Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


Urban Garden Log Post #1

I do not have a green thumb. When people give me plants as gifts, the plants weep. This is weird because farming is part of my DNA, ever since the first hunter/gatherers in my family line cleared the forests of ancient Europe all the way down to my father’s generation that grew up on a New England farm. However, my past attempts to grow anything have miserably failed.

A few days ago I discovered a neglected garlic bulb in my pantry. It had sprouted, much to my surprise, and I decided that it needed to be put in some soil. Any plant that can come to life in the darkness of my kitchen pantry deserves to live. So one thing led to another and I ended up getting out some garden pots and purchasing some potting soil. I also got some basil and tomato plants. I am going to see how well these do before I invest in any more seedlings. I do not have much sunny space in the backyard, so this is why the pots are gathered smack-square in the middle.

I am taking some encouragement from the abundant fruit on my orange and lemon trees, and I discovered some mint that had been planted decades ago is springing up between the trash bins and the water faucet. I’m just going to leave it alone.

I don’t intend for this to be a gardening blog. I just wanted to have a place to make some notes. Hopefully in a few weeks I can make a good report on some progress.

Feral Mint

Sweet Basil

Pantry Sprouted Garlic

Cherry Tomatoes

The sunniest patch in the yard

An ancient lemon tree

The orange tree that won’t stop bearing

Note:   The moon is a waxing gibbous, which, if I remember my herblore, is a good time for planting.


Talismans, Rituals, and the Fine Art of Procrastination

Some creatives have talismans in their creative spaces. Many an artist or writer will waste time in searching for that “right” object to serve this function and even more time arranging their spaces around the object. They do all of this instead of arting or writing. I know this because I spent time rearranging my “dream corner” and finding the right place to put my dream catcher.

Another time-waster of creatives is engaging in some sort of “ritual” before sitting down to work.    They dim the lights, light candles, fondle the aforementioned talisman (I DON’T do that with my dream catcher), make a whole ceremony over making a pot of tea (or pouring a few fingers of Scotch), and so on.

Again, I am guilty of that myself.   For example, this morning, instead of working in my sketchbook which I vowed to do every morning, I wasted time doing an inventory and making a swatch list of all my colored pencils.   Seriously.

Now I know some creatives will argue that their talismans and rituals are vital to their work.  Some see their work spaces and times as sacred and thus requiring such objects and actions to sanctify them.  I get that.  I do.  To me, the act of creating is a calling, a vocation.  You must treat the work with respect and awe.

But I know for myself that such things can be massive time-wasters.  I may do them because I don’t want to face the blank page or empty canvas.  I do them because I am just lazy and would rather screw around on Facebook than sit down and work.   Sometimes, I know the work is going to bring up uncomfortable emotional baggage.  Who wants to experience that?    All of us, if we want to live out our calling as creatives.

Don’t let your time-wasters divert you into becoming a master of the fine art of procrastination.


ljgloyd (c) 2018


Suddenly, She Was Without Words

I cringed when I saw this morning’s word prompt, “Suddenly.” This is a word with which I struggle almost every time I write a bit of fiction. My short stories tend to have abrupt changes in action, especially after several slow paragraphs of explanatory material. For example, “Suddenly, the door flung open and jarred her from her thoughts.”   I spend a lot of time agonizing over this one little word.

Like the word “very “, “suddenly” for me has become overused and boring.   I have tried using a thesaurus to find alternative words, but most of the time these alternative words are just as overused: “quickly” “abruptly”.   Or they don’t suitably or precisely convey the action or the flavor of the piece.   For example another word for “suddenly ” is the word “forthwith”.   This would be fine if I were Will Shakespeare.  “Forthwith, he dreweth his blade and ventured yonder.”

This is an extreme example, but I hope you get that my point is in not relying too heavily on the thesaurus  for your word choice. It doesn’t always work well.

So what is the alternative to using a thesaurus?

Reading.  Yes, it is not an immediate fix, but in the long run, nothing replaces reading as the best way to build a writer’s vocabulary.

For every paragraph you write, read a novel.

OK, that was extreme too, but you get my drift.


ljg 2018

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Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

The amazing thing about writers, poets, artists, — creators of all kinds– is that we have the innate ability to observe the world around us and feel wonder. Wonderment is as important a tool as pens, brushes, cameras, and musical instruments. Here is a poem I wrote 22 years ago, and I think it explains this.

