ann liked to call them)….. and we picked up their schedule. I am all on board to attend one of their games in April or May….. should be interesting and fun…. I love roller skating and IF I was younger, I could see myself on the team… acting outrageous and having fun!

Also this week, Greg and I met up with Vivian and Clyde after church and they took us out for lunch Sunday to celebrate Greg’s March Birthday. They were in good spirits and happy spring has arrived.

Also something weird to report; last week prior to my Iowa City trip I spent 1/2 hour down at the WHO radio station in Des Moines, recording a "testimony" for my Eye Doctor, talking about how happy I have been with the results of my eye surgery. They recorded my voice and me talking.... then I think they will put together the message they want. So if any of you listen to WHO radio, you might just hear my voice!
Coming up next week ….. more time spent in KC.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


3-25-10 joyful brain

MY office cleaning project continued this week (but more slowly). But by Tuesday night I had the large recycling can ¾ full already, Monday this large can started out empty.

One interesting find was this old used pizza box.

I had saved this “on purpose” in January. Why? Well, I had jotted some words on this Sunday January 17th while I was driving back to DM from a visit in KC. I don’t “text” on my phone at all, let alone in the car, but during that drive I knew I needed to make record of my experience…. Since I knew it would be one of those special, yet fleeting moments in life. I was experiencing BLISS- dictionary described this as (a state of spiritual joy).

The funny thing I can’t really explain why I was feeling this way at that moment on Interstate 35, north of Kansas City. I remember the country side was beautiful and I had a wonderful time spent with Greg that weekend and I had left feeling totally loved.

I am so glad I kept this pizza box, since I looked at it many times in February when I was experiencing just the opposite of bliss. February I was feeling stressed and crabby most of the time.

Unfortunately, I can’t even make out my writing on the box, so many of the words I was using, to remember this feeling, are not clear. The works I can read are: “I found it!”… "Bliss".... “let yourself be happy”…. living in the moment”…… “state of grace”…. “love contains peace”…

Tuesday this week, I came close to being in that state of bliss again. The sun was shining, and I was driving home from a relaxing acupuncture treatment…. All felt right in my world.

Moments like this need to be remembered, appreciated, and cherished. They are a blessing which appears suddenly, much like a fluttering butterfly crosses your path. I must pause and take note… since the butterfly usually quickly flies on to the next lucky person.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Silliness with the girls

3-24-10 thankful brain
Last week before I headed off to Iowa City for training workshop, my neighborhood girlfriends had dinner together at Carolyn’s to celebrate Sue’s birthday. The party theme was “tropical and/or Mexican”…. Carolyn had temporary tattoos she insisted we each put on our face. Carolyn made a tasty Mexican dish with avocado salad.

Then we got silly with this hat, the mango margaritas’ helped our moods and we also celebrated our surviving the winter. I don’t think I could have made it through January and February without my weekly get-togethers with Deb, Carolyn and Sue. I AM blessed with neighbors who are friends, who help keep me sane!

Next Birthday, this summer, will be Deb's 50th!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spreading the love

3-23-10 grateful brain
I am surprising myself. I usually dread the switch to Daylight Savings Time in the spring, but this year I seem to be adjusting better. Perhaps being forced into it last week due to the training workshop in Iowa City was a good thing. This week too, I have been able to get up early and enjoy the morning sunrise. After that long, hard winter, I vowed to myself to enjoy every moment of springtime that I can. I am back in a good mood and back to spreading the love.

The tree guys were back bright and early today and I provided them with coffee and donuts. Such a great crew deserved some appreciation and praise. From my experience with them, I can recommend Wright Tree Service in Des Moines.

I am also grateful for two sunny warm days in which the trees work could be completed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Manic Monday

3-22-10 spring cleaning brain

Monday was an interesting day, and luckily a sunny warm spring day close to 60 degrees. The "tree lover" that I am, hated today, but it HAD to be done.... This was the planned day to have our front tree removed. We had been thinking about this for several years, but in January, during the ice storm, a branch almost took our power line down…… so we knew it was time to act.

