Thursday, June 30, 2011

Under the Lights

The third and fourth grade boys' baseball team played a makeup game under the lights last night. Yep, it was a Damiansville doubleheader, with the first and second graders leading off with a game at their usual time. Yep, the photo is about as blurry as you can get, but it serves the purpose. The setup of the game wasn't any different from any other game, but getting to play under the lights surely had a subtle effect on the boys!

AWESOME, that's what they were!

PROUD, that what I am of our son James. This is his second year of playing baseball, and he's put a lot of effort into practicing... and the improvement shows! There are kids on his team who've been playing much longer, and they are really good young athletes. That's overwhelming for a beginner if you let yourself make comparisons, of course. But last night, after making some key plays and hitting a triple, he told me, "Finally, I'm one of the good players, too." He said that with conviction, and the look of confidence was beautiful to this parent's eyes.

I'm not quite sure I've ever experienced that sports moment myself, and it's amazing to me. Now, we all know there are sports advocates and sports notsoenthusiasts. Beyond playing basketball in seventh and eighth grade, organized sports weren't really a part of my life. It's also true that I am squarely in the academics-are-most-important camp. It seems you almost have to take one side or the other, and that is looking like it was a pitfall of mine. "Balance is the key" is applicable to many situations in life. That becomes apparent more and more.

So, unless I want to sit here all day trying to put a bunch of feelings into print in a way that makes sense and doesn't offend either the sports or notsosporty camps, let's just say I'm going to remind myself more often that balance is the key.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Think About It

While the sun is happily heating up that gorgeous blue sky, the wheels in my brain are spinning in myriad directions. Instead of working together to herd my thoughts into a single direction, those wheels seem to think they're really steel balls in a pinball machine. Boing, clang, whizz, ding! Guess it must be time for one of those compilations of thoughts. Hang on, I'm pulling the Play spring-lever-thingie!

  • Thanks to Teri Kay Yount for sharing a health tip recently. She posted a quote about how foods that don't go bad are probably bad for you. Foods that do go bad are generally good for you. Think about it. It was something I've known for years, but I've also tended to ignore it in the last five or so years. Teri, you didn't know it, but that one reminder has stuck with me for the past weeks. I think about it when I choose a snack... the good food doesn't always win yet, BUT it is starting to taste better and better!

  • As long as we're talking food and health, please, remember that those of us who are overweight and out of shape are most likely aware of our current condition. If you feel the need to remark on how much weight someone has gained or how they look in a swimsuit or how they would be so pretty if they lost weight... don't. Think about it. We're all beautiful, no matter where we are on the scale. That goes for everyone, ya know? If someone is looking well, then all you need to say to is "You're looking great!" If you are worried about someone's health, then give them a hug and tell them you love them.

  • Praise and positivity win over nagging and negativity... it's not easy to do if you were raised before society started coddling and praising children (and adults) "willynilly", but it is worth trying. Seriously, none of us could grow into the person we need to be if we were never told how to act appropriately, so there is merit to correcting a child or adult. BUT it costs nothing extra to do so in a positive manner and heap on the praise for good actions whenever possible. Think about it. I have to admit that this does not come naturally for me and that I fail miserably at times... but each day is a new chance to strive toward positivity and bring some good to balance the negativity.

  • Giggle. Every. Single. Day. Think about it. Do it :)

  • Go with the flow. Remember you are part of the flow of the universe, not merely an observer. Think about it. You can't control the flow, but you can control how you move within it. You can float, gently steer yourself, paddle faster in the rapids...whatever feels best for you at the time.

  • "Earthing" is an idea that has made the rounds. I only know this because their was an article about it in a women's magazine I bought at the grocery this week. Apparently, going barefoot, sitting on the ground, etc., has a name now. I love this! Heck, my CB handle when I was a kid was "Princess Barefoot." Yeah, think about it... spending more time outdoors is generally going to lift your spirits in some way. You choose your terms and time. Go enjoy nature's gifts!

Sigh. That's about it for me today. I sure hope today finds you well and content. Love, Ang

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Be the Weed

Be the weed. Don't just grow like one. Be one, from the topmost leaves to the longest root, and you will survive hail and hell, guaranteed.

