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Friday, September 30, 2011

El Paso - Marty Robbins



This is an all, all, all  time favorite song of mine.  
This time around, I also enjoyed the variety of artwork 
that was put along with it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Music Maker


     
First I came upon this one, Music From a Dry Cleaner where Diego Stocco makes music using only things/equipment inside the dry cleaners.  Intrigued I wondered how a tree may sound...but then I settled on the one above to post here: music from a Bonsai
*Warning there is some very high pitch stuff in the two tree videos.  A bit hard on sensitive ears!

I love this kind of stuff!  Music in it's many forms!  (((smile)))
Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Searching for Calm

There are those nights now and again
         the ones where sleep just won't come      I've heard
    that it comes with this stage of life, for women especially.
Last night was one of those nights.  So, now as this day winds down and I operate on 2.5 hours sleep.  I force myself to stay awake in hopes that tonight will be filled with sound sleep and happy dreams.
     But last night...oh last night my body lay quietly in anticipation of slumber that never came.  I tried all of the usual tricks.  Focus on deep breathing...in ... out - slower and deeper
                              relax...breathe...reeeelaaaaxxx
           this did not work.
Keeping my mind from worries did not help.  Worry drifts into my thoughts -BAM change the subject!  Intentionality...focusing on the positive.
Trying to forget about art ideas or      a huge 'things to do' list or       things I Want to do   or what I should do First in all of these things to do.
  Problem-solved the feather in process, planned two more.
                                     "These are the things I need to do tomorrow1...2...3...4..." - BAM refocus...              instead think of things I want to do, places I want to go...make a mental plan.       BAM & STOP myself...too much thinking!!!
          Breathe...focus on a calming, pretty place
Visualize the book Clam... it's soothing photographs (reflect on some of my own soothing photographs).  Reflect on the handful or so of thoughtful quotes.  This does not work either.
I move to the living room couch, book in hand.

I got this little gem in Coronado many years ago at a most lovely independent bookstore, Bay Books and have looked through it on many occasions.  It's pages hold a favorite quote of mine:
"Everybody should have his personal sounds to listen to listen for---sounds that will make him exhilarated and alive or quiet and calm."
-Andre Kostelanetz


I remember the first time I read this quote, I had a flash of realization that yes I do have my own personal sounds.  One of them is the sound of a train whistling through the late night air.  Even with the knowledge that this sound is an age-old favorite of many, at the same time, this sound is buried deep within me.  Ever since I was 13, not including the 5 years I lived in Nevada, I have heard the late night sounds of the trains whistling in and rumbling through the towns I have lived in.  I find that I await this nightly ritual with the eager anticipation of the comforting feel that will roll down the tracks and into my heart.


Finally, with dawn on the horizon, I fall asleep on the couch lulled to sleep 
by meaningless television.
Sunrise-Sunset, boundaries are blurred when sleep evades

Do you have tricks on the nights when sleep won't come?
What are you 'personal sounds'? 

Photo by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Found

Very late last night while still cleaning in a corner of my studio
(you'd think my studio was huge, but really I'm just slow!  Besides this is Deep Cleaning!)
I found this beautiful treat under a stack of...stuff!
I have no recall where it is from or what kind of bird it belonged to.  
I obviously placed it under stuff that is rarely touched to keep it safe.
It's the most beautiful blue.
The little fuzzies kept falling off, floating away as I handled it.

I wonder how the little holes got there.
Low and Behold when I turned it over, I saw that it was a magic feather!
Trying to capture the blueness of it, it looks like a painting!
Wowzie- surreal looking
Gotta love all those lines (barbs) and fuzz!
 Sadly, even later last night my neighbor's cat woke me when it killed a small sparrow right outside the bedroom window.  I think I need a nap!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

We Are OK

     
Every time I see one of Jude's photographs of 'where the children play' feather, this video comes to mind.  As I look at the dancing children figures on fabric, I see the moment where the children dance in a circle as Joshua Radin sings, "This is how we used to play". 
I feel such a deep connection there, as a teacher, as a parent, but most importantly as the child I once was...the child who still lives inside me. 
I like this song so much.  I like it because I was introduced to it in this video.  They are a perfect match, aren't they?!
And as the video closes, "teach the class you needed when you were 10" comes on the screen. I see this and read the words, hearing the message of this. I feel this and I am back at Camp Kinneret, I am running through the sprinklers and hanging from the birch trees out front. 
I am walking under the ivy covered arch and into the treasure filled house for art class.
These are places, experiences that are deeply embedded in every fiber of who I am.  There is not a way to write of them, because I know I will not paint a picture that will enable you to see what I see in my head and heart.  There are no aged yellowing photographs of these places, their stronghold on my memory is the only way to keep their lessons alive.
When I describe the secret room that was created by closing the chain link gate against the 5 foot high trimmed bushes that lined the side of our apartment building, the ones that had berries we could eat, use to 'write' on the pavement or mix into our concoction of survival food in the games of our imagination...can you see the magic, the potential in your head as your 10 year old self?
What did you need when you were 10? 
What do you need now?
Inside each of us is a sacred space.  When we can remember to care for that space for ourselves and for others and for the children.
It will be a much kinder world, won't it?
Close your eyes...listen to this song and have a great weekend.
(Psst...and then maybe listen to We Are OK again too!)

