SOCIAL MEDIA

Monday, June 20, 2022

Diversions - It's a Pinkachan/Lana Del Rey Kind of Day

I haven't written since December 2021. Sorry, to readers (if there are any) and to myself for spreading myself so thin that I have lost friends and gained weight. I'm having a wee struggle but I'll add cute pics so you can feel as funny and confused and joyful and heartbroken, as I do. 😬🛸


I have ZERO reason to feel this way; except that in the words of Lana Del Rey we are Born to Die and this FACT makes life even more fleeting than we already know it is. I want every second to count but the urgency is so crystal clear that I am impatient and want to get it all, do it all, succeed at it all RIGHT NOW, but know the scientific limitations of this -so frustrating.


I have an amazing Insta-friend @Pinkachan (Celena) who somehow I fell in love with. Initially it was her feed (we share a similar taste in fashion, history, art and music) and then a few other things like her untenable positivity and style. But it is also her personal story of an instant, life changing experience that would challenge even the toughest minds. But she is always high spirited as she looks forward. Of course she has bad days but she holds herself high and lives with such presence and joy and gratitude that on days that I feel the special sadness that I feel today-Summertime Sadness, in this case- I break with guilt. I guess it's a Lana Del Rey/Pinkachan kinda day?


My whole life I've fought for something, but it always ended up being the wrong thing, or the wrong way or the wrong side, the wrong people, the wrong food, the list of wrongness - oy vey. Now that I am older, I am trying to fight for the right thing; sadly, I don't even know what the thing is nor why I still continue to have to fight. My world, with this hindsight perspective has shrunken to an exceedingly diminutive and sometimes questionable marble. (Note to self: Ask Philip Altstatt if he would do me the honor of a comissioned painting of marbles for a friend.)


I spoke with a friend recently and while at one time we were close, I find that when we speak about "things," a euphemism for uncomfortable trendy politics, I feel exactly the opposite-not close to her. I rumenated about this and instead of feeling refreshed in my connection with my friend, I felt judged, put down and misunderstood. I felt like I had to bargain with her; sell something to her about my perception and experience-convince her of my viability as a thinking woman; it was clear that she considered her ideals better and smarter than mine. After this converstation, I woke up at 4:58 AM and instantly began digging into myself-the usual internal dialogue- "I'm not nice enough, I am not good enough, I don't deserve the sweetness of life..." It flung me into a dark little hole. This interaction, while small, was epiphanic. This questioning and this type of hurt from a person who you once felt was a 'ride or die,' actually served to increase my wisdom. Meditating brought me to a thoughtfulness in which then I could self-asses and therefore question as many angles of that tiny sphere as possible (of course a sphere has no angles).


It was an unnecessarily heady morning as these things swam in the sea of my mind. The only thing they were serving to do was push me under the water. When a talk with a friend creates these kinds of feelings within you, what do you do? This talk with my friend felt like an ending; this ending threw me into grief. To try to heal from this loss and to help sew up the mental badmouthing about myself in my mind, I called my sister-a divinely magical little creature.


My sister has a tendency to see a puzzle very clearly and then she can sometimes tell you how to put the puzzle together. This is one such instance. Not only did I feel the loss of this friendship, but I also still feel the loss of "home." With all the death, grief is sure to follow and anyone is hard pressed to go it alone. Marissa (my sister) reminded me that everything has a time and then read me a passage from Anne Frank - Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank was being hunted and yet, her faith remained: "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."


It pulled me instantaneously out of the pit I had cast myself into. I could feel my sprits lift and my self talk turn around. I went from saying, "I am worthless," to "I am priceless." With that one phrase by a 13 year old little girl, I was able to see more clearly. When you can feel that a relationship can no longer move forward in the direction you are going, it's ok to let the relationship go. Change is inevitable.

When you realize you are priceless on this planet as part of The One, you change how you see yourself and therefore how others see you as well. Perhaps my friend sees me differently because I have gained a self assurance I did not have when we had begun our friendship? How have you changed with your friends? Have you lost friendships? Or gained them? Why and how did these changes happen? And, when you got to the other side of grief, did you feel the way I feel now-a little more gracious, a little more thankful, a little more resilient?


I'll leave you now with these cool pics, a couple of songs and some wisdom from an Instafriend with an incredible story of survival and a famous little girl who poured her heart out into a diary while hiding in a 300 square foot attic. Remember these small wisdoms - grief occurs in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of situations, loss is a reality of life so try not to abuse yourself; you are the one you are born with and die with. I have tried so hard to maintain relationships but the reality is that some just can't be saved. In the words of the great Jedi Master Yoda "The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into The Force. Mourn them do not." You are exactly where you are supposed to be. 








Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Winter Reading List

FICTION FIRST!

