Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weekword: Transition

John over at Healing Seed is hosting this weeks WeekWord: Transition.

Some transitions are difficult for me. I go great guns at the work in front of me UNTIL I am interrupted or have to transition to something else. Then I seem to get lost. I have ADHD and my extreme distractibility comes into play during the transitions between activities where I am just as likely or more likely to do something stupid and inappropriate as to do what my next priority is.

(Click image to view larger.)

One of the transitions I find most difficult is from waking to sleep--and vice versa!! Needless to say, I suffer from insomnia and tend to lay awake TRYING to sleep. This image was painted by me in artrage).

Then, after not sleeping half the night or more, Idon't want to transition back to day time, because I'm too tired!! (Click image to view larger. This image was constructed in artrage).

I forgot to make my hair grey in the original version of the second image. That's another transition I'm having trouble with--moving into being old gracefully!

I think of myself as young, beautiful, vibrant, alive, and I look in the mirror and see a tired old woman staring back at me.

My two favorite transitions I think, are from winter to spring and from summer to fall.

(Click image to view larger)

It's winter here, and cold, but flocks of robins feeding on the crabapples make me think spring will soon be here.

(photo by KT)

One transition I'm happy to embrace is that of being a new grandmother--though the aging part of grandmotherliness is not so much fun. I love my new new grandson!!
(under construction)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unsolicited Advice

Unsolicited Advice


I would like to have a discussion about unsolicited advice, both the giving and, particularly, the receiving of it.


I do not like receiving unsolicited advice and I TRY to make it a point NOT to give it.  In some cases, I am even hesitant to give asked for advice. because it is often so unwelcome.


One must advise one's children while they are young. But I would prefer advice between adults to come when requested and to not come at other times, when unrequested and particularly when unwanted, inappropriate, and hurtful.


One of my family members often gives unsolicited advice.  I love and respect him and I respect his expertise and opinion WHEN I WANT help.  However, when I tell him about a problem I am having, and what I want is sympathy, understanding, hugs, he often gives me unsolicited advice instead.  I am being twice frustrated, once by not getting what I need and want and again by getting something unwelcome.


I think he offers unwelcome advice because:

1.     He loves me

2.     He cares about me.

3.     He wants to HELP


However, instead of feeling grateful, I feel

1.     Angry and defensive.

2.     Offended and belittled

a.     I am offended because

                                               i.     I feel as if he is assuming

1.     that he knows more than I do

a.     He DOES know more than I do on certain topics, but he often offers advice on topics where I know as much or more as he does.

2.     that I am too stupid to figure things out and work them out on my own

                                              ii.     I feel as if I am being treated like a young, wayward child


I know that in AA, Al-anon and other twelve-step programs, we are advised NOT to give unsolicited advice.  They say, and I quote, "Unsolicited advice can be seen as a passive-aggressive, condescending way of telling you that they think you're stupid or inferior."  And I have to say, that is exactly how it makes me feel!


How can I respond to it in a way that values and respects my loved one and at the same time, preserves my self-respect, dignity and intellectual capacity? A person could always choose to ask, before giving unsolicited advice, if it were wanted.


There are some exceptions to this rule—sometimes—RARELY—a friend must speak up and be honest in order to help a friend.  Sometimes, even interventions are needed.  But not multiple times in a single day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weekword: Mercurial (Post in progress)

Carmen over at Biomouse is Hosting the Weekword this week, and it is Mercurial!! So hop on over there and sign up.

Mercurial is a very interesting word.

The guy at the left is my mercurial husband, mercurial in this case because he's shiny like mercury!

I am a Gemini, and Geminis are ruled by Mercury. Voila my self portrait above, done while under the influence of illness. There are two aspects of the self-portrait that reflect mercury--one is the metallic appearance which reminds me of the metal, mercury and the other is the twins, Gemini. Even though I am a scientist, I am not going to apologize for the unscientific "Astrology" reference. Because I am also a poet, I value symbolism. In the portrait above, I show myself young and old. Note that my older self is much toothier than my young self. (Click image to view larger).

My father was a chemist, and I had my own chemistry lab as a kid, in my room, and as a teen in the basement. My father brought me a bottle of mercury from the lab where he worked and I played with it and held it in my hand. I loved the cool metallic liquid flowing from hand to hand and they way it beaded up into balls. Much of it escaped into my bedroom. Some of my health issues may stem from mercury poisoning. My health is mercuric as a partial result of mercury.

Mercurial is moody, and boy can I be moody! I am so lucky to have found a man who can love me for my good sides and tolerate my moodiness! I hope it's just a coincidence that my unhappy self seems larger than my happy self!

