Friday, October 17, 2014

The Puzzle of Life

This is one of my first papier mache projects.  I decided to create my last initial, and I wanted it to stand alone when finished.  My life's philosophy has always incorporated the idea that life can change in a moment.  There would be no real rhyme or reason to a lot that happens in a lifetime.
Also, you can never predict how the rough passages will come out.  You can't foretell when it's going to settle down and experience smooth sailing.  So, yes, life is a puzzle indeed.
I am also a puzzle person.  I like to work the jigsaw puzzles, especially in the winter when it's too nasty to get out in the weather.  When I started this project, this was all swirling around in my head.  Going through a closet I realized I had a couple of puzzles with missing pieces.  So I pulled one of them, and rummaged through the box to look for the ones I wanted to incorporate into the finished work.
Can you tell that one side (the top one) has a pretty smooth finish?  The other I pushed the pieces into the papier mache mess so there is a jagged finish.  While working up the pulp I found an old container of a child's watercolor set.  I started mixing in colors into the pulp, using browns and oranges because they matched some of the background colors of the puzzle pieces. 
The pulp just slurped up that color and absorbed it quickly.  I wound up going back to the store and getting a few more watercolor sets, going through those colors in no time.  After completing the piece, I went back several times and repainted the watercolors until I was satisfied.  After a few coats of polyethylene I declared it done, a ten inch piece of special memories. 
I did this piece a long time ago, but still find pleasure in having it on a bookshelf.  Do you have a special work of art you created for your own pleasure that has stood the test of time, at least in your own mind?  Love to have you share.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Achy Little Piggies

                    There was a time I suppose
                    When I had pretty little toes --
                    Those stubby nubbins at the end of the feet
                    That let you dance to your special beat.
                    They knew their place and they kept it
                    Till they started acting decrepit

                         There came a time deep in the night
                         I slept, my eyes shut tight
                         But those little traitors (to call their right name)
                         Put all decency to shame.
                         For stabs of pain in my big toe
                         And swelling red skin did quickly show

                    Peace was gone now from my slumber
                    Those little piggies had my number.
                    To touch the sheet would make me shout
                    You know the rest - I had gout.
                    A vicious disorder I declare
                    It makes me squawk:  This just ain't fair!!!

Have you suffered some disorder you had to deal with?  Plesase share.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Season for Love

There's something about a beautiful fall day.  Today has been one of those days.  Beauiful weather, moderate temperature, the hint of rain in the air, though as yet none has fallen, and fall decorations popping up all over the place.  The picture above is one outside a business here in Perryville.

Then, when all seems right in the world and there is no way for the day to get better, the radio plays a song that captures the feeling of love in the air.  One from my childhood that has always stayed with me and pops up out of the blue is "Autumn Leaves" by Roger Williams.  I do like that song.  Yes, it is melancoly, but the tumbling piano keys mimic the colorful leaves and their trajectory as they fall from the quickly changing trees everywhere.

What about Rosemary Clooney singing "Shine on Harvest Moon?"  How can you not like this song?  And a little side note:  did you see the Blood Moon yesterday morning?  I tried, but didn't get the timing right.  (Heavy sigh!!)  But I shall try again come April 2015 when it is again supposed to make an appearance.

Another song with a fall flavor is "Whoever's in New England" by Reba McEntire.  She has such a beautiful voice and the song is wonderful.  I'm not sure I'd have such a forgiving attitude, though, if I was in that same situation.  I'd probably be singing, "Keep your sorry self in New England 'cause I'm completely through with you."

There are more songs, of course.  Do you have a favorite?  I'd love to hear from each and every one of you, because music does indeed bring us all together in a special way.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A New Beginning

                                                    (An old Perryville school building)

I remember my first day of school.  I think I remember the actual event, but it is possible what I remember is the retelling of the story of that first day.

My older brother was already in school and we often walked with him, though there were times he came home in the presence of others.  The school was at most maybe a half-mile away, so it wasn't far.  When I started Mom walked us both to school.

I enjoyed the morning.  Then we were sent outside.  So out I went.  However, while the others headed off to the playground, I headed off to the house.  I thought the day was over and we were being sent home.  Needless to say, Mom was less than pleased to see me walk in the door.  Once she determined why I was there, back we went.

She strongly impressed on me that when school was out the teacher would say so.  I was not to leave until then, and even then I should stay until I saw my brother.  We would go home together.  She took me inside and explained the situation to the teacher.  I apologized, of course.  Kids did that then.

Before she left the building she also visited my brother and told him to make sure I was with him when he left for the day.  So every day the teacher would make sure I knew it was okay to leave and watch to make sure my brother was with me when we did leave the premises.  All that was not necessary.  The lesson had been adequately instilled in my mind and I certainly was not going home alone again.  But a routine was established and we practiced that until Christmas.

At that time we left California and moved to Rush Springs, Oklahoma.  There we rode the bus, so I had to wait to leave until the bus arrived for us.  I did miss that daily walk, though.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Something Special

There are some things that just come into your life unexpectedly, but yet feel like that should have been there forever.  This weaving is one of my special treasures.