While none of these books scream "wintertime," there is something about the subjects of all of these reads that do, in fact, scream "wintertime." They all deal with the nebulous characteristics of time travel, re-life and/or choices. Something about winter gives us hope. Perhaps it's the short days, perhaps still it is the darkness and death all around us. As humans we tend to forget that we die or worse yet think we can cheat death. Memento Mori! All of these books, at least tough on the subject of everlasting life on earth and how that can be it's very own imprisonment. 

The Midnight Library is a fascinating book where the heroine try to kill herself but instead is put on each path she could have chosen. It is amazing and so well thought out that when it ends, you wish it hadn't. Matt Haig is an accomplished author and not one of his tomes have I completed and then found a waste of time. Never! He is a talent and this book will not disappoint.

Addie LaRue is another book where everlasting life on Earth takes precedence. Sadly, it is done by an unwitting and naive young girl who simply wants to avoid marrying a man with whom she is not in love. The thing is, is that when you bargain with the devil, hell is what you'll have. Such a great read! Like The Midnight Library, I couldn't put it down.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a book that was so profound to me that I read it several times and suggested it to just about everyone. It is captivating as we see the struggle of good and evil, crossroads of choice, moral flexibility and a story wherein you sympathize with both the protagonist and antagonist at some point. During this time of Covid, I should revisit it again as the topics seem poignant as our lives have been turned upside down.

COOKBOOKS!


Once Upon A Kitchen was an accidental treasure! I was looking for an oracle deck for my sister for Christma and came upon this little diamond! The photos are superb and the recipes are super with little stories and film histories accompanying them. I'll have to do a post about the things I have tried from this beautiful book. This is a crossover gift that doubles as a cookbook but also a fun read! And Leslie Bilderbeck is an amazing chef with an outstanding curriculum vitae! It is so worth the splurge.

 


How to Eat a Peach is an amazing book that was suggested to me by the same friend that suggest Harry August and what a dream cookbook. I love a menu and this book is a cookbook of menus! Fully planned menus that are calculated with panache and sophistication and the photos and food styling are unmatched. And everything is planned by season. Plus, the cover is fuzzy - like a peach!

If you have a book lover or a chef that still needs Christmas gift, Amazon has two day shipping and I bet you have a Barnes and Noble nearby.




Monday, November 29, 2021

Artist Love - Shiori Matsumoto

 I found Shiori Matsumoto when I was looking for "Zig Zag Girl" images. You know the image. The lady who is the magicians assistant (of course the assistant and never the magician [eye roll]) gets in a box and then the box is separated into a zig zag pattern. The illusion insists that the female assistant has been turned into three separate pieces. In any case, I was looking for this image because it holds a special symbolism for me. 


And what I found in my search was this morsel of goodness. First of all, the color theory is fantastic. But the imagery is tops. The dwarf baby child monster has such a cute tiny butt. Look at that little tushy! The round room, the tiny Fez, the realism of the girl. I love the whole thing.

Look at the creeper here behind the curtain. The imagery is great in an of itself. The bear engaging with the audience. The girl in the mirror. The bird with the lollipop. It's all so crazy!
And this one...so pretty! The title is "Door of Boundary." You can learn more about Shiori and see more of her work here.


Shiori's pop-surreal expressions are reminiscent of Mark Ryden who I recently learned was the cover artist for the late great King of Pop Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album. Mr. Ryden has a great instagram post about the 5 days that were required to come up with the concept. You can see it here. Juxtapoz Magazine covers more on this piece here.

In a future post I will cover more of Mark Ryden's art. When I was in art school (a long time ago) he was whispered about. 

I can't wait to cover more art. Stay tuned! 

XO, Gwenny







Friday, November 5, 2021

It's Fall Y'all

Up here on the hill we are into fall, full swing. As we head closer to winter it is getting colder by the second. But the fall color up here never disappoints even as the days get shorter. I have been so inspired by this season that I think my photos have gotten better, my cooking seems to have better aromas, my creativity has been sparked and my physical fitness has been charged. I am, by body, a summer girl. But, by soul, an Autumn girl, no question. I am an October baby, born on the last day of Libra. It is said, that as a "cusper," I have a touch of Scorpio in me which makes me a full fledged Fall Baby!

These mood boards are the best visual way I can show you how I feel. Most of them below are from my Pinterest board called Mood Boards











Friday, April 20, 2018

Art!

I have been away because in addition to tons of work travel and Walt Disney World, I have also been embroiled in making mass amounts of art. Blogging is sort of like your "network." Some people in your network have more priority than others. Family and work are obviously at the top of that hierarchy. Unfortunately, blogging had to take a little backseat. I am not one of those bloggers you see on Pinterest, "Make $10,000 a month blogging."

