Friday, January 31, 2014


Collaboration with Andrea
faber-Castelle India Ink pen, water color

A bit closer
click on these to view larger
Wolf envelope revisited
(Played with it a little)
My collaboration and first page in Andrea's, 4th round, 2nd pass.  I did the snake.  Plus the back of the envelope to mail to Mike, when I finish my set. (I did the wolf) (I think the spots on the first two are sensor spots from my husband's camera, as my scanner isn't working.)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wish List for 2014

Robin 1-13-14
Pier Park
Photo by Mary Taitt
digitally manipulated with oil point filter
(click image to view larger)

OK, my next goals-track challenge is to make a wish list for 2014:

Write a wish list for the next year.

How to do it
Spend a minute making an uncensored list of everything you want in your life for the next year. On the list, include your desires for your health, money, friendships, romantic relationships, career, and hobbies. Circle the top two things you'd like to achieve. Are there steps you can take to make them a reality?
Daily Challenge
Why it matters
Thinking about how you'd like your year to go helps you clarify your goals, and making a list makes them that much more real. Once you've picked the two that are most meaningful to you, you can begin to identify the concrete, measurable actions you need to take. After all, every big success comes only after many mini ones.

Okay, this should be fun! It says UNCENSORED!

So that means I can write down everything I want, even if it's absurd, right?

My uncensored wish list:

I want radiant good health!
I want world peace!
I want happiness, joy and serenity.
I want abundant love and friendship.
I want satisfaction and fulfillment.
I want to finish Uncertain Weather, at least a first draft.
I want to finish AND PUBLISH (at least at Shutterfly) Frankie and Noah Have a Party.
I want to prepare for NaNoWriMo 2014 even if I don't do it.
I want to COMPLETE my projects.  Large and small.
I want to get Frog Haven ready to send out again.
I want to sleep well at night and wake well in the morning and be alert during the day. I would like to be free from insomnia.
I want to be able to sing.
I want to have less pain pain and suffering for myself and others.
I want meaningful conversation.
I want time with others (love and friendship, real face time) balanced with positive solitude and working time.
I would like to balance working time with relaxation.
I would like to worry less.  ("What, me worry?")
I would like to feel less overwhelmed. (Sleeping better might help with that.)
I want ecological health for the world.

OK, I am identifying three things, not two:  HEALTH, COMPLETION and LOVE/FRIENDSHIP.

Here comes the procrastination part, though.  I am working on health.  Need to continue working and take further steps.  And I am working on friendship/love, although my tiredness and pain-induced crankiness doesn't help.

What I need to do for the next step in completing Uncertain Weather is to reread it, a major project, since I've gotten out of touch over the holidays.  And I do not want to start the next painting for Frankie and Noah until the next Mole arrives--OR--until I finish my gift cards, anyway.  I am way behind on that.

There were flocks of robins at Pier Park the day before yesterday.  I know they stay all winter, but seeing them still represents hope to me.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Role Model(s)

The Teeth of Joy II
digitally altered watercolor painting
originally done for yesterday's challenge
for John Gibson
click image to view larger.

Today's goal setting assignment is to list 5 qualities you admire in a role model.

Describe your success role model by writing down 5 qualities you admire about this person.

How to do it
Write down the name of one person - you don't even have to know him or her personally - whose level of success you admire. Jot down at least five qualities that make this person successful. Is he known for getting to work early? Does she practice certain habits, such as meditation or exercise, daily? Did he take big risks when starting out in his career?

I think they mean one role model for all five of the qualities.  Since following instructions is not my strong suite, I want to list qualities from several people:

The Buddha:  Serenity

Jesus:  love and compassion

Mother Theresa:  Loving compassionate service

Margaret Atwood:
  1. intelligence
  2. perception
  3. knowledge
  4. humor
  5. hard work (writing and publishing good novels)*
*I would like to be able to write and publish good novels.

Another quality I admire is responsibility, that is, being on time and doing the job one needs to do.  I have someone in mind but would prefer not to name that person.  I also have someone in mind who exhibits the opposite tendencies, and would also prefer not to name that person.  (I do not mean myself).  The contrast between the two is astounding, and I want to be on the continuum closest to the one who is good at being responsible!

I could go on and on with people I admire and the things I admire about them--many names are popping into my head.  I could list many other writers I admire (Barbara Kingsolver, for example and many others), and artists I admire, and kind people I admire.  However, the challenge only asked for one person and 5 qualities, so I shall practice at least a modicum of restraint and stop now.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Mission Statement for Today and 2014

The Teeth of Joy
by Mary Stebbins Taitt
digitally manipulated watercolor painting
Dedicated to John Gibson

Each of these assignments from the goal setting track seems to me to require a great deal of thought.  Here is today's assignment:

Write your personal mission statement, something that explains who you are and what you believe.

