February 25, 2011

Photo Friday

A mother-daughter project.
We both post a photo every Friday - no description, just a moment from the week we want to capture and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama's {this moment} and 3191 (blog and book).


February 23, 2011

Inspired by... Barely Balanced

When we were in Florida, we attended a renaissance festival at which we saw the group Barely Balanced perform. Advertised as featuring sharp knives and stupid humans, my favorite  parts were the acrobatics and juggling. Dan's family purchased a DVD of their show which also included some basic how-to's and now Dan and I are practicing for our own show!  Well, not really, but we are working on one trick for fun. I also want to get some clubs so I can expand my juggling skills and I'm thinking about building a balance board

Who wants to see me try to juggle, hula hoop, and stand on a balance board at the same time? 

February 21, 2011

Monday's Inspiration - Penny Colman

Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World
To everyone who has fought and who is fighting and who will fight for the rights of women everywhere.

I'm reading Penny Colman's new book, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony: A Friendship That Changed the World (to be released in May).

I appreciate the dedication (quoted above) and Penny certainly fits the description herself. 
Through her writings she preserves the memories and honors incredible women and their achievements. 

I met Penny a couple of years ago when she was a guest author at a Reading Retreat sponsored by BookWomen.

I liked her style and enthusiasm about her writing process and about the women she writes about. Although I believe, like Penny, that, "Women’s history is an antidote against taking hard won gains for granted and against being duped into thinking that we have to keep proving ourselves," I often find history books Boring. But Penny does the work -- she reads (and professes enjoyment) all the background -- books and letters and documents -- and condenses them in a style that is informative and engaging.

Her biographical statement:
Penny Colman writes about illustrious and fascinating women and a wide range of significant and intriguing topics in her award-winning books for all ages. Born in Denver, Colorado, in 1944, she grew up in North Warren, Pennsylvania, on the grounds of a state mental hospital, where her father was a psychiatrist. In 1960, she joined a group and rode her bicycle (plus took a few train rides) across the U.S. In 1964 she dropped out of college, worked in a frozen food factory in Sweden and hitchhiked throughout Europe, including to Turkey and Greece. Between 1965-1970, she graduated from college and graduate school, got married, and had three very close-in-age children. In 1987, as her children were graduating from high school, Penny Colman embarked on a freelance writing career and has been going full steam ever since. (Amazon.com)

I'll let you know what I think about her new book when I finish it. I plan to review it for Story Circle Book Reviews.  Meanwhile, here's a smattering of Penny Colman's previous titles.

Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in AmericaA Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances PerkinsMother JonesAdventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a DifferenceRosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II

February 19, 2011

Winter Feast for the Soul Update

With only a few days left of Winter Feast for the Soul (a 40 day commitment to spiritual practice), I thought I'd share how it's been going for me.

When I committed to the Winter Feast, I did not anticipate being sick, attending a conference, and being out of town for two weeks during the 40 days. If I had anticipated those things, I probably would not have committed to it. It was definitely challenging and at times my commitment was not very strong.

Reflecting on the experience now, I am glad I did it. Life always has a way of getting messy and making a commitment to self care difficult to follow through on. Sticking with this commitment makes me understand that it is possible to do so even when conditions are not ideal. I meditated at off times, while sick, in an airport, in other people's spaces, and with noisy people and/or a TV blaring in the background.  These are not the conditions I want for meditation most of the time, but for me part of the purpose of meditation is to bring more space and calm into all of my life - not just the brief periods of time that I am quietly sitting on the cushion. Meditating in less than ideal conditions seems to me a way to begin to bridge the gap between meditation and the rest of my life.

Now I am healthy again, and back in my own space. Barriers to meditation still arise regularly, but they are the more familiar ones - my own hectic mind, scheduling, too much to do, etc. I intend to meditate in my own quiet space on a more regular schedule. But I also plan to keep pushing my comfort zone a bit and continue meditating even when things aren't perfect.

Photo Friday (Saturday Edition)

A mother-daughter project.
We both post a photo every Friday - no description, just a moment from the week we want to capture and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama's {this moment} and 3191 (blog and book).


February 14, 2011

Monday's Musings - Back Home

Just returned from vacation.
Wonderful to spend time with family and friends in FL.
Warm, so warm, and when it wasn't, it was still sunny.
One night it was as cold as it is here now, around 40 degrees, but here it is grey and windy.
Better, I hear, than the minus fifteen that happened here while we were gone.
Very nice to get a break from winter weather.

