Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Monday Reflection: The Paradox of Our Age

We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street to meet
our new neighbor.

We built more computers to hold more information
to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.

-H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama


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A Little of This, A Little of That

Happy September !

So, perhaps you’re thinking I fell off the face of the blogosphere. Not really; just spent some time out of town visiting family and haven’t been terribly focused on blogging since my return. I seem to go through phases like that. I admire bloggers who maintain their blogs posting something every day or nearly every day.  My hats off to you!  Of course, I sometimes wonder when those bloggers sleep as well. Maybe they have little blogging elves working for them.

Family; most of my family now lives in Ohio. It had been nearly two years since I saw my family. Yes, nearly two years. We do keep in touch via phone and email but face-to-face visits aren’t frequent. This has its pros and cons: you miss the dramas and you miss the dramas.

Here are a couple pictures of my family, taken before Sunday brunch.

Me and my brother Chris

Me and my brother Chris

Me, April, Mom, & Cindy

Me, April, Mom, & Cindy

Fall Just Around the Corner

We’ve had some chilly mornings the past few days. You know it is officially cool and that fall can’t be too far away when Woody the elder becomes Woody the bed lump:

Woody the Bed Lump

Woody the Bed Lump

Yes, he just loves to crawl under the bed covers and sleep for hours. Or at least until his tummy gets grumbly and he comes looking for lunch. I’ve often wondered how he breathes when under the covers. I tried napping under the covers once and found it rather stifling. But then, I’m not a cat, so what do I know.

Weekend Workshop

Natalie, a fellow art guild member, and I attended a great workshop this past weekend. The workshop was “Starving to Successful: Art Marketing Strategies for Professional Artists” by J. Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.  Jason shared lots of great tips and recommendations for working with galleries, how to approach galleries, creating a portfolio and how much art work to have ready before approaching galleries. While I was familiar with some of the information, overall the entire workshop left both of us motivated to set new goals and to move our work to the next level.

And it was nice attending the workshop with a friend because Saturday was the day Hurricane Danny hit Massachusetts.  Natalie and I both admitted that if we had to attend the workshop alone, it would have been mighty easy to hit the snooze button, roll over, and go back to bed given the rain falling at the wee hour of 6:00 AM that morning. Fortunately, Danny didn’t dump as much rain in our area as originally predicted. We had 2.5″ and some areas had up to 5″.  The original prediction was for 5″ to 7″ of rain.

Senator Ted Kennedy

If you had the telly on as August rolled to a close, you were certainly aware of all the coverage on the passing of Sen. Kennedy. I heard of his passing the morning I left Ohio and was deeply saddened by the news. Like many other people, I kept hoping this day wouldn’t come. Being from Massachusetts, you start to believe that Sen. Kennedy would always be around.

When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor my heart sank. I know how brutal that diagnosis can be. As has been reported by all the media, Sen. Kennedy beat the odds to some extent. He did live longer than expected. Unfortunately his age was probably against him.

As footage played of his last appearances, I started to remember where I was at those various times. When he announced his support of Barack Obama’s candidacy for President in January, 2008, we were skiing at Deer Park in Utah. The mountain was fogged in and snowy and I stayed off the slopes that morning.  When he spoke at the DNC in Colorado, I was here at home watching the convention.

Okay, does this mean I’m getting old if I can pinpoint where I was or what I was doing during certain memorable events?

Anyways, I was not always a big fan of Senator Kennedy. I was especially turned off when his nephew William Kennedy Smith was charged with rape following an evening of drinking with Uncle Ted and cousin Patrick.  I’m sure I thought, at the time, “there go the Kennedy’s, protecting each other no matter what, even if one is potentially guilty.”

Yet over this past weekend I couldn’t help but be drawn to watch the memorial, parts of the funeral service, and the burial. I learned how this man, admitted faults and all, earned the respect of so many people. That he was human. That he fought for what he believed in and that compromise, within reason, was the approach that garnered results. I was awed by the number of people whose lives he touched in both public and private ways.

Sometimes we realize too late how important someone really is to us.

While I imagine that Senator Kennedy didn’t want tons of acclaim for all he did, I did learn the importance of truly admiring and valuing people while they still walk this earth, no matter who they are or what they do.

Most people don’t ask for glorious recognition for all they do; a simple thank you will suffice. I am trying to put this into practice myself each day. How about you?


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Let The Line of The Rope Guide You

I’ve wanted to write this post for a couple of days. It wasn’t until I saw a line of preschoolers crossing the street while holding onto a rope that I felt inspired because they provided the name of the post. (Yes, sometimes I struggle with writing a post because I can’t come up with a catchy title. That holdover known as my ego expects me to say something profound.)

Anyways, there they were, all bundled in their winter coats, hats, and mittens, being led by an adult who held the rope at the front of the line. Each child held onto the rope with their left hands while walking across the street (in the crosswalk of course) and another adult brought up the rear and held onto the end of the rope.