When we first moved into this house spring 1993, there were three of these soft sliver maple trees in the yard. We were told they are just “giant weeds”, since they are fast growing, and drop limbs easily. At first we had all three trimmed up, then as the years passed and when our new sewage line was put in, two of the trees came down. To replace them, we planted a wonderful hard maple tree which has beautiful red autumn leaves, and we planted a small service-berry tree which has pretty blooms in the springtime.

Part of the day I was without power since the lines where let down for safety reasons and I am happy to report that I started a great cleaning project in my home office. I was in the mood to do some real spring cleaning! I’m so happy that I was motivated.

Now tomorrow, the tree guys will be in the back yard to trim those trees, since one had a limb fall on our garage roof during the ice storm. Luckily no damage was done.

The stump will be removed at some point tomorrow also.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday sunshine

3-21-10 spring brain
I returned from my successful training trip from Iowa City on Friday late afternoon, just in time to see snowflakes in the air. Des Moines got 6 inches of wet heavy snow Friday night. By today, Sunday, all is melted and I am enjoying a sunny day with temps in mid 40’s.

I am not going to be able to blog this week until I spend time unpacking fully, organizing for my next trip, and picking up the house, since my housekeeper is due in tomorrow. It’s been a month since her last visit, although half that time I have been away, somehow I still manage to have the dirtiest kitchen floor. We are still tracking in sand that was on the driveway.

So happy to find these sights outside today. Everyone seems to be in a much better mood now, including me. WELCOME SPRING!

Monday, March 15, 2010

March Birthdays

3-15-10 birthday brain
When I was in my February funk, a friend suggested I get a gratitude journal. Well, of course I already have a gratitude journal, but it’s true, I had not been writing in it for awhile.

I do believe strongly in gratitude and practicing gratitude is a good way to keep your attitude adjusted properly. So this weekend, I was very grateful to spend time in my hometown with my family, celebrating my Mom’s 82nd birthday. Greg and I drove up Friday night.

I know I am blessed to have my Mom in my life all these years.

For years Mom has been throwing a luncheon for close friends who also have birthdays in March. Several have passed on, but there are still three left in this group of March birthdays, Sherri 62, Terry 72, and Mom 82.

My sister was also there for the party and is spending the week in Iowa with Mom and Dad.

PS: Greg and I enjoyed playing with the cat. This is a rare shot of Trey-kit being quiet. Usually he is a wild man who love to play.... being just a kitten, he is full of energy.

This week will be an intense week at work, since I will be giving training Wednesday - Friday, so this blog will probably be silent all week long.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Tax time

3-12-10 creative brain
February was tax month for Greg and I. We had all our papers in order and went to visit our tax guy Jim. Boy does Jim have his job cut of for him….. Two residences; one in Iowa, one in Kansas. My income from Iowa, Greg’s income from Missouri….. but Jim has other clients with dual lives like us, so we are confident he knows his stuff.

I love going to Jim’s office, since it is decorated with original art and photography. His personal office had several “tree” type pieces of artwork, and I thought one of my “leaf” pictures would go great. So I have been working on a small 8 x 8inch piece to give him as a gift.

I finished up last night and will deliver soon, when I pick up our tax papers that need our signature to finalize. I can’t wait to surprise him. I call this piece “Tax Re-LEAF”.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Re-entry.... spring!

3-11-10 refreshed brain
First thing Tuesday morning, back in Iowa, I walked a survey around the yard, noting changes from my two weeks away. The temperature was a mild 38 degrees and the snow pile out back was half melted. There are even patches were the grass is showing.

Monday night when I returned to town and drove by the mall, I still saw 10 to 12 foot snow piles in the parking lots, but there has definitely been an improvement from when I had left town the end of February. I am also happy to report my mood has improved. The time away was just what I needed, and time with Greg was wonderful.

