Category Archives: Writing 101

First Things First!

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Let's have a morning cup of Coffee together.

Let’s have a morning cup of Coffee together.

As I read through the end of the year report that WordPress has put together for each of us, I wanted to stop and thank WP  for their wonderful support.  I have learned so much, and grown far more than I expected.  This by no means suggests that I’m finished.   I’m just getting started!  You’re never too old to learn and as long as you’re learning, you’re growing.

I also want to thank my fellow bloggers for supporting me in my journey to become a better blogger, and all that goes with it.  At times it has been challenging, and sometimes a breeze, but I have never forgotten that all of you are what helps to make me who I am, and will become.

Our Mela Luka trees after our big storm.  We lost a big limb, & had to cut many off.

Our Mela Luka trees after our big storm. We lost a big limb, & had to cut many off.

I wish for us all to have a more prosperous year of blogging, and growing in an endeavor to meet our own personal goals.

We should all get an award for showing up, and trying!  So in this new year, I hope to get to know many of you better, stay friends with those of you I’ve gotten close to,  help each other meet our goals,  and continue creating with wild abundance!

The Imagination of an Only Child

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Frances Louise

Frances Louise

My mother was an only child, raised by her mother and grandmother.

During the  depression, money was tight,  my grandma, and my great-grandmother had to work long hours to make ends meet.
Mom being a  latchkey kid, and spending so much time alone,  developed an amazing imagination.   That and her dry sense of humor made us always question…fact or fiction!

When mother graduated from high school,  she worked in a department store. This helped pay for clothes , and anything else she had to have s a young girl spreading her wings.

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Mom, and dad  met  at a dance, and slowly the romance began. It was a match made in heaven. Dad a business man with General Motors, mom a  beautiful young woman dreaming of her prince charming. Some say she made a great Trophy Wife!  I’m not sure that was a compliment, but I’m going to take it that way!

They married on Friday the 13th, in December of 1941, and always insisted it was good luck for them. Their  marriage was a good one, and they accomplished many things during their fifty-two years.   Dad always told me he hoped my kids would bring me every bit as much happiness as we had brought him.  As I looked back, I don’t think he meant that in a good way.  We did give them grief from time to time, and both of them being only children, they didn’t always handle it well!

Mother

Mother was much more calm about things even though she didn’t have any siblings herself.  She wanted a family and I have to say she handled all the chaos quite well.

Mom had stories, many stories, and we could never tell if they were true or her imagination.  I always encouraged her to write, but she didn’t have any interest in putting anything into words on paper, so her stories go untold.

Except for this one…

My grandmother remarried when Mother was around fifteen, and during the reception someone needed to go to the market to get something  for the party so Mother rode along.  On this day it was raining, and on the way home the Model T she was riding in skidded off the road, and down an embankment landing upside down in the middle of a stream.  This sounded terrifying to us as kids, but it gets better!  The stream was reportedly not just full of water, and moving fast, but Mother could hear the rescuers shouting to get them out of the water quickly as there were snakes in the stream.  A terrifying thing to have happen, and one would have thought both Mom and the driver would have ended up in the hospital, but not so.  They were retrieved out of the water and sent home.  Mom said she was covered in blood as she had hit her mouth on the dashboard. Her mother was horrified, but after checking her over, left on her honeymoon anyway.

Fack or Fiction?

This is how I know Mom!

This is how I know Mom!

We’ll never know, but my kids were told the same story without deviation, so collectively we agreed it must have been true.  We just can’t even imagine something like that happening, and not going to emergency. I guess we’ve come quite for in the last seventy-five years or so… It was a good story, and there were lots of them,one of these days I’ll remember some more.

Thank you for stopping to read my story,  see you soon……

Thursdays Time out for Art…

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Inspired by Zebra Designs & Destinations, this is my final post for the month of July…..

 

Sage's hand made doll.

Sage’s hand made doll.

My Granddaughter Sage recently spent a couple of days with us, and while she was here she asked to make a doll.  Shamefully, I purchased the muslin doll at Michael’s, and Sage picked out the buttons she insisted needed to be the eyes, the jewel nose, and I found the heart in my stash  for the “Heart!”  I had bought hair at her request, and misplaced it, so I found the yarn for hair in my stash.  Since I was unable to find clothes to buy, I sent her home with a doll without clothes for her mother to find!

Isn’t it wonderful being a Mixed Media artist, and saving all the things that speak to you, and then just when you need it most – looking through all the stuff – you find the perfect yarn for hair, or a perfect red heart to place on the chest of a special doll?  Pulling out my trusty glue gun, a needle, and embroidery thread…..it all came together!

Day 20: A Treasured Old Friend!

