Experimenting with Technology

As I learn to let go of my old computer, my ‘old way’ of using it, that apparently didn’t set well with its logic board! and try my wings at new ways to get things done, I’m experimenting along the way. Tonight, I borrowed an iPad to just play with whatever was on it. I couldn’t seem to access my Skype or get it to be hooked to the internet, so I just played with an app I saw sitting there.
BabyBirds1Here were my first attempts at finger scribbles. A whole new art for me, perhaps more like my early fingerpaint years!

BabyBirds2

What I am learning is that if I want to move forward with my writing/illustrating, one of many things I need to do is to become really serious about learning more about some technology tools!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Wooden Chair

I’m your little chair.
Come rest a minute.                                                            
Feel the floor under your feet.                                                            
Lay your arms on my arms.                                                                    
Let me hold you still while you be who you are.                                                 
I’m your little chair.                                                                      
Curl in my lap and let’s read one of your special books.                                       
I will not move from under you.                                                            
I’m here while you plan your next adventure.                                                 
I’ll be still and sturdy for you….                                                
Unless…you need me to take you to imaginary places on your magical living room carpet.         
If you need me to move, I can.                                                          
Just tip me over, climb on my back and off we’ll go!

Little Chair The little wooden chair sat in the corner of the living room. It sat quietly, and very still, looking quite distinguished. The arms and legs grew from branches of the old walnut tree in my Daddy’s backyard. The back slats were curved and carved from old bamboo, as was the bottom tightly caned from its thin strong slits. The rounded legs and arms were worn smooth, covered with old patina that could have told stories by itself. But the most fascinating thing was how the rounded pieces of wood that formed the back of the chair, were worn flat on the back. They almost looked like flat blades on a well-worn snow sled.

When the chair was tipped on its back, adventures began and along them followed sheer moments of delight. From there, we sat on some of the leg slats and went for a ride across the carpet, pushed from behind by our strong Daddy who was making car and train whistle sounds! Whoo-ooo whooo-ooo! we’d sound as we pulled our imaginary train whistles in the air and held on tightly as he slid around the curvy train tracks on our carpet. Magical moments with Dad.

 

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“Circle of Compassion”

Twig on Fairy RingHow to Be in More Than One Place at a Time

Hmmm…time and space…that’s a BIG topic. I better start early for this one. Actually I think I’ve been working on time and space issues my whole life long and then some!
Only quantum physics can save me now! Or Madeline L’Engle. My favorite book of all time, her brilliant gift to us all:  A Wrinkle in Time. I still remember reading this book in one sitting in one chair in the living room when I was 11 years old. My hands were in fists the whole time. I don’t even know how I was able to turn the pages! Literally I think I inhaled it.
Tesseracting, I’ve been working on perfecting ever since! Sofar I’ve to come to the realization that it’s a ‘belief’ thing…That the wrinkling of time and space between point A and point B must be done by the perceiver, the believer. You should see me telling myself that when I’m in the car trying to get somewhere 25 minutes away in what the clock says I’m allowed only 10 minutes. Well it’s a little ‘lame’ to ‘believe’ that I can make it if I don’t start believing it a little sooner than that! I also can’t buy the ‘other’ approach of hearing someone say, “we’re late” when it’s not even the time we’re supposed to be there yet! To me, that’s not a healthy projection either! I can’t be late until I’m LATE.

But the bigger issue I’m waking up to this morning is how to be in two places at the same time when my body isn’t even moving there. Here’s my thought process:
I’m falling to sleep feeling awful, lots of pain. I’m waking up feeling awful, lots of pain.
I hobble downstairs and try stretching but then shortly plop on the sofa feeling the same pain. It just doesn’t seem to stay in the room where I’d like to leave it. That being the case, I’m resting a bit more hoping to then move a little more, then walk a bit, then soak a bit in some epsom salts. In the ‘MEANTIME’….the ‘betweentime’…I guess that’s between point A and point B or between some point where I am and the next point I’m hoping to be…In the meantime,…there must be something I can accomplish that might help me later get to point R or somewhere along my path?

