Friday, October 29, 2010

Input vs. Output

is yours in balance? i’m struggling with this a bit right now.  it can be a real creative conundrum.  like me, maybe you are drawn to all sorts of creative resources – gorgeous books, insightful blogs, inspirational retreats, fabulous workshops, engaging e-courses, tantalizing tutorials, etc. etc.  you probably get my drift because there is such a wealth of all of that out there, especially in the online community.

for me, the problem can become an overload of all of that wonderful input without an equal balance of creative output. i mean, isn’t that why we are exposing ourselves to all of these resources?? to pump up our creative output?? yet i think sometimes it becomes so easy to bask in all of this goodness at the expense of doing something with it.

it seems to take an extra internal push for me to leave the comfort of all of these good things behind and strike out on my own into new and uncharted territory. it’s so worth it when i do that, but still it takes discipline and forethought. sometimes i actually have to schedule time for it and then stick to my guns.

an additional challenge for me is that i don’t currently have an art space. remember my little open-air studio? i did love working out there and the pieces above were 2 of the little treasures that i created. but sadly, the structure was fairly termite-ridden and my husband (suddenly!) decided that it had to be dismantled. so i am back in bins.

the good news is that we are in the process of deciding how to upgrade the space and it looks like i will end up with a better, more permanent and weather-proof area to work in. in the meantime, i can still work on my photos, digital art, powerpoints and, when so-inspired, poetry! now i just have to get off my a__ and do it!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Misty Memories

we were kind of hoping for blue skies at the space between retreat, but instead we got misty ones, which turned out to be the perfect setting for creative thinking.  i think my favorite weather is hovering, indecisive mist as it plays a teasing cat-and-mouse game with the sun.  this went on all weekend and i just couldn’t stop watching the drama.  here are a few of my favorite outdoor shots taken on the mountain.

so now my memories are kind of floating in and out like the mists. 
a fitting reminder of a truly amazing time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Read all About it!!

head on over to my space between blog to read all the juicy details
 of the recent space between 2 creativity retreat!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Memory Lane

there’s one more story i want to tell about my trip to michigan.  while i was there i had an opportunity to visit my old neighborhood – you know, the one that i grew up in.  where i knew every house and who lived in it and at least the surface story of their lives, where i played mother may i and seven steps around the house and red rover outside at friends’ houses until after dark and no one worried, where we trick-or-treated for hours on halloween with no chaperones.   definitely the good old days!

 i walked up and down the streets noticing how huge the trees have become and then i did something i’ve been dreaming of doing for a long time.  there were cars in the driveway…. so i rang the doorbell of my old house.  a women somewhat younger than me opened the door.  i explained that my parents had built the house and that i lived there from age 3 till i went away to collage…. and she let me in!!  turns out she was just visiting.  her parents bought the house from my parents and her dad still lived there but wasn’t home.  she grew up in the house just like me!

there have been many times (likely during my insomniac episodes) that i have mentally walked through every room in that house and tried to remember all the details…. the furniture, what was in each cupboard and closet, what was hanging on the walls, the big basement.  and now, here i was standing in it!  it was a little surreal.  my brain was trying to negotiate 2 different time zones.  i mean, i had to carry on a conversation about the house now, what was different and what was the same (like the pink tile and green fixtures in the bathroom!), but part of me was in a completely different world.  the world of my childhood.  i would have liked so much more time.  time to just be there and soak it all in.  so many of my life’s moments, good and bad, happy and sad, from childhood birthday parties to adolescent door-slamming rages were spent in this place.  i had a strong urge to open up the cupboards and start looking at my stuff.  i know, irrational.

it was all over so quickly and i was so grateful to her for letting me in that i didn't think it would be polite to linger.   a couple of times she said that it was really a well-built and sturdy house.  my dad would have been very pleased to hear that.  i’m so glad i jumped on this opportunity to take a trip down memory lane! 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Girls' Get-Away

it’s a tradition we started quite a few years ago.  i think we noticed that our conversations were slightly different when men and kids weren’t around and we wanted a way to nurture that  – to foster the female connection.   so we found an interesting place to go for an over-night.  well, it turned out to be so much fun that we try to do it every time i go to michigan – just my sister, sister-in-law and me. 

last year we changed things up a bit by inviting the guys along and meeting in the middle – in colorado!  that was a whole different experience, but seriously fun as well.  happily, we all get along and enjoy each other’s company, so even four solid days of snow did not deter our good time.

this year we decided to go to saugutuck.  it’s a quaint town with great shops and restaurants and – big bonus – on lake michigan! 

add those golden fall trees and crisp blue skies
 and you have the recipe for a gorgeous get-away!

and unlike the towns i referred to in “the down side” it seemed,
at least from our perspective, to be thriving.

