Thursday, March 31, 2005

Watch out!

AHH!! Run for your life, little dude! My mom sent me a bunch of pictures this morning and this one especially concerned me. Don't send me a picture like this without telling me what happened to the guy! I thought maybe he got away by climbing the ladder really quickly, but when my madre told me that it looked like there were still two more men in the water, I got really concerned. And then... enter reason: it might not be real. Hmmm... I thought of Snopes. They could give me the lowdown. What do you think? Is it real or not?
It's FALSE! That's right, I was worried due to a cheesy photoshop trick! Get the full story at Grumble, grumble, grumble, grumble, darn kids these days....

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Blog of the Day: Roundy Wells

This is a new blog by my friend, Andrea. Her writing is interesting and intelligent, and she links to some cool stuff. So far she has written about typology, ex-boyfriends, family history, talking to her boss, and post graduation plans. Check it out!

In my favorite post so far, she writes about procrastinating at work, analyzing why, and then asking her boss for what she needs. There is some really good info in there. Its thought provoking and empowering.

Friday, March 25, 2005

one more


Illustration Friday: Bloom (1)

Hey! I finally did a real live on-paper picture! It was fun. I did it several days ago and scanned it in just in time (I hope) to make the list. Here is a close-up of the bottom left corner. I had lots of fun with this one and uploaded lots of pictures. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the bloom pictures to see my favorite picture that I've posted on this blog. Thanks for coming to visit!


Here's the full picture as I originally did it. I imagined a young women unfolding like a flower, but I didn't have the artisitc skill to carry it off, so I made a big not-pleasing-to-me flower in the middle of a page and then I went vine happy. I like my vines.


So, I cut out the middle blob and admired the vines.


And then I inverted the colors in my paint program. Ohhh, I really like that!


...and again. Oh... so pretty. Click on this one to see it in it's larger form. I really like this one. It looks like a deep, dark forest. It was my favorite until...


So I did it again...


I played around with it some more in Picasa. I took away color, added color, did film grain, then focal point color and then did a few more rounds. I like how this one looks almost animated and like there is something bright and glowing. This is my first experience drawing something on paper and then playing around with it on the computer. It was really fun. Happy Spring Vacation!
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
Anais Nin

Friday, March 18, 2005

Illustration Friday: Fragile

I REALLY wanted to do some hand made art, something with different kinds of fragile materials, but I had a busy week and it is down to the last hour. I have no scanner, so… computer drawing it is.

The theme of the week was “Fragile” There were a lot of wine glasses, butterflies, earths, broken hearts, and a disturbing number of waif like women, including the form of fairies. I think the topic made people feel fragile. A lot of people were expressing their vulnerability. As you know, I’ve also been feeling fragile lately. So many good pictures, so many obsessive impulses to click on every single link. I started from the end (150 something and got to 40 something!! Argghhh!) Don’t be like me! Just click on a random few, or look at some of my favorites:

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Blog of the Day: Annie Bissett

Oh just 'cause. (to the unspoken question: "Why is this the blog of the day?") And, I haven't done a blog of the day post for awhile and her illustrations are really unique, yet familiar. I think they remind me of old fashioned chldren's book illustrations, but I'm not sure. What do you think? Also, if you go to her main site, you will see that her portfolio is really unusual for an illustrator and includes charts and maps among other things. Hmmm? Click on her "Year of Fridays" link to see her orignal and interesting take on the Friday themes. I liked a lot of them. About all these proffessional illustrators, I have to wonder, do they actually make enough money to support themselves doing this or are they doing the " a room of one's own thing" and getting a patron in some form or another? Right now my patron is an unthinkable, forehead scrunchable amount of student loans from the federal government. Thanks, all ya'll.

The Luck of the Irish to 'Ya

Wow, St. Patrick’s Day is more interesting than I thought. Check out the “History of St. Patrick’s Day” video at the History channel. Unlike so many Pagan celebrations that have been repurposed as Christian holidays, St. Patrick’s day is a Fundamentally Christian holiday (really a holy-day) that looks a lot more like a Pagan celebration. Interesting!