It seems the weeds in the cracks in our patio and driveway could survive an armegeddon of almost biblical proportions. If I chose to go all the way to biblical proportions with this battle, instead of "almost biblical," I could smite them down with some Roundup herbicide. The cracks are relatively small, though, so I have tried to avoid the chemical destruction. Instead, I rely on the physical removal of the weeds. I pull them out of the cracks at least once each week.

FYI: I seem to be prolonging the war without making any progress.

FYI: Weeds have some characteristics that deserve recognition.

Think about it. Weeds have an uncanny ability to transport themselves across great expanses of concrete, detect what little viable soil is available, and grow. Vexing as that might be to me, it certainly is an amazing attribute for a plant. Grow, no matter where you are planted. Don't focus on what you don't have... use what you do have.

Weeds have some sound mechanisms for escaping physical destruction, too. Yep, lessons can be learned. For instance, weeds craftily sink very long roots in a short amount of time (at least, it seems that way to me). When accosted by a weeder who relishes pulling them out by the roots, weeds still have a chance to survive. Being uprooted does not guarantee death. There's always a chance roots might be able to sink into soil somewhere else. See? Never give up on yourself until all possibilities have been exhausted.

This brings up the other mechanism of note-- if someone tries to uproot you, cut your losses by sacrificing part of your leaves. After all, as long as your roots are still planted, new leaves can replace the ones broken off by the zealous weeder. Ka-ching. That right there is the take home point worth at least a dollar. When you know who you are, when you are planted firmly in your own beliefs and desires and goals, losing a few days of growth is only a small setback. You know you have the power to grow again, and quite possibly, flourish even more than you did before the setback.

Be the weed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Daddy Was a Goldfish, Mama Was an Elvis Impersonator



Elvis impersonator.

I crack myself up sometimes.

What should I name her? Elvisina? How about naming her for what she was lacking as I created her-- Inspiration? Hee hee, I can't help but laugh every time this photo pops up.

The thing is, Elvisina here is really just another opportunity to practice what I do when I'm being AngelinaBeadalina. My mission at the torch has rarely been confined only to what happens in front of the flame. The other half to the sculpture equation for me has almost always been uncovering and telling each sculpture's story. I can call it an equation, but there's really no rhyme nor reason nor predicting the final outcome, so you can't really think of it in mathematical terms. It either happens, or it doesn't. When it happens, I can feel the groove and "hear" what the glass is telling me. Then, of course, the story is easily uncovered and written down. When it doesn't happen, I know it from the beginning. Yet, for another hour, I'll sit glued in front of the torch like a moth to the screendoor under the porchlight. That's when the Elvisina's happen!

Yep, just like in real life, when it comes to creating things, perseverance can be good or bad or a mixture of both. I think the challenge is learning to figure out whether or not perseverance is warranted in the moment, ya know?

Moral of the story is... if you have goldfish, don't let them answer the door when the Elvis impersonator rings the bell.

Um... no, wait, that's not quite it. Elvisina is kinda cute in her own way. She did provide me with an opportunity to torch. I did have fun making her face once I saw the glass wanted to do a little wiggle along that edge.

Moral of the story is... oh, heck, I can't put it all in words. Just do what you love to do, and go with the flow even when it takes you strange places :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Time Wears Us All Smoother

Time wears us all smoother.

It rounds the edges of our bodies, our hearts, and our minds.

Time grinds off the ragged edges so the cuts are never again as jagged.

Time builds up the crevices so the pits are never again as deep.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

InvisiCat Is Sitting in My Chair... Again!

This is Shadow. He's our stray tomcat du summer. Yeah, that's right, looks like we'll probably be blessed with one every summer at this house. Bet the cat hobos left some kind of mark on the mailbox post. Last summer's Osiris was gone by winter, so we'll see how long Shadow graces us with his attention.

He is pretty cute, although he does keep sneaking onto the good lawn chairs instead of sticking to this cheap blue plastic one in the picture below:

I'm calling him InvisiCat this morning because he blends in so well with the tan, black, and white chair that I overlooked him. Then, he seemed to be pretending to ignore me while I was taking his picture. Apparently, he's practicing not hearing me tell him to get out of the good chairs! So, the gorgeous closeup of cat-ignore-the-human-itude had to be the one I posted for this blog entry. Isn't he pretty?