I attended a speech-language pathologist convention in Hot Springs, Arkansas, about 25 years ago.  While I enjoyed most of these events and visiting with others in the field, that year I was a bit restive.  Lunch time arrived and I felt the need to get out of the building for awhile.  So I took off, exploring the many shops in the area, just window shopping.  I didn't feel the need to look for something to buy, just a place to go and browse.

One shop had a lot of interesting decorative items and the selection was interesting.  I came upon this piece hanging on the wall and it just felt "right."  I loved the colors, the shading, the overall design.  But I was not there to buy.  I walked away and looked at other things in the store.  But I kept coming back to this one.

Finally I left the store.  We were still at a time in our lives where we were budget minded and buying some art piece was definitely not in the plan.  But I couldn't get it out of my mind.  I knew if I walked away without it, I'd feel incomplete in some way.  Finally I turned back, marched into the store, and without hesitation said, "I'll take it."

Over the years it has hung on several different walls.  First in my office when I had a private practice.  Later in a bedroom, then the living room, and finally in the computer room.  When we moved to a new house it went into the library, and now it's back in the computer room.  I look at it often, and I'm still so very glad I made that purchase that day. 

Do you have something special that makes you feel good?  Something you love to display for all the world to see, but yet can enjoy when you are alone with your thoughts?  Something that helps your creative muse emerge and lets you explore so many different thoughts?  I'd love to know about it.  Share if you'd like.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Allure of Sleepy Hollow

                                                          Sleepy Hollow Access
                                                              Lake Maumelle

It's the brink of October and fall is in the air.  With the hint of Halloween lingering close by, the changing of the colors in the trees, the shorter days of autumn, it is easy to remember Washington Irving's story:  The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Arkansas is 1260 miles from Tarrytown, New York, which is where Irving and his family moved in 1798 to escape an epidemic of yellow fever.  Autumn there is no doubt cooler than here.  But even here we enjoy hearing a good ghost story every now and then.  Irving tapped into portion of the brain we all secretly wonder about.

People are intrigued by this story, even down to today.  Published in 1819 it still captures the imagination of so many of us on those closed in dark days of fall.  This interest is evident in many places around the country, and yes, even here in Arkansas.

Sleepy Hollow Access is a park approximately 30 miles west of Little Rock.  As seen on a beautiful day it is a peaceful place giving access to Lake Maumelle.  The lake is very popular with the local fishermen.  My husband and I once camped there overnight, oh so many years ago.  We had fun, but when you awake on a cool morning and the fog has rolled in off the water and the visibility is almost nil with civilization not so close by, you can almost imagine what Irving's character, Ichabod Crane, experienced on that fateful night when he rode out to meet the Headless Horseman.

I don't know who suggested the name for this park, but I like it.  And I enjoy stopping by every now and then for a quiet peaceful reverie.  If you're ever in the area, look it up.  See if you are captured by the beautiful trees and quiet river.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kids and False Alarms

People have always needed a way to transmit information about disasters, especially fires.  For a long time they were limited to using bells, whistles, gun shots and watchmen in towers.  In the 1850's a Massachusetts physician came up with an alarm system using electromagnetics and the telegraph to send a coded message to a central fire station.  There were various improvements made and the Gamewell became very popular.

However, civilization progresses in many directions.  Such was the case with sending in a fire alarm.  There came a time when telephones were saturating neighborhoods and the fire alarm box was becoming obsolete.  That was when they became  a focal point for neighborhood kids.  They discovered that pulling the hook would bring firemen with their trucks rushing into the area.  It was fun for them, especially on those long hot summer days.  It reached a point where the majority of calls coming over the system were false alarms.

My husband was a fireman in Little Rock, Arkansas, for many years.  When an alarm from a box came in they would arrive to see all the neighborhood kids waiting for them.  They would lecture the kids and go back to the station only to have the process repeated.

One time they got there to find a five year old boy standing on a box he had used to get him up high enough to pull the alarm.  He was grinning with pride at doing the call successfully.  The police also made the run and the policeman asked the boy for his name and address.  He quickly gave the info to the cop.  My husband interjected, saying that's not a good address; they don't run that high in this area.

The policeman asked again.  The boy immediately provided a different name and address to the cop.  My husband again said, no way, it's not a good address.  By talking to the other kids it was eventually ascertained the address where the boy was said to live.  It was close by.  The cop and the firemen accompanied the boy to the home and a man soon answered their knock.

The cop explained what had happened and the boy must not do this again.  The man said he would take care of it.  When asked if he was the father, he replied, "No, but I'm closely associated with his mama."

Needless to say, this became one of the stories that circulated through the company.  And the phrase enjoyed a period of time when it was often used with their own kids when talking about discipline that could occur when something was reported back to their child's own mother.  "You better watch it, kid.  I'm closely associated with your mother and she'll help me get to the bottom of this situation."

In the early 1980's the boxes were deemed no longer necessary and were removed.  There was a resultant decline in the number of false alarms.  The neighborhood kids had to find something else to occupy their summer days of boredom.