Friday, December 25, 2009

A Blizzard, Christmas Expectations and JOy and a Zoo

A few words whispered out into the ethernet in the still of the night...
Cougar Mountain Zoo Crane, Kale and Reindeer
Molbak's bottle display

...who knows who will read my words, or what they might do out there......

This time of year is filled even more so than usual, with so many memories. I feel at peace and relieved after talking to several members of my southwest family that they are surviving the sudden blizzard... despite the power outage, now fixed, despite being stranded on a middle-of- nowhere road after feeding and tending the horses, now back home...and despite the 4 foot snowdrifts... I am grateful we have cell phones now, and don't have to worry as much about making long distance calls, so we spend a lot of time recounting stories and good times past.

And I'm satisfied with our own northwest alternative to the holidays... no longer stressing out with winter holiday airport travel, the possible blizzards along the way, the hectic shopping, malls, etc., etc. Along the way we've refashioned our expectations and what we think is important. No cutting a poor tree and hauling all that stuff out, no, indeed, a couple of simple ornaments on the mantle is enough. A special dinner at home. Dinner out with friends. Sharing a play with friends. Local events... one of our annual treks is to Molbak's fabulous nursery and garden store in Woodenville for their poinsetta festival where we sit in front of the poinsetta tree and get someone to snap a picture every time, enjoy kringle and coffee and wander through the lush greenery and flowers.

A couple of weeks ago we stopped in at the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, as we had been wanting to see the white tiger born this past May, and the reindeer festival. The four tigers were beautiful creatures, their behavior so like our own cat. I am grateful there are zoos and sanctuaries for them, as they are very endangered, but I am saddened that they live such restricted lives in small territories behind bars. The cranes were lively hopping around, fun to watch, and I was thrilled to get a couple of good photos of them, challenging as they were in constant motion. My Christmas wish is for more humane treatment of all creatures and hope that less habitat will be lost...

Most often for the last decade, we have gone to the Oregon beaches for Christmas and revel in the quiet and peace of the ocean and crispy fresh air, so rejuvenating. Instead, this year it will be at another time, but soon... There are several other local things we may enjoy together during "the season"... all simple things, flexible, and much like we do all year.
Flowers from Molbak's
A Christmas Meditation
Leaving you with these thoughts.....
I read and hear so much about stress during the holidays, especially Christmas. Expectations can create all kinds of reactions in us, including disappointment. Consider what expectations you have and those around you have, about the holidays. Question whether these expectations are realistic, are they stress creating, or do they create peace and harmony for you. Consider how you might change them, start new or simpler traditions. Maybe it's about togetherness, finding joy in small things, sharing experiences instead of stuff, and giving and receiving acknowledgement and love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Graffiti Art, Trains, and a Day Out

Graffiti is art too...
Having fun with my camera on a gray day out in Seattle... I wonder who did these, how many? There is some raw talent here and creativity and a freedom of expression. The cowboys of the art world.
A trainload of art, a traveling gallery sits waiting on the tracks. All those anonymous artists we never see have gone home... while the train sits on the tracks.
Do you wonder where this train track leads, did we miss a good train trip...?

A fun day out, I do love train trips, have been on several, will do more in the future, it's on my list... good traveling.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

GREEN ALERT, Climate Change, Just Do One Thing Now

“We marched in Berlin, and the wall fell...."
"We marched for South Africa, and apartheid fell.
"We marched at Copenhagen -- and we WILL get a Real Deal.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu told hundreds of delegates and assembled children at the Copenhagen summit.

GREEN ALERT - Climate Change
I just joined over 13,623,468 people in the world's largest-ever campaign to keep us all safe.
There has never been a more important time to add your name - our message is being delivered to leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit over the next 48 hours.

Please add your voice now at

With just 2 days left, the historic Copenhagen climate summit is failing. World leaders have begun the final hours of direct negotiations. The UK Prime Minister has directly appealed to “Avaaz” means “Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages.) to build the tidal wave of public pressure needed to reach a deal that stops catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

Click to sign the petition for a real deal -- The name of every signer is being read out right now in the summit hall! Copenhagen is seeking the biggest mandate in history to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. History will be made in the next 48 hours. On an emergency conference call with 3000 Avaaz members today, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"What you're doing through the internet around the world is absolutely crucial to setting the agenda. In the next 48 hours, don't underestimate your effect on the leaders here in Copenhagen".

Just Do One Thing
Having received an email from a couple of friends and checking this out, I thought it might reach more people via my blog.... and as I say, just do one thing. Easy.

And if you want a little more info/data, and suggestions for greening what you do, go see my blog entry of October 15 for the global Blog Action Day on climate change.

I created the photo montage from my own photos on the subject "Green". A couple of them were for a collaborative artist's photo art journal.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snowqualmie Falls Icicles, a Sketch and a Blog Tip

A frozen ice palace with giant icicles surrounded the falls while the water created a powdery mist...
A Day Trip
The last few days I have been seeing on the local news how Snowqualmie Falls was experiencing a big freeze around it and lots of icicles had formed around the falls. We had never seen them with snow and ice around them before, so, despite predictions of snow flurries today, off we went since they are only an hour from our house. Absolutely breathtaking, white against the dark rocks, lacey and jagged, solid and fluid in the cold cold air.

