Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Simply Brilliant

You may be aware that President Obama is scheduled to give the commencement speech this year at Notre Dame.  He will also receive an honorary degree.  Because President Obama supports a woman’s right to choose and because of his stance on stem cell research, the university has received numerous complaints regarding his appearance.

A Harvard Law professor was also extended an invitation to attend Notre Dame to receive the prestigious Laetre Medal which honors a Catholic layperson who exemplifies the ideas of the church. The professor has declined the award and the offer to attend the university because President Obama will be in attendance and she disagrees with his opinion on a woman’s right to choose, stem cell research, and the fact that Notre Dame invited him to be the commencement speaker and that they will give him an honorary degree.

Regardless of your personal beliefs, I’ve always felt that we, as a country, must learn to respect each other’s opinions whether or not we agree on a particular topic.

This situation was summed up brilliantly by Rev. Kenneth Himes, chairman of the theology department at Boston College:

“There are some well-meaning people who think Notre Dame has given away its Catholic identity, because they have been caught up in the gamesmanship of American higher education, bringing in a star commencement speaker even if that means sacrificing their values, and that accounts for some of this.  But one also has to say that there is a political game going on here, and part of that is that you demonize the people who disagree with you, you question their integrity, you challenge their character, and you brand these people as moral poison.  Some people have simply reduced Catholicism to the abortion issue, and, consequently, they have simply launched a crusade to bar anything from Catholic institutions that smacks of any sort of open conversation.”

While Rev. Himes speaks specifically to the situation at Notre Dame, I feel it applies to just about any situation we find ourselves in today. Remove a few words and insert the topic of your choice.  Remember how divisive the Presidential election process was last year?  Think about how you react when someone states an opinion that you disagree with.  Do you demonize the person or group you disagree with, question their integrity, or challenge their character?

I’m not taking the high road here as I’m just as guilty as the next person for doing what Rev. Himes describes. It is through his words, however, that I hope to recognize when I start to react that way.

And kudos to Rev. Himes for presenting a logical and rationale synopsis on this form of gamesmanship.


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Day 27

number27-1

Today marks Day 27 of my 37 Day Challenge. I can’t believe there are only 10 more days left. They say it takes about 21 days for a new routine or task to become habit. While I’m not sure if my decreased intake of sugar, especially chocolate, can be called a habit yet, I do find myself making better choices and not denying myself something sweet if I want it.

The big difference is I’m not going for the cookies immediately after lunch. If I feel full after my meal, I stop there and may grab a small snack later in the afternoon. We still have cookies in the house. I don’t believe in a complete ban on them. I just bought two varieties: ginger snaps and chocolate striped. I loved those chocolate striped cookies as a kid.  They’re especially tasty if you keep them in the refrigerator.

I did have a piece of Dove dark chocolate the other day after lunch. It was the first piece of dark chocolate candy I’ve had since starting this challenge. The little voice in my head said, “oh go ahead, one piece will be okay; just make sure it is only one piece.” And it was okay. I didn’t turn into a pillar of sugar and fall apart. Probably the strongest craving I’ve in recent days was for a Dairy Queen ice cream cone. It was chilly and rainy the day this craving hit and certainly not conducive to eating ice cream.  Mother Nature was on my side that day!

With the emergence of spring and warmer weather, I look forward to eating more veggies and fruit. I spied some aspargus shoots in our veggie garden today. Our bodies seem to crave warmer, heavier foods in the winter which, while comforting, tend to reveal themselves on the scale in the morning. Have you ever tried to follow a diet based on foods of the season?

Patti recently posted links to several participants in the 37 Day Challenge. You’ll find the post here. People are challenging themselves to make a variety of small changes from decluttering to walking to engaging in some form of exercise each day to writing each day. It is intriguing to learn what a person chooses as their challenge, why, and how they are progressing and perhaps even changing along the way.

What small change will you make?


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More Consignment Store Goodies

Last week I started Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Life Mastery program.  This is an expanded and updated version of her Great Big Dreams e-course that I took in December 2007-February 2008. One area of discussion in the class revolves around getting in touch with tiny delights; those small things that make us happy.

One of my small delights is perusing antique and consignment stores. I think of it as good practice for the workshop I’m taking this summer with Dayle Doroshow in France. One of our field trips during the workshop is to a local flea market. Won’t that be a fun experience!

