Veteran’s Day 11/11/18

I try to write a Thank You letter to the Veterans in my life, every year on this day…also on Memorial Day.

I also have to admit when I started writing these yearly notes, I did so from a place of “universal guilt”… a cousin to that instant feeling I have when I spot a traffic cop following me, even when I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“something happening here…”

But I realized a few years back that though many of my generations’ brothers and sisters treated each other poorly…well, horrifically…during the conflict over the Vietnam War and its Veterans, I personally never threw pig’s blood at a returning soldier.

Like many of my peers at the time, I didn’t really understand who exactly to be mad at- the military vets, or those who drafted them.

“what it is ain’t exactly clear”

So I focused my energy on Peace instead.

I was that girl with a wreath of flowers in my hair, who shoved daisy’s into barrels of the guns of local law enforcement, clad in riot gear. Young men about my same age, I have to add, who were just doing their own confusing jobs.

“there’s a man with a gun over there”

In the 1990’s I tried to open my mind to a new generation of returning veterans, so badly wanting them to have a different experience than those brave men and women, drafted or not, returning from Vietnam.

And then 9/11 happened and did a permanent number on my heart and soul. It was the birth for me of a new level of awareness. People the world over were responding to “attack” event with such dark black or white hot absolutism.

That all coincided with my father’s death so his lessons to me as a kid naturally came rushing back with a warm, loving vengeance. I considered, for the first time really, what he had been trying to say.

There is always more than one way to look at something.

“nobody’s right and everybody’s wrong”

So now, if I say thank you to a stranger in a military uniform, or when I send out my gratitude, in a note or blog post, I feel no guilt. I still don’t like or understand war, but I have room in my head and heart now for many, many more ways to fight for peace.

And I am grateful, and deeply respectful for those who choose the military (and law enforcement) as their vehicle to accomplish that.

This year, my sweet James wrote the letter below to his family. He and his siblings have had a wonderful, daily tradition, thanks to their 96 year old mother’s deathbed request. She insisted that they all stay in touch, even though they have lived across the country from each other. The emails to each other, all these years later, is one of my favorite all- time uses of the internet.

James says I can share today’s note with you too. (I have altered it only to remove other people’s personal stuff.)

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Good Morning

Today, we remember those of us who have served and died in service to freedom of expression, religion and political choice. I must admit that I am distressed by the present political situation in this country and the direction we are taking. Having said that, I honor all men and women who have participated in protecting us and giving us the right to chose our lives in a turbulent world where such freedom is becoming less and less available. I have heard from the men I served with in Nam and am reminded of the quality of men I was lucky enough to have shared that experience with. 
I had a fun trip to the islands. He picked me up at the ferry landing. We did a couple of errands in town, then joined a group of men for
The Stand Up Men Against Domestic Violence
on the courthouse lawn to remind citizens that violence against domestic partners is not acceptable as a solution to personal problems. These men have been doing this every Friday for the past four years. They organized after a couple of domestic violence deaths on the island reminded them how prevalent this problem is in our society. Two deaths were recorded there in the past twelve months so it continues to be an important issue for those who suffer at the hands of their partners. 
You can read about this amazing group here:    http://safesj.org/sum/
These guys are truly Veterans of their own local “war” against domestic violence. And they deserve to be honored, celebrated!!
Afterward, we went home where we a nice lunch and we relaxed the rest of the afternoon. About five pm, started a fire in the fire pit and we sat around with an adult beverage until men began to show up for the poker game. By seven, there were eighteen men there. We adjourned to the poker tables and played poker ’til around ten thirty, then back to the fire pit for another round of chat before everyone trickled away for home. We cleaned up the poker mess before retiring sometime between twelve thirty and one am.
(I included the description of their gathering after because it demonstrates for me that there are many really wonderful men in the world, a message not so clear in the media these days. Their “Poker Game” has been a monthly tradition in this smaller community for around 20 years. They rotate the home where it takes place. They have what they call a “Party Bag” (different from a Gift Bag) where each person throws in some of the money they win (they play with quarters) and the money is used for things like replacing the worn out felt on their vintage poker table, or, get this, a nice night on the town with the wives! These guys also golf together, and once a year, they take the Poker Game to a beautiful mountain town many miles away, for a retreat weekend of golf and poker.
I love the men in this small town. I have witnessed several times over the years, how one guy can put out a call for help (or not put it out) and the rest just show up, barn-raising style. It’s just the way they live.
James ends his letter with:
We plan on accepting Applebee’s free dinner for Veteran’s this afternoon. My worker, John is a Navy vet so he’ll get a free meal too. 
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Am I lucky or what??
Again, thank you to all who served, men and women, who made the choice, regardless of their reason. It was a precious, brave and probably unbeknownst to you at the time, a healing decision to make for all of us.
There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
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SongLyricSunday 10/28/18 theme–Give/Giving

I’ve posted this song before and probably will again as it is still one of my favorites.

Years ago, I used it as the centerpiece for a mixed CD I made for a group of my very best friends…when we had all become estranged over an unfortunate, and apparently irreparable conflict.