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Once upon a time, in a state far to the midwest  (from California that is), near a large body of water, at a time almost too long ago to mention, just after my birth…..I took a buggy ride with my mother pushing all the way!  Phew that took the wind out of me. I was very small, but old enough to go for walks, and eventually…go shopping with my mother.

Mother, & myself in my English Carriage

Mother, & myself in my English Carriage

Before I was born, my parents bought me a very large, Black English Perambulator… because that’s what they did in those days.  It was probably large enough for Mother to climb into, and take a nap with me should the occasion arise –  to my knowledge, that never happened!

We started out walking around the neighborhood on the very mildest, and most beautiful  days of July…  Since I was born the 23 of  May, I’m sure  we never left the house for at least six weeks after my birth. Who knows…maybe longer!

Things were different in those days, everything was different.   Hospital stays after giving birth were ridiculously long, something like two weeks.  If I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks after having my children, I would have chewed my arm off out of boredom!  But… I’m guessing that didn’t happen in those days.  On the other hand, sometime after being sleep deprived for several months, it would have been really nice to spend two weeks in the hospital being pampered!  I’m told…you can’t have it all!

I’ll bet you’re wondering if the Perambulator was my treasured friend?

Maybe at the time…but NO!    When we would take a walk, people would want to look in and see the baby (that would be me).  My poor mother would cringe at the thought of anyone touching, or breathing on her prized possession (again, that would be me)!   It was quite a conundrum because, Mother really wanted to show me off to all her friends, and even the people who would soon be her friends because, I was so cute, and they would tell her so!  Finally, Mother quickly realized that netting placed gingerly over the entire carriage would solve this problem, and then, and only then would she be able to show me off  without having to constantly tell them not to touch the baby (me).  After many walks around the block, with Mother prancing all the way,  we finally made our way to downtown Detroit. Maybe I forgot to mention being born at the Mount Carmel Hospital in Detroit Michigan.  This was in the early forties, and since then the hospital has been torn down with the newest of hospitals, probably state of the art,  being built-in it’s place.

Mount Carmel Hospital

Mount Carmel Hospital

On this particularly perfect day in September, Mother and I packed up all our gear, and proceeded to walk into downtown Detroit to a large department store by the name of JL Hudson’s.  Now,  this store was the place to go if you were anyone, and we were anyone!  I’m sure Mother packed diapers, bottles, rattles, blankets, and anything, and everything …just in case.  Just in case, because you never know….  As we wound our way around the  wooded streets of Royal Oaks, in the suburbs I could smell the fresh air, and hear the rustling of the trees.  After a while, the noise was getting louder, and louder…apparently from all the traffic when we reached  the city.

JL Hudson’s

I snoozed off and on while Mother huffed and puffed her way along the busy city streets.  Finally we reached Hudson’s, and I must say it was BIG!  Never in my entire life had I seen anything so big as this store, except maybe Mount Carmel Hospital, and I really didn’t see very well at the time!

Mother managed to get the carriage into the front door of the store, but negotiating the perfume counter with a large English Carriage was a challenge for even the most determined of mothers.  We did it, and got there in one piece too!  As we rolled through the store, nothing was broken, we only had a few bumps along the way, but Mom did great, I was so proud of her for her determination, and energy, because I was exhausted just thinking about it!

Since I didn’t have any idea why we went to this particular store, on this particular day in September,  with the exception of, it being the place to go, I was excited to find out the purpose of our adventure.  This is something I have reflected on over the many years of my life…  what is the purpose of my adventure in life?

Quickly Mother managed to get my Buggy up to the floor where all the toys were on display, and before long we were deep in thought about …toys, stuffed to be exact!    Mother stopped at one table after the other, each having lots of stuffed animal toys sitting just there for me to look at.  As  Mother was searching  each, table,  and every stuffed toy, or maybe I should say animal,  a huge crowd of ladies engulfed my buggy, and the ooh’s and awes began.  “What a beautiful baby, how old is she?” one woman asked?  “What did you name her?” asked another?  “How long were you in labor?”  yet another asked.  The questions kept coming, and Mother answered with great pride.

But on the other end of things…

It won’t surprise you when I say…..the faces were terrifying,  BIG noses,  BIG eyes, LOUD voices, and the smell of stagnant perfume just about gagged me!  They kept looking at me from all angles, like I was a strange bug or something.  I began to cry….louder,and…Louder, and…LOUDER!   Finally Mother had to excuse us, and we took a little ride around the store, just to get away.   Boy was I happy to get away from all those Looky Loos!

