Archive for July, 2014

Old Birthday girl learns a new trick

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Today, as I have stated to anyone within ear shot for the past 19 days… is my Birthday! Today the princess does pretty much what she wants (which is like… every day). What the Old Girl learned: In Yoga class, I did a pose and felt stress in my shoulders. “Heck”, I thought, “ouch in my shoulders”. I am already practicing lowering my shoulders which hunch up to my ears whenever I am concentrating or posing or lifting…. So today when I felt that old familiar tension in the shoulders, I stopped. I stood and breathed and rolled my shoulders around and said, “not the shoulders; use the thighs and butt.” I went back into the pose not using the shoulders and, viola!, used my thighs and butt, and felt nothing in the shoulders. As I said: viola! Tummy tucked, butt (”sit bones”) out, chest out, neck up but not chin up. WOW! Now, I still can’t stand on one foot and do a “tree” pose, and I can’t balance worth a darn on one foot and swing my leg back and forth… but I will. Still have the men here. George put up a LED light outside the front door and took down a rusty light fixture that I said… “I think I can paint on that!” And Rick L. put in a new A/C duct into the guest room, so prepare to come and be chilled. probably the guest room will get ALL the air now.

During meditation after Yoga I saw a butterfly land on a flower. I painted a flower yesterday so….Today I’ll paint butterflies. May you see butterflies! Love, God bless you! Sue

Pay back for making lists…..

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Did you ever make a honey do list? I’m sure we’ve all done it. But the honeys need to be fed, and they make giant piles of trash and dust and broken boards and nails and screws strewn about… As pay back for making the lists, I’m the chief cook, bottle washer, sweeper, dish washer, sheet washer, and now … as they pop a beer and say something close to, “We’re done,” I’m facing the painting after the clean up. Whenever a man does a repair the clean up is better left to a woman or we’ll be stepping on little bits of wood and nails for weeks. Why can’t I paint the railing, base board, door frame, door, etc etc, before you hang it or install it???? While I am the maker and remaker of lists and, as above chief cook and bottle washer, Chuck is the driver in this operation. Dear George is the brains and brawn and he is needy. Chuck makes about 50 trips a day to the hardware or lumber store and thank heaven we have those on Big Pine Key. Just the thought of the 20 mile ride over the 7 mile bridge to the Home Despot makes me quiver. And indeed I am going to need to make that trip to buy a few gallons of paint to “touch up” our turquoise house trim after it’s been abused for five years. One thing that abuses trim in the keys is wind and rain and salt. Another is my constant painting of the wooden porch railings (white of course). I always manage to dribble some white trim paint onto the beautiful turquoise trim paint. So I am off to Marathon probably this weekend with an old paint can to beg Sherwin Williams to sell me the same color. I guess I’m too stupid to quiver over the 14 feet that trim is off the ground….

A new list has been started as George and I walked around the rental house (Aunt Trudy’s) and we decided her trim needs some repair and then, you guessed it, painting. Fortunately that will be white and is only about 12 feet off the ground. On the new list also is some window work to be done, and Trudy’s old front door was replaced today courtesy of hard working George.

I’ve got three additional house guests tonight. They are here to install a bigger piece of ductwork into our guest room which has never properly cooled down. I think we’ll be drinking beer and eating pizza at the No Name Pub for dinner unless they catch some fish….. I am prepared to wash dishes after someone cooks the bountiful catch they bring in as I understand they brought a boat that they launched while I was at a painting group today.

UHHHHHH let’s see… Birthday pampering. Tomorrow is my birthday. I had a Mass said today for my Mom. I always called her on my birthday to thank her for having me and taking care of me…. She would always laugh. For birthday pampering I have been painting railings and sweating. so much it just drips off me! along with painting railings, I put rust remover on the big rocking chairs upstairs on the deck and started to paint some faded butterfly stepping stones. And…. went to painting group today and painted a flower. If I go near the boys (Chuck and George) I find something else to add to the list like over at Aunt Trudy’s repair and paint soffets and at the big house repaint the trim. Otherwise, I’m languishing with wine! Love! Sue

The cost of a truck

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

“Everything is relative” … My friend George had to buy a new truck because his truck finked out on him at a little over 104,000 miles. He said, “My truck costs as much as when you two take a vacation…” He’s not too far off! Everyone laughs about the vacation where I got a transatlantic cruise all the way from Miami to Rome for about $4000 and we ended up spending upwards to $30,000 on the extensions from that trip called “while we’re at it.” That was the year we travelled to Rome, took a cruise out of Venice to the Greek Isles, stayed several days in Venice, flew into England, went up to Scotland, and down to Bude, and then across the south of England to fly back to Miami. At that time we bought a round trip ticket from and to England so we had to return! We flew back to England on that round trip, played some more with our English friends and then did a transatlantic cruise back to Miami. One would think we would be finished right? Well on one of our adventures we got an RCCL credit card for Chuck that got us onboard credits on our next RCCL cruise. So began the hunt for an RCCL cruise and …. a few days ago, I found it. On May 4, 2015 we will take a transatlantic cruise to Harwich England and not get off the ship, but take the next cruise through the Scandinavian countries. When we get back to Harwich we are thinking of taking a narrow boat on the canals and waterways of England. We drive ourselves on the waterways.. We might do it, but when I tried to make a reservation they would not let me fill in the 55 and over block…. I wasn’t going to lie about age as I am sure they take some kind of ID. So I wrote to them that even though we are “old” and will be 67 and 68 at cruise time… Chuck has been on boats all his life. Again, it’s relative …. we aren’t like all old folks. If anyone wants to go on a grand adventure in May 2015, let me know…. Time to go to Yoga while Chuck begins to pre cook ribs. God bless you.

