Friday, December 28, 2012

Planning Places to Visit

This morning I finished my journaling early and decided to work on my upcoming trip. Current plans are to take 91S to 84W through Conn. and N.Y. on into Penn. where I’ll pick up 81S. This route will take me away from NYC and other major cities (of which I fear.) Weather will be a factor and I have no idea how far I will get the first day. I’ll want to get out of New England and winter weather asap.

Carolyn had mentioned that I could look up Travel and Tourism for each state. I decided to start with Pennsylvania because I figure on driving straight through New York. So far, I am only seeing Gettysburg as a possible which will be a detour off of 81S. Should Gettysburg be considered in the winter? Will they have snow?

In Virginia, I want to do the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, but weather conditions may close roads. Then there’s Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown, Chincoteague, and many other coastal sites. I probably could spend two or three days, at least, in this state and it may warrant going home a different route.

Rte. 77S is picked up in Va. and heads down into North Carolina. Raleigh has a Titanic exhibition going on. That would be cool. I could take a Historic Railroad Tour in Hamlet. This will definitely be on my list of things to do. There are lots of things on the coast. I’d love to visit Cape Hattaras. Imagine doing Lighthouse Tours along Va. and N.C.

And then there’s South Carolina. So far, my list includes Boone Plantation, Mt. Pleasant; Magnolia Gardens near Charleston; and Cypress Gardens northwest of Charleston. These are also on the coast.

It looks like I might have to divide my trip between west and east of southern coast states. I’m going to have to make more plans for sure.

Oh, my, at this rate, maybe I won’t make it to Florida…

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Not Knowing When to Quit

I got one of my latest drawings to the point where I considered it done. I didn’t sign it. I wanted to be sure. This morning I deemed it okay and added my signature. I hung the drawing on the cabinet before applying fixative to look at it for awhile longer.

A short time later, I noticed a flaw. Back to the studio it went and I began touching it up. Then I touched up another area and another. Uh, oh, maybe I should have left it alone. Sometimes the fixing of a section makes it worse. I end up making extra work for myself and like it less.

Even now, with it back on the cabinet, I am thinking I need to touch up some of the touch up. Sometimes I like the drawings the best when they are half finished.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Need for Quiet

The Need for Quiet

Many people have a hard time being alone with their selves these days. They have to have a constant barrage of noise and sights. This creates a problem in the human psyche. With modern technology, focus has become narrowed to electronic screens, big and small. The bombardment of sound and the amount of information coming into the brain causes an overload of the senses. And somehow, it’s addictive.

I, too, am drawn to spending hours on the computer. I love the connection to other people and while that can be great for solitary people, it is a distraction to enjoying other aspects of life. I also find it an excuse to not go out and interact face to face with people and that is not always so good. The more time I spend in isolation, the less I want to leave my house.

I end up spending a good part of the day on the computer instead of going outside to enjoy the yard or go for walks along a wooded trail. Yes, I have a great view from my window (when I bother to look up), but it is necessary for a person’s well-being to be outdoors. That’s an opportunity to connect to the earth and breathe in the fresh air.

My art work also suffers and while I do more writing and editing my own photos, I am doing less drawing and painting. The connection to the “world” keeps me more at home because I no longer have to leave the house to “talk” to others.

As human beings, we are social creatures and it is good for the soul to spend time with others. We need personal interactions to remain emotionally connected to friends and family. We need time outside to feel the connection to the natural world. We need quiet to let our souls renew and the mind to rest.

Somehow our need for connection has become skewed. The soul’s need for human interaction has given way to electronic connections. We have dozens of “friends” on Face Book and Twitter and the likes. Even when we leave the house, we have to have constant connection through cell phones. We can’t even put them down in stores or restaurants.

As much as I love the technology, I am concerned as to what it’s doing to us as human beings. I wonder how this affects our brains, our bodies and our souls.

In trying to get this written, my mind cannot totally bring it all together. I guess the bottom line comes down to the same old same old: Balance and Moderation.

Sunday, December 16, 2012



I often have the best conversations or “hear” the best lectures when I am in the shower. Oh, these things that ramble about in the mind. Usually, the subject is gone by the time I get dressed and do my meditation. This morning, I was thinking about the self and who we are. Whenever a label is put upon us, how does that affect WHO we are at the core?