When things had calmed down, we took another pass at the  stuffed toy tables, and with each of these furry creatures Mother would show me,  I simply couldn’t see the fascination. Some of them were stiff, and unfriendly, some were dark and foreboding.  Finally out of clear, and total exasperation I was shown one last stuffed animal, and do you know what?  My little legs and arms started bouncing around,  and I started talking to this lanky ball of fur. Mother was so happy, I could see it on her tired, worn-out face.   At that point, before I knew what was happening, the carriage started moving, and off we went – to a place I’d never seen before – soon  I found myself sharing my carriage with a  creature covered in  brown and white fur, little black BB eyes, a tiny little brown nose and tail, long legs and arms.  Mother told me this was my new friend, and I have to say I was really excited to have him with me.  Now I wouldn’t have to be alone all night in that big room.  Oh it looked nice, it was pink and frilly, but it was big and lonely being in there all night by myself.

After much thought, I named him Teddy!

Teddy quickly became by best friend, he stayed with me all the time. Mother even allowed me to take him to the doctors when I had to go.  Teddy had floppy ears, and he would sing to me at night after everyone would go to bed.  No matter what happened,  Teddy was there for me.

One day something terrible happened!  This was after he helped me learn to eat vegetables, and walk.  Something even more horrible than eating peas, and green beans, something worse than anything I could have ever imagined!

I had competition!!!

Yep you guessed it – That Friggin’ stork dropped a bundle of  “Pain in the ass”  down the chimney!  Well, let me tell you…my world changed forever, and not for the better either!  Teddy was there through it all.  He wiped my tears, he talked me out of  dripping oatmeal all over the PIA’s head.  I’m telling you Teddy probably saved my life…more than once!

That kid didn’t stop yapping for years!  All through growing up….yap – yap – yap!  Even my parents would complain about how this kid would never stop yapping!  But what are you going to, they couldn’t send it back!

Well in the middle of all that yapping…it happened again, and once more after that!

Crap will this ever stop?  You guessed it again…another yapper!  Two more to be exact, one shortly after the other.  It exhausts me even telling this story, but somebody has to tell it.

What happened next?

In the middle of all that yapping, I had to something to keep myself busy, and distracted from the gaggle of yappers.  Lining up all my dolls, and stuffed animals, I would hold school.  Each of them would contribute to my class but the one who contributed the most was Teddy.  He must have known my need for teaching, or maybe the need for standing on a soapbox would be more accurate!  Teddy sat there like an “A” number one student, and was every teachers dream.

Later in life,  Teddy was with me through my Sweet “16” Birthday Party, through all the dances, my heart breaks,  and  my  triumphs.  Never did he turn his back on me, and he never offered advise, unless I asked him for it.  When I married he sat in the middle of our bed…this in my eyes was an act of bravery, and protection!  He was there through divorces,  marriages, and  remains with me.

Teddy has been with me all these years, remaining loyal, and trustworthy!

He is my best friend, my oldest friend, and my Treasured Friend! 

Day 19: What Happens When the Sun Goes Down?

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As an artist there are many canvases in my studio stacked off to the side or in a cubby of the large bookshelf in my studio, and many of them have been started, and left half-finished.  I have stopped at many stages of  each of them, or left them in different stages of their completion.  Some speak to me from beginning to end without any problems or glitches, some stop speaking to me shortly after they are started.  Some never speak to me again, leaving me wondering if I  should even be trying to paint at all!  As I sit here wondering if they will ever speak   again, or why am I  fooling myself thinking I’m a painter, or should I get rid of all this stuff, and reduce the clutter, it occurs to me that these paintings must have a life too!  Maybe they are busy with their own lives, just like I am busy with my family, friends, and other things that pull me away from painting!

What happens when the sun goes down, and the lights go out?  

Do the images on the paintings jump off the canvases, and play around in the studio?  Do they do their own sketches, and drawings?  After all  I  do have a studio filled with art toys to delight, and put a twinkle in the eyes of even the most childlike of artists.  When my grandkids are here visiting, the first place they go is my studio, and then it starts….. “Grandma, can we paint today? ”  or “Can we use your markers?”  Their eyes light up just talking about the possibilities,  and if that’s so, then why wouldn’t the images on my canvases want to open drawers, explore, and try the different paints, pencils, markers, and anything else they could possibly find to play with.  I can see them now, dancing to the music, and scribbling on the walls.  Here I thought one of the kids did the little scribbles that I found last week!  Are the paintings  like the toys in toy story where the doors shut, and the lights are turned off, and they come alive…  It is important to remember that..   All work and no play makes Karen a dull girl!

I’ll bet my canvases come alive!

So maybe I should take another approach to getting them to speak to me…..  Maybe if they all stood in a row, to give each other support, and courage, they would tell me what they want from me.  Or just maybe…we should all have a party…in my studio…tonight….when the paintings think I’m asleep, I’ll get up out of bed…tip toe into the party room, and yell Surprise!   Am I being way too up tight about painting?  I am a recovering perfectionist, and that zaps the spirit out of anyone… even though I know this, I fight it all the time!  Looking back, I think that’s why I like to paint intuitively, it takes the element of perfectionism out of the mix!

                         Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.