mid summer heat and Yoga

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Hi dear friends. I’m not complaining about the mid summer heat! Yesterday it rained very hard just after I put laundry into the clothes washer…. George (visiting us from Miami) said the rain actually cooled things down as it was 96 degrees in the morning. When he told me that, I remembered how hot I was as I biked to the post office and back; I was really feeling all of those 96 degrees. Well, not one to worry about rain too much, I bundled the freshly spun laundry into a bin and carried it outside. There was a patch of blue sky midst all the dark clouds so I “pegged” the laundry (that’s English for hanging the laundry up with clothespins) I’m reading a very English novel by Rosamunde Pilcher about Cornwall my favorite English place… and they “peg” the laundry. Sure enough it rained again and again, but by 8pm the laundry was dry because of the warmth of the day and it smelled divine!

All is still going well with Yoga. I attended class Tuesday evening and road the bicycle for a long time on Wednesday. Then this morning (Thursday) I went off bravely to more grunting and stretching. What can I say? I grunt. And sometimes I discover I’m not breathing! Breathe. relax, stretch, open the hips, open the chest, breathe. Our teacher has one of those soothing and calming voices…… By the time class is over we are like little wet noodles all stretched out on our backs. Finished for another day with downward dog and warrior stance! Today is another beauty in the Keys, and I am doing another load of laundry to peg. Please pray again for Renee who has had another “episode”… Doctors are wondering about seizures. It’s retirement time for our dear friend. For hobbies, I talk a lot about how much I enjoy painting and at this moment I’m working on a painting that might not work…. but it’s like an ugly duckling. It might bloom yet. God bless our wonderful country with Peace.

Yoga and creativity

Saturday, July 5th, 2014

Good day to you on the 5th of July. Many are bleary eyed and with a little headache from the noise of the fireworks last night. Some strong and practical parties are lean and vigorous and feeling fine because they did not drink too much wine last night, or stay up late, or sit under the booming firework barge. Well I’m guilty of the first two. I sat out on the back deck on Big Pine Key with some neighbors who brought their own libations, and we watched the fireworks across No Name Bridge at a county park. We also walked around on the deck and watched a pretty good show put on by our neighbors across the street. And so, paying for my indescretion this morning, I was late to Yoga class and could not do some stuff, and could not get my balance. I don’t know if you remember, but do you remember standing on one leg with the other leg tucked up against your knee (in a stork position?) My sister Donna was an expert at this, and I think I could do it too…. Well not this morning. And the other one that I did all the time (when I was younger) (oh how bittersweet those words are) sitting with feet brought up, bottoms of feet together, grab your toes, bend over…. yes! Get your head all the way down to your toes. Oh well…. I will be able to do this one day. Oh limberness where are you? Meanwhile I’ve copied below an article that came from my Artist’s Magazine called “Only Human”. I find it extremely evocative and I hope we will all be inspired to take a pen or brush in hand and apply it to paper, wood, canvas, a wall, a dresser… creativity is in our genetic make up. We need creativity. Just do it! And like me, trying to stand on one leg or stretch into impossible positions… We will be able to do this (one day). God bless you.

Last night, as I began teaching another painting workshop, I wondered again what motivates people to put up hard earned cash and move their bodies across town (sometimes across the country) to take a painting workshop. For the most part, these are not aspiring professionals wanting to hone their skills, but folks with careers in other lines of work. I used to think that painting was just a hobby for them and a group class was a safe bet for some entertainment and relaxation. Now I’m not so sure. I have given it some thought and I believe that there is a deeper, more fundamental motivation that drives us to want to learn how to paint.

We have written before about creativity and the new scientific studies investigating the human impulse to create. It is a fascinating subject precisely because it isn’t well understood, and because in some ways artistic creativity has no practical advantage (that we can see) for our immediate survival. For instance, it takes time and resources to make an object such as an essential tool. To then devote additional time to decorate that tool instead of using it immediately for hunting or preparing food, doesn’t make much sense when food is the priority. In a tribal context, everyone must contribute to the welfare of the whole for the tribe to prosper. So why do we find elaborate and extensive cave paintings made by Neolithic hunters from 40,000 years ago? These tribes would have had to support those early artists - feed them - while they worked perhaps hundreds of hours to make these large, extensive paintings. Recently, archaeologists have found carved and decorated tools made by our primitive ancestors which are over 300,000 years old. The impulse to express something from within seems to be a very ancient need.

