Día de Muertos

¡Feliz Día de Muertos!

Happy Día de Muertos!

Saturday was All Hallows’ Eve, Sunday was All Saints’ Day, and today was All Souls’ Day. My family has a very strong connection to Mexico and Mexican celebrations and culture, so we always celebrate Día de Muertos. Last year, I even brought sugar calaveras to my French students to have them decorate the extra sugar skulls from an event my mother had led (and with which I had helped). Talk about mixing cultures, eh? Houston kind of already is a huge mix of cultures, and in various ways, so I grew up in a world of mixed culture, with my family embracing the people around us in life. In other words, mixing cultures is totally normal for me and to me. 😉

This year, I created a special project for myself. Mattel created a Día de Muertos Barbie both last year and this year, but sells the collectible doll for far more than I could afford to pay. (Though, to be fair, she is stunning. They both are.) I found myself wishing I could have just one of these Barbies, perhaps one day, and, as I was looking at photos of them, my brain somehow developed an idea.

You see, there have been several old Barbies – from my childhood – in a box in my mom’s laundry room for ages. They, for some unknown reason, are all naked, and they have always kind of reminded me of a graveyard of Barbies. Though, I’ve never used that word, graveyard, as I’ve always just thought of them as, “the poor, dead Barbies”. It seemed like an extremely low-risk situation, since, and I mentioned, the Barbies were already “dead” anyway. So, I went for it. And I had a student join in with me.

I brought a bag-o-Barbies (yes, all still naked) to her house, and we each selected a Barbie. We then painted their faces and bodies, over a few days’ time, to be the designs we each wanted. Afterward, I then shopped for some ribbon and tulle, picked up a few fallen fake flower bits at the store, and then sewed a couple dresses for the dolls.

I hadn’t played with Barbies for probably about two decades at this point, but I think this really was some of the best fun I have ever had with Barbies. 😀

Alas, here are the process and the final results of today. Enjoy!

And the dresses…!!!

Post-a-day 2020

“I Trust In You”

I was at an artist retreat this weekend with my mom, out in the forest North of Houston. I wasn’t in the sessions themselves (my mom was), but was still part of the activities for the families who accompanied the artists on this Catholic outdoor camping and hiking adventure. I listened to what was said, my conscious and sub-conscious absorbed the words and the themes that surrounded us all throughout this retreat, and, yesterday afternoon, I produced this song while sitting on a yoga mat in the grass after a rough and glorious hike. It wasn’t intentional to have such obvious connections – that’s the sub-conscious managing things here – but the irony of it all is that I wrote a song based unintentionally around the phrase “I trust in you”, while at The Divine Mercy Retreat Center. (If you don’t get the irony, look up The Divine Mercy painting images.)

Whatever your beliefs and followings, I hope you find love and joy in this song. 😉 ✨💗🎨⚡️🕉🌏💫📿🧘🏻‍♀️❤🤗🙏🐪 🤸🌸🌻

🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑

💪👊🏻👍

P.S. To hear the song, it seems you have to go to the Instagram post, since I can only attach photos in here.

So, it begins…

Today was the first day of writing for me.

I got myself signed up officially with a coach of sorts, and we began working together on Sunday.

By last night, I was ready to go for today with my first writing assignment on the topic that most called me.

Suffice it to say, I was surprised by what topic and book style called most to me.

See, it’s been really cool working with this coach, because she all sorts of coaching, including art coaching.

(Art coaching uses art to help sort out things in one’s life.)

Sunday, through the coaching, I got to write out a whole list of book style possibilities, and then I did an art coaching assignment with them all, in order to find which type of book most called to me… and I was blown away with how low on the list a novel was, and with what was way up at the top.

But, today and tomorrow and the next day, I have a specific writing task to go with this topic, and I will get to re-evaluate after the three-day assignment…, but I’m not sure I’ll want to change the selection – from the assignment today alone, I saw not only how much I have to say for this particular topic, but also how easily it all flows out of me… and almost in a flood of words being released, with style dropped out the window, and the information itself reaching for the page in front of me with an intensity I hadn’t realized was really there, waiting to come forth…

Anyway…, I’m enjoying it so far, and I am excited for the next to days especially, and the next few months as a whole. 🙂

Yay!, for getting things handled that matter to ourselves, right??

Right! 😀

Post-a-day 2020

The story for tonight

Tonight, I keep it extremely short:

Lin-Manuel Miranda, I thank you – you have given the world such wonder and love and beautiful creativity and expression, and we, the people, are grateful. 😉

And for all of it – you are a gift, and you have shared your treasure with the world at large… for that, and for following your passion and love, you have helped to make the world a better place on both a personal and a global level.

Thank you.