Below are some of my recent finds.

antiquebrushesdrawerspool

The antique silverware drawer tray was found at Still Life Consignment in Hudson.  The antique brushes and spool were found at Tables to Teapots in Acton. I envision the tray being used as a shadow box and the brushes and spool as forms for a body.

antiquecornershelf

This old corner shelf (turned upside-down in this photo) is destined to be used in my Historical Interpretations exhibit entry. (Earlier blog entries on this exhibit can be found here and here.) This piece also comes from Still Life Consignment.

Antique washboard

Antique washboard

Quills

Quills

The washboard and quills were found last fall at Nestings in Concord. The washboard “spoke” to me the moment I saw it. It was near the floor and leaning against some furniture in a rear display room. As soon as I saw it, a picture came to mind of how it would look it its finished state. I could see a sculpted head and arms. It would either be on a base or hanging on a wall.  My friend Judy was with me and in another part of the store.  I found her, brought her back to see the washboard and described to her the picture in my head. She simply said “I just got chills as you were describing it. You have to buy it.” And so I did.  (Aren’t those fun friends!)  The washboard is about 18″ long. When it is finished it will be the largest piece I’ve created so far.

candlesticksntiebacks

In this last picture are old candlesticks and curtain tie-backs. The antique white tie-backs reminded me of wings. Not sure how I’ll use them…yet.  The tie-backs and assorted small goodies (not pictured and including watch parts, metal thimbles, and rhinestone buttons) were all found at Thoreauly Antiques in Concord.


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Studio Re-do

The last few months I’ve been thinking about re-doing my studio. Some of this was prompted when Libby Mills started her blog series on artist studios. My studio was featured on her blog in June, 2008 and her questions put a little bug in my head about changing my studio. Then the artist studio magazines started to appear in the bookstores. Oh my. I could spend quite a bit of time flipping through those magazines soaking in all the awesome studios.

However, I don’t want another artist’s studio. I want my studio. And what I’ve learned in looking through those magazines is each artist has done something in his or her studio that makes it unique. It might be the color of paint on the walls, a favorite chair, or the decor on the walls.

I want to repaint the walls in my studio this year and I’m thinking about doing just that this summer. Until then, I’ve started rearranging the tables and pulling more stuff out of the closet. As crazy as that might sound, yes, I’m actually pulling stuff out of the closet and putting it into the studio. Part of this has to do with clearing out old stuff that I haven’t used in years or perhaps never used at all. Part of this is reorganizing stuff so I can see it. I’m a great model of “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to a lot of the supplies I’ve collected.

Here is the previous table layout in the studio which had two tables off the rear wall and one table in the middle of the room.

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And a view of the closet:

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In the new configuration, I moved the table from the middle of the room and placed it short end to short end with one of the tables on the rear wall which expands my work space from 6ft to 12ft. The small 4ft table was placed perpendicular to the 6ft table. This table folds in half and is easily removed to create more floor space.

studiotables

The other change is the wire shelving you see between the two windows and the new, larger clock.

shelving

One of these units was in the studio closet. I bought two more last fall from Target and finally put them together. Now the three shelving units are in the studio which gives me better access to my mixed media supplies. All the container drawers are labeled so I know what is in each one (more or less.) Odd as it may be, I like having all these containers in the open. It feels more like a studio by having easier access to everything. I’ve also put some of the larger items I’ve collected from various antique stores and consignment shops (such as wood candle sticks, a turquoise blue wood spool, and a wood utensil drawer organizer) on the shelves as well. (Can you tell I love perusing antique and consignment stores?)

This rearrangement has also opened up some floor space which wants to be filled with a nice reading chair and perhaps a complimentary pillow. I found a chair at a local consignment shop. I hope to get back to the store in the coming week and make a final decision on whether or not the chair is a good fit.

I’ll post pictures of the goodies that I bought at the antique and consignment shops and if I buy that chair, I’ll share that with you too.


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An Earth Day Meditation

The following meditation was recently posted on Daily Om and it seemed appropriate for this Earth Day. Enjoy.

Thank you, home, for allowing me to live within your walls. Thank you for giving me shelter, warmth, and security. Thank you for allowing me to live my life in your womb, for staying strong and sturdy, for supporting me, and for your beauty.

Thank you, earth, for the land that I live on and for allowing me to steward life with you. Thank you for allowing me to walk upon your soil, cultivate you, and live in partnership with you. Thank you for supporting my home and my family.