I thought I was being so creative and took a big chance reaching out as I really believed the music might help us heal someday.

I don’t know if they ever even listened to it…but I rarely give up. After all, it’s only been 15 years….

My Thanksgiving (I put my favorite line in RED)

by Henley, Lynch, Winding

A lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of ’em ain’t no joke
And I trust you will forgive me
If I lay it on the line
I always thought you were a friend of mine

Sometimes I think about you
I wonder how you’re doing now
And what you’re going through

The last time I saw you
We were playing with fire
We were loaded with passion
And a burning desire
For every breath, for every day of living
And this is my Thanksgiving

Now the trouble with you and me, my friend
Is the trouble with this nation
Too many blessings, too little appreciation
And I know that kind of notion, well, it just ain’t cool
So send me back to Sunday school
Because I’m tired of waiting for reason to arrive
It’s too long we’ve been living
These un-examined lives

I’ve got great expectations
I’ve got family and friends
I’ve got satisfying work
I’ve got a back that bends
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

Have you noticed that an angry man
Can only get so far
Until he reconciles the way he thinks things ought to be
With the way things are

Here in this fragmented world, I still believe
In learning how to give love, and how to receive it
And I would not be among those who abuse this privilege
Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge

And I don’t mind saying that I still love it all
I wallowed in the springtime
Now I’m welcoming the fall
For every moment of joy
Every hour of fear
For every winding road that brought me here
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

For everyone who helped me start
And for everything that broke my heart
For every breath, for every day of living
This is my Thanksgiving

This song is from the album “Inside Job”.
PS If you by any chance want the playlist from that mixed CD, let me know in “comments”. It is a great one for grieving when relationships of all kinds change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song Lyric Sunday Theme for 10/28/18

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge-Fences

I went looking for photos of fences but just don’t have many. Then it occurred to me that I live in a neighborhood where there are none.

I like that.

My house is the oldest one around for many miles. It’s on a long, dead-end street. We have a neighborhood email and phone list. We keep in touch regarding unusual neighborhood activity (fake solicitors, coyote and bobcat sightings, lost or found pets, etc.) For Halloween and other holidays, the children (and now grandchildren) on the street are the priority with trick-or-treating and caroling! And next weekend is our annual cider-making party. We usually hand press about 50 gallons of juice from the apple trees my neighbor and I share!!

This is the boundary line between my closest neighbor and myself.

I mean, if there were fences, how could we wander through each other’s yards to see each other’s gardens, and to say Hi? Or to watch out for each other, or take a short cut to the next street over?

And how would we check on each other’s animals?

 

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Henrietta, out of her protective custody…

and to photograph flowers?

or be inspired by yard art?

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How would the deer get into our yards to clean up the wind fall apples?

I love my street and my neighbors. There just are not many fences on my regular, daily trails.

But I did finally find these in my files…

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a house I lived in for a while many years ago…but the fence is new
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this caught my eye on a drive last winter
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watching sunrise from a nearby blue berry farm.

 

So my conclusion is apparently…Fences? For me, no thanks..

 

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2018/09/09/lens-artists-photo-challenge-10-fences/

Defending Blue: The Altered Book

Recently I responded to a photography challenge from

Lens-Artists-a photo a week-Blue .

Of course, the BLUE is what caught my eye but the whole thing inspired me to write up the short version of a wonderful art experience I had a few years back.

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My long-time friend invited me to join a yearlong project, along with seven artists. (Please notice I did not say seven other artists, as I am maybe an interesting craft person, at best. But I was honored to be in the company of these true artists!!)

The project was rotating Altered Books.

An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. Wikipedia

This was our assignment. Choose a color theme. And then find a book to “alter”…. meaning just that…a book to change in any way you want.

We informed each other of our chosen colors (blue, red, green, orange, pink, brown, purple, yellow) and set off on our 12 month journey with each other.

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Our procedure was to start our own book, work on it for a month or so, and then mail or take it to the next person on the list. Then they would work on our book, in our color, and we would work on the book we received, using that color. The process is brilliant because you are thinking about all your co-artists throughout the year, watching for. and gathering, ideas and supplies for each of the others’ color themed books. (It was cool that our particular group also knew each other so the ideas we had for each book could have personal meaning, as well as working in that person’s color.)

After a month or so, working with the new color, we would mail or take that book to the next person in our rotation, and so on until we had each worked on every other book.

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The thing I loved most was as each new book arrived, it was like opening a birthday gift. Discovering the current month’s color and seeing what the last person had done with it was so exciting. And of course, as we neared the end, we got to see the project almost completed, with  many different interpretations of that color and of each person’s style of “altering”.

Sometimes the words on particular pages were used as a focus for the altering.

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Other times, it was the actual structure of the book (pages glued together and cut out in shapes).

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And there were even some very clever “pop-outs” so when you turned a page, something surprising would happen.