Post-a-day 2020

Beginning with the past

I have begun writing.  And I mean for a book.  It was bizarre at first, wondering what on Earth I would use to start off things.  But, rather than titling the page “What to write first?”, I switched it to “What to write now?”.  It seems simple enough a change, but it was a transformative effect on my brain.  The idea of first suggests importance, that something is the most important, and so should be shared first.  The idea of now, however, just means that I can write about anything at any time, and I just happen to care about what’s on my mind right this minute.  It might change in an hour or a day, or even five minutes.   But, for right now, what’s on my mind?  And that is the question I answered.

And it actually surprised me somewhat, what came up and out.

I have begun writing, I believe, the backstory for the main character of this story.  She is, in essence, a copy of myself, but with certain subtle and not necessarily intentional differences.  An intentional difference, of course, is her name.  However, I have found that, while when recounting something in my own life, I feel a need to be precise and exact, when recounting that same something in her life, I can pick whatever words the person said that still express the same idea.  I do not have to go back and forth with myself, trying to recall if the person used the word “normal” or “real”… I can just pick the one I want to use.  because I am not writing nonfiction here.  I am writing fiction.  It is based on my own life, of course, but the key words here are “based on”… and boy, do they give me so much freedom and ease.  I don’t have to get it right.  I can choose how I want it to be.  And that’s really, really cool.  🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Delayed Gratification

“Sometimes, it takes delayed gratification to discover that we didn’t really want it, anyway.”

This has been on my mind a lot today.

At first, all I was considering was how I often discover that, after having to wait to have something – i.e. delayed gratification – I don’t end up wanting that something anymore, and I often even forget all about it by the time I can have it.

This has been so often the case with unhealthy foods (read “desserts” and “grains”), unnecessary items, and even, occasionally, with men.

Today, I’ve been thinking about the men one especially… by not being able to date them or what have you, I end up getting so accustomed to not dating them, and I find that I actually prefer it… I don’t really have any desire to date them after all – it was just a passing excitement and desire, and it, having not been satisfied immediately, passed.

Tonight, though, I am beginning to see the other end of the idea…

Sometimes, it takes delayed gratification to discover that we truly do want it, after all.

Talking with an artist and gallery owner this evening, I saw how art has been one of these particular things for me – I was never given the gratification of studying and learning and doing art…. painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, etc…, and now, after all this time of not being able to have it all, I am discovering how much I truly do want it in my life.

I want to create art, and I want to have a life filled with art and artists.

I have had a taste of this art lately with photography, and then most recently, in being home constantly, in pursuing new skills in other art forms… and I love it.

I feel so at home with it.

This is where I belong, where I feel at home, where I want to be.

I’ve been thinking lately a lot about Charlotte from “Sex in the City”, and about Sophia in “The Longest Ride”, how they worked in art galleries.

And I have been rather envious of them for years, but now I had started to wonder about whether it was something I might actually want to pursue, if only for a short-term situation.

And now, after chasing down what I thought might have been an old family friend – which, it was – from twenty years ago, I might actually be doing it.

Working in an art gallery… how fun… how fantastic… how ridiculous a follow-up to being a high school teacher… I can hardly wait to find out.

Post-a-day 2020

Books and movies

Today, I finished reading the book (well, listening to the audiobook, anyway) Crazy Rich Asians.

I had read the book, because I had enjoyed the film, and discovered that it was based on a book, and that there was actually a whole little series of books, and that it was written by a man…, and my interest was piqued… especially by that last fact.

I had just recently been to Singapore a couple times, so the film easily held a little warm spot in my heart, especially since they go to eat at one of my favorite places in the world to eat (the hawker stand when they first arrive to Singapore).

At long last, I got hold of the audiobook, and dove in, and, though it was different from the film, I enjoyed it.

I mean, I knew it would be different from the film – books always are different from their film counterparts.

Except, perhaps, The Princess Bride… that one is purty darn near exactly the same…, though it does have slight differences still…

Anyway, two things came from this, but I’ll wait…

Whenever I finish a book, I let goodreads.com know, and it adds to my list of books read.

It also sends me an e-mail: You finished [fill in the blank book]. What’s next?

And then it gives a brief bit about the book, including the first few reviews on it, and then info on the author and how to follow him on the website, and, finally, other books that people who read this same book also liked/read.

On this e-mail, I saw part of a review that interested me, and so I clicked and was led to the full review, which I read.

The writer of the review and I had very different impressions from the book – I very much enjoyed it, and she was somewhat annoyed by most of it.

I easily disregarded the review, knowing full well that I often disagree with most reviews I see of books.

(Also, I almost never accept film recommendations, because people seem to have such terrible taste in films and in film quality…)

I have certain people I trust with book recommendations, and I rather distrust most others in the world for a book (or film) recommendation.