For instance, being labeled a boy or girl comes with a set of expectations and rules. When I was young, I very much wished I was a boy. Boys got to do cool things. I was never much into dolls, but would much rather be playing outside in the dirt with my brother’s trucks. I remember making roads using a piece of shingle that had fallen off the house. I loved climbing trees and being out in the woods; making forts and playing war or cowboys and Indians. (I grew up in the time of WWII shows like Combat and westerns were popular.) Cooking and cleaning certainly were of no interest. I wanted a boy’s bike because that was about being tough.

Something inside always felt unsettled.

Being labeled a daughter had different rules from being a son. Sons got to do cool things with their dads. Daughters were expected to do home type things with their mothers. And now, considering this further, we didn’t have a conventional family. My mother wasn’t much of a cook or housekeeper, nor did she sew or do other housewife-y things and my brother was never into things my father was like hunting and fishing. But there was still that… society expectation.

Besides the immediate family labels, there are others. I was a niece which came with its own set of rules as to how to act around the aunts and uncles. I was always treated different than my brother, treated less than, from my father’s side of the family and was always told because I wasn’t a son.

Going to school added more labels, not only becoming a student, but names other kids would call me. (Often not nice.) Friend was a tough concept. The couple of early friends I had were never in the same classes. I didn’t seem to fit in with most girls and many of them deemed me “coming from the wrong side of town.”  

Becoming a teenager added its own weight as to who I was “supposed to be.” Again, it was difficult because what most girls my age were into, I didn’t care about.  

What did the label “girlfriend” do to me? More expectations and the giving up more of the self to try to please a boy and make him like me took over rational thought; feeling like I would die if I didn’t see him or talk to him. Within a three short years, I went from girlfriend to wife, mother and working girl. Those responsibilities totally put on the back burner anything else I might have been and even who I truly was on the inside and at that age, I didn’t even know who was that inner me. It was like my life was built on what others wanted of me.

Jobs, too, carry labels and titles. I had a friend who would often exclaim that it was a shame that you are defined by “what you do for a living.”

It was only later when the children were grown and marriages fell apart that I began to search for the real me. It’s an on-going process and is taking many years. Many labels will be with me forever, but some, I have been able to let go and I’ve discovered new ones that make me feel good.

We acquire many labels throughout life and yes, these labels help define who we are. Some labels fit and are good, but there are some that we carry for years that hurt. It’s a process to let go of old labels that do not work for the good of our being. Sometimes there are those around us who insist on keeping us in that old state. Some titles no longer fit.

Can we ever truly know who we are on the inside? What would happen if all those labels were stripped away? Who would we be? What new labels or current labels do we want to use to say who we are and who we want to be?

Tell me.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Taking Chances

Photography is making me brave. When I stop to take photos, I am more daring than normal. I am fascinated by abandoned properties and while in normal situations, I would never dare trespass, I let my passion take me closer.

A couple days ago, I stopped across from an abandoned main street property. Earlier this summer, I'd stopped and took photos from the street, but this day, I let the intrigue draw me in. Passing traffic didn't bother me, nor did I worry that someone would come along and tell me to leave. I was so busy shooting that I went right up to the front door. I looked in windows and went around to the side of the house to look in an old cellar hole where I imagine the barn might have been. 

This isn't the first time I've done this. Yes, it does bother me. a little. I would prefer to get permission. I would love to get some history or hear a story about the place. On the other hand, I know I would never take the time to do the research nor would I dare to actually speak to the owner. My intent is to do no harm. I don't want to intrude or be rude, but I have to let the curiosity take my feet closer. I hope I am forgiven.

I love these photos I am taking. There's something about the decay, the peeling paint, crooked walls and caved in roofs. I am intrigued by the broken and dirty windows and what can be seen through the panes or capturing the reflections in the glass. 

It also saddens me that these places are left to ruin. I would love to know why. What happened? What story could these buildings tell?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Cell Phone

New Cell Phone Owner

I am now the proud owner of a cell phone. Rebecca LePine at the Verizon Store in Concord was wonderful in helping me choose and set it up. She took care with me and didn’t rush me at all which I really appreciated.

When I first described my needs for the phone, she suggested a tracfone. My issue with getting a smart phone was how much I would use the phone after my trip and most come with a two year contract. I also wondered about the ability to do credit cards for customers while at a show.

I finally decided on a Verizon Illusion which also has unlimited calling and texting, but after six months, I can cancel if I no longer want it. I can also get a Square One to do credit cards which Rebecca recommended purchasing on-line.

Now that I am home, I have to enter passwords and do some other things to get it working well. I took notes when Rebecca was talking, but at the moment, I’m brain dead. I’m sure I’ll have questions tomorrow.