May she never pass this way again

For some reason my blogrolling links aren't showing the little "new!" in front of them when someone has posted. So I just want to let you know that Yak has a new post. (And what a tale she has to tell.) Last night she passed a kidney stone. The stupid ER staff let her vomit and roll around in pain in the waiting room, (and this is someone who can walk/run 50 miles,) because they won't give pain medication to a patient who hasn't been seen by the doctors. Good old Yak isn't bitter though, just glad it's over. Check out her story at Yak's Place.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Interview with God

Natalie, Autoly, Augustine, Blogustine continues her interview with God. Yes, GOD! Yes, that God.

Save the Arctic!

(Boy I just can't seem to get away from these long posts lately.) Help save the arctic, will ya? I know you're glad some far-sighted folks saved the Grand Canyon for us all and Yosemite and Zion's. Gosh this Earth is beautiful, let's keep it that way. Here is a decidedly Democratic letter, BUT I think saving this planet is a priority for all the people, no matter what your political leanings.
We have only 24 to 48 hours to try and save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Several Republicans are trying to sneak legislation through the Senate approving oil drilling and they are incredibly close to winning. We have to stop them.

I am joining with Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) in offering a critical amendment to stop this sneak attack on our environment. We will fight on the floor of the Senate, but we need you by our side.

There are seven key Republican Senators whose votes will decide the future of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Before they vote, we need to make sure they know that their constituents are watching, and that they will not be able to support drilling without anybody noticing.

Here are two critical steps we can take together to support our amendment to protect this National Wildlife Refuge:

1. Join the Citizens' Roll Call
First of all, take part in a massive fast-moving display of citizen support for the Arctic Refuge. Sign our Cantwell-Kerry Citizens' Roll Call now.

To make our Citizens' Roll Call impossible to ignore, we have alerted the media, environmental advocates and my fellow Senators to a scrolling display of the names and home towns of the roll call signers. It is posted on our website, where we hope to soon add your name and a running tally of the number of citizens on our Citizens' Roll Call.

2. Bring the fight to the home states of the seven senators
We need to launch emergency online advertising campaigns in the home states of those seven critical senators: Senator Coleman (MN), Senator Smith (OR), Senator Specter (PA), Senator Martinez (FL), Senator Lugar (IN), and Senators Gregg and Sununu (NH).

We need your help to bring our Save the Arctic Refuge message home in these six states. Help us fund an emergency ad campaign to make sure they know how strongly the people they represent feel about protecting the Arctic. Please make an emergency donation right now.

When Senator Cantwell, myself and other Senators stand up in support of the Cantwell-Kerry Amendment, we will have powerful arguments on our side. (I have recapped some of those arguments at the end of this email message)

But, to win, we need to be able to report directly to our Senate colleagues that massive numbers of citizens around the country - and in their own states - are rising up to demand that the Senate protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

That's why your immediate signature is so critical.

The Bush Administration and its oil industry allies want to send a message that they can drill for oil wherever and whenever they want to - even if it means targeting a place as striking, pristine and irreplaceable as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

They don't care about putting America on a genuine path to energy independence. If they did, they'd support efforts to increase energy conservation and to create clean, renewable sources of energy that no terrorist can sabotage and no foreign government can seize.

Let me be very direct with you. It is going to take an immediate and impossible-to-ignore display of grassroots support to stop them. That's why your decision to sign our Cantwell-Kerry Amendment Citizens' Roll Call is so crucial.

Thank you for acting quickly on this vital request.

John Kerry

P.S. Senator Cantwell, who comes from a state in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, has - at considerable political risk - courageously stepped forward to join me in leading this fight. We need you to help us win it.