(guess who??)
sometimes just a short time away can be a powerful experience
 (as long as you choose the right partners!!)
thanks, girls!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Birthdays, Aging and Trade-offs

the decades of my life

strike an ever-broadening

chord on the keyboard of


at this time

and in this place

harmonizing with each other

in a rainbow melody

the reverberations curl heavenward

fading in the mist

then coming into focus

once again

as memories

rearrange themselves

in a twisted yet tantalizing tune


The Decades of my Life

i wrote this as i was turning fifty.  now that already seems a distant memory.  i’m going to be brutally honest here.  as much as we try to couch aging by saying it’s just a number or you’re only as old as you feel or we’re just getting better with age, the reality is that aging kind of sucks.  i mean, i ask you, who really wants to give up their vibrant, energetic, youthful body and face and exchange them for ones that creak and sag, moan and drag??  nothing about this is fun!  and it’s hard to put a good spin on it unless…..

unless you can separate the person from the body.  I mean i honestly can’t believe i’m this old, but the fact is, it’s really just my body that’s getting old.  i’m still the same person that i was at 22 or 33 or 44 (despite what the mirror says).  except wiser.  and mellower.  and more experienced.  and more accepting.  and, yes, happier!

as with so many things in life, it’s a trade-off.  and one that i gladly accept….. given the alternative.  so i’m incredibly grateful to be celebrating fifty-eight healthy years on this earth!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Class Reunion

have you been to one lately?  in talking with friends, i’ve noticed that these unique get-togethers seem to prompt a range of reactions.  there are those that won’t have anything to do with them.  bad experience in high school.  not interested.  whatever.  there are those who would like to go, but are held back by their fears of how their aging self would be compared with others (this turned out to be so not important!)  there are those that stayed in the area and see the school and the people fairly frequently, so it’s not that big of deal.  then there are those, like me, who have been far away for a very long time and get really excited (not to mention a teeny bit intimidated!) at the thought of being able to reconnect after – gulp – forty years!! (wait a minute – didn’t i just turn 40, like, last week??)

Being silly in junior high
9th grade

High School Junior (still paying the price for that tan!)

in my case, i struggled in junior high.  i had braces and glasses.  i felt awkward.  i didn’t feel that i fit in.  some rough years.   in high school, however, things kind of came together.  i had a lot of friends.  i had dates.  i was in lots of activities. i had decent grades.  in spite of it being a tumultuous time culturally (and i’m sure my brain has filtered some things out) i have nothing but happy memories about the whole experience.

so when i heard that a reunion was being planned, i jumped at the chance to attend.  i reconnected with a few folks beforehand, left my husband at home and dove into the festivities, held on 2 separate nights.  i was not disappointed.  did i recognize everyone?? no way.  did everyone recognize me?? hardly.  but we had name tags and weren’t afraid to check them out.  there were lots of squeals of delight upon discovering a long lost friend and plenty of laughs while revisiting some of the colorful stories of our youth. beyond the aging exteriors, it was just incredible the way the personality, the voice, the mannerisms of each person had not changed much at all and we were instantly connected with someone we knew and remembered well!   i didn’t get to speak to everyone, but it became a quantity vs. quality decision and i tried to play the middle of the road.

one of the things that struck me was the large number of folks who had stayed in the area.  they planted their own roots, went on to have families and jobs and  happy and stable lives. others had left and subsequently returned.   i, on the other hand, knew from a fairly early age that i would be leaving.  the ties of family and church are very strong in this community and, while it wasn’t easy, i just knew i had to go.  i still don’t fully understand why, but i have been thinking about this a lot lately.  i’m sure there are those who stayed and wish they would have left.  but there may also be those who left and wish they would have stayed.  it was the right choice for me, but i can definitely see both sides of the coin.

Posing with pals

anyway, i really feel that, after all this time, this was a once-in-lifetime event for me.  i do hope we do it again.  that would be another great time, but it won’t be like this one.   i know i've said this before.... sweet, sweet memories.

Good friends reunited