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Friends and French cuisine win out over fear

We moved here from Portland 3-1/2 years ago (almost 4 for Paul). I still feel like a newcomer. I do know where all the stores are and one what aisles to find my favorite grocery items. I know the backroads that will sneak me past the traffic and lights on the main thoroughfares. I’m familiar with those things. But, with the amount of history that most people have in this community, I do still feel like I am the new kid on the block. However,…

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My friend Wendy

I met Wendy 15 years (or so) ago. We met through a networking group. The first time I met her in person, I liked her immediately. She was tiny and made me feel like a giant of a person. Wendy had a gentle, kind and sweet spirit. Her smile was bright. Her big eyes were beautiful but haunted. When we met, she was hesitant, apologetic and fragile. In her life, she had been deeply hurt and could still be easily hurt. In our early friendship,…

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A dream and the storm it created.

Last week, I had a dream that brought back to the surface some deep seated insecurities and fears. To tell it, the dream is silly and not even all that interesting. I was at the home of one of Amira’s friends from school. Amira, for some reason, wasn’t there. Her friend and her mom were. The dream began to stick with me as the mom was showing me what she had built while our kids had been at school that day. It was a foldable…

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How meditation helped me today

When I woke up this morning, I felt like my mind had already been up for hours. I had the sensation of waking up into the already-in-progress thoughts moving to and fro, worries ebbing and flowing, problems to be solved trying to work themselves out and heartfelt and energetic thoughts of love and support extending out for my loved ones. It felt like, even though my body had been asleep, *I* hadn’t been. By the time I got Amira onto her bike and pedaling off…

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Work in Progress

A few days ago, I had the thought: “Aren’t I lucky to have this problem?” I know! It sounds happy-slappy and delusional. Yet, I actually felt a zing of gratitude, possibility and not quite joy but something related to it. I have themes that are ongoing challenges in my life. Fear. Self-love. Freedom of self-expression. They come up, in so many different ways, over and over again. I’ve gotten so exhausted by myself and my own issues. But when I had that thought, “I am…

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Setting Sail

About halfway through this painting, I was lamenting in my mind: “Art is hard!” The painting was, at that point, vertically oriented. The lines of color in it were strict and tight. I had a clear vision of what I wanted to express with it. The basic structure was complete and the paint was dry. Looking at it hard and long, I had been letting it sit. I just didn’t know what to do next. The colors were conversing, but the painting was uptight and…

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The change that goals require

My goal is to post something new, every day, on Patreon. A week has passed since my last post. In part, I have been busy with life, getting my daughter ready for 6th grade, and trying to cram in as many last-minute summer activities as we can.  It has been busy and time flies. The thing is, I made a goal. Life will happily and readily fill in my available time slots for me. That’s just how life is. And if life isn’t filling in…

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Making friends with struggle

struggle intransitive verb strug·gle : to try very hard to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems : to move with difficulty or with great effort : to try to move yourself, an object, etc., by making a lot of effort – Mirriam-Webster I struggled with this painting. I worked on it for weeks. I started it to be a possible match for a friend who commissioned me for some artwork for her new home. I was so excited…

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The courage to practice art

Yesterday, I was working on a painting for a dear friend that she commissioned from me. I’ve been painting, tweaking, looking, experiment and trying so hard on this piece. It just will not come together. I was so frustrated that I just about broke down and cried. Actually, when Paul came in and asked how I was doing, a few tears did fall. I watched a video short with Ta-Nehisi Coates. In it he says: I think breakthroughs come from putting an inordinate amount of pressure on yourself…

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Get onto the bus!

You have to take the bus. There are no express taxis or cars that will pick up the random hitchhiker.  Unlike the bus that you REALLY don’t want to take, you can’t shake your head, wave your hand at the driver and have them pass you by. There are certain buses that have your number on them. You have to get on them. And you have to take them to their intended destination. Well, you don’t have to. You can try turning tail and running…

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Point Lobos on Christmas Eve Day, Part 1

The day before Christmas, we ventured out to explore Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. The ‘we’ I refer to was myself, Amira, Paul, my cousin Doug, Mom, Dad and Aunt Carol. Piled into two cars, we took the short pilgrimage from Monterey to the reserve. The skies were a flat gray and the wind was cool enough to warrant and make us grateful for cozy knit hats, bundling scarves and coats to hold warmth to our bodies. We parked next to an inlet of water.…

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Making our way for the holidays

My side of the family, each Christmas, converges at one of our homes to celebrate the holiday. This past season, after too many years away, we met in Monterey, CA. Monterey is where my Uncle Daryl and Aunt Carol have lived for a few years shy of forever. We left home Saturday evening and made it through LA by the cover of night. We missed all the traffic and buzzed right on through. (So nice!) We spent the night in Thousand Oaks. We slept in, ate…

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New Year’s Day 2015

For the almost two years that Paul, Amira and I lived in Portland, we attended the Unity of Portland church. We participated the White Stone Ceremony, both years, during the holiday season. The ceremony involved receiving a small rectangular white stone. By the end of the ceremony, after a message from the pastor and time for meditation… we were to think of one word to write on our stone. That word would play the part of map and guide for us into the new year.…

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Crafty goodness

This weekend we went to a crafting-finish-your-projects get together. It was satisfyingly fun, filled with laughter and low-key, easy and fun creativity. I brought Sculpey. I didn’t have a particular project to finish. Instead, I thought I would simply play with clay. It’s satisfying like playing with Play-doh, only you get to bake and keep your creation.  Working with clay has a very altering quality to it. It’s relaxing, peaceful and fun (most especially if you let go of any ideals of creating “art”). Amira…

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Trying more than twice… a lot more

I never learned how to draw. I paint abstracts because I love color, pattern and texture. But, I also paint abstracts because I can’t draw. I’ve never taken an art class. Well, almost never. I started a Drawing 101 course in college. I dropped out pretty quickly because everyone in it was an art major and had been drawing the better part of forever. I was better suited for ‘How to draw a recognizable stick figure’… Today, Amira was practicing her piano. It hadn’t yet…

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