These gorgeous falls are approximately 270 feet in length. I have seen them many times, and many years ago we used to go to the bottom of the falls at summer or fall dusk on Seattle Mountaineer "owl hikes" (since they were evening hikes with cookout dinners)... Now I have relished them in their winter coat too.
A montage of photos clockwise starting top left: from the viewpoint in the park, a large icicle about 70 feet long on the left of the waterfall, white wintry sky at noon behind the dark trees, and the utility buildings above the falls.
And though my hands wouldn't work too well in the cold, I managed to quick sketch the feel of the falls to me. Photo's and sketching, good things to do, as it requires a pausing to really take in what the eye sees, to really see the details and feel the awesome wonder out there. My thought for today, go outside even if it's cold or raining, the weather isn't "bad", maybe you just have the wrong clothes... pause, take in, reflect, record... breathe and enjoy.
An old barn along the back roads that we took...

Blog Tip
Way back in time in my blog I mentioned that I had a posting problem I hadn't resolved. Then it worked for a short while and then it didn't again. And finally a couple of days ago, I believe I resolved it. Here's a summary for you, in case you have this issue you can try it and see if it works.

Problem: There are some blogs I visit where my comments disappear and are never posted after I have typed them in and clicked "post". I have noted that these are blogs that make the comment box available on the same page as the posting versus the kind of blogs like mine that open up a comment box on a separate page without the posting showing.

My fix: I spent a bit of time on reviewing my firewall, and even made sure certain blogs were in the allowed category - to no avail. I also checked out "tools>options>privacy and ensured that those certain blogs of friends were in the "exceptions" category and not blocked - also did not work. Finally, I thought of checking something that I even mentioned in my posting of April 15 - changing browsers. So, what I found out is this:
-- Mozilla Firefox browser will work - allow me to make comments on blogs that open a separate page for the comments, while,
-- Internet Explorer browser will work - allowing me to make comments on blogs that have the comment box on the same page.
I don't know why. But now when I want to comment on the few that use the same page for comments, I use the IE browser.......!!! Go figure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Abstract Painting, Living Exponentially, Shift Happens

Making sense of all that comes in... can be overwhelming... or, on the other hand, you can focus on the inside and listen to yourself...
More Painting
Lately I have been quite busy, I finished six paintings for the miniature show at Kaewyn gallery, and was happy to deliver those right before Thanksgiving. All were acrylics and incorporated experimental techniques I have been playing with: more texture with different materials and intense color. If you are local, stop in for a treat, as there are a great variety of artists works to be seen; the show is there until January 16.

This last week I participated in the ongoing painting critique group I joined about four months ago. What's really inspiring about this group is seeing the diverse work of the group, as there are very different styles (from realism to abstract and in-between) and different media (oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouche, pastels). Taking three more new paintings to the group meeting, it was reinforcing to get positive support for the direction my painting is going, aka, abstractions, more texture, intense colors, getting better at composition. The painting with the reds, yellows, blues is one I took. There is some thread of connection to the paintings lately and I contemplate where I'm going with them, it feels like a series or several may be emerging... I think they have to do with transit from one state to another, the hidden or unseen coming to the surface, among other things...

More Being Outdoors
Determined to be out more often, some recent outings about town I enjoyed with camera and paints... Despite the really really cold weather, in both cases, worth the views, colors and inspiration...

Shift Happens
The UN Climate Change Conference representing 192 nations is getting under way in Copenhagen, and there are positive signs (firm pledges for change from nations) the outcome may be in positive new directions (AP article). AP says over 15000 delegates and 100 head of states are attending and this makes it the largest and most important climate change conference ever. I mention this because of the title of this section, "shift happens..."

I found the You-Tube video below on the progression of information technology to be fascinating and a reminder of the pace at which we live. It was researched by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, remixed. It questions the meaning of living in an "exponential world" (exponential = "a variable or unknown quanitity" per the dictionary; wiki say, a proportional growth rate). The final conclusion was left off this version of the video...but, I selected this version because it has better graphics. The conclusion to the question/data is "shift happens."

A friend sent it to me yesterday. I hadn't seen her in ages and was thrilled to run into her at the bookstore, where we got into a conversation about "overload", too much coming in, too fast a pace we live, environmental tragedies (dolphins being ritually killed, wolves being shot, oh there are too many to count), it saddens the soul. And how, sometimes it is just time to shut out the incoming and listen to your inside, and remember how connected we really are. And that, yes, shift happens. Slowly. Slowly. Not without some loss, it is difficult turning a huge ship set on a course. But shift happens... personally, and in the world. I always remember Gandhi saying: "You must be the change you want to see in the world." And maybe just be the change you want to see in yourself. And share it out.