When I think about what motivates my students to be present, I now believe that it is related to that ancient need to create, apart from the other activities in their lives. There is something essential in the act of creation, or in simply learning to create, that answers this need. I can teach them all sorts of useful and necessary techniques which are helpful in the long run. But in the moment, which is all we really have, I try to keep in mind that if I fail to connect to the real reason they are present, then I probably have failed to connect with them at the most universal, fundamental level. It is love of creation that brings us together at these moments, and in that, we are all one big tribe.

Join us on The Artist’s Road for more informative articles and interesting discussions. The Artist’s Road Store also features unique tools for the artist.

–John and Ann

Yoga on the 4th of July!

Friday, July 4th, 2014

Here we are again celebrating our freedom and my Yoga instructor is bowing to the ocean and the energy!!!! I went to Yoga again today (my second ever time) I grunted a lot and fell off the big ball but it was all laughs and giggles. I will go again tomorrow when I’ll be able to lift that back leg and take my hand off the floor (did not do too well today with balancing on one leg… but I will be able to do it one day!!!!). And listen: check your shoulders: are they hunched up against your ears? “relax relax; feel like wax melting….” and your knees? are they locked? “relax a little but don’t bend your knees…. it all about posture and being aware of all our parts.” About that big ball! falling off is fun. Have a great day today celebrating our freedoms and remember the soldiers, sailors, and fly persons who got this freedom for us. Thank God!

Yoga anyone? (no Chuck, that’s not yogurt…)

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Today was the first time I tried Yoga. Now many of my sisters and friends have done “all” the exercises, but I never did Pilates, or any of the other fancy exercises. My excuse has always been, “I’d like to do that, but I’m too busy.” I believe there’s a word for that… “disinclined”. My manicurist said the massage therapist in the salon (A Caribbean Dream) leads Yoga behind the swap meet area, and I said, “I always wanted to try Yoga, I even bought pants and a top”…. So she met me on the eastern end of the swap meet here on Big Pine… and in we went after taking off our shoes. Off the US1 main road there are all kinds of neat places here on the rock known as Big Pine… My salon friend got me a mat and a block and for the next hour and 1/2 I tried … and, grunting occasionally, I succeeded in staying upward, or downward, and not falling on my bum. Grunting and breathing and my buddy giggling… the hour and 1/2 went by rather quickly. WOW I am not that limber, but I will be, and that is the way to go at this. “Put your hand on your back, touch your foot, grab your toe,” the leader says… and I’m looking at the object to be touched or grabbed about a foot away from my grasping fingers! “I’ll get there,” I grunt, and that is the proper attitude. I might become a Yoga junkie. Now I need a mat and blocks. A little stiff, I bid you a very Happy 4th of July! Thank God for our Freedoms. Wave the flag and enjoy a hot dog!

Our lives - mundane or joy filled?

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Sometimes I feel I would like to tell all that happens and then it seems … boring, mundane, not exciting, ordinary. Well how much of life is ordinary? About 99% interrupted by 1% sheer joy or sheer terror. Here on Big Pine Key the sky is an amazing shifting creature; blue with amazing white clouds and suddenly black with fierce winds. My friend said her chairs were all messed up; did I go over and move her furniture? No, but I have all my furniture laying down, and I found one of my chairs in the neighbor’s yard. I have to bring my door mat upstairs every day as the winds pick it up and shake it like a hungry dog shakes his prey and then drops it over the railing - not interested in the flavor of an army green door mat. So is our life… My friend Linda is being tested by an onerous burden of pokes and prods. Nodules in her belly and lung are being aspirated and tested. That is awful, but it has brought us all together in church praying for our beloved. How many times are we hit by the disorders of nature? A lost pregnancy, a cancer warning, a badly broken bone that leads to discovery of brittle bones and a blood disorder? All of these are the jarring 1% of life that call up sheer terror. The other side of terror is Joy. Joy is the smile of a baby. Joy is the first flowers of spring poking up through the snow. Joy is the sign of God’s presence. Joy is seeing someone smiling at me, and me happily accepting this homage to my humanity. In our chapel at church we have a wonderful icon wherein the Blessed Mother holds the child Jesus close. One of her hands cradles his little bumpy and her other hand holds his hand. One of his sandal straps is broken and hanging off his foot. We look at that little broken sandal, and then we look up at 2 angels who are holding the cross, nails, a whip… and we realize that Jesus didn’t want to go to the Passion… so he runs to his Mother and she sweeps him into her arms, and she quiets his fears. I run so hard and so fast, so frightened am I, that I break my little sandal. You sweep me up, you hold me and you wipe away my tears and my fears. … …

We have a new priest at St. Peter Church on Big Pine Key. After 26 years as Pastor, Fr Tony retired and left us in the competent hands of Fr Randy, a convert from the Baptist faith. He came to the priesthood as a widower with 2 children and several grands. How exciting this new phase of our lives will be! Already we women have advised him: ditch the black shirts, get some sandals, wear sunscreen, remember to drive only 25 miles per hour, and watch for turtles, deer, chickens, and iguanas crossing the road!!!! God bless our priests and ministers.