Since BEADS and BUTTONS are my primary craft addiction, I used a lot of those. But because we were emailing like crazy, sharing tips and checking in, we were learning new techniques from each other along the way (photo transferring, different washes, newly discovered glues, cool sticker sources, Exacto knife methods, etc.).

With each book we signed, left a book mark, or in some way identified our contribution.

 

We didn’t return the last book we worked on to its owner. Instead, we brought it to a gathering on a previously planned weekend. We met at a cabin on Hood Canal, so we could open our own books in front of each other. Every book got hours of attention, each page turned, a new gift! We got to talk about what we had done and why, how we had altered, what each color meant to us, etc.

 

And of course, this was a celebration, so there was food and wine and music too!!!

All in all, it was a memorable experience, one I would love to do again in my life. What a fun way it would be to get to know other Bloggers!

I just had another great idea! What if we did a rotating altered photo album. I know, I know, it would be easier online but what if we each found an actual photo album or scrap book, each picked a theme, (trees, babies, sunsets, politics, whatever!!) and then rotated our albums, sharing our own photography in that theme.

Think of the great coffee table book we could each end up with!

Wow.

ChosenPerspectives on Twisted for WPC 5/23/18

Twisted

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My life is full of Art, but it is also full of artists who define “art” very differently from me.

My best friend is an expert, having studied and collected art for most of his life. He is also a very talented artist in his own right. We’ve had an ongoing debate for more than 40 years about what actually qualifies as art and who gets to define it. I know we are not alone in this disagreement.

I found the following online at:

https://www.performingarts.vt.edu/blog/view/defining-art-in-one-sentence-or-less

“The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” My own definition of art is the sharing of one’s inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, visions, and struggles through multiple mediums.” 

Wondering what all this has to do with “twisted”?

I think his choice of art is twisted…and I’m sure he thinks mine is invalidly defined as art in the first place.

The photo at the top of this post is a gift my best friend gave me many years ago. I’m sure it was expensive and to many, would be defined as art.

I just think it’s twisted.

He actually spent money on that piece for me, where as I bought myself these pieces.

 

 

Here are some more examples of “art” in his home and “art” in mine.

 

 

His is on the left, mine on the right

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His choice on top

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My choice is “twisted” artwork from my grandson, at 9 and then 11 years old.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying my best friend is twisted. As a matter of fact, here is my newest absolute favorite piece of art, ironically, a gift from him. Not my chosen “style” by any means but he knew how moved I would be by this piece!

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I, on the other hand, by the definition of many, am quite happily Twisted.

Here’s proof:

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I mean, who runs for their camera before rescuing the cat stuck in the speaker cabinet???

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And who focuses on the body of the dragonfly, rather than on the beautiful flowers?
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And who becomes obsessed with their new phone camera’s macro feature when accidentally shooting her sweat-pant leg?
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And who screeches her car to a halt to snap a photo of the shadow of windshield water on her dashboard?
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Who thinks the frosting stain on the cake box is the equivalent of a Jesus face on burnt toast?
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And who in the world photographs fungus??

I do, that’s who. So I will now officially, and gladly accept the adjective of TWISTED!

I am in great company, as you know if you have ever read The Shameful Sheep or Jennifer Day at The Iconophile, two of my favorite bloggers.

I really felt it while I was going through all kinds of contortions trying to photograph my friend’s art, including, taking his series called “the 7 deadly sins” into a dark closet to eliminate some of the reflection. Didn’t work, and besides, too creepy! This is as good as I could get.

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This is a seriously twisted series and the photos are lousy!

It’s not just about art though.

Just the other day, a newish friend, while I was introducing him to my Bugs, asked me if I realized just how twisted it was for me to be this enthusiastic about them.

He has no idea. Even I know it is completely torqued to set up the photo shoots I have with my bugs.

Witness these, as examples…

 

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I won’t even get started on the debate we have about Photography as ART!!

Anyway, I know this is a long post, with a lot of photos, but the topic and the recent Daily Post announcement inspired me to do less censoring than I usually apply to my weekly photo challenge entry.

I’ll end on this note.

Initially, I was of like mind with many other contributors this week. I immediately thought of these things:

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But then I allowed the word to take me on this unexpected journey.

For that, I wish to express deep gratitude to The Daily Press for your regular inspiration for so many posts!! I will really miss you.

Sincerely,

ChosenPerspectives

 

PS I have received many Twisted gifts over the years from other twisted folks. Here are a couple involving antlers…yikes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check in from ChosenPerspectives 3/24/18

a little busy these days.

at the tail end of a five year long project.

 

We went from THIS…

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to THIS…

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So almost done…right??

Oh wait…there’s THIS…

 

Well, we still have 4 days until our best friends show up for an extended visit!! They helped us build this, from the ground up!!

 

FOUR DAYS!!!!!

YIKES!!!!

 

Maybe I’ll keep them outside for a while. It looks almost finished from out there!

Casa compound

We’ll put them in the B and no B, the building on the right, until the inside of the Casa is all ready! (It’s not really leaning like it looks)

Whew! What an accomplishment!!! I am so proud of James!!!

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Sigh…………..