How to do it
A personal mission statement can be in whatever form you wish - a list, a sentence, or a paragraph. If the thought of a mission is intimidating, consider this a personal statement or credo. What's most important is that you draft a statement to explain who you are, why you exist, your personal values, and what you hope to achieve. An example mission might read: "I make a difference in the lives of others by using my artistic abilities and social network to bring art experiences to people in my community," or "The work I do as a parent is important because I'm raising my children to be kind and productive."
I've done this before, created a Mission Statement, but I no longer know where it is.  It used to be posted in my office somewhere.

I believe in kindness, to others and to myself.
I believe in love, in loving myself and others.
I believe in joy.
I believe in balance, an appropriate dynamic balance.
I believe in energy, in the flow and exchange of energy.
I believe in creativity, in the life giving life-sharing benefits of creativity.
I believe in intelligence, in a variety of different kinds of intelligences.
I believe in life.

I do not think an off-the-cuff Mission Statement will serve me terribly well, but I will start with something simple and revisit it.

My Mission Statement for today:

I, Mary, intend to use love, energy, kindness, joy, intelligence and creativity to provide, in a balanced and dynamic way, enjoyable, growth-inducing and healing experiences for myself, my family, my friends and my community.

What does that mean, exactly?  That I am going continue doing what I am doing? Kind of, with some modifications, perhaps.

I think it means I want and intend to do writing, art and other activities that provide happiness, joy, healing and understanding to myself and others.  Does that mean I cannot write about or paint negative things?  No!  Because for healing to occur, sometimes we have to see, understand and confront the problem.

The thing that could be different is that I hope to pay more attention to whether my activities support this mission or not.


So what about yesterday's goals for today?  Did I call the dermatologist? Did I do my exercises?  No, not yet, but I haven't forgotten.  It's too early to call the dermatologist.  They don't open until 10 AM.  It's 8:15 AM here, now.  And I will do the exercises as soon as I finish this.  (Okay, I just went and did the exercises. I need to do them again tomorrow and that should reestablish the habit.  And now it is 8:56 and I want to make an art piece to go with this post.)


Quote for the day:  from Pat Barker's Life Class:  “It's the hardest thing in the world to go on being aware of someone else's pain.” 
― Pat Barker

 I just read that 2 minutes ago. How does that relate to my Mission Statement? It reminds me of the Bob Dylan Song, "Black Diamond Bay."

Because I am in physical pain much of the time, and because I am also in emotional pain, I seem if anything less able than before to contain other people's pain and react appropriately.  That is, people at a distance.  Especially masses of people. I can be empathetic and sympathetic of certain pain, especially specific individual pain, at least for a while.  So perhaps I could look at what small doable things I might do to help.  For example, would a card cheer someone up?  It won't help people dying of famine or cholera in the wake of a typhoon. But it might cheer someone who is lonely.


I tried to make a cheery painting to go with this post, but the one that I liked is not cheery.  Hmmm.  It's not outwardly cheery, but I like it anyway.  (Hope you do, too.)  It took more time than I intended to paint.


And, finally, I bit the bullet and called the dermatologist.  I'm not sure why I find this so difficult.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Setting Goals 2: Couleurs de Provence and a Realistic Date

Couleurs de Provence
I signed up for a month of "small" goal-setting exercises at Daily Challenge.  It seemed like an appropriate thing to do in January of a new year.  However, the "small" challenges seem really HUGE and difficult to me.  Today's challenge is even more difficult than yesterday's.

Here is the challenge:

Stop settling for "someday" and set a realistic date for reaching a longtime goal instead.

How to do it
Think of at least one of your goals that has "someday" as the due date. For example: "Someday I'll organize my book collection," or "Someday I'll send an email to that person I've lost touch with." Instead, identify a realistic date for when you can reach that goal. The length of time isn't important - maybe it's three months from now or maybe it's a year. The next time you mention that goal, pledge to replace "someday" with the specific date you chose.
This may not seem that difficult, but to me it is.  Or, it feels that way.  The thing is, the BIG goals, the ones I really want to accomplish, are not things I can easily set dates to.

My BIG goals include losing weight, finishing the first draft of the novel I am currently working on, finishing the children's book I am currently working on, finishing other books and big projects I am working on or keeping on fire on the back burner.  None of those are things I can set a date to.

I will, instead, set an intention, which I mentioned yesterday:  Completion.  My intention is to complete one project before I start the next one.  This sounds relatively simple, but is actually really complicated, because I have multiple projects already in progress and projects of various sizes and projects with various deadlines.