I am part of a group show at Art of Toys in July and I am feverishly getting my little monsters together. I never want to let a garbage monster out of my paws though so I have had to work and rework some of these guys. I think you may know them if you follow my Poppies page on IG. I haven't always thought of myself as an actual artist and I have certainly not called myself an artist but now that I am the age I am and have accrued the body of work that I have, I have crossed over and now actually quite confidently call myself an artist.

I have been sculpting monsters. Here are a few examples:




 I was planning to post lots of other things since I last posted in December. Maybe I still can. I'd love to post our Christmas Dinner. Is it silly to post a winter meal in the Spring?
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017 - Poppy Barach and Julie Audet, Photographers

I found two great photographers who have flawlessly captured this mysterious time of year.

Poppy Barach's images are haunting and rich. You can follow her on Instagram, here.

And, Julie Audet. Her images are filled with wisdom and magic. And she can be found on Instagram, here.

Poppy Barach

Julie Audet

Poppy Barach

Julie Audet



Monday, May 4, 2015

A Henna Party


Hi.
I've been out.
No excuses. Just doing other stuff and looking for some inspiration.
I think I found it.

My friend Kendra is having a birthday at the end of this month and to celebrate I invited several ladies over to my house for a luncheon. To supplement the luncheon I also asked a traditional Henna Artist named Tara to join us for the festivities and create some temporary body art for us. It was beyond my wildest imagination and went off so amazingly that I'm going to do it again for my birthday! here is the invitation which I emailed to the ladies. (Some of you may scoff at an emailed invitation - but the cost effectiveness cannot be beat).

Original artwork by Amylee Paris.
All the elements of this little bash were extraordinary. I had big vases of white tea roses that I spirited away from SMUD and supplemented with my own colored roses from the garden. The arrangements were beautiful. The menu of ladies tea sandwiches (recipes included below) and lavender lemonade. I made a hummingbird cake and a fantastic veggie platter with a feta, garlic dip and a fruit platter with a peanut butter yogurt dip.

The favors were mismatched china plates all with a different floral patterns on them but the "piece de resistance" were the lemon, sugar cookies by my friend Leah at "I Hella Heart Sugar" complete with beautiful Mehndi designs on them.

Lemon Sugar Cookies by Leah at I Hella Heart Sugar.
The spread.

Charlene.
Kendra.
Ki'inani.
Me.
I've thrown a party before, natch. But this had just a little more magic. Kendra is all girl and, like me really enjoys these girly things. I wish her nothing but great blessings for a wonderful birthday.

Here is an excellent menu if you fancy throwing a "Ladies Who Lunch" event for a special friend of yours.

Tea Sandwiches:

1. Roasted Chicken and Cream Cheese with Fig Compote on Raisin Brown Bread.

  • Mix 4 oz. cream cheese with fig jam
  • Spread cheese mixture on thinly sliced "Boston Brown Bread" (recipe)
  • Neatly lay chicken so that the sliced chicken is not over the edge of the sandwich.
  • Cut in half resembling a half moon.
  • Fan out on a serving plate. (see above in my "spread" photo - they are the sandwiches on the top tier of the three level serving platter).
2. Radish, Mint and Lemon on Westphalian Rye.
  • In a food processor, add 1 bunch radishes, and pulse until small but not mushy. Take the container off the blade and base and drain excess water.
  • Add 4 oz. cream cheese (the other half that you used for the chicken sando's).
  • Add 1 bunch mint (leaves and stems are fine).
  • Add juice and rind of half a lemon.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spread entire mixture on the rye and cut in half to create small triangles. Cut in half again for even smaller triangles.
3. Cucumber Pesto on Fitness Bread.
  • Thinly slice cucumber.
  • Make your pesto.
    • In a food processor, add one bunch basil leaves, 1 whole kale leaf, 2 tbs pine nuts and a 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 Tbs olive oil and the juice of the other half of the lemon you used for the radish sandwiches. Add salt and pepper and pulse until it resembles a paste.
  • Spread pesto on bread.
  • Top with cucumber slices and close sandwich with another piece of bread that you've spread with the pesto as well.
  • Slice into strips and slice again into small squares.
  • This bread can be tricky to work with so be ginger when cutting.
Hummingbird Cake:

This cake recipe was given to me by my friend Patty. I altered it so that it has a very moist consistency. It makes 1 8x8 inch pan cake.

Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup packed, brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large ripe banana, smashed with a fork
  • 1/2 cup soybean oil (or similarly light salad oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large, entire can of crushed pineapple, with syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup pecans, chopped
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Grease and flour an 8x8 square, metal baking pan
  • Combine eggs, sugar, salt, banana, vanilla extract and oil in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  • Mix in pineapple (plus syrup)
  • Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and pecans and mix until just combined. 
    • Do not over mix or your cake will be a brick you could kill someone with at 20 paces.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking pan.
  • Bake at 350 for between 40-45 minutes.
  • To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into center of cake. If it comes out with nothing sticking to it, your cake is done.
  • Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes.
  • Turn onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting.
    • 1 package cream cheese frosting (Don't skimp - use Philly)
    • 1 stick butter 
    • 1 cup confectioners sugar
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 Tbs Frangelico for a little kick).
    • Mix with a hand mixer.
    • When cake is cool, frost with this delight.
Feta Garlic Dip with Lemon:
  • 1 8 oz pkg. cream cheese 
  • 1 8 oz block feta cheese (I like the French variety).
  • 1 clove garlic (more if it's just you - but you don't want the ladies blaming you for their offensive breath)
  • Rind and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil and pinch chili flakes (for garnish)
  • Mix all ingredients (except garnish) together in a food processor
  • Serve with Pita Chips and crudites - I used the requisite veg, but I cut the jicama into tiny stars and flowers and hearts with tiny cookie cutters.
Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip:
  • 1 6 oz. tub vanilla yogurt (I use Chobani).
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Mix all ingredients together, pour into serving bowl.
  • Serve with cut up kiwis, apples, blueberries, strawberries, bananas and grapes or whatever fruit you fancy.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Looking for Inspiration

I feel like my blog focus has waned as of late. Unfortunately, I can only drive my attention to so many places at once. Right now, I am learning how to take care of myself. I am learning that being fit is important. I am learning that yoga is my church. I am learning that I do not have to say, "Yes," all the time. I am learning that my husband, no matter what, knows the right way to do things. I am learning to forgive myself for mistakes and to forgive others for not always understanding. I am learning how to release - whether it be anger, guilt or unhappiness. And I am learning to find inspiration in tiny things - like when a scratch becomes a scab. And, I am learning to accept myself and all my weirdness.

In considering "inspiration" today, I found this card, at this place. It really speaks to my love for the macabre.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Person is Fascinating

Source
I've decided to add a new category.

Do I call it "People?" or "A World of People?" or "Person?" or "Homo Sapiens?" or maybe I should go with something more sensitive like, "The Human Connection?" or "A Person is Fascinating," as I have titled this post? In any regard, while I sometimes moan about The Human Race at large, I think that a person is intriguing and phenomenal and I have some interesting folks that I'd like to introduce you to! Make some suggestions about the title of this category (for now it's in the right hand sidebar and I'm simply calling it "People").

Everyone has a story.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Squirrels

I am guilty of having a very busy Christmas season and I am so sorry for not posting regularly. Now that we are on the downswing, I 'll be plenty more consistent with my posts.

On that note, I found, in my email inbox this morning, a question from a friend posed like so, "Do you know?" Below is the question:


I first read it with a chuckle. Who would think to query this? And then I read it again with curiosity. And said, "Yeah! Why and how?" In my search for answers, I found that squirrels were not only a subject of note in British 18th Century paintings but also in American 18th Century paintings and French 16th Century paintings and in fact throughout several centuries and countries.

It seems the squirrel was a popular pet. And in fact, their keepers loved them so much that this pet consistently evoked poetry:

From The Virginia Gazette, December 15, 1768
A Young Lady's Complaint on the Death of her Squirrel.

A thing so pretty as my PHIL,
A thing so sprightly and so queer,
The pet I lov'd so very dear,
To rob me of the pretty elf,

For him I've lost each night's repose,
Nothing enjoying but my woes.
Oh could my squirrel but survive,

But he is gone ! ne'er to return!
And useless 'tie to sigh and mourn.
I'll therefore seek another pet ,

Amongst the fops or empty beaus,
Because he'd surely make me fret,
And prove a very worthless pet.


And the paintings:

1760 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Boy (Henry Pelham) with a Squirrel.

1765 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Frances Deering Wentworth (Mrs. Theodore Atkinson, Jr.)


1790 Denison Limner Probably Joseph Steward (American artist, 1753-1822). Miss Denison of Stonington, Connecticut possibly Matilda.

1526 Hans Holbein the Younger (1498–1543) Lady with a Squirrel on a chain.
1580's Portrait of a Lady, possibly the Poet Maddalena Salvetti (1557-1610), in a Green Dress and a pet Black Squirrel with a bell collar.


1600's Frederic Kerseboom (1632-1690) Lady with a Red Squirrel on a Chain and a Spaniel

1700's Joseph Highmore (English artist, 1692-1780) A Portrait of a Boy with a Pet Squirrel.

1730 Unknown French artist, Portrait of an Unknown French Lady Holding Flowers and a Red Squirrel with a bell collar.
I attained these renderings of these portraits from 18C American Women. For more explanations and interesting meanderings, please go visit Barbara. She has several other blogs as well, all worth a visit, including her biggest collection, "It's About Time."

Did I, however, get the answers to the how and why? No. I did not. If anyone knows, please enlighten me!