Thanks for stopping by,
Nancy

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beginnings and Endings

This weekend was filled with beginnings and endings.

Saturday my dear friend's daughter was married...
filling the afternoon with young love and hopes for a bright future.























The pure joy on the faces of my friend and her husband fills my heart to overflowing.
The sun set over the pacific, edging the ceremony into the dreamlike state of a beautiful recent memory.





...and as the sun set the celebration fell into full swing.  Food, music, dancing and toasts to honor the bride and groom...


May their love provide a richness of experience as deep as the sea and as interesting and textured as the many grains of sand.
Congratulations Michelle and Jay!



On Sunday the chairs were set out for a different occasion.
They were an invitation to gather and celebrate the life of an amazing man.
The cars that line the street as far as the eye can see are a strong indication of a life lived well.
Family, friends and colleagues step up to the microphone to share their stories.  Gray-haired men spoke of being one of Edie's Boys.  With tears in his eyes, a man claims Ed was the best edu-mentor in his life.  I reflect on what I lessons I have learned from this man.  Through their tears and laughter I get to know another side of a man I've known my whole life.
This man who worked with the youth of the city, who worked from his heart.This man who worked with his hands, creating beautiful, functional works of art from pieces of raw wood.
This man who loved nothing more than family, friends, sharing food and a great story, all centered around values you can hang your hat on.
He and his wife, married 60 years, were very longtime friends of the family. We often joked about the way she and my mother were often confused for one another or I was thought to be their daughter.
A deep bond was built over a lifetime of shared experiences.
He was proud and loving and I am honored to have been a part of his life.


Ed, you will be missed - loved - remembered...
forever.

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

So Curious

Here are a couple more pictures of the unidentifiable bug!

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Bits-N-Pieces

Seems like all I have time and focus for is bits-n-pieces
The in betweens of the day
Captured in a digital freeze frame
To reflect upon, make sense of, inspire recollection
Moment by moment
Collecting a lifetime

From this old shirt, delicate collar removed - feather planned
To this old dye pot - forgotten about in the sun...water added and forgotten about again
To deep color from the purple onion skin - do you see the heart?
To color fading in the sun - do you see the skull?  Cool!
To this tiny guy who grows so slowly!  It's been hanging out on the same two sunflowers for weeks.

To the little caterpillar who is still resting and ever-so-slowly changing

And to feather ideas that have been jotted down along the way

Looking at this last photo, I must explain...I have not gotten much stitching done recently so, I decided to challenge myself with a new thought.  The above sketch book page is an accumulation of feather ideas which was started back in August.   So far I've only done the Feather Finds the Sun.  This is typical of my creative self...more ideas = less completion!   Normally I would hang on to these ideas as Mine.  But today I am putting them out there to show/share instead.  If you have the desire to stitch one of these feathers, great!  It would be interesting to see how different folks stitch up the same concept.   I would rather see the feathers fly to Jude's Magic Feather Project...to the children, than these ideas sit untouched.  Let them be feathers to be touched instead.  This is an exercise in a different kind of giving, sharing, releasing.
Jude's project is so worthwhile.  At this time there are 282 feathers posted!!!  But she does have a goal of 1000.  So if you haven't yet stitched a feather...go ahead give it a try!
------ PLEASE NOTE------
  I am not under the illusion that these ideas are so spectacular...that I've shared a great prize here!  It's more of a personal/public exercise!

Lastly, today, thanks to Gretchen Rubin I was touched when I viewed these white flags, which then led me to this exhibit.  Enjoy!

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Waiting Room


I enter the small waiting room, a bit early for my appointment made long ago.
The room is crowded with others who also wait,
                    each one quiet in their own private thoughts.
A woman sits, head tipped to the side…her eyes open and close drowsily.
Another woman alternately looks through her bag, stuffed with papers and texts on her phone.
An elderly man in a green baseball cap flips through a magazine.
A mother attempts to pour a pouch juice drink into her son’s bottle as he sits in his stroller, his mouth wide open in anticipation.
With no place to sit, I stand off to the side and begin waiting.