  • The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's 19 million acres comprise one of the last places on earth where an intact expanse of arctic and sub arctic lands remains protected.
  • Drilling in the Arctic Refuge can't make even a small dent in meeting America's energy needs. U.S. Geological Survey scientists estimate that there is very likely only enough oil to supply America's needs for six months. And oil companies admit that, even that, won't be available for at least 10 years.
  • An irreplaceable natural treasure, the Arctic Refuge is home to caribou, polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, golden eagles, snow geese and more. Millions of other birds use the Arctic Refuge to nest and as a critical staging area on their migratory journeys.
  • Of course, the Arctic Refuge supports more than wildlife. For a thousand generations, the Gwich'in people of Northeast Alaska and Northwest Canada have depended on it and lived in harmony with it. To them, the Arctic Coastal Plain is sacred ground.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Self-Sabotage can be Healthy

Umm.. yes, while it's true that it's good to love yourself and if you don't you might self-sabotage (see last post,) self sabotage can also be healthy! I forgot about that until today when I was listening to a CD of my old NLP instructor Nick Le Force. He reminded me that if you try and make a change that does not meet the needs of all parts of yourself, you might self-sabotage. You’ve got to consider ECOLOGY! Resistance may be an important signal to you that there are other important factors you need to consider as you create your goal.

Here is some web-based advice to deal with self-sabotage. John David Hoag writes about ecology issues that come up when creating goals:
"What do you want?" isn't always easy to answer. We may have conflicting thoughts or feelings about it. We might welcome help to resolve an important issue. But beneath our desire for help we might not be entirely sure we want the issue resolved. It might be a sort of "inner secret" for us, even to ourselves. This is called an "ecology issue" in NLP. Unlike traditional therapy which calls it "resistance," NLP doesn't minimize or pathologize it. In NLP we understand that it is precisely those ecology issues that are the keys to unlocking new realms of potential. Before any change can take place -- and reaching a goal is a change -- resolving a problem is a change -- the ecology must be attended to. Otherwise, we'll be going nowhere fast on the road to our desired outcome. Our ecology issues can stop us -- because they're so important.
So, how do we figure out what those conflicting thoughts/feelings/needs are? Laura Moncur at Starling Fitness recommends writing it out, so does Sraightforward Coaching:
If you find yourself struggling to manifest a goal you have set yourself, try this exercise* to discover the hidden fears, beliefs and values that might be holding you back: write down all the reasons why you DON'T want that goal in your life. Let your darkest thoughts surrounding your goal reveal themselves on paper and keep writing until you can't come up with any more. These are some of the fears, beliefs and consequences surrounding your goal or decision and they might include the one(s) that are holding you back. Once they are all out in the open, you may find some issues you need to work through before you are ready to achieve your target. Reframing or redefining your goal to address the conflicting value or belief could also work to integrate the goal with your personal ecology.
After asking yourself some good questions, NLP Weekly recommends giving yourself time:

Let the questions sink in.
Write them in your journal (you do have a journal, right?).
Read them before bed time and wait for answers.
You’ll get dreams, songs, words, flashes, memories, voices… don’t ignore them. It’s important to notice, note and acknowledge. Your brain doesn’t like keeping riddles unsolved.
Asking good questions and giving it time to find the answers with no pressure, is one the greatest talents you can develop.
Reading and thinking about ecology reminded me, once again, how important it is to treat myself kindly. If part of me is protesting, (which shows up in my weight loss goals as eating fattening food I don't even want,) then instead of dragging those protesting parts of myself kicking and screaming, I can attend to myself, (listen!) and do my best to meet all my needs, address my concerns, and calm my fears. As you know, those protesting parts are hard to ignore. You might as well turn to them and say, “So, what do you want, anyway?”

Monday, March 14, 2005

Hug the Dragon

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos - the trees, the clouds, everything.
-Thich Nhat Hanh

I was just reminded of how great Laura Moncur's fitness blog is. Head on over to Starling Fitness and check it out. I read every article in the Motivation section. As I read about her internal struggles- the thoughts, the self-sabotage, I thought, there is no point in trying to trick myself into exercising because, until I wholly love and accept myself, there will always be some part of me that self-sabotages. Now I also remember that besides telling myself that I love myself, another way for me to understand that I am worthy of love and care is to show myself. One way to show myself that I love and care about myself is to eat healthy foods and do healthy exercise.

