... exploring in my creativity further in 2017



05 December 2008

Rhubarbolution!

I love the look of rhubarb leaves - whether the yummy, edible, garden-variety rhubarb or these beautiful ornamental rhubarbs which grow so tall in British Columbia (and no doubt elsewhere). The one above, in Vancouver, was well over 12 feet tall!
Havi at Fluent Self recently had a blog post declaring she had nothing at all to say about rhubarb - which of course ended up with some discussion of rhubarb.
It reminds me of those times you tell yourself you're not going to think about something (or someone!) and that's all you can think about? Have you ever had that happen?
On Havi's comments, I mentioned that I have a great recipe for Rhubarb Mooncake and I have been encouraged (arm twisted) to join the rhubarbolution (word compliments of Diane Whiddon-Brown and Havi Brooks) and post it here. I hope all of those rhubarb lovers of you out there enjoy!! Everyone I know loves it.

RHUBARB MOONCAKE CAKE

 ½ cup shortening or butter 
1½ cups sugar 
1 egg 
1 tsp vanilla 
2 cups flour
I tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt 
1cup buttermilk 
2½ cups chopped rhubarb (@1/2 inch pieces) 
1 tbsp flour
 TOPPING 
¼ cup softened butter 
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 cup packed brown sugar 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13 inch cake pan. Cream shortening or butter together with sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda and salt, then add to creamed mixture alternating with the buttermilk, making 3 dry and 2 liquid additions. Toss rhubarb with the 1 tbsp of flour. Mix gently into the batter. Spoon into pan and smooth surface. For topping – combine butter, cinnamon and brown sugar. Sprinkle over batter. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake has risen, browned, comes away from the edge or a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Surface will resemble the surface of the moon. Serves 18. From Homemaker’s Magazine.

Do you have any photos of lovely or unusual rhubarb leaves? (My own rhubarb in asleep under a light blanket of snow at the moment - so no photos of mine here today.) Any excellent rhubarb recipes to share? Rhubarb stories to tell us? Join the rhubarbolution!!!

29 November 2008

Know Limit

One of my favourite artists is Marcus Pierson and one of my favourite pieces of his work is "Know Limit".


His work is very unusual in that it contains words as well as images.

I fell in love with this one when I saw it. (Discovering the gallery with Pierson's artwork, and this piece in particular, happened in a most synchronistic manner, making it all the more memorable and impactful to me. A story for another day!)

Unlike some of his other pieces, I knew that this one was THE ONE I had a proper home for - on my office wall. It could talk to me there. It could inspire me. It affirmed some of what I have already experienced and accomplished. Some, as I know I can do more. The words continue to ring true. They encourage me. They remind me to know and PUSH my own limits. Such amazing creativity his paintings (limited editions) and his sculptures display!

 The words are: Like everyone else I was told my future had no limit. While it was true for some, for myself - I knew better. So instead I simply set out to find it. And once I had, to push against it and try my best to move it. More like a bull than an eagle, just stubbornly plodding along. Looking back now, I can't believe what I've done, where I've been. So I say to you these two simple words; not no limit - but KNOW LIMIT.”

Do you have any artwork that reminds you of your potential within?

09 November 2008

Nests and Berries

Today I went for a walk with my camera. I wanted to take photos with a theme in mind. At first I thought the theme might be wreaths. Or perhaps interesting doors. But as I walked, I found there were very few unique or colourful doors in my neighbourhood and fewer wreaths. We seem to be in that interim time period where Hallowe'en decorations have disappeared but Christmas wreaths are not yet on up the doors of the local homes.

So what did catch my eye?

Two things in particular caught my attention. One was the nests in the trees. It sure does explain the abundance of squirrels in the area! The other was the berries that are still abundant on certain trees.

There are always squirrels around. Red, grey, and black squirrels frolic and play. They chase each other. They chatter at the cats when they get too close. The telephone lines are their roads and their leaps from those paths to tree branches are amazing to watch. Most of the nests that I saw, I believe belong to the squirrels.





I was delighted to see so many berries! The mountain ash, euonymus, and two other kinds that I was unfamiliar with, were just beautiful!







Hope you enjoy these photos as seen through my eyes and lens! What did you see today that caught your attention?

07 November 2008

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

Have you ever thought of yourself as a fairly bright, knowledgeable person only to delve into a topic and discover just how little you actually do know?

When I used to read almost exclusively fiction for pleasure, I rarely had the need to look up words or look into a subject in more detail. I was entertained and usually enjoyed what I read. I learned, but more than anything else, I learned to look at things from different perspectives and to empathize with the characters. Now I read much more non-fiction than fiction.