Peering at the World through Cat’s Eyes

To meditate like a cat,
Poised, enigmatic, sphinx-like,
on a redwood deck
watching morning sun splinter
through dew-drops,
sniffing the fading
night scents of jasmine,
listening to rising
birdsongs and strong steps
of mistress in the kitchen,
to meditate on such as this
in stillness, in silence,
peering at the world
with golden almond-split eyes,
is to watch it crack
open and display
its wonderous beauty.

ljgloyd, 1996, 2018

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Salads, Tough Cookies, and that Still, Small Voice

I have encountered many an article, blog post, and news commentary that state that we are forgetting the fine art of compromise. We see this uncompromising attitude everywhere from our personal relationships to our legislators. Compromise, to some, seems to be a sign of weakness. The lack of willingness to see a middle road that satisfies everyone often leads to a lot of strife and nastiness and most certainly stagnation in the advancing of any personal or political agenda.

That being said there are times when we cannot compromise. For me, I cannot compromise on those disciplines that help me live a healthier life. It would be easy at times to compromise and tell myself that it is okay to eat “just a few” of those fries that came with the sandwich I ordered as long as I don’t eat them all. Being uncompromising means that I send the fries back and get a salad instead — no matter what the rest of my dinner companions say.

There is another area wherein I do not compromise: heeding the voice of my intuition. Sometimes I find myself in situations where I am being pushed or pulled in a direction that my “gut” tells me is not good for me. When I find myself in such situations, first I examine it and myself to see if I might indeed be acting stubbornly. I am more than willing to change my mind if the situation warrants it. However, if after doing so,  if my intuition is still screaming at me not to comply, then I need to heed it.

There may be nothing inherently wrong with what I am being asked to do; it might even be the noblest of tasks, but if my intuition tells me that this is something I should not do, then I won’t. Period. End of discussion.

That “still small voice” inside of me is an uncompromisingly tough cookie — and so am I.


ljg 2018


Branching Out with My Prismacolors

I write, I cook, I drum.   I should make a tee-shirt that says this.

I used to make art too — drawing and painting. I am not all that technically adept. My high school art teacher, way back when, called my work “painterly.” I think that was a nice way of saying that she did not expect to see any photo-realism coming from my brush or pens.

The consequence is that over the years I have not made as much art. That nagging inner critic works just as diligently with fine artists as she/he does with writers.

That being said, I have decided to branch away from my usual avenues of creative expression (writing, drumming, cooking, photographing) and work on improving my technical skills in the visual arts. I just started working with colored pencils (for the first time) since my home studio is not equipped to handle wet media.  Furthermore, I need some practice with the most basic of subjects: humans.

To that end, here is a little study I did yesterday with pencils.

“Red-Headed Woman”, 8″x 12″, Prismacolor pencils, on 50# sketch paper

ljgloyd (c) 2018

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Maybe This Time I Won’t Break Out in Hives

Today is not a typical day. It was: I got up, did yoga, ate breakfast, watched the news, drove to work– the usual.

Then I got to my office. I went to switch on my computer: Zip. Nada. The Black Screen of Death. My computer would not come on.  I checked all the cables and the power source.  Everything was working except my wretched computer.

I actually had to fight back a panic attack. I cannot work without my computer. But worse: I would not have internet access.

As I waited until our tech support office opened, I passed the time trawling my memory to count how many files I had not backed up in case of the worse case scenario. That’s going to suck big time if I lost some of the current files I am using and had not backed up.

Finally got through to tech support and opened a work order. No, they don’t know when anyone was going to be there.

I am using my personal devices to conduct minimal business until I am up and running. I remember a time a few years ago when I had a work-related crash and lost some files that I had not backed up. At the time, I actually broke out in hives because of the stress. I hope I don’t do that again. But I am irritable and snappy. Just like someone going through withdrawal pains.

You think I might be addicted to my technology?

Yeah. Me too.

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The Moon is Mine and She Is Indigo

Many, MANY, years ago, I took an astronomy class in college. I had the opportunity then to attach my dad’s 35mm SLR Canon to a reflecting telescope with a tracking motor. I was able to snap a few shots of this half moon. Though I don’t recall doing it, it appears that I manipulated this particular image at some point after I learned Photoshop since the background and overall color the image seem enhanced (from black to indigo). The star field may have been helped along a bit by Adobe, but the moon photo is all mine.


ljgloyd (c) 1978, 2018