Since my return, things have been very damp here in Iowa. Fog or drizzly rain for several days and still above freezing temperatures are turning everything to mud. I’m glad I bought these black rubber boots two weeks ago when I was in KC. I wanted something high top to walk in the snow, but now these will be perfect to wear in the rain and walking on mushy ground... or in flood waters (?)... rivers are high already in Iowa with much more snow to melt!

I was surprised on my outdoor yard survey to find my crocus and a few daffodils on the south side were making their appearance. It’s now official…. Spring has arrived!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sedona times two

3-10-10 inspired brain
I love the red rocks of Sedona.... not as "grand" as the Grand Canyon, but just as beautiful! Greg and I traveled back up to Flagstaff via Sedona again. I just can never get enough of these views!

There is a church built into the rock and we visited this on the trip down to Flagstaff. It was worth it. No fee and a very cool place to visit.

Greg lending a helping hand to others. It's right to practice good Karma, always, but especially in Sedona.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Phoenix still on my mind

3-9-10 reminiscing brain
Back to work full time today, but still reflecting on Arizona memories.

Saturday, if we didn’t need to leave Phoenix to catch the train up in Flagstaff, Greg and I would have attended a scheduled debate at the Arizona State University between Howard Dean and Karl Rove. We thought that sound interesting, plus it was to be held at this very cool auditorium on campus. This was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Greg and I love exploring any Wright buildings and houses we can find.

Saturday morning and early afternoon, we did hang out a bit longer in Phoenix since if was 78 degrees and sunny. So can you guess one of the activities we did?

Yes, it was the first car show of the season for Greg, not counting his trip to Chicago in February to see the Auto Show there. I agreed to tagged along just to enjoy the weather for a few more hours and to get some sunshine!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Returning home(s)

3-8-10 back to reality brain
I am off the train this morning, but my head is still rocking.
I love traveling by train but last night about 2:30AM I woke up alarmed by the sounds and the motion.... it felt like a derailment was eminent.

I crawled down from the upper bunk in the sleeper and snuggled with Greg until I was calm.

We arrived safely in KC this morning. Happy to report 50 degrees and mostly sunny. Later today I will travel north to Iowa.

A view from the train somewhere in New Mexico on Sunday.
There is much beauty out west...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday addendum

I was coming up in the elevator about 10:00AM this morning, retrieving more tea, and two young guys (appeared to be in their 20’s) were riding up with me, after coming back from breakfast. I’m guessing these two were part of the pool party gang last night.

Guy one asked the other, “Man, what time did I get in last night?”…. Guy two said, “2:30”…. Guy one said, “I didn’t know it was that late. I was tired when you left, but I didn’t want to waste my drunk”….

I’m standing there thinking…. What the heck does “waste my drunk mean?”…..

Can anyone explain that to me? Are they teaching a college course in this now…. “Drunk Management 101” ???

I guess this means I’m officially in the group “older and hopefully wiser” crowd. When I was in college, I tried "drunk avoidance" rather than drunk management.... My stomach and head hurts now just thinking about it.

TGIF Phoenix

3-5-10 unrested brain
Friday morning and I am out of bed before I was ready to get up….. Had breakfast with Greg. I’m really dragging today. I’m tired and ready to go home.

I’ve enjoyed the warm weather here for sure, but I’m afraid this hotel is the noisiest place on earth! It’s just east of the airport, next to some train tracks, next to a fire station…. And last night there was a party pool-side which kept me awake past mid night. Thus, I really have not been sleeping well at all which is leaving me in a grumpy mood this morning.

Last evening Greg took me somewhere I had never been before but always wanted to go- An Ikea store.

We saw a lot of very cool stuff. Greg was inspired…. I liked what I was seeing and dreaming of possibilities for what our next house #3 could look like…..but for now, rather than accumulating more stuff in house #1 or #2..... I’m ready to starting eliminating more stuff from house #1.

My goal, upon returning home is to really get serious about spring house cleaning in my office. I've made small attempts to straighten out this space from time to time, but I haven’t had it all clean since the spring of 2007.