He's also craftier than I realized. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I spied him digging in the cat food bag and serving himself. The top of the cat food bag was rolled up and tucked under to keep it shut, but he had it unrolled and was sticking his head inside, one bite at a time. Gotta love the fortitude and forthrightness of a stray cat. You've got food and shelter, I need it, looks like we might as well be family :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dragonfly Days

It's summer.

This dragonfly transports my mind back in time to childhood summers. My mother has always called dragonflies "snake doctors." I remember watching one zoom across the water of a pond and anxiously wondering where the snake was hiding. My grandparents lived in an old farmhouse set amongst many silver poplars and a bunch of barns. Behind the biggest barn was a pond with steep banks, cat tails, and lots of snake doctors. The sun must have been a couple of million miles closer to the earth when you stood at the edge of that pond, because the glare and heat felt white hot on a summer afternoon.

If I could sneak back there today, I'd find a good spot to sit down and watch those dragonflies without worrying so much. Snakes and I still aren't best friends, but it would be okay now that I know the alternative name for those beautiful winged doctors. Wonder if that pond is still there? I'd walk barefoot across the sunwarmed hot metal of the cattle crossing, pick my way around any fresh cow patties in the barnlot, and head to the pond. The grass and weeds around it would probably have dry, brown spots from the summer heat. I'd sit on the bank with my feet planted in front of me, and I'd wait to see what appeared.

Where would you revisit if you could choose any summer spot from the past?

Monday, June 20, 2011

PLBs Invade My Space!

Okay. PLB could stand for "pretty little bug" or "pretty little beetle." It could. However, I'm leaning toward another explanation. Quick! Cover your ears, and I'll whisper it.

PLB stands for Pretty Little Bastards.

You heard right. Pretty little bastards, aka Japanese beetles, are here for summer vacation, and I'm not happy about it. Those shiny, beautifully iridescent winged marauders ate our plum tree last summer. Thankfully, the plum tree survived, but I wasn't so sure that would happen until it leafed out and bloomed this spring.

In a book about Zen, I once read that plum trees are revered for their hardiness and ability to keep growing under adverse conditions for hundreds of years. I might have misunderstood what I read, and it's possible I misremembered the details. What I wonder is whether the person who wrote that had ever dealt with PLBs? If the PLB is never seen, can it exist? I'd like to find out, please! Ha! I crack myself up, especially since that opportunity is probably never going to present itself in our yard.

This is where I could go into a tirade about bugs and infestations, humidity and heat, all the annoyances of a midwest summer. I won't do that now. I won't bother providing links to all the things I'm getting ready to google and read about Japanese beetles, either. But make no mistake... it's war, and I intend to win if possible. I am going to write about them and their pretty little iridescent bodies, though.

I can't help it. Put it down to respect for the enemy, or insanity, but I think they really are very pretty. The emerald green with all the bronze-ish browns is a gorgeous color palette. Doesn't mean I'm not going to squash them, but I might cop to pausing a second to admire one first. How can you not recognize the beauty in the damnable?

Seriously, those PLBs are not alone in the philosophical quandary they present. Aren't there many things in life that make you pause in awe before you demolish them? I believe it is the grandeur of nature's design, as well as the sheer concentration of energy in some things, that draws my attention. Demolition of anything is not very high on my list, actually. I prefer to live and let live when possible. I'm the person who likes to observe, but not intrude or interfere, with nature as much as possible.

Possible. Possible. "When possible." "As much as possible." Why do I keep repeating that, if not to pump up my confidence/righteousness for the coming battle? Yeah, I imagine that's part of it. I am not above squashing a bug, but I've been trying to mold myself into a kinder person...

Guess what? I think I'm going to fail myself at that today.

Look out, PLBs, you've munched and mangled your last meals on my dime!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

What Happens in the Blink of an Eye

What happens in the blink of an eye is simply this, the world continues growing and changing as it always has done.

What happens in many blinks of the eye is that we slowly learn not to count the blinks but focus on the world as it is at the moment.

May your moments be filled!