I wished I’d taken a picture but my position in the line of cars didn’t make a clear shot feasible.

This past week, however, has been like those little preschoolers, escorted, and guarded by adults who guide them along the line of rope. This past week has been challenging as we’ve learned that Eric’s mom must have open heart surgery.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the universe works in mysterious ways. Eric’s mom had rheumatic fever as a child. So did my dad. Rheumatic fever has a direct impact on the mitral valve in the heart.  The mitral valve directs the flow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle of the heart. From there blood flows to the aorta and into the body.

My dad had mitral valve replacement surgery twice; once in the late 60’s-early 70’s (I was pretty young and have vague memories of the time line) and again in the late 80’s. And now my mother-in-law is in the same situation.  Is it coincidence that Eric and I met, married, and both have one parent with similar medical histories?  Is part of this ‘coincidence’ knowing that I’ve been through this situation before and can therefore offer knowledge based on that experience, understanding and emotional support?

And what does this have to do with a bunch of preschoolers holding a rope while they cross the street?

Well, this past week was like trying to hang on to that rope. You put trust in doctors and nurses to guide you in this situation. You remember how your parents were there to guide you and protect you. You watch intentions to stick to a schedule in the studio go flying out the window because making art is the last thing you wanted to do. You try to refocus yourself on paperwork and mundane tasks only to have your thoughts trickle back to the situation at hand.

And then you come to accept that this is the situation. This is the now and you need to be present in order to face it as best as you can.

Once a decision about surgery was made and a schedule in place, we were able to return to some normalcy and it felt quite good to work with clay again.  In a couple days we leave to be with Eric’s mom and family. I know my role this time is to offer emotional support; to get food and coffee, tea or soda, to provide a laugh, to say a prayer. I will be following the line of that rope as it guides us through this process.

I don’t expect to be online much next week which means the blog will be quiet during my absence though I may check in on Twitter.  Until then.

handrope-1

Photo from http://www.casahamaca.com


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Daily Tarot: The Empress

tarot-card-empress

Today’s Tarot card, The Empress, represents growth, prosperity, and fertility, and brings situations to fruition.  The Empress is represents of the female archetype in Tarot; the desirable female form but also loving, nurturing and mothering.

The archetype of this card is abundance, fertility, creativity, concern for nature, the arts, grace, beauty, and, at its worst, greed, possessiveness, and overindulgence.

The Empress manifests life throught the birthing process.  The earthly and heavenly symbols represent the integration of spiritual and earthly matters, realizing the full potential of the two, therefore creating the third energy.

The Empress is a card of nurturing in all its forms: creativity, work, children, and family.  She represents pregnancy, birth, motherhood, solid and happy relationships, and marriage.  This is a truly positive card.

Zodiac affinity: Venus


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For Dad

Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, is celebrated on November 1 & 2.  These are days set aside for honoring those who have passed before us.  Families set up altars in their homes to honor deceased relatives and celebrations are held graveside.

The remembrance of deceased ancestors and loved ones is traditional among many cultures and is often marked by the lighting of candles or lamps and the laying out of offerings such as food and drink.

dadblog.jpgWith these traditions in mind, I choose today to honor my dad, William J. Butler (1925-1990.)

This is one of my favorite pictures, taken when he and my mom were married.  My dad was the oldest of four children and first generation Irish born in the U.S.  He had a tough upbringing, losing both of his parents while he was still a child.  He dreamed of being a lawyer but learned a trade working as a sheet metal contractor, also affectionately known as, “a tin metal knocker.”

What I remember most fondly are the little songs he would sing and the silly little jokes that he would play on us, like short-sheeting our beds and putting perfectly cut sheets of wax paper in our lunch sandwiches.  I have two older brothers and two older sisters; we all played jokes on each other…afterall, we learned from dad.  There was a lot of laughter in our house.  I know where I get my sense of humor and smart-aleck remarks from.  It is that Irish gene.

I learned a lot about gardening from my dad.  He loved to go into the vegetable garden with a shaker of salt, pull a ripe tomato from the vine, sprinkle a little salt on it, and eat it fresh right there.  Everytime we grow our own tomatoes, I think of him.

What I miss are our heartfelt conversations, sitting on the porch and looking at the stars and reading the Sunday paper.  Dad would read the paper from front to back.  I do the same thing.

There are many things I never got to tell him and some things I probably shouldn’t have said; life is funny like that.  Sometimes I pass a man on the street who reminds me of my dad.  When that happens I like to think that he is watching out for me.  We all have angels, you know.

So today I honor you, dad, for all the laughs and good memories we shared.  I know you’re looking down on all of us, keeping watch, keeping us safe, and I know that you are proud.

If you have a relative or pet that you would like to honor, write a post on your blog and link back to this post.  If the trackback works as it should, I’ll post another entry with your blog pages honoring your relative or pet.

If you’d like more information on Dia de los Muertos, visit here and here.