This brings me to FAITHFULNESS….that’s the believing part that I WILL ‘move on down the line’ or I WILL make it full circle. Sometimes I feel like a train moving around the Roundhouse, being repaired, being prepared for my next part of my journey. I can envision and believe where that will be and I can trust that I will not be forever chugging around in the roundhouse.

I want to be with my Mom. I want to hold her hand, make sure she’s comfortable, okay, and knows how much I love her. Likewise I want to be with my Dad. I want to reassure him that we’re all holding hands on this one. And what I know is that my stamina and windows of time during each day have sofar only been for a few hours and then I’m back to feeling awful. Where do I then go to lay my head when that wave of pain and fatigue wells up? What good would I be to them in that sort of shape? So how to be at two places at once? How to care for me and my Mom….
What I know is that my Mom and Dad are in loving arms and hands with my brothers and sister and sister in laws and her nieces and church and friends. They have a circle of love and circles of light all around them. They have been creating circles like that for others all their lives. And I guess what I’m really seeing is that if point A and B are each ends of the diameter of a circle, then they’re connected anyway. So I’m right there with them! And they’re right here with me! The only part of me that gets in the way of knowing that is the part of me that thinks there are no circles! How can we live in the world we do and NOT know there are circles! Moons and stars and orbs of light. Earth and planets and holes in the ice! Eyeballs and horizons that are 360º.

So even zero means everything!

So Mom, I’m there now. I’m with you and Dad and all my siblings. And because I AM my body will also get around to being there, too. Sometimes it just takes it a little longer.

After writing all this, I came across Einstein’s wonderful quote. Could’ve just found that first! Thanks, Albert!
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest as kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. ” Albert Einstein
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Adieu (Boston 1977).

What Makes the Words Come?

InsideThisPencil

This is a poem posted on my refrigerator that I used to have in my classroom. It begins: “Inside this pencil crouch words that have never been written…” I love this poem and often think of it as I sit pecking away at my computer. As I think of pencils, I wonder….

If I wrote this with a pencil or pen, would I come up with something brilliant?
If I felt the friction of my hand pulling across the paper, would my thoughts pour more easily?
If I close my eyes and type while my hurting head lays back on my pillow, will my thoughts unfold and float to the surface of my head?
If I had started earlier today, would I have something more definitive to write?
If I could unroll all my tightened tired muscles, would words gladly appear on my sleeve?
What did I need to do today to have something written by now?
Perhaps if I’d not spent time thinking about my Mom,
had not spent time with Alex in the car, and hadn’t vacuumed words from the carpet to be ready for our son, daughter in law and grandbaby.
Perhaps if I take a nap right now…might I then discover something awakening in my mind that would be worthy of sharing?
Sometimes, Life just happens, and the process is hard to put into words.
Sometimes, just breathing in and breathing out is enough.
Sweet dreams to my Mom who ended up in the ER tonight.
May you have a restful night and awaken refreshed in the morning.
I’ll do that, too, Mama. We’re all holding hands. I love you.

Hands and Hearts

These are the hands that connect to the hearts of my wonderful Mom and Dad who raised me. Mom and Dad are so lucky to still be holding each other’s hands even this  very day!  The love they share grows even more every day at 94 and 96. Being with them is like watching two lovebirds. They give each other endearing looks, and also share a few squawks every now and then, to keep each other in check and to keep things real! Probably the phrase I hear the most from my Dad is “isn’t your mother sweet!” And Mom just bats her eyelids at him and smiles.  Now they go on adventures together with wonderful Carol in their hoverounds. So cute and dear they are. I love them to pieces!MimiPopHands

My Precious Mama at 94! and the Birthday Box

This Friday will be my Mama’s 94th Birthday! We have an old wooden box that we send back and forth to each other on our birthdays, though not always on the very exact day…since for us, every day gets to be a birthday!