So often lately, I am overwhelmed by feelings of ignorance, of lack of knowledge, lack of awareness. “How did I get to this age without knowing ____?” is a common thought of mine. Perhaps it is because I have started to read outside of my usual genres? Or maybe it’s because I am studying some of what I am reading as opposed to just perusing it? Even when I am web surfing, one reference will lead to another and then to another and yet more. Multiple quick trips to Wikipedia later, I have more information on what has aroused my curiosity. Sometimes a superficial glance satisfies that initial curiosity. Or I may choose to delve deeper and read more on the subject, looking at multiple sources and books. Still other times, I set it aside as a topic to return to and pursue at some later date.

Either way, I am learning so many new things! More than anything, I am recognizing I have so much more to learn, in so many different areas. Much of it is fascinating. How exciting!

Richard Feynman wrote a book called “The Pleasure of Finding Things Out”. While the subject of that book has little to do with what I am talking about here, the title really reflects my feelings about gaining knowledge and learning. It is indeed a pleasure!

How do you feel when you find out how little you know? Do you make trips to Wikipedia or other encyclopedia type sites? Or do you go to the library? Or read an actual book encyclopedia? Or do a Google search on the topic? What sources of information do you like most?



25 October 2008

Happiness

"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them but that they seize us". Ashley Montagu

Oh those moments!

When they happen, they can be mild or they can be intense. They may warm you up; bring a smile to your face and a feeling of contentment to your heart. Or they may fill you with such bliss that you feel you want to burst. You can barely contain the joy.

To some degree I believe you can choose the former. You can actively appreciate your surroundings and your life and feel gratitude for who you are and what you have. Focusing on the positives does bring some happiness.

The intense happiness, the kind that seizes you, is usually created by outside factors. It may be other people bringing you ecstasy. It may be the actions you are taking - the thrill and delight of a rollercoaster perhaps. It may be beautiful scenery, amazing music or captivating artwork. It may the touch of a hand or the look in someone's eyes. It could be the sound of someone else's laughter or the feeling of your own. It isn't always the same nor is it caused by the same factors each time you experience it. It may be loud and flamboyant like a parade or a Las Vegas show. It may also be quiet, the comfort of someone you love beside you, not necessarily speaking, just enjoying the total pleasure of each other's company.

Whatever it is next for you, I hope you cherish the moment as, and after, it seizes you.

17 October 2008

Autumn Leaves


Autumn leaves me with mixed feelings.

The joy of the vibrant colours - the reds, the yellows and the oranges, sometimes even pink and fuschia intermixed with greens and browns. Squirrels chase each other with joyful abandon on the telephone lines and through the fallen leaves. Chickadees, cardinals and even robins fly around and play, eating the remaining fruit from the hawthorne outside my window. The crispness of a sunny fall day is wonderful.

Going for a refreshing walk to admire the glowing colours also makes me sad. I am sad and very aware of all the plants who are dying, or hibernating, for this year. Piles of dead leaves (to jump in?), trees already void of greenery, wilted hostas and begonias looking sad and in need of raking and composting. Winter is on its way. The days grow shorter. The temperatures are cooler. Frost appears some mornings.

I love the sun and the warmth. I love the energy of being surrounded by growing plants. Fall means that while there may be sun, the warmth and the growth are now months more away. I am sad for that absence. However if summer were the only season to be experienced, it would no doubt be boring. Four very distinct seasons provide wide varieties of beauty and colours.

So I will put aside my sadness at the decline of this year’s plants, appreciate the beauty of their last days and look forward to next year’s blossoms and growth!

08 September 2008

Tap Dancing

My father is 87 years young.

He has just signed up to take tap dancing lessons. Not just one class either. He is taking two different classes with different teachers and sets of students. Both of them are oriented towards seniors. Both are introductory level. In the first class, which started today, he is the oldest and the only man! I'll find out Thursday the composition of the second class but I suspect it will be similar.

I am very impressed with and proud of my Dad. The courage it takes to start something new at that age is inspiring. The willingness to look silly as you learn new "moves" is fabulous! How many people his age (or younger) are not only willingly and able to do that, but more importantly, how many ARE doing it?! I wonder, as I compare his ability to be goofy with my own or with my kids (his grandchildren), who is young and who are the old fuddy-duddies.

Learning new things, trying different approaches and being prepared to take risks are some of the ways that keep us young in heart, spirit and body. What a role model he is! In all these ways and more, I am so happy to have him to look up to, to love and respect.