Salvador Dali 2v

Alan and I met up with Rebecca and Dan (who were on a separate FL trip) and accompanied them to the Dali Museum (see the post below written by Rebecca). I, too, was fascinated by Dali's body of work -- from his initial student paintings through his well-known surrealistic phase and optical illusions and later a post-war period with Christian images.
And always by his side and in his paintings his wife, his muse, Gala.

Lovely images and short bio of Gala at:

February 11, 2011

Inspired by... Dali

We recently visited the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. I thought I was familiar with his work before, but I was amazed and inspired to see the tremendous depth and breadth of his work and creativity. He worked in many different media, styles, and sizes, collaborated with other artists, writers, and creative thinkers, and refused to be boxed in to one category.

The museum itself was newly opened and specifically designed to house his work.

Instead of continuing with my own interpretation, I want to share with you with some of Dali's words and images and let you interpret them in your own way.

"Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing."
Telephone in a Dish with Three Grilled Sardines at the End of September, 1939
"It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning."
 Average Atmospherocephalic Bureaucrat in the Act Milking a Cranial Harp, 1933
"What is a television apparatus to man, who has only to shut his eyes to see the most inaccessible regions of the seen and the never seen, who has only to imagine in order to pierce through walls and cause all the planetary Baghdads of his dreams to rise from the dust."
Sugar Sphinx, 1933
"I don't do drugs. I am drugs.
Take me, I am the drug; take me, I am hallucinogenic."

 Hallucinogenic Toreador, 1968-1970

Dali Fishing, 1954 (Philippe Halsman)
"Each morning when I awake, I experience again a supreme pleasure - that of being Salvador Dali."

Photo Friday

A mother-daughter project.
We both post a photo every Friday - no description, just a moment from the week we want to capture and remember.

Inspired by SouleMama's {this moment} and 3191 (blog and book).



February 7, 2011

Monday's Musing - Memoirs

Fearless Confessions: A Writer's Guide to MemoirModern American MemoirsEat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

I've been thinking a lot about memoir recently...primarily because I am participating in a couple of writer's groups that focus on memoir. It wasn't necessarily my first choice topic...but the new writing instructor, Bob Comenole, at RiverRead Bookstore in Binghamton started his writing class series with Memoir Writing. A number of us who took that class have also continued in his advanced workshop.

I think of myself as playing around with this type of writing. I am enjoying mining some of my memories but am unclear who my audience is. I do love to share some of these stories with family and friends.

You may have noticed the recent trend of a number of folks writing about their lives for larger audiences. Here's an interesting take on that from a recent NY Times Book Review of four memoirs (By Neil Genzlinger, published January 28, 2011):
Writing from Life: Telling Your Soul's Story (Inner Workbook.)
There was a time when you had to earn the right to draft a memoir, by accomplishing something noteworthy or having an extremely unusual experience or being such a brilliant writer that you could turn relatively ordinary occurrences into a snapshot of a broader historical moment. Anyone who didn’t fit one of those categories was obliged to keep quiet. Unremarkable lives went unremarked upon, the way God intended.
But then came our current age of oversharing, and all heck broke loose. These days, if you’re planning to browse the “memoir” listings on Amazon, make sure you’re in a comfortable chair, because that search term produces about 40,000 hits, or 60,000, or 160,000, depending on how you execute it.
 People seem to enjoy either memoirs of people whose lives are so very different than theirs or ones that resonate so clearly with their reality and internal experience. Right now, I am perusing memoirs by women in their 60s and 70s, looking for inspiration and wisdom for this next chapter in my own life.


Here are a few resources I have found helpful in learning to write better about my past:

I like the Women's Memoir site and enjoyed this recent article there, Mining Your Journal for Memoir.

I have always found William Zinsser's writing advice concise, clear, and thought-provoking. Most of us know him as the author of the classic guide On Writing Well but he has also authored over 15 additional books, including his own memoirs. I have been reading two articles by him, How To Write A memoir and On Memoir, Truth, and Writing Well.

MORE Examples of Memoir Writing  

Half Broke Horses: A True-Life NovelShattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's WifeWaiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Romantic Night and One Woman's Quest to Become a MotherBitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment OfficeFat Girl: A True StoryI Love a Broad Margin to My Life