I have forgotten to bring a book; so instead, I ponder the possible situations of my fellow patients.  I can’t help but notice that each patient falls into the “Obesity in America Crisis” category and carries the “belly fat” that Dr. OZ discusses frequently.  This makes me sad.  I look down at my own belly and feel a twinge of inclusion, yet a sense of contentment at my recent health gains, weight loss included.  I watch the mother puncture the juice pouch with the tiny straw and think of the patterns continuing.  My own children drank those juice pouches and loved them.  I think of the cycles, the spirals that get carried along even with an onslaught of ‘new’ information, lessons on how we as a people can live healthier lives.

Soon the mother pushes the stroller out into the hallway and I am able to take a seat.

Within a few moments a woman pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair and a man enter the confined area.
I find myself swooped into their story by virtue of no place else to rest my eyes and an intense interest in people watching.
The caregiver parks the wheelchair close and sits down while the man greets the elderly man in the green baseball cap, who stands up to shake hands.  The younger man speaks with a strong voice in an accent I cannot quite discern.   The elderly man moves over and sits beside the caregiver, warmly greeting the elderly woman in the wheelchair.  They know each other I think to myself.
Suddenly the room is no longer small, confined, but it is an intimate space filled with care.  The caregiver gently strokes the back of the woman’s head, smoothing her straight gray-white hair down.
Down
     Down
          Down her hand travels in repetitive caressing gestures.
The woman sits quietly, shaking as if cold.  She moves her feet off and back on the wheelchair footrests, her slip-on sneakers and argyle-socked feet causing her legs to bounce continuously. 
Her caregiver pauses to flip the tips of her hair out of the warm collar of her vibrant purple sweater and pulls the hem of each side closer together on the woman’s lap.  Then she feels the woman’s hands, rubbing them as if to warm them up.
I recognize the silent confidence as the caregiver slowly, rhythmically moves her experienced hands while trying to make the elderly woman comfortable.
I feel a sense of sameness in those who care for the young and those who care for the elderly.  I reflect on this relatedness, mesmerized by the caregiver’s level of attentiveness.  

The two men have already moved through the typical greetings to each other.  The elderly man asks about where they parked and how the traffic was.  He then asks the woman how she is and if it took her a long time to get ready.  He comments that while he got there one half an hour early, he forgot to check them in and he goes to do so.  He repeats many of his statements over and over as his eyes stay riveted on the elderly woman.  He comments that the doctor must be late as it is past their appointment time. 
Looking at the clock high on the wall, I realize that their appointment time is 15 minutes before mine.  I already know what I will do, so I wait.
The younger man with the accent sits apart from the others.  He reads a book he has brought.
The elderly man sits on the edge of his chair, leaning in to talk with the woman.  His voice is loud and up-beat and he pauses between comments, listening intently to her response.  In between he leans back in his chair with a pensive look.  When he thinks of another thing to say or question to ask, his face perks up and he leans forward once again.
“Are you cold?” he asks, cupping her clenched hand in his own sturdy fingers.  He speaks to her of people they know, his voice big and encouraging and her voice barely audible. 
And as he speaks, he rubs the knuckles of her curved fingers.
His thumb moves around
     and around
           in circular motions
I can feel him attempting to connect.
    Searching for that hit-and-miss certain something that will bring a response.
He talks of things to come, of things planned.

The old man asks her if she had any of the cookies someone had brought over.

She noticeably raises her head and her voice rises with indignation as she tells him that the others ate them all.
He assures her that they will get more and her eyes twinkle as she asks in a girl’s voice hopeful of convincing the one in charge, “Today?”
No, not today, but soon he tells her. 
Her eyes dim and she again looks  f a r   a w a y…
He says maybe tomorrow afternoon, after the doctors.
She says in a firm voice, laced with a wry sense of disbelief, “We’re at the doctor’s now!”
The caregiver smiles and softly chuckles while the elderly man erupts in laughter.
The elderly woman smiles, laughing softly and finally that sought after connection falls into place.
He laughs and tells her of his own doctor appointment the following day and she accepts this explanation.

One, maybe two other topics catch her interest, I no longer recall.   I am left only with the sense of longing, of the missing of something by the old man and the quietness of the woman.
He continues to try.  He continues to search for that next subject that will bring her back to him.