Reports from Iowa have indicated temperatures in the 40's with melting.... Perfect cleaning weather... just warm enough to indicate spring and to be motivated, but not warm enough to get outside in the yard.

PS: House #3 will happen when house #1 and #2 are sold, and Greg and I find someplace to live together under one roof. When and where that will be- only God knows.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mountain climbing

3-4-10 productive brain
I am making good progress on my training presentations this week and I’m into a nice routine. Except today- Thursday, I am worn out and had to sleep in a bit. Otherwise I have been getting up with Greg for breakfast, then working in the morning, then break for lunch- which is sitting out by the pool at least for 20 minutes…. I am not overdoing the sun exposure... I get bored after a while, so then go walk to get some lunch … then more work in the afternoon. When Greg gets back from class around 5:00, we walk/exercise, then find a restaurant for dinner.

Two times we have “climbed” this mountain which is close to the Arizona State University campus, which is only a few blocks from our hotel. I suppose down here this is really only a hill, but if this were located in Iowa, it would be a mountain!

We did make it all the way to the very top by the towers. Here is the view half way up, close to the “yellow A”.

I am not homesick yet, so glad we still have a few days left to be here. We board the train early Sunday morning.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mountains, red rocks, palm trees, cactus

3-2-10 grateful brain
Although I am not on a vacation from work, I am enjoying my vacation from WINTER. The weather in Arizona is having a healing effect.

Arriving in Flagstaff by train, still put us in mountain snow, but temperatures were mild on Saturday. As we drove down through Sedona, temperatures were a pleasant 50 degrees. We enjoyed lunch there and some red rock views.

Driving into Phoenix later that afternoon, temperatures were low 70’s. First on our list, after checking into hotel in Tempe near the University, was to visit friends Karin and Michael. This would be our only chance to see Karin since she had to travel to London for work this week.

Karin grew up across the street from me, thus she is like a younger sister. Greg and I have visited her and Michael two other times, and sadly I was sick both times. We can laugh about it now and it was a joke this time to see if I’d stay healthy while in Arizona. The first time for their wedding, I got food poisoning and didn’t even get to attend Karin’s wedding after traveling all that way…. That was about 6 years ago. The next visit a few years later, I arrived via airplane with flu and went straight to bed for two days, which was half our visit.

Anyway I’m healthy so far this trip… I hope the spell has been broken. Arizona is a great place to visit.... it has it all going on with a wide variety of scenery.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Suddenly summer?

3-1-10 retreat brain
Suddenly no heavy winter coat is necessary… I feel a bit naked…. But definitely free and lighter!…. I believe my spirit is also starting to feel this way. I hope this week away will be the thing to refresh me.

However, this week away is a working vacation. Greg is busy with a class all day, all week, and I am busy meeting my deadlines for completing my five presentations for a training workshop in March. But I surely will enjoy the change of scenery, and appreciate the fact that I could tag along with Greg on this trip to Arizona.

I don’t know why, but I have been struggling a bit over the last few weeks....OK... maybe for the whole month of February....having a feeling of not being comfortable in my own skin….it happens from time to time- and usually those are the times I learn something new about myself and about life… so it's not a bad thing, just some uncomfortable growing pains.

I think of this as the need to shed my skin from time to time, or punching my way out of a cocoon so I can continue to evolve. Sometimes it can be a messy- ugly process, other times just a slight bump in the road....Or it might be that I just need to be taking my Vitamin D more regularly in the winter months.

Note: I'm listening to a lot of music and staying away from the News and Politics, which were frustrating me so.

Words from Alanis Morissett song, "Not As We"....
Reborn and shivering
Spat out on new terrain
Unsure, unconvincing
This faint and shaky hour….
Day one, day one, start over again
Step one, step one, I’m baring making sense
For now I’m faking it, til I’m pseudo making it
From scratch ….begin again.

PS: Happy Birthday to my best friend- Greg! Glad we can be together in the same state, same hotel room, on this day.