BirthdayBox                                           mamapic

We started it one year when I gave her one of my favorite children’s books,  Wilfrid Gordon Mcdonald Partridge, by one of my favorite authors, Mem Fox. It’s about a little boy that lives next to an old folks home and loves all the people there. He goes on a hunt to find  “ a memory” and in the process creates a box for an old woman there who has lost her memory. In the box were objects that triggered many memories and feelings and delight for them both!

Our box does the same. We each add little things as we send it back and forth. No box could hold all the incredible memories I have with my Mama, nor could it hold all the love and delight we share with each other. In the box there’s a fairy, an acorn cap, a feather, a tiny knitted fairy hat, my friend Becky’s Song to the St. of Lost Things, a Chinese bell, a slipper shell, a button with Great Grandchildren on it, a vintage doll dress, a grapevine wreath, a sparkling pine cone that has a baby rabbit curled up inside of it, some old slides of past houses and pets, the words ‘thank you’, a wishbone, a twinkly star, a button, a dime, an angel, a child’s spoon with the rhyme of The Old Woman in the Shoe, a little brass shoe, and some pins of Duke and Randolph Macon’s Woman’s College, and Mother Mary. Oh, and a birthday box can’t be complete without some fairy birthday napkins!

My Mama has always been in my life from the very start! She birthed me, nursed me, loved me every day that I’ve lived my life! You know what it’s like to have someone delight in you always? That’s what she’s like…ALWAYS! no matter what! No conditions, no measurements needed. I fit! I fit into her heart always! And so does she in mine.

We’re both left-handed, and right brained, and see everything as ONE! Our thoughts curl, our hair curls, and my goal is to have a beautiful heart and hair like hers when I’m her wonderful age of 94! And by the grace of god, we are an even 30 years apart! I’m so grateful for that! It’s my benchmark for remembering how old I am and how old she is. We even share the same birthday month and astrological sign! We both forget things but we always remember old Camp Junaluska songs since I went to the same camp she did when she was little. Probably either of us could talk your ears off, and we can care and listen as deeply as well.

My Mama taught me to have fun with just about anything! She helped me look for the diamond in everyone and never give up til I found it. She’s been there when I didn’t reach my goals, when I felt shy or not enough. When I would get scared at night, she’d read to me her favorite Psalm 121: I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help…. She taught me to welcome everyone into our home, fuller brush men, jehovah’s witnesses, strangers and even kissin kin!

I don’t know how to post this here, but here’s a video of my mom and me dancing after she worked so hard setting up for and cleaning up after my Dad’s 90th birthday at The Farm. This was a spontaneous surprise for my mom as she was driving off! I’m so glad Hannah captured this moment on film for all of us! Thank you Hannah! Someday I hope I can dance with you like this! Reminds me of another children’s book: My Mama Had a Dancin’ Heart! by Libba Gray

Here’s address to go to for Hannah’s wonderful video of My Dancin’ Mama!

 

 

A set of memories that keeps popping in my head about my Mama was our birthday parties. She could come up with the most amazing parties! And get my Dad involved, too! I remember roller skating parties in the Mill warehouse on Moss Street, and getting to ride with my friends in boxes on the conveyor belt rollers. Probably the best memory I have is of the Hobo Party Mama came up with. I think it was a year when I was around 11 years old and felt pretty shy. I wanted to have ALL of my friends but not have them split up into clicky groups, like preteens would do. She came up with the Hobo theme and a rotating game party. Each person was given a stick with a bandana tied to the end of it. In the bandana were a variety of objects. I honestly can’t remember how it worked but somehow we each moved from table to table mixing with different friends, to play different games at each table. At some point we opened our bandanas and traded different objects. I remember being really amazed at how she worked it all out.

My Mama’s clock ticks from her heart not from a time piece…and her sense of distance is non-existent…after all, we’re all ONE and that includes getting from point A to B. Everywhere is on the way to everywhere else.
The power of the heart still trumps everything in her life. She lives from it and through it and goes around polishing the diamonds in everyone, leaving a wake of joy and delight in her path.