Mercury is a planet (and I used to be a planetarium Director). The planet must be mercurial!

Mercury is a car--and we own one. Is the car Mercurial?

Here I am on our blue Mercury Grand Marquis holding the sun in one hand and Mercury in the other! I am feeling Mercurial!

I eat a lot of fish and worry they might be mecurial! AK! Poor fish. Poor planet. Poor me, you and everyone.

OK, I'm getting completely carried away here--but I was just remembering how when I got a new pair of running shoes, I felt as if my feet were winged. Here I am racing my brother as a kid, with my winged Mercury snow boots, determined to win. (If you can't see the wings and want to--by now you may be sick of this post), click on the image to make it bigger--or on any other image).

More to come (I hope). Maybe before Friday I will do some real art or poetry instead of fever dreams!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"delightful" new diet :-(

I just reached my lowest point of 2011.  :-D

Good news, right?  :-D

I had started the diet shortly after the new year, and had steadily lost weight daily until I reached 9 pounds.  THEN, with no change in the diet, I started GAINING WEIGHT daily!  for 3-4 days!

So what turned things around?  

Remember how I mentioned that when I was in the hospital with ML for her mastectomies, Graham was home sick from school?  I probably failed to mention he barfed in the kitchen sink when Laura Lindow had come for his piano lesson, and I had to clean it up.  Well, he gave me a delightful gift--I've been barfing my brains out for 18 hours.  I can't hold anything down, including water and am getting dehydrated!  :-(

That's probably why I lost weight.  No water (or food) for 18 hours.  As soon as I recover, I'll probably gain it back.  Meanwhile, I am desperately thirsty and afraid to drink anything.  Even a sip sets me off.  And barfing is not my favorite activity.  :-(

I'm pretty much too weak to do anything, either.  I've been in bed all day.

Unlike a snail mail letter, there are no germs attached to this email.

I hope ML doesn't get sick--I was with her almost all day Thursday and some yesterday, and also Graham, the day before he got sick!


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Weekword: simplicity

Welcome to my post on the WeekWord simplicity for Friday January 7, 2011! Click this link to see more thoughts and images on simplicity or to participate. Everyone is welcome!

It might have been in 1968. I joined an organization called the Traveler's Directory. In my description of myself, I included the phrase "I love simplicity--and complexity." I had been studying Zen Buddhism, meditating, trying to simplify my life. "Chop wood, carry water." That came along later, but it was what I thought I wanted. My natural tendency, however, was to complicate everything.

For years, I have been photographing simple "Zen-like" scenes: a single shell embedded in sand, a single feather floating on the water, a single blossom of a flower. But look closely at the photo above, and you can see how I failed. The surface of the sand is riddled with raindrops, old and new, that have given the sand an intricate pattern. The zebra mussel shell has interesting concentric lines and worn corners and the shell contains air, sand and something unknown, where once it contained life.

Simplicity is elusive, but can be pleasing.

What could be simpler than a Zen brush painting? One brush, one color, only a few strokes. Right. What no one tells you is how many times you have to do it over and over to get one to come out right. Practice practice practice. This painting is new. I did it tonight. I did not follow a prescribed pattern, I studied instead the insect itself. Or--rather--some photographs of crickets. I have had no training. I just want to achieve simplicity on some level. I did, however, use a real bamboo brush, a large one--which is very challenging (for me).

My life is more like this in its complexity, only even more chaotic, of course. This is another new painting--I did last night and worked on some more tonight. It is gouache on colored paper. It s for a children's book I am illustrating, written by my daughter for my grandson.

Families are never simple, nor are they simple to paint. This painting was difficult for me. Maybe the hardest one I've ever done.

My imaginary life of simplicity would look something like this picture of my husband with our new grandson:

Of course, were I to Zoom out, the scene would look more like the complex painting above!

I also write poetry and my poetry is rarely an expression of simplicity. I have, however, just received a book with one of my haiku in it, and in celebration of that and the weekword, I wrote this poem (just now)(A Haiku):

Sweeps of Blue

Like simple brushstrokes,
snowflakes whisper over drifts,
pile in arching curves.

There is a genre of one-word poems, but I am not going to attempt one of those at the moment. I wrote another poem today, which, like the painting above, is probably the antithesis of simplicity.

Most flowers are also not simple. Any botanist can tell you about the complexity of an orchid or a dandelion. But here's one that at least looks simple. All the images expand when clicked on.

I'll be looking forward to sharing YOUR thoughts on simplicity.