03 September 2008

Threads

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as courses, and they come back to us as effects.
Herman Melville

One of the book series I have read is the "Ender" series by Orson Scott Card - starting with "Ender's Game", "Speaker for the Dead", "Xenocide" etc (plus all the newer ones that involve other characters' perspectives). I like these books for a number of the usual reasons - great characters, intriguing plot, interesting dilemmas etc.

OSC adds to these by introducing unusual philosophies. In some cases he does this by extrapolating from those present in today's societies but he also seems to me to create new philosophies.

At one point in Xenocide, he introduces the concept of the philotic web. This idea is that all souls, all people, are connected to each other by invisible strings, by a web. And you can pull those strings, bringing to you the one (the person or capability) you need. Effectively this is done by very strong wish and desire. I have always liked this idea, and personally have found amazing truth to it both when I have tried it for myself and in observing other people’s lives.

It reminds me somewhat of Greek mythology and the Tapestry of Life - but that isn't quite accurate. There are similarities but is not the same. I've never seen a comparable idea of strings and webs discussed anywhere else and he only uses it as a tool in the book (rather than as an underlying philosophy). So it may be an original idea?

This quote, while again not really the same concept, builds upon of the philosophy. It too has much truth in it. Both make me look at the connections I have with other people differently.

Have you ever heard of or thought about connections as threads or strings before?

11 August 2008

Monday's Quote - Goethe


"The realization of the self is only possible if one is productive, if one can give birth to one's potentialities." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


Most, if not all, of the quotes I have come across from Goethe seem to me to contain much wisdom. They frequently make it into my word document where I store quotes of interest to me or that resonate for one reason or another. His quotes frequently resonate with me. But I know little of the man. German. A philosopher. That's about it.


This particular quote resonates in two ways. First it advises that one must be productive. One must produce. Usually that means produces results of some kind. It is well and good to think, ponder, and learn but without results to show for the time spent on those efforts - no realization of self, no birth of potentialities can take place. Productivity is a result of actions taken. Of acting and learning from those experiences. Of trial and error. Of progressive steps. One's potential becomes stillborn without these actions, without the productivity.


It also resonates with me as he refers to one's potentialities. There are unborn potentials in all of us. These wait to appear, to bloom, to grow, as either need or opportunity present themselves. We often have no idea of all of the wonderful things we are capable of, until we take action. Until we are productive.


What actions can I take, can you take, today? Tomorrow?

08 August 2008

Tranquility and Calm


In the National Gallery of Art
There is a spot that calms my heart

An atrium of windows to the sky
I quietly sit, watching the clouds go by

Through panes of glass, the sun brightly shines
Bringing warmth to the gallery's cool, clean lines

Here I love to come and sit
To write, to draw, or think a bit

To ponder the art that I've just seen
Or dreams of places that I have been

When others enter, there is sound
Else very quiet, when none abound

The guards peek in and out
Unobtrusive yet still about

Leaving you to your private thoughts
Whether silly poems or novel plots

Here one can sit and quietly write
Drenched in rays of the sun's bright light

I wonder what it's like when it rains
How loud or echoed the sound on those panes?

Do they in winter stay covered in snow?
I must return then, so I will know

Every time that I've been here
I plan to return often, my thoughts to clear

Rarely has it happened that way
To my normal routine, I stick and stay

Unless visitors come that I can take
A special trip to the Gallery, I rarely make

I really should become a member
And visit more often - May, June or December

This is a place that can make you whole
Let you relax, think and calm your soul.

03 August 2008

Learning Techniques

They say the best way to learn is by doing. And that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

Step.

I want to learn how to write better. I intend to write a book. Am I capable of writing a book that people want to read? I truly do not know. Time will tell. Much research needs to be done and much hard work invested before a single word is typed on the manuscript.

Some people seem to be born writers. They have loved it since they were first taught the use of the alphabet. All they have ever wanted to do was write. I am NOT one of them. The pen scares me. I am unsure of my skill and my voice. I have been told I write well. So why the fear and dread those times I have decided to write?

They say the best way to conquer fear is by doing the thing you fear. Good advice, I suspect (unless your fear is of death). So I will take this small step by writing here - in this blog. I'm unsure today what I will use the blog to write about - thus the name - to be determined.

Another technique for learning is to obtain constructive feedback. So while my first inclination is to use this as a private, practice journal, I have decided to leave it open for comments.

Thank you in advance for help or encouragement!