It is at this point, as I watch this dance of conversation, of communication
     This very slow fragmented waltz before my eyes,
It is at this point that the receptionist points the remote control out of her windowed space and turns on the television.
It’s colors of children’s programming and loudness barges in, jarring and invasive.
She quickly turns it down a decibel or two, but it is still loud and he can’t her the elderly woman’s limp answer.
I glance over at the receptionist.  I’m thinking unfriendly thoughts based on the assumption that not one of the adults in the waiting area seems to be interested in the children’s program and no one had asked for the television to be turned on.   I eventually realize that she is tucked away at her low desk, behind a partial wall and window. 
    The receptionist is not aware of life unfolding not four feet away.
I glance again and she turns down the volume to barely audible, like the elderly woman’s own voice.  But the colors and movement continue flashing near the ceiling, pushing the dancers apart once again.


She closes her eyes.
     Her head tips forward, chin resting on chest.
He asks her if she’s sleepy.  He turns and comments over his shoulder to the younger man that she is getting sleepy.
He looks to the caregiver for additional information.
I feel his searching.

She sits back up again and elbows on the armrests of the wheelchair, her knuckled hands rub at her eyes.
“Don’t rub your eyes sweetie”, he says and takes hold of her contorted hand.
         He begins rubbing again and tries to spread her fingers open.
“Let’s open this up a little”, he says gently.

Her eyes remain closed.

The door to the inner office opens and my name is called.
                   I glance up, not moving I gesture across the aisle
                                         and state, “their appointment time is before mine”.
The nurse looks from one patient to the other and goes back in, the door closing behind her.
The elderly man looks over and I tell him my appointment was at 10:30.  He states again his appointment time and that he did not check-in upon arrival.
Before I can answer, the nurse returns and calls them in.
As the elderly man moves to follow the wheelchair in, he glances back and says, “That’s my wife.  We’ve been married 67 years.”
I     smile    at      him.
My heart swells.
And in a voice as quiet as his wife’s, he adds, “Things haven’t been too good recently” and disappears behind the door.
Emotions bubble up as I think, that’s what love looks like.

 Story by Nancy ©2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

I wear my hair in two fine braids today
shades of gray and browns in many hues
tangled round and 
                 round each other                     
       their ends curling in unison 
Between lunch and life 
  I hike among the hills
dry sage fills me, 
   soft old dirt
      replenishes me
I am grounded by the brilliance of the sun
while nuances of light and dark call to me
and the promise of the future rests
     gently in my hand













A slow moment's movement
   towards the resting jars of glass
fabric waits patiently 
     red earth, a passing grit between 
                     my fingers
and tea's warmth embraces my fingertips and wraps around my heart, the aroma waifs past,
     blending with the rosemary into a  heady  combination
           of summertime bliss

Bathed in golden sunshine

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Remember Gratitude


 "A Good Day" With Brother David Steindl-Rast


True Story: I love Google and You Tube!  It's true.  You can type virtually ANYTHING into Google and within a split-second...BAM...there is a whole page of possible answers.  It totally fascinates me, because I don't have the faintest idea How it works.  
To me it's just like magic.  
The same thing is true of You Tube.  
Anything you dream of...you can watch!  It's so fun!
I have a small collection of You Tube videos saved.  
They are songs or something funny or (like this one) something more inspirational.   
I have this one bookmarked from long, long ago.  
Every now and then I like to re-view them.  
It's kind of like rereading a favorite book...re-watching?! 
For more information, you can check out gratefulness.org

Sometimes it is a lot easier to remember gratitude.  The day after a big storm, or when someone that you care about has come through a health scare or when things are suddenly very happy and wonderful life events are on the horizon.  
             Other times, a reminder is a welcomed thing.                                                            


What are you grateful for today?


I'm grateful for the evening light show close to home.

All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sunflowers or a New Pet

Lots of eating and growing!  Only one left now.  Where did the other one go?
Taking a rest...already!
A little flower begins to grow

Look at this odd leaf!  It is growing off the middle of the host leaf.
         A fold and a protrusion all at once!  















And then there is this little one!  Anyone know what it is?
Goodnight Small World!
All photos by Nancy A. Erisman ©2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I feel the earth move



We here in California had our turn for an earthquake at 1:47PM Pacific time. A quick hard jolt...4.3...epicenter close to my house...little aftershocks felt or not...but all is well. No damage known of at this time...

On a much happier note...don't ya just LOVE Carole King???!!! I saw her and James Taylor together last year or so. After growing up on their music and never seeing them in concert, I almost cried when they walked out! It was such an emotional moment :)
Of course, the guy thought I was nuts and was amazed at how I knew the words to almost every song!!!
James Taylor is very subdued kind of guy, but Carole King put out this kind of energy for the whole show!!!
Ahhh...they were amazing!
I hope you enjoyed this video and news update!!!