Thursday, December 31, 2009

Optimism - Word Thursday

My father used to say, "If you can keep your head while all others around you are losing theirs you clearly don't understand the situation." He was the optimist? He used to optimistically get us into situations that triggered Mom's we-are-not-going-to-make-it gene. Us kids, caught in the back seat as the car ran dangerously close to out of gas miles from civilization, or trailing behind in a force march out of our favorite fishing hole with the temperatures soaring to above 100, or in our bedrooms listening to fights over money were just literally along for the ride.

I have learned to whistle in the dark but firmly believe the light at the end of the tunnel has a good chance of being a freight train. I keep waiting for my ship to come in while debating to swim out after it. But in my heart of hearts I am afraid of sharks. And I have read about the Lusitania and the Titanic.

Optimism comes from the Latin word optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. Even if something bad happens, like the loss of a job, an optimist sees the silver lining.

I can be very optimistic from time to time. And I believe in the power of positive thinking though I know that did not work for the builders and passengers of the Titanic. I always hope on New Year's eve that the year ahead will be better than the last. But since Christmas Eve 2001 it has been one long struggle after another to avoid that train in the tunnel. I have fought to get the doctors to believe something was seriously wrong, I fought for worker's compensation and then Social Security Disability, and bankruptcy so I could keep my home and not the debts incurred while not working - just living from day to day. Then the contractor from hell. I am frankly rather tired of fighting.

But I read my yearly horoscope this morning to try and find some reason to believe the dot on the horizon might be my ship coming in and not a swarm of locus. My trials over the last eight years seem to all be about the now non-planet of Pluto.

Gemini is one of the few Sun signs that doesn't have an animal symbol, but this may be the year that all of that changes. In the past few years, with Pluto opposing your sign, you've been a little like a monkey, swinging from branch to branch trying desperately to keep one step ahead of the predators and keep yourself fed. With Pluto now moved on into Capricorn, a lot of the major partnership issues you've faced will be lightening up. You'll still retain the swing, but this year you're going to feel a lot more like a hummingbird: still mobile, still getting things done, but in a much more elegant manner. 

Your renowned intellect has been strained the last couple of years, as it's been forced to find solutions to the many issues you've been dealt. In 2010, you'll finally be gaining some traction on your biggest challenges, and solutions will flow to you with ease. 

And my career and financial path seems to be upward mobile for the first half of the year. So dare I hope as I wave goodbye to 2009 that 2010 will be a better year? Or is that being overly optimistic? Foolhardy even?

Where do you fall on this time-space continuum?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - Not Where I Thought I Would Be

The clock is ticking down to the final days, hours and minutes of 2009. I am always of a reflective mood this time of the year. And it occurs to me that this year I had really thought I would be further along than I am.  I wanted to have the lawsuit from the contractor-from-hell over and done (it has been more than two years now), and I wanted to be showing some in impressive income from my studio. But I think the economy got in the way on that last.

On the upside I survived 2009 financially. Just barely at times but I am still able to pay bills. I completed my Chapter 13 early which helped this fall. And I started a small pet and house sitting business which has added some extra income which I think will build. And I have had steady sales of art. The past year also included two Best of Show awards giving me a total of three within the last two years. Validation that I am on the correct tract with my art. And further validation was found in those clients which have purchased a second and third piece.

But I really wanted the mechanic's lien over with. My legal aid attorneys offered a settlement where no money changes hands but he has not snatched it up. There is a telephone hearing this morning on discovery. Hopefully the judge will just cut through all the crap and issue a summary judgment. Keep your fingers crossed. This lien has so handicapped me financially. And made it so I do not want to do any enhancement of my house even where there is only sweat equity involved.

I am still, however, developing plans for 2010. One cannot continue to live without hope and plans. Now if just those things I have no control over like the economy and the legal system and the weather will cooperate it could be a very rosy new year.

How was 2009 for you and do you have plans and hopes for 2010?

Friday, December 25, 2009

May All the Blessings of the Season be Yours

And may Santa have brought you all you wished for even if you were not on the best of behavior this year. I know I wasn't. And will 2010 be exceptionally wonderful for all of us.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Morning Chat Over Coffee - Happy Yule to You

 Let There Be Light

I must admit the increasingly dark days were really getting to me this year. Maybe because with my dependency upon passive solar for warmth it also seemed increasingly cold in my house even with the wood burning stove. I successfully battled my desire to turn on the heat (ergo up the electric bills) but found myself wanting to just snuggle down in my easy chair and remain there all day despite the warmth of the wood stove. Is this response to less sunlight each day some genetic memory? Are we closer to hibernating bears than we want to admit?

Knowing that today was Winter Solstice or Yule I got up in a brighter frame of mind (even facing the shortest day of the year.) I rekindled my fire, lit the candles, and turned on the juice to the Yule tree. Let there be light. Tomorrow there will be more sunlight even though it is scheduled to be concealed in my neck of the woods behind increasing clouds bringing rain and then snow in the late afternoon. Even the possibility of snow is less depressing knowing that the days will be getting increasingly longer.