There’s only one thing about Mama that’s hard to deal with…and that’s that she’s going to be a hard act to follow. Yet since she also taught me to be myself, I’ll let that be my guide instead.

Another thing about Mama, or sometimes Mom, is that she HAS to offer you something to eat and always to drink, and has to send something home with you…sometimes she works so hard at making you feel at home that it’s downright uncomfortable. She can empty the whole refrigerator just to make one sandwich. But it’ll be a good sandwich…just might take awhile to clean up after it.

Since Mama’s mind is always focusing on the best of things… sometimes in the process, she might not quite focus on what she’s doing or where she’s going…hence finding her eyeglasses in the top shelf of the refrigerator makes sense, and that she might come home with someone else’s groceries from the grocery store, or put her girdle in some man’s raincoat pocket at a restaurant and get home to find it not in her own. Yet these weren’t the important things…the important things had to do with being with people and loving them.

No worries about getting lost either, because my Dad always said that making a wrong turn was the beginning of an adventure, so we got to go on lots of adventures! My Mama didn’t just love to send us back to school with food or shove more food on our plates. She LOVED to take meals to other people. Seems like we were always holding some casserole to take to old Mrs. Somebody in time for dinner. I don’t know how she did it but she managed quite alot of meals on wheels. And she still manages to do that these days as well.

Making mistakes wasn’t really something that could happen with Mama. Or maybe it’s fits better to say that Nothing could be a mistake, only a learning. And things that others could interpret as mistakes or not socially sophisticated, really became being a fool for God. From her I learned that anything can be turned into something beautiful and valuable. Basically Life can only be a win/win in her book!

So thank you Mama, for being not just my Mama, but the most amazing Mama. If I spell Mama backwards, which to me is a true test of forever, it makes sense that Mama spells, Am am. Because of you, Mama, and Dad, I AM. Thank you for my life! You are forever my delight. I love you so! now and forever!

Happy Birthday! and thank you for mine!

Love,

Ann

 

Window in Time

Today a bird flew hard into our window. Stunned the bird but she flew away and recovered. Francklin, who was laying at my feet as he so lovingly does when I’m ‘potatoing it’ on the sofa, jumped straight up in the air as a good springer bird dog does and landed sitting upright on the sofa to check out the bird. Once he was satisfied that he couldn’t get to it (or unsatisfied?) he jumped back down at my feet, waiting for the next moment in time.

As for me, I’m realizing that I need to grab my short window of time during the day when I find some semblance of health, normalcy and a little bit of energy. Today it was long enough for a walk and a trip to the grocery store. I must have seen too much to do through my window of time, because when I got home with the food, my body said, “That’s it for today!” Sort of like back in the days of parenting when we tried to get huge amounts done while our children took their naps, or not! Off to bed!WindowInTime

Martha Julia Agnes Adele 17

I’m eager to keep going with Martha’s adventure, even though my health is holding back the intensity of my work for a few more days. So for now, I’ll post pages with photos of the actual places at The Hillock, and I’ll need to paint them later. I’ll miss not having the characters in the scene, but they’ll make it there eventually!

Martha17 with text

Castle of the Heart and the Diamond Trail

As I prepare to paint the next page of  Martha Julia Agnes Adele, I need to revisit The Castle of the Heart, Char the dragon, and the diamond trail. Here’s a photo of the trail left by a real slug (the one that kissed the fairy!) one day down at the Hillock. I need to work on how I want to paint it. Yesterday’s painting didn’t do the diamond trail justice.

Castle&DiamondTrail1

Martha Julia Agnes Adele 16

Found a 6 hour window of time when my pain lightened enough for me to finish one page! Now it’s coming back! Hmmm…juggling pain, naps, exercise of some sort, and painting is the challenge these days! Grateful, though to have something I love to do, even when I don’t feel well! Great to use new pens and a few new colors! Martha, we’ll help you find your shoe yet!Martha16withtext