More tips for treating yourself like you are worthy of love and care:
  • Buck societal trends: Reward yourself for what you do, not how you look. In fitness goals that translates to: consider yourself a success when you take actions towards your fitness goals, whatever the result on the scale.
  • Be kind to yourself in little ways. Are you sitting in an uncomfortable position? Shift your body now, stretch, breathe deeply. Let yourself feel comfortable physically.
  • Remember what activities you enjoy. Make doing activities you enjoy a priority in your life! If you love painting and think you don't have time for the full blown hobby, take some time today to do a small sketch. Even giving yourself a little of what you love is a kindness. It’s better to give yourself something today than to withhold from yourself until you can have it perfectly.
  • Don’t wait until you think you deserve love to be kind to yourself. Has anyone ever loved you unconditionally before? It's time someone does. You can be that someone.
  • If you have trouble unconditionally loving yourself... don't get down on yourself for that! You can always step out one level from your current thoughts and acknowledge your thoughts or behavior and say "ok, I acknowledge that." Sometimes it's not the thought or behavior itself that hurts, but the meta-thought you have about it. For example, if you feel depressed just notice how you feel and avoid adding an additional layer of hatred, blame or guilt for what you are feeling. If you feel fat, just notice that, love yourself anyway and avoid adding an additional layer of anger or guilt or self-hatred. I think that is part of what "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" means.
Didn’t I start this entry by talking about fitness motivation? What does all this self-love talk have to do with that? Well, if you want to get fit, and then you create a plan, and then you follow that plan, probably nothing. BUT if you want to get fit, and then create a plan, and then you… try to do it and sometimes do it, but sometimes buy yourself donuts (or potato chips or…) even as another part of you is screaming ”NO!!”, or some part of you refuses to go running even though you know you‘d feel better if you did, or you lose weight and then freak out when someone gives you a compliment then… you may have a little self-sabotage going on. One way to deal with the self-sabatoger is to love the little bugger. Hug the dragon. As all of you is loved (by you,) you (all of you) will want what is best for you, because you will know/feel you are worthy of the best.

So, practice unconditionally loving yourself so you can be of one accord, want to be healthy, create a healthy plan, and simply follow it. In the meantime, use some of Laura's motivation suggestions and gently drag yourself out to excercise. Be a good parent to yourself, and with all the kindness and compassion you can muster tell yourself, "I'm doing this because I love you, you'll thank me when you're older."

For another look at positive self-talk,check out Norm Ephraim's article.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Sound Familiar?

There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack.

If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies;
and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented.

When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest

-- why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted.

The fight was always invested with an aura of legality.

Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbours...
The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies,

it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard
against their indubitably aggressive designs.

Joseph Schumpteter, Imperialism and Social Classes , 1919

Update on Mercury Poisoning- Where to buy the kit

Those of you who know me will know (or at least you'll know now!) that I can get a little paranoid about my health. Yes, I am one of those people that can read a list of symptoms and say, "hmmm... maybe..." In defense of myself, the things I get paranoid about are at least slightly probable. Last month I had a growth on the side of my nose checked for skin cancer. The doctor said it was probably just skin tissue, but I had a friend who had just had to get a significant portion of her nose dug out because the first doctor she went to said that her growth was just tissue. Hers turned out to be cancerous tissue and she had to then get part of her eyelid skin removed to patch it up. She told me to make them test me. So I did, (it was just skin tissue.) So, you see... that's just sensible, right?

Now that I've read the story in O magazine about mercury poisoning, I want to get tested. Turns out that it is expensive: $250! So, I typed in "Free mercury testing" in my search bar and found $25 testing. Greenpeace and the Environmental Quality Institute are doing research on mercury poisoning and offering heavily discounted test kits. I ordered one today. I think taking this particular test is smart, especially if you are thinking of having babies anytime soon. Research shows that mom's who have high levels of mercury in their blood have babies with high levels, which can cause learning disabilities. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Luckily (and embarrassingly,) I almost never have what I'm worried that I have.

Thursday, March 10, 2005


Boy, I guess needed Oprah today.

