Sunday, February 28, 2010

It is pretty out in a dreary kind of way. The subtlest dusting of snow gives everything a steely look. The birds have arrived for breakfast 1/2 an hour early. When I first started feeding the birds in December it was mainly juncos, also known by their prettier name, snowbirds. Now I have a whole host of feathered friends; chickadees, tufted titmouse, an occasional downy woodpecker at the suet feeder, morning doves and yesterday my first purple finch. Tedsey loves to sit in the blue chair and watch the birds; mostly he snoozes.
Everyone who lives in New England talks about the weather incessantly and often in a grousing kind of way. " Too cold, too snowy, too windy, too icey, too rainy...." This last week of monsoon rains with basements flooding, power outages and no doubt devastating erosion has tested everyones mettle.
It seems to be snowing everywhere but Concord. Paul's brother called from N.J. to tell him they were all celebrating a 2nd snow day, had 24 inches and were skiing in their backyard. Peter texted us yesterday " awesome pow day at Sunday River " I am an eternal optimist (or try to be) and even I am feeling gray around the gills. Then I realize there's always March. Let it snow like it did in December and then let it be spring!

Friday, February 26, 2010

" the aim of life is to
live, and to live
means to be aware,
joyously, drunkenly,
serenely, divinely
aware "
( henry miller )

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The power of a card

I made 5 cards for Valentines day; one for Paul, one for Peter, one for Alex and two extra. I liked the two extra I made and decided to have them made into cards I could send year round.
I love cards and send cards all the time. Finding the perfect card for someone is a worthy challenge. I also collect cards. When I see one I like I buy it and save it. My collection of cards is organized by occasion in a lucite holder I found for three dollars at Ginny Nickerson' s yard sale years ago. In a pinch, I always have a card when I need it.
Last night when I got home from a quiet day at the art store where I work , I was delighted to see a hand written card peaking out from a pile of bills and junk mail. It had a rubber stamp at the bottom and in very neat print was written my name. Inside was a handmade valentine from my friend Barbara. It was a brilliant card and I cannot describe how happy it made me. I realized I hardly ever get cards anymore , more often I get evites.( those are green but not nearly as exciting, yes I am woefully old fashioned... )
Later that night Alex called to say he had gotten my my card and how much he loved it. He said
" The artwork is really good Mom. " In the morning I had sent out my first official card orders. My best friend ordered 50 of the sailboat painting on driftwood ( in earlier post ) and another friend ordered 25. I think I am going into the card business! I will keep you all posted.
It is finally snowy here and the winter light is magic. " Today is a gift, that is why we call it the present. "

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I love Valentines day. I've always been partial to hearts so it's the perfect excuse to draw hearts, paint hearts and cut out hearts. It is also a great opportunity to use everything I have "recycled for art sake " such as yogurt cups, styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons and onion bags. All the scraps of paper I have saved, stamps from letters, wrapping tissue and old ribbon find new life in my creations. Turn on some good music, grab some paint, rubber stamps, markers, gel medium, scissors and whatever inspires. Spread it all out on the biggest table you have and let it flow. I send you all my heart and wish you a happy Valentines day and lots of chocolate. I like dark, hint, hint...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What I wore

Last week I started my second session of a writing class with my friend and writing teacher, Barbara O'Neil. The practice she teaches is based on the book " Writing Down the Bones " by Natalie Goldberg. There are six rules to Natalie's practice.
1) Keep your hand moving across the page.
2) Don't cross out.
3) Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar etc.
4) Lose control.
5) Don't think. Don't get logical.
6) Go for the jugular.
This is an unedited version of a 10 minute writing I did on the prompt "What I wore"
Up until that point I wore my everyday clothes to work but as things got more and more unbearable I got this idea that I should wear an armored vest over my clothes so I could deflect the toxic vibes that came at me relentlessly and out of nowhere. The place I worked was so dysfunctional, competitive and insane that I was feeling my spirit assaulted and diminished. I'm not sure where I came up with the idea but I decided I would wear this armor every day and I would also chant in my head " It's not about me, it's not about me. " The phrase " loving kindness " was part of the whole practice as well. I can't say these conjured up solutions worked every day but they did work a lot of the time. The best part was no one knew what I was up to much less what I was wearing and I loved that secret. Sometimes I would just chuckle as I went down the hallway or even chant out loud " It's not about me, it's not about me. " The notion that the kids might think I was a bit mad did not worry me in the least. I was smiling as I chanted and that sent out positive energy. Out to them and back to me. Sometimes the kids would say " You have mad energy Mrs. Litwin " and I would think, " If only you knew how mad."