But this got me thinking more on the book…

There are probably loads of people who dislike and have terrible and ugly things to say about just about any book, right?

As JRR Tolkien wrote in the beginning of the 1976(?) edition of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, there will be always those who dislike things he likes, and also who dislike the way he told these stories.

(He said a lot more, but that is the most relevant part in this conversation.)

As I thought about the film’s being so different from the book, I found myself wanting to talk to the author, Kevin Kwan, and to ask him how he felt about that all, and what his thoughts were on it…

Is it not basically a group of individuals declaring that your story was good, but just not good enough?, I thought at him in our mental interview within my own mind.

Then, it had me wonder, What is it like with reading the various reviews of your books by readers? All those nasty comments and thoughts…Do you just ignore them entirely and never read them, because that isn’t why you wrote them, anyway? You wrote them for those who would enjoy them?

And this idea had me think about whether it mightn’t be a good idea to go ahead and gather together people who love me, and have them tell me how they dislike or do not like something that I have done or created… practice the rejection, so to speak.

Not to experience the suffering, but to learn to separate their unkind words from my own satisfaction and pleasure from the work I have produced… to aid me in learning to love my creations period, with no dependency on what others’ opinions are, good or bad.

My mood is up to me, and my art can be perfect just for me… everything else is insignificant.

If it brings others joy, yay: joy for them and for myself.

If it doesn’t bring others joy, yay: joy for myself.

That’s why I wrote/made/created it, anyway, was for myself, right?

In some way, anything I create must be for myself… it is something I was ready to express, and in this particular form at this particular time… it is for myself that I do it, whether I realize or acknowledge it or not.

Yet, those bad reviews really stick with us… as I recently was called to consider from a quote by Orson Welles:

Every actor in his heart believes everything bad that’s printed about him.

So, I wonder, how can we move past that?

How can we be untouched by the bad reviews?

And, even, the good reviews, too, for, if they suddenly were to cease, would we be saddened?

How can we be self-sustaining in our joy and satisfaction with our own art, and untouched by the opinions of others?

The second idea was about how films are always different from the book, even when the book is spectacular already.

Why must the book always be changed?

Why?!

Ugh.

Post-a-day 2020

I, phone

“You have too much on our mind,” he said…, “Hai troppi pensieri per la testa!!”

Is he right?

I haven’t felt like I’m thinking about loads and loads lately…, but am I worrying, having thoughts run silently in the background, like the pesky applications on my phone, secretly using the signal and draining down the battery power without my even realizing it until I’m suddenly at only 20%?

Mayhaps… perhaps… it may be… it might be so…

Yes, yes, I can see it… the money and the fitness and the job-related… those have the tell-tale arrows next to them in the settings section, declaring that they were recently using my location…, as well as a lot of “should”s… I don’t even support shoulds, yet, here they are, attacking my brain, eating up the battery life…

Ugh…

I don’t even want to think about it right now… that’s how tired I am – I don’t even want to put forth the slight effort of sorting it out… I just want to go to bed already…

So, I’ll do a run or two or few on the mala, and clear out my active mind, so I can fall asleep powerfully… hopefully it can and will last for longer than it has been doing, and I can wake up with energy tomorrow morning, ready to take on at least one of these pesky background apps in my mind… 😛

P.S. Happy End to WWII Day, and Happy Mothers’ Day!! 🙂

Post-a-day 2020

Who’d’a thunk?!

There are lots and lots of ‘Who’d’a thunk?!’ going on in my life these days.

I have been contemplating even more, since not having my main source of income the past few months, my life and my career direction.

Where, how, and on how much money I live is somewhat baffling, when one considers where I was with things five years ago.

My long-time dream job became available recently, and I had the jarring reality check of discovering that it was no longer my dream job – who I am now is not the person who wanted that job. So, it’s kind of scary to re-evaluate and ask what my active dreams are now and for the near future, since all my previous goals are now invalid. 😂

I absolutely love who and how I am as a person, and I am extremely grateful for everything that has led me to my current point and has me continuing along such a beautiful path of pursuit in my life. It is just not where I would have thought things would go. At all. 😂

What’s more, the utter uncertainty of it all can be frightening at times…., but, perhaps, that is what courage is: to stand in a terrifying scenario and to forge on nonetheless, aiming for and working toward success in the pursuit…

So, perhaps, I am not being assured – or not absurd only – but courageous right now.

Perhaps I am absurdly courageous, full stop.

I think I’ll try on that cal for a while, and see what glories it produces, both mentally and in the physical life around me… it is likely to be quite the bit of adventure, I dare say….

Absurdly courageous… yes… yes, indeed.

Let’s do this. 😉

Post-a-day 2020