Thursday, April 28, 2011

Morning Walk: Practicing Love

Sometimes I'll catch myself expending more energy on negative thoughts than on positive ones. Negative thoughts suck the energy from us and from the Universe while positive ones make us all richer. This morning on my walk around the neighborhood, I reprimanded my brain good and proper and focused on things that I love, like, or appreciate instead of fuming that the trash guys never pick up bottles or paper that spill out of the cans.

As I lock the front door, I'm grateful that the tornadic winds didn't tip over my tall clay pots this time and didn't even damage the fragile irises blooming by the fence or the baby oxalis in a lower pot. Strange how those lethal winds seem to pick and choose their victims. I can hear Marley behind me, trying to scratch his way through the window, and I love how he loves me.

And now the storms have passed at last, and I love how deeply, richly blue the sky is and how the breeze feels washed and crisp and clean. I like how the sunlight glows on that little bunch of yellow pansies by a neighbor's mailbox. I enjoy how my muscles begin to stretch and relax as I get into my stride. Sometimes I listen to music when I walk, but mostly I think better if I walk acapella. In my jeans pocket, my iPhone jingles to tell me I've got a Words play; I won't stop to play now, but I like knowing it's there, waiting for me.

Oh, and I really like that patch of hundreds of pink primroses nodding in the wind, and there's an iron chair in the middle of them. Good idea. Maybe Jim would like to dig me a primrose bed. I love that when I meet neighbors walking they nod or say Good Morning; I meet 3 together, walking slowly, heads bent to the center, talking intently. Part of me wishes they'd ask me to walk with them, but I'd have to walk slower, and we'd talk about someone's sick child or grandchild or what the dog tore up or last night's corn casserole recipe, all good and worthy topics, but I'm busy practicing here.

In a long stretch of perfectly coiffed lawns, I wonder why this one has gone raggedy and weedy. Someone might be sick, or there may be a divorce. Nope, we're thinking positive! I'll bet they're in London, camped along the street to watch the Royal Wedding procession. He didn't much want to go, but she said this will be her birthday gift, and besides, he never wants to do anything fun, so he made the reservations and even wore the ridiculous hat she bought him with a red, white and blue silk band. I love that they're having such a great time.

As I'm about to turn right and head toward home, I notice that the street to the left has way too many cars parked at the curb, so I turn left instead to check it out and discover it's overflow from the middle school, having some sort of outdoor celebration, I'm guessing a belated Earth Day, and I love that I don't teach anymore and that I'm free to do what I want. Teaching has it's rewards, but for the most part it's like trying to coerce wild bunnies into becoming upstanding rabbit citizens, very hard and mostly impossible. So I turn towards home, and I'm grateful for my curiosity. It has led me into some sticky situations as well as into discoveries that changed my life for the better.

Finally, as I make my way back up my street and open the front door, I love that I have Marley waiting for me, all squeaky and happy and a little bit psycho, needing desperately to give me kisses. You'd think I'd been gone all day rather than 45 minutes. Yeah, there's an awful lot still left in this raggedy ol' world to love.
Thanks for stopping by to visit Marley and me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pottery, Paintings, iPhones, and Almost Eaten by a Bulldog

Okay, it's spring......again. We had spring, and it ran away, and we went back to winter clothes, and now it's here with a vengeance, rain, storms, hail, and near 90 degrees a couple of days.

Marley hurt his foot (we still don't know how), but I took him to the vet, and now it's all better. I was a basket case, though, almost as much as when Dave used to get sick or hurt, and when I told a couple of friends afterwards about the ordeal, complete with an American bulldog that kept lunging at us (for 2 hours) while its skinny owner thought it was funny that she had no control over him chatted happily and preened herself in her spike heels and jeans with the knees blown out, Colleen said I should have taken pics for my blog........she was right. But I do have some things to share with you.

I've been going to pottery class at the Arkansas Arts Center for 3 weeks! It's just as interesting as I thought it would be but painfully slow at getting to the exciting stuff like using the wheel (which won't come till next semester) and glazing and using the kilns, which we're (hopefully) doing next week. My first impressions are that this is an art you'll probably be good at if you like it, but of course people who have been doing it for years are better than us newbies, by far. My humble little pinch pots, coil pots and slab pots are not things of beauty, but I'll show them to you once they're glazed. Three weeks and not one finished piece yet........sigh.

But I think these pieces of pottery showing glazes and colors do look like art.

This is Jane showing us how to wrap a slab around PVC and newspaper for support. She's a good teacher and knows her stuff.

This is a painting within a collage that I finished for my kitchen. I'm probably the only one who likes it, but sometimes that's enough. Those are pear leaves sprayed gold, and the driftwood came from the Oregon Coast, my real home I've been longing for since I was 2 years old; I dyed a piece of cheese cloth for it, and that's a piece of iridescent stained glass that I cut in that little square. I wanted a finished edge for this collage and the other 2 I showed you earlier, but I couldn't find the edging I wanted at Home Depot, so Jim made it for me. What would I do without him? Collages on wood just look sooooo much more finished with an edge.

This is a peek at the painting that's been dragging on for a while. It's not there yet, and I may just paint over it. I'm more interested in playing with clay right now.

And I've also been playing LOTS with my new iPhone. It's the second best birthday gift I've ever gotten, Marley being first, of course. But who knew I'd like it so much? I love apps, and there's literally one for everything. I even like the camera, and I have an app that gives some really fun photo effects. Of course you can do those in PhotoShop, but it's more fun to see the effects as you're shooting. Camera phones have come a long way, Baby, since my first one. The first photo at the top looks a little like infrared photography.

This effect is unpredictable but colorful.

And this is an abstract, posterized, pic of Marley. He's on the left side, looking right, and you can see his little nose sticking up.

Next time I'll share some more effects as well as some of my pottery. Thanks very much for stopping by!
Cat & Marley