I grabbed the magazine at the check out counter because of the cheery colors and thought, “Oh what the heck.” And immediately chided myself for buying something I don’t need, to try and help my mood. It turns out I do need this issue.

First, I read this amazingly insightful and poetic article about friendship unraveled by Vivian Gornick. I have a recent friendship that has unraveled, a childhood friendship that has drifted, and a current friendship that is so important to me that I already cry some(hormonally induced)times when I am faced with the possibility of it’s impermanence. Ahhh.. sorrow. There were no step-by-step checklists of how to deal, just a comforting, validating essay acknowledging the pain of endings and the mystery of relationships.

Then, I came across the breathing space portion of the magazine, which just has a calming nature picture and says “Breathing Space.” So, naturally, I teared up, as I am wont to do on this particular day of the month. Speaking of which, last night I cried til 3:30 in the morning. I started in the afternoon. I had to skip going to a movie with friends because I couldn’t stop crying. For some reason, with this hormonal influence, the floodgates of my unconscious open up, all my primal fears are activated, and my safe framework of thinking melts away. At least now, after many years of this experience, I have the presence of mind to eventually think, “Oh.. this might be the first day…” But it doesn’t help the profound core sorrow and aloneness I feel. Today I wanted to draw a picture of me with my hands on my hips saying to the world, “You disappoint me.” (Maybe I still will. If I do, you know you’ll see it here first.)

I even got out my art supplies, and with a hot pad tucked into the front of my pajama bottoms started to create! Until the pain got so bad I had to crawl on my bed and pound the top of my head into the mattress. But, back to Oprah. By the time I got to the store where I saw the magazine, the pain had become a dull throb that I could ignore. See, I had to get more food so that I could take another mega dose of pain killers without hurting my stomach. If I hadn’t been so sad last night, I might have thought of taking them then. It helps if I take them the day before. As it was, it took until about 2:30 this afternoon for them to kick in.

I saw some healthy food pictures that I could use in my inspiring “new healthy me!” collages. I read that cell phones possibly can give you cancer. I drifted past an article that I’ll read sometime about the areas in your brain where certain types of thinking occur- a possibly useful article for my life work. I read “What are you waiting for?” About a woman who got so involved with the have-to’s in her life that she no longer made time for dancing. Ahhh.. another one that hit home. This year I want to learn to be happy and I discovered a few years ago that one way to do that is...Aha! Do things that you enjoy! (Seems so simple now.) So, I want to, once again, prioritize my happiness. It’s amazing how going dancing even once a week can change the landscape of my life.

Then I read answers from Oprah. Michi from Lakewood, CA asked, “For some reason the minute I start feeling and looking good and getting compliments, I sabotage myself...” Oh Michi! I’m glad you asked that. Oprah? “...You need to ask yourselves a lot of questions about why you’ve put on weight and why you’ve dieted time and time again. But I can already tell you what the answer is: You don’t feel worthy of being loved.” Oh Oprah, you hit the nail right on the head, for me.

In another of my feel good shopping sprees, I bought a book about affirmations and decided to follow her program of writing down one affirmation 10 times a day for 21 days. I wrote down a lot of possible affirmations, but I wanted to get at the core of some of my troubles. Eventually I got to “I am worthy of my time, attention, care, love, and expression.” I wonder if writing this down yesterday and thereby directly confronting one of my core issues just as my hormonal primal-fear-floodgate-opener kicked in was a big factor in the tears til 3:30 am episode last night?

Then there was a story about Daphne Sungia who was a very healthy person who turned out to have mercury poisoning. The jury is still out on the usefullness of this article for me. Is it a synchronous warning just for me, or another health paranoia that I will eventually have to satisfy at the doctors office, spending my money and my time. Who can say? Here are the facts, the symptoms are: muscle aches, (sometimes,) blurred vision, (not so much,) skin rashes, (no,) inability to concentrate, (check,) memory loss, (yes, since I was 25,) and unexplained sadness! Check! I have been eating over three servings of fish a week and I did touch mercury once as child when a thermometer broke. By the way, exposed mercury can instantly poison all the air in a room. Beware. There’s also a handy little table in that article which says which fish is safe to eat and how often.