I'm having trouble figuring out how to wrap my mind around this.  For example, I like to alternate doing art with writing, because it cleanses the mental palette.  I also have poetry and fiction projects going.

I was impressed by Henry Miller's "Commandments."  Especially commandment #1, which I need to seriously consider.

I don't want to make "commandments."  I do want goals and intentions. And I want to come back monthly (at or near the beginning of each month) and evaluate my progress and remind myself of my goals.

I got all panicky thinking I had to make some huge commitment to finish something major by a given time, but then I reread the assignment and saw that the examples are small things like getting in touch with someone you hadn;t seen for a while.

I just recently did that, got in touch with an old friend I hadn't seen in maybe 15 or more years:

Oops, caught her with her eyes closed.  It was a treat to see her.

But, that's not solving the current problem, to stop procrastinating about something.  I get panicky making commitments about the future, so I say to myself, I stopped doing my exercises when I was sick, and then I was busy with NaNoWriMo and the holidays and traveling and I really want to get back to doing them, so I go do them.  Finally.  Now if I can just do them again tomorrow.

And I've been wanting to put the new CPAP masks and hoses on, so I go do that, and then I'm on a roll and change the sheets on the bed.  I've been wanting to move the couleurs de Provence pigments from the cute little containers they came in to something usable and practical so I go do that.  Finally.

That helps with some procrastination, but I didn't set a future date for something I will do.  Ugh.  Why am I hating this SO MUCH?  Why am I finding it so difficult?

OK, here goes:  Tomorrow, I will call the dermatologist and make an appointment.  I've been putting that off-i do not want to do it.  But I will.  There.  Bleah!  And tomorrow, I will do my exercises, also.    I need to do it for three days running or so to reestablish the habit.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

2014 Word of the Year: HEALTH; and Small contract

Stereo view of Adirondack chairs at Pier Park
click image to view larger.
This represents serenity for me,
one of the subcategories of health.

A/k/a Nadine over at In Blue Ink posted about a word of the year.  Her word is BRAVE.  My word is HEALTH.  (I want to be brave, too.  I will put that under health as a subcategory of mental health.) Other things to include as subcategories of health include:  Love, friendship, serenity, weight, completion.

My health has not been as good as I would like and I want to work on improving that.  As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to make truly healthy choices, and the consequences of failing are worse.  My health needs to be my number ONE priority.

(I like wildness, too.  Change can be good, but at my age, not all change is positive.  I'd like gentle positive change toward good health and good outcomes, LOL!)

When I have time, I hope to publish my intentions and goals for the new year and for January, which is almost half over.

(HAPPY NEW YEAR, by the way!!!)

I do not have time now, but I am committed to making a contract with myself.  The goal is to eat less meat, which is difficult for me because I can't eat beans or soy or peanuts and legumes and other things normally used to make a whole protein in a vegan diet.

So my contract is this:  For the remainder of January and all of February, I will eat vegetarian (but not vegan) breakfasts 3 days a week or more, and if something happens that I can't do it, I will substitute another meal.

My intention for this 6 weeks is to have vegetarian (non-meat) omelets Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and Blueberry pancakes (or other fruit pancake) Friday.  I will have meat, if I wish, with my breakfast, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I will look for ways to have more vegetarian lunches and dinners and ways to add vegan food to my repertoire.  I used to be a vegetarian before I developed all my allergies.  But I have to reinvent the wheel.  Little by little.

I hope to reevaluate this contract and change, expand, contract or eliminate it on or about March 1st.

"Final" Round 4 Moleskine Back COver

"Final" back Cover Round 4
Mary and Keith Self-portrait
I may fiddle with this a little more before I mail or after it comes back, but I'm probably quitting for now so it can be on the road asap.Painted nearly entirely with homemade paints with French pigments.

Keith as Santa
on envelope
I started this before Christmas, but of course, now it is a little out of date.

I am almost ready to mail.  Soon.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Unfinished Self-Portrait with Keith

I am working on a painting for the back cover of my Moleskine.  I figured it would be nice to finish it before I sent it off, but it is slow.  I am making my own acrylic paints with pigments from France my daughter brought me from her visit there.

First coat of paint:

Self-portrait with Keith
handmade acrylics
after one coat of paint
(not yet finished.)
Click this and all images to view larger

Second coat of paint:

Self-portrait with Keith
handmade acrylics
after two coats of paint
(not yet finished.)
Working at the dining room table:

We had more than a foot of snow and it was 11 below zero--I couldn't get to my "studio."  It's a little crowded and cluttered.  (Okay, it;s a LOT crowded and cluttered.)  The little vials are the dry pigments from France.

The photograph I am copying was taken December 28, 2013 by Harry Teichert at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House.  I hope to finish it soon and mail it off.