Monthly Archives: February 2015

You Only Look For What You Know

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Johann Wolfgang Goethe.  “You only see what you’re looking for.  And you only look for what you know.”

It never fails.  When I think of these words…..they stop me cold.  How can I look for what I don’t recognize, what I’m not familiar with, what I don’t even know exists?  How can I see beyond what I know, what I understand?

I have an example, superficial as it is.  I love bright, fuschia bougainvillea.  I’ve been dazzled by large clumps of them climbing on lattice work and balconies in Mexico and Southern California for years.  I just took a very close up picture of some and to my surprise the most exquisite little white stars appeared.  I wasn’t looking for them, I really didn’t know they were there.  But, I looked closely and saw something more than I had ever seen before.  It was a revelation.

If you prefer to see just the beautiful, the easy to understand, the easy to deal with…..then don’t look too closely.  Stand back a ways where it’s familiar and safe.

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But, if you’re curious and actually looking for some new, exciting knowledge,  look closely. You might see some ugly, black parasites.  But… might see some beautiful, exquisite white stars.

Ruby Red Rose

I’m constantly amazed at the places, people or objects that catch my eye and beg for their image to be captured in paint.  I can look at sunset after sunset and marvel at its’ beauty but seldom feel it’s speaking to me.  Others, can’t get to their brushes fast enough.  I admire mountains in the distance with their snow capped peaks but have little desire to paint them.  Maybe it’s just because I’m near sighted.

This rose looked back at me when I looked at it.  It gave off an inviting vibe.  It said:  Come on, get involved.  You’ll get lost in my curves, hills and valleys.  It felt juicy…..a lot like a tomato.  The rose scent was warm and full and I couldn’t resist painting her.

final ruby red 001 Here she is.  February 8, 2015.  She’s pretty proud of herself.  I am too.  The Ruby Red Rose  22″x30″

Is Time Like A River?


Have you ever had the experience of doing something so wonderful you wanted to share it with someone.  So you took them there, did it again with them, and were disappointed with their reaction?  And/Or… were not able to recreate that wonderful feeling yourself?

Perhaps the spontaneity, the serendipity, of the first experience provided a magic that couldn’t be replicated.  Perhaps  your expectations were just too high.  Or, perhaps, you were just not the same person you were then.

imagesHeraclitus is quoted as saying:  “No man steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

Is he saying that the water is not the same?  Is he referring to seasonal changes, higher water levels, etc.  Time has passed, the man has matured? changed?  Or was he talking about the flow of energy….. How everything has a different vibration and perhaps we are responsible for constant change and movement.

Through the years, I’ve heard quotes about how time flows like a river.  Well, I’ve observed rivers.  They ebb.  They stagnate and putrefy.  They flow.  They plunge down rapids and waterfalls.  They aerate and purify.  And…..they carry us with them.

On the other hand, I’ve been reading lately that time doesn’t exist.

Where Do You Find Your Inspiration?

If I wait for inspiration to strike….it will be a long time between paintings.  So, I have to go outside.  Go for a walk.  It never takes long once I look up at the sky, along the mountain tops, scan the trees and catch sight of a bird or two for my mind to relax and begin to wander and to wonder at all of the colors, the shapes, the soft edges and the hard ones. They point me in one direction and then another.  It’s an eye exercise and a brain exercise.

The fresh air must go in and clear out all of the stalled thoughts just like sorbet and vodka between courses.  Because suddenly, everything seems fresher and more appealing.  I’m more receptive.

pink inspiration and finished yellow rose 008 pink inspiration and finished yellow rose 001

I made the trip down to the local Flower Patch shop.  They always have a good selection of beautiful roses.  I was looking for reds or pinks.  These were great for my purposes.  But the big surprise was the red berries.  I love them.  They provided the polka dots I’m always on the watch for.

pink inspiration and finished yellow rose 009

The walk did the trick.  The trip to the Flower Patch more than filled the need for reds and pinks.  I’m inspired.  Where do you find your inspiration?


The Fry Zone

I’ve started painting again.  I took my time gathering all of my supplies from nooks and crannies in the garage and basement.  I had forgotten that part of my life…..the brushes and tubes of paint, of course, but the staple gun and boards the wet paper is stretched on and dried…..the boxes of resist, graphite powder, sketch books, art books and things I don’t even remember using.

Another thing I had forgotten:  the fear of the blank white paper.  Like writer’s block, it can be paralyzing.  I’ve heard of a teacher telling a student “Put your paper on the driveway and run over it with your car tire.  Now, it’s already ruined.  Paint your heart out”.  So, mentally, that’s what I did.

Else and Bob and pink rose 003

Two sessions of sketching and painting and my brain hurts.  It’s fried!  I’m so out of the habit of serious focusing.  Don’t laugh.  The Fry Zone is a real place.  Haven’t you ever been there?

Words Are…..Magic

I read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and thoroughly enjoyed them.  I enjoyed her use of words and her imagination.  I loved all the places and scenes she created.  I enjoyed being carried along on one adventure after another.  I enjoyed the innocent and uninitiated being educated by their mentors.   I held on to my seat in fear and anticipation as they experimented with words and actions to realize their full power.

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But it was in reading The Casual Vacancy that I really came to appreciate the way she developed her characters.  There were places where I had to get up and do something else or fall asleep.  But that happened with Harry Potter too.  So…..maybe it had more to do me that her writing ability.

When she says that words are our most inexhaustible source of magic,  I agree with her.  I’ve read what she had created with her imagination and words.  She’s transported me to a magical world paralleling ours and to village life in England.

I believe the words we speak and write to each other are magic.  They can create all kinds of things.  Words can create warm fuzzy feelings.  They can create proud moments.    They can turn hard hearts to mush.