MMCOC usually includes updates on my life in general. No news on the settlement with the contractor. It has been 11 days since my attorneys made the offer for him to drop it. Since we were dropping the counter suit if he did I expected him to jump at the chance but then nothing he has done in this whole miserable affair has been expected.

After the incident of the dogs barking in the night covered in Sidetracked Charley I located all my security measures and repositioned them for more easy access. I have obviously gotten lazy with my stalker going silent for so long. Evidently the reason for the dogs barking was the arrival of vacationers at the house across the street. They really are a great alarm system.

I will be spending Christmas Day at my friend Jessica's house. She is a jeweler and we are going to spend time in her studio folding metal. I think I will spend part of today making a chain from some silver wire I bought months ago. Creation is a good way to celebrate Yule.

How is your winter going? Do the short days and long night depress you?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Word Thursday - Predestined

Do you believe that the future is set? Maybe just a little bit if not totally. My mother, at one time in her life, was a firm believer in predestination - established or prearranged unalterably; "his place in history was foreordained"; "a sense of predestinate inevitability about it"; "it seemed predestined since the beginning of the world."

A rather fatalistic view I must admit. I fight that view of my future. Or my past. And yet I don't sit comfortably in a world shaped totally by free will. I dabble with belief in karma - the total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.

It is that "determining the person's destiny" which makes it a bit different than predestination. It allows for some free choice in response to a set of circumstances and ergo some control over our ultimate fate. When I laid on the snow following the ski accident I have this clear memory of looking down on my body and knowing I had to go back and that it would hurt like hell.

For four hours I did not know my name and there are to this day some eight years later this Christmas Eve whole blocks of time I have no memory of and yet I have never wavered in my belief that it was "ordained" to happen. And the free will part was what I did with it.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? I must admit I don't at times. I charge ahead as if I have total control of my life. And yet there are times (usually when I sit quietly and meditate) that I know things are as they should be. Some consciousness in the universe is just waiting for me to see the paths available for me to take. And depending upon my path there will be other choices. Other people to meet that I have the feeling I have met before. Are there, like in StarTrek, alternate time lines developed because of other paths taken?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - Where has the time gone?

The holiday market wrapped up after Thanksgiving and time, with no clear direction, seemed to stretch ahead uncluttered with must do's. I think I am programmed by years of education which always provided this wonderful two to three week vacation at the end of the year. Real life is seldom like that these days even when you don't do Christmas. Well, there is the tree. That I do. But it is essentially done. Though I will collect new ornaments for it through the after Christmas sales.

My sister is working the holidays so she won't be up. But I have pet sitting gigs and am taking care of a house with guests coming and going there to orchestrate. And there is the 6th Anniversary of Artspace Gallery in Angel Fire to cater. Fortunately I am not part of the party set in Angel Fire so my festive requirements will end there. I have decided to forgo a holiday open house at the studio and concentrate on a spring opening instead.

But there are the end dregs of the lawsuit (keep your fingers crossed as the contractor from hell has not accepted his lawyer's engineered out yet) and research for my lobby efforts in Santa Fe in January to change the Mechanic Lien laws in New Mexico. And January is when selection for most of the shows in 2010 will happen and I need new images - ergo new paintings. And going to the gallery website for the url for the link alerted me to the fact my images are passe there which means they are likely in need of updating on my own website.

Is December just too busy for you too? Would you like to run and hide?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

There Is a Happy Ending Ahead

With the ground covered with snow and the temperatures heading toward -5F tonight I had to put that lovely butterfly at the beginning of this blog. Things are looking up. I got a call from my legal aid attorney and it looks like the opposing side is going to dismiss their case and release the lien on my house. Looks like it is going to be a Happy New Year after all. But a busy one.

Our state legislature holds its session in January and I am going to dive into the lobbying effort to change the laws governing mechanics liens and the licensing of contractors in this state. I have a few names of influential members of each house and I am beginning there and with the licensed lobbyists. So lots of research time on the internet looking up all the where and wherefores.

And a Facebook friend suggested a group on that site to gather experiences of others in New Mexico caught on the horns of this horrid state of affairs. And I would also like to hear from those in other states that think their state has it right when it comes to dealing with building contractors and mechanics liens. All constructive input appreciated.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Morning Chat - Snow Coming?

The above image was taken last year around Christmas. That snow storm engendered fear in the hearts of the residents of my area because of the two previous winters when we broke all records; including one snow that over three days accumulated over 6 feet. Last year this was our deepest snow but we all were suffering from PTSD and every flake struck us numb.

Thus far this winter has been mild. In fact the ski areas have had difficulty making snow up until the last week. This Friday the Angel Fire Resort is suppose to open their season. All the retailers in town are nervous. So very much of our revenue depends upon tourist dollars and that means skiers. Though frankly they don't spend that much off the slopes. Skiing has become so expensive and the economy so sucks they are inclined to ski and then head for the condo to cook dinner. The non-skiers in the parties do, however, feel they have a right to spend as much shopping as the others spend skiing so there is that possibility of a Merry Christmas for shops.