Thank you, plants, minerals, and animals that dwell on the land that I steward. Thank you for allowing me to experience your beauty, share in your wonderment of life, and for the honor of living with all of you on this earth. Thank you for the wisdom and joy you bring to humanity.

I honor you.

held-waterfall


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It’s A Dirty Job But Someones Got To Do It

On Monday our septic system was cleaned for the first time. This was a new experience for us as our previous house was in a town with a sewer system. Of course I had to do some photo documentation of the whole event. When you work by yourself you sometimes find entertainment in the small things.

septictruck

The septic company was BlueWater Septic. Nice shiny truck. A good sign.

How many men does it take to find a septic tank?

Looking for the tank

Looking for the tank

Found It!

Found It!

Once the tank cover is located, the digging begins.

Digging in the dirt

Digging in the dirt

septicdighole2

Rabbit Hole revealed

Rabbit Hole revealed

I was pleased with how neatly he removed the grass and dirt. Scores high points in my book.

Prepare for a loud sucking sound.

septichose

Heave-Ho the Hose

Heave-Ho the Hose

Oh My!

No Comment

No Comment

With the hose assembled the fun part of the job is about to begin. If you look closely, you’ll see he has a remote control device on his hip. This was used to turn the hose on and off and to switch between drawing out the contents and refilling the tank with water and microbes.

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Wonder what he is looking at.

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Talking Chit

Talking Chit

When the tank was cleaned and refilled the hole was returned to its original condition.

Dude, don't fall in

Dude, don't fall in

"They'll never know I was ever here"

"They'll never know I was ever here"

I chuckled as he cleaned up. He walked around the circle twice, tamping down the turf and sweeping away the excess dirt. He even brought out a bucket with grass seed and sprinkled it over the area.

I’ve been thinking about putting a labyrinth in the yard someplace. Now that I know the location of the septic tank lid, I have an idea where NOT to put the labyrinth. I don’t think a labyrinth over a septic tank would be good ju-ju.

As Erma Bombeck once said, “the grass is always greener over the septic tank” (and is the first spot where the snow melts in the winter.)


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Not So Silent Sunday

This past week we had a few trees cut down in the backyard. These were trees that were damaged in last December’s ice storm. We jokingly referred to the tree removal as “the Orc destroying the Ents.”  Even though the trees were damaged (some with large branches that snapped off due to the ice storm) I still hated to have them cut down and removed. The job was completed today, hence the ‘not so silent Sunday’ title for this post.

Here are a couple pictures of the Orc (aka Walter) cutting down the trees.

treecutter1

treecutter2

Unlike the Orcs in The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Walter was much neater and removed most of the debris. I’m sure Treebeard would have approved.


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Day 18

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Wow! Can it be that I’ve reached the almost half way point (18.5 days really) in the 37 Day challenge?

Would you believe I had to count on the calendar to find the half way point? Seriously; the first few days were hard and now it seems that the days are just moving along. I realized I needed to find the half way point and check in.

If you’re just joining us, I’ll briefly explain what this is all about. Patti Digh put forth a challenge to her blog readers to participate in a 37 Day challenge. A challenge to do one small thing for 37 days; something small, doable, actionable.  And the only person your responsible to is yourself.

My challenge is to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet, especially chocolate.

The first few days felt like deprivation because I love chocolate. At one point I even stuck my nose in the candy jar just to inhale the scent of chocolate. Ironically, the next day I read about a guy who has invented a “chocolate inhaler”called Le Whif.

I’ve faced a few challenges during this time: a friend’s birthday party, Easter, dessert indulgences when dining out (why must the French be so good at making desserts?)

I find that my challenge is all about making good decisions.  I know that chocolate and sugar are my Achilles heel. Challenging myself to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet is a way to eat even healthier and to make healthier choices.

During this time my friend Judy has embarked on her own challenge to be “fit by 50″ through diet and exercise. You can read her story here. Through her I found SparkPeople, a website that lets you track your food choices and exercise schedule. Though this challenge isn’t about doing multiple things at once, it has prompted me to engage in a little more exercise. This is not to say that exercise is my substitute for consuming sugar. It is to say that by becoming a little more conscious of my food choices, I find that I’m slowly getting back into exercise.

Therefore this challenge has created two positive outcomes: healthier food choices and exercise.

Not bad for only 18 days.

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