The words we speak and write to ourselves can change our day to day existence into a happy, exciting place to live.  We can be kind and gentle to ourselves.  It is all in our minds, after all.  I’m thankful that our minds can do that for us.


Is it soup yet?

I can remember coming home from school when I was a kid, bursting in the door and smelling warm, homey aromas.  Those were the days of homemade whole wheat bread.  My mouth waters just remembering slathering that bread with butter and honey.  Mom made bread at least once a week and she made soup a lot:  ham and bean if we’d had ham for Sunday dinner or minestrone or vegetable beef if we had roast beef.  You get the idea.

If she had just put it together and it hadn’t cooked long enough, she’d say “it’s not soup yet”.  So we’d smell it, want some and she’d say “it’s not soup yet”.  We’d keep asking “is it soup yet?”  Until it was.


Years later, when Mom was talking about my baby sister, (really!  she was born while I was in college) she would use that descriptor.  She would relate her latest escapade or decision and by way of explanation add “she’s not soup yet”.

I shared this story with my sister-in-law recently.  It hadn’t occurred to me that her childhood experience would not be similar to mine.  We were both raised in the west and in the same religion.  But…..her mother was a single mom, a working mom.  She wasn’t there when she got home from school.  She didn’t bake homemade bread.

Then I realized there are so many different methods of making soup, some more complicated than others.  Some involve roasting bones, others opening cans.

But, once all of the ingredients are in the pot, and the simmering begins…..the goal is the same:  tender meat and veggies.  Essentially, it’s soup at that point.  But, the next day, when it’s reheated, a glorious transformation has taken place.  Time has passed, the flavors have mingled and are so much richer and more satisfying.

Life is like soup.  We struggle to bring all the right ingredients together.  We try to make the best choices.  Time passes.  We reassess the path we took.  Time passes.

Is it possible that because we’re in the pot (the trenches, so to speak), that we don’t see a transformation? But, that, indeed, one is taking place?  I believe that’s what life is:  a succession of change and transformation.  Otherwise, it’s not life!

Question Everything



Do you ever find yourself asking who in their right mind would pass a law like that?  Whether it has to do with local issues or national ones.  As soon as I form the question in my mind, my mind answers…..don’t verbalize that one…..everyone knows which special interest influenced that one.  Almost everyone knows.

Have you noticed that when you become aware of some new “fact” or some new “situation”, those who were familiar with it view you as naive, even uneducated.  While those totally unaware of this new tidbit view you as weird….it hasn’t been on main stream media….it couldn’t have any credibility.

Do we even remember how to ask the questions:  who, what, when, where, why and how? Or…..Is it that we really don’t want to know that much anymore?

I wish questioning were a super-virus that would spread across the world so that everyone would question everything!

What Do You Want?

I was thinking this morning how grateful I am for the people in my life that helped me see what I want.  That sounds pitiful I know.  Who doesn’t know what they want?

I was guided through a thought process that helped me look at what I’ve enjoyed doing all of my life and which talents I have.  That doesn’t sound so life changing, does it?  But, I was in such a dark place.  I kept thinking the same negative thoughts, over and over, and couldn’t find my way out.  So for me, it was life changing …..even life saving.

In an effort to get me to focus on something positive, I was given a challenge:  to start painting again and to start blogging.  I was resistant at first.  I hadn’t done any painting for years.  I was  totally computer illiterate.  But over a period of 12 days I was helped to let go of some guilt and encouraged (at first gently and then gradually pretty forcefully) to get out the paints and get the help I needed to overcome the computer problem.

As I began to share my experience with the people in my life, family, neighbors, gym friends, the dry cleaner lady,  I was hit with an unexpected response.  Many of them looked fine to me, some even happy.  But the more we talked, the more they shared, they didn’t know what they wanted.  They were busy having kids, raising kids, and working to pay bills and earn a living.  They were looking forward to movies and eating out on the weekends and a vacation sometime this year.  But, what did they want?  I had discovered a cavernous mystery.


Once again I came up against it:  we appear on the outside to be very different: but, on the inside we are very much alike.

Mark Twain said:   “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life.  The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”  I didn’t actually hear him say this, but it is attributed to him on the internet… it must be true???  My own small survey does bear out the second part.

Do you ever tell yourself to forget what your parents, your friends, or  your spouse wants from you or for you.  Forget what you think is expected of you.  What do you want?  It’s time to take a good look at your life and think about what you want…..what makes you happy.  What makes you smile and your whole being light up when you think about it?

What do you want?











Retrain Your Brain

My husband put a Luminosity app on my ipad.  He showed me how to start playing the games.  He explained why he felt it would be fun and help me with my memory…..because it brain trains.  It is fun.  Wanna give it a try.  Go to  It’s free.  These games were designed by neuroscientists to help us improve memory and brain function in general.

I did a little reading and googling and discovered another great site: www.  They’ve posted an article: Train Your Brain To Let Go Of Habits.  10 Methods For Creating New Neural Pathways.  Hummm.

I’m intrigued by the simulations below.  They illustrate (left) the neural network of a brain cell and (right) the distribution of dark matter in the universe. (Millennium Simulation)  “The pictures show a structural similarity in terms of connections and distribution of matter in the brain and in the universe.”  And…..just thinking of an expanding universe gives me hope for an expanding brain.


Well…’s February.  It’s freezing outside.  I’m feeling sedentary and in need of letting go of a few habits.  This article really resonated with me.  The message was to use your imagination.  Imagine how you want to be and hold that picture in your mind all day, every day.  You will begin to form new habits that are in line with that picture in your mind.  One step at a time, those old habits will give way to the new ones.  The trick is to hold onto that picture.

So the message I received and the message I share with you is:  Use your imagination, focus your mind and retrain your brain!  I’m giving it a go.  What about you?