So the current winter storm watch is viewed with very mixed emotions at the moment. I frankly am all in favor of anything less than a foot. We need the moisture and a foot of snow is not difficult to shovel. However, when they toss around things like "one to two feet above 9500 lowering to 7500 overnight" I am filled with dread. And memories of that 100 inches of snow in one month that never seemed to melt and just drifted into ever and ever larger piles. At one point I could have put boards across the piles on each side of my driveway and made a garage.

You couldn't just hire a man with a plow on the front of his pickup to clear your drive. Front end loaders became really in demand and charged $100 to take the snow piles back from your driveway. Shades of being snowed in one winter in Aspen. Only Aspen knows how to handle it and we don't - or didn't. We are used to snow storms that dump and move on allowing warmer temperatures to melt it off before the next one comes. Ski areas have to work at keeping it. I want those sort of winters back.

But sitting here reading the winter storm warnings I can only dread the possible return of the winters from hell. I have wood. I know where my snow shovel is. And the snowshoes (not just a winter sport when the snow gets to 2 feet). And the telephone number of the man with the plow is on the fridge. However, I keep hoping the weather forecasters are again wrong and this storm will take a more southern track. They're having a drought south. They could use and even love two feet of snow. I could cherish 6 inches tops.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Word Thursday - Apology

I thought I would clear up the matter of the apology but it seems to have only gotten more murky. There seems to be a lot of apologizing going on lately. Tiger Woods in my opinion gave a very honest apology. I frankly believe he even assumed fault that was not his. very gallant thing to do. He offered no excuses - like maybe the breaking out of the back windows by his angry wife with the golf club caused the accident instead of rescuing him.

Gov. Sanford (remember him of the affair heard around the world) did not in my opinion apologize all that well. He merely provided everyone with excuses. All inadequate in the eyes of the law when he stands before his peers on ethic charges.

So I Googled the definition of apology. It is after all Word Thursday: APOLOGY

  1. An acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon for a fault or offense.

    1. A formal justification or defense.
    2. An explanation or excuse: "The consequence of those measures will be the best apology for my conduct" (Daniel Defoe).

  2. An inferior substitute: The sagging cot was a poor apology for a bed.

I was frankly shocked at definintion number 2. That to me is not an apology but an excuse. So I looked up excuse.

  • accept an excuse for; "Please excuse my dirty hands"
  • grant exemption or release to; "Please excuse me from this class"
  • serve as a reason or cause or justification of; "Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work"; "Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again"
  • apologize: defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning; "rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior"; "he rationalized his lack of success"
  • a defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.; "he kept finding excuses to stay"; "every day he had a new alibi for ...
  • ask for permission to be released from an engagement
  • a note explaining an absence; "he had to get his mother to write an excuse for him"
  • excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with; "excuse someone's behavior"; "She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities"
  • apology: a poor example; "it was an apology for a meal"; "a poor excuse for an automobile"

That was shocking. It seemed to say apology and excuse were interchangeable. So I googled more definitions for apology and in some instances what I consider an excuse is actually definition 1 and not 2. Is this because of current usage. Is there now now difference between an apology and an excuse? Sad state of affairs.

My father used to always stare us down when in the dock for some misadventure. "I want an apology and not an excuse," he would say. "If I wanted an excuse I would have asked for one." He clearly saw a difference. Do you?

Wish I was on 360 so I could insert a poll at this point.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Twitterings

Tomorrow is the Full Cold Moon. I am trying to remind myself that in 20 days the earth will be blessed with increasingly longer days. The winter solstice tree is almost totally decorated. Yes, some of you think of it as a Christmas tree. I am tweeking things now. Attempting to make it perfect. I bought some new ornaments yesterday when I am in town, and in spite of being exhausted had to put them on. I love the smell of fresh pine in my house. And when you go into the National Forest (about three miles from my house) to get your tree they are definitely fresh.

I have now gone to the gym in Taos four Monday's in a roll. I am trying to get back into the swing of loving to exercise. It is in many ways a mind game. Today's exercise will be going up and down the ladder to rehang paintings I took down for the fair. Then it is clean up the studio and try to make a decision about an "open house" sometime in December. Part of me would love to just crawl into my cave and not talk to anyone till spring.

I also want to spend some quiet time to get back into writing poetry. It has been some months since I have actually posted one of my own on Creative Journey's Poetry Wednesday. The sun will be streaming through the studio windows today (Thursday is snow and a high of 18F - low of zero) so I should enjoy it while I can. I have been so busy preparing for the holiday show and Thanksgiving guests. Knowing I am skipping Christmas entirely gives me a real sense of freedom to just do what I want. My gift to me.

January demands a whole new set of digital images of paintings for entry into various fairs in 2010. And I would love to get the triptych done as one of those images. Now is the time to allow myself space to be highly creative.