Then there were some big fifties style skirts I’m not too hip on, a super cool cereal dispenser, and a tulip tea cup that made me actually want to add “a set of teacups” to the ever increasing mental list of things I will buy when I’m rich.

Then the piece de la resistance in the “Live Your Best Life” section: a poem by Rumi.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of it’s furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

Ahhh, Rumi. So maybe it’s ok that I am still demanding and needy and... oh all my other list of flaws that aren’t part of the recipe for perfect inner peace and happiness. Ahh... so that was the Oprah magazine this month. I hope you enjoyed this review. For those of you using this review as your guide, I flipped through from the back.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Creative links for you

In my wanderings over the last few weeks I have found...

Someone turning a strange hobby into a lil business. Look at this site and know "YES, you too can sell your creations! However weird they are!" I like this site.

Speaking of creating... have you ever wanted to create your own font? My Grandad has the coolest writing. I would love to create a font out of it ( Just slipped into a fantasy of my Granddad's font becoming famous.:) Check out Chank's tutorial and let your wildest font fantasies become real.

Here is a site that has an abundance of creativity. This woman has creativity just bursting out of her. What I like most about it though, and why I am including this link here, is her description of her sweet family!

Now I’ve got to read this thanks to Cease cows, life is short!. Unless anyone wants to tell me what "Cease cows, life is short!" means!

Coming up tommorrow... my blogger wishlist!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Wasting Time at Hapland

Can you help me? All I want to know is how to light the damn torches! See, I can get the guy out of his house, I can get the blue package to the other guy, I can get the guy on the cliff without getting him speared. I can get the guy who came out of his house over the bridge, but what I can't get is the guy not to blow up or the other guy who raises the upside down flashlight not to get ran over by the demon (?!) on the bicycle. The one that drops out of the box. Go to Hapland, IF you want to see what I mean and possibly get sucked into the vortex of "one more possiblity." (This is an activity that proves the good sense of knowing when to give up.)

Now enough of this time wasting! I'm going to go sharpen my saw (ala Covey, not Hapland.)

[Update: I did it! And I needed a hint. If you want a hint, leave me a comment. I've actually given you several already.]

Monday, March 07, 2005

Illustration Friday: Ancient

It's Illustration Friday again already?! This is probably really good for me, not a time waster like I was worried it was. It gets me to create things I wouldn't otherwise think of. Computer art is hard with a mouse, on the other hand, I enjoy the effects I can create with the computer and I don't have to worry about destroying my picture with my experiments. Once again, an image came instantly into my mind when I heard the word of the week, and I went with it.

The concept was originally me looking into a mirror and seeing a face that is looking older and older looking back at me. It was sort of a sad and unsatisfying picture, so I changed the face to look more kindly, and now I think it is mysterious. Who is that face, anyway? Maybe a wise, ancient one.

[Update: I don't like this picture. Maybe it is a flawed idea or maybe "ancient" just doesn't translate well in computer art. mmm...ggggrrrr... What do you think?]

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Robert Reich

I like Robert Reich. He is one of those people who tends to see the good in people. He's also smart. Here's his article about the low price leaders.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Jazz at night

I liked my Jazz girl, but she needed a night sky. Thanks to Madlantern Arts for the stars (I changed them around a bit.) I've made Jazz girl over and over with all different color combos today. It was fun.

'Tis living puts me on my knees.

No god I praise No god I praise, From birth to death I only praise the suns and winds and babies kissing gentle in my arms- kissing nights. Books and letters I praise and small fires that warm my cheeks and light the page. My hands are strong and always know how things go together. All these I praise.

Cozy rooms in many houses filled with laughter and good talk, these I praise. Fresh baked dripping honey and monumental strength to lift and carry from continent to continent and back again, I do praise. And sky and sea and sand and friends and friends and I praise round stones.

And oh, the magic gardens, burning their bright colors deep into my heart and turning my body into embers that will glow forever. No god I praise. 'Tis living puts me on my knees.

-Mary Ann Masterson UU Fellowship Dallas Texas