Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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It’s All Greek to Me

Kale and Mustard Greens

As much as I am gardening to do my small bit to repair the planet, the other reason is that I like to eat: and I like to eat healthfully as much as I can. Furthermore, I have found over the years that it is the Mediterranean diet that I enjoy the most: Italian, Greek, Provençal, Spanish, North African, Levantine, greens, beans, grains, olive oil, fish and wine. Admittedly, I can’t produce it all, but I can do a little.

Here’s a little scholarship on the subject:

Ljgloyd 2020


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Easing into the Roaring Twenties, 2.0

I usually don’t do much on New Year’s Day. It’s the day when I put away my Christmas decorations and think about how I must go back to the day-job in a few days. This New Years, though, is a little different. The “Teens” were a little rough for me, and I am easing — maybe even limping— into the “Twenties” with the hope that this will be the decade when things will change for the better and where I really might finally come into my own.

Today I am sitting in my garden eating lunch, enjoying the sun as it chases away the frigid cold that has burrowed deep into my bones these last few weeks, I am praying, meditating, affirming —whatever you want to call it— that I will enjoy an abundance, —physically, spiritually, creatively, and relationally,— in this new decade.

Let the Roaring Twenties commence.

ljgloyd 2020

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/01/01/rdp-wednesday-frigid/


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SBRC

 

Life just blindsided me.  The details are not important, but I want to share what I know about my thinking process that is helping me cope with the confusion and insanity that are impinging on my life.

First, I have learned that:  

  • A situation leads to a negative thought.
  • That thought leads to a feeling.
  • That feeling leads to a behavior.
  • That behavior can lead to detrimental physical symptoms or ailments. 

The remedy for me is if I can change my thoughts, then everything else beyond it will change for the better. 

So when encountering a situation, here’s what I do:   

  • I stop.
  • I breathe.
  • I reflect. 
  • I choose a positive thought.  (“SBRC”)

I choose positive thoughts by practicing positive affirmations.  There are lists all over the internet and I google them whenever I cannot come up with any on my own.

Second, for me, negative thoughts are often based on my anger at other people.   Anger is my false attempt to control other people.   Since I cannot control other people, then the only solution is for me to forgive them.   Forgiving is not letting them off the hook; it is me letting go of the anger within myself.     I feel empowered when I forgive since that puts me back in control, not them.  

One more thing, regarding breathing, I just read Yogi Seane Corn’s new book, Revolution of the Soul.  In it she writes there:  “Breathe and everything changes.”  I have found this to be true. 

ljg (c) 2019

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/10/04/rdp-friday-insanity/

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/09/27/rdp-friday-confusion/


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La Dolce Vida


I woke up this morning with a splitting headache. I don’t usually have them, so I suspect that it might be stress-related.  As I parked in bed trying to decide whether to get up or take a sick day, I turned on the Saturday morning cooking shows. Giada was on, talking about the sweetness of life (especially if you have the means to float around the Mediterranean slurping pasta).  She shared the image above, three women doing that very thing.

Now I don’t usually go around taking self-help advice from Food Network stars, but she had a point.   So I hauled myself out of bed, enjoyed a cup of coffee, made up a bubbling potpourri of soothing scents, spent some time at my art-making space, and in a few minutes I will be leaving for the drum circle

Life can be sweet, if you let it.

 

LJG 2019

 

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/rdp-saturday-sick/


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She’s Not Glinda and She’s Stalking Me

“Wake up. “

I rolled towards the wall and buried my face in a pillow. 

“Wake up!”

I flung the comforter off and sat up in bed.   

“What!?  Leave me alone!”

I switched on the lamp next to my bed.  There was no one in the room. The big blue numbers on my nightstand clock glowed 4:37 am.

I tried to go back to sleep, but after several minutes, I knew it was pointless so I reached for my phone and started thumbing through my social media feeds.  I must have dozed off because the next thing I felt was a vibration on my chest and heard the muffled sound of my cell phone’s alarm.

I  was certain that I had disabled the alarm before I went to bed last night. My plan had been to sleep in for once on a Saturday morning.  I was not surprised though.  This could only mean one thing. She was back.

“Stop messing with my electronics!”  I muttered.  “I hate it when she does that.” I sighed and rolled out of bed.  After making a quick pit stop in the bathroom, I stumbled into the kitchen.

She was standing there with her head inside my refrigerator.  “Don’t tell me you were planning on having cold pizza for breakfast.”  

“Arvilla, what do you want?” And shoved  a K cup into the machine and jabbed the button.  I could not deal with her without a big cup of Columbia first.

Arvilla shut the refrigerator and plopped down in a chair.  “I think you know. “

Her voice made me wince. Most of my creative friends had muses who were lovely ethereal beings who sprinkled inspiration like magic dust— someone like Glinda, the Good Witch from the Wizard of Oz.  My muse, Arvilla, is a middle-aged brassy redhead with a nasally whine and the personality of the Wicked Witch of the West.  She also did double-duty as my inner critic.  And: my other friends’ muses don’t stalk them.

She read my mind. Literally. “I am not into sprinkling fairy dust and I do not stalk. You have got to do the work,” she pronounced.  “You’ve read enough self-help books for creatives so you know what you need to do. “

I reached for a box of organic granola and shook it at her. She shrugged her shoulders. “You need to get out of the house,” she said, “and do some fieldwork. “

I perked up.  I thought she was going to nag me to sit down and write.

“I thought you might like that. You, my dear, are a little constipated.”  She nodded her head at the box of cereal. “And that isn’t going to help you get unblocked.”  

I glanced out the kitchen window at my yard and the two large magnolia trees in it.   “I’ve got so many chores to do. I need to rake leaves for one thing. “

“What leaves?”   I looked again. There were no leaves under the trees.   “And don’t even mention your laundry. You have enough underwear and towels for one more day. Good grief,  you sure do know how to procrastinate.“

I opened the refrigerator and pulled out a box of almond milk. As I poured it over my cereal I said, “So what’s the plan? “

“Bring your camera, a notebook and pen, and your inventory list of colored pencils.”   I arched an eyebrow at her. 

“Trust me.  I’ll meet you at Blick’s in at 9. Don’t be late. “

*****

Right on time, I entered the art supply store.  I found her on the drawing aisle.  I consulted my list and reached for a pencil in the open stock bin.  “No, no. You don’t need any more burnt umber or yellow ocher. Ghastly colors.  How boring. Get the spring green. Oh, better yet, the lime green. “

“Lime green? When am I ever going to use a lime green pencil?’

“Trust me.”  Going shopping with Arvilla is always an interesting experience.

A few minutes later we were in my car.  “Home?”

“Not yet.  The art store was the appetizer.  We still have the main course coming.”

Arvilla directed me and soon we were speeding south on the freeway.

“Get off at the next exit. “   I immediately knew where we were going.

“The botanical gardens?”   Arvilla just smiled.

I have always liked the botanical gardens, a place where I could get away and unplugged for a few hours. I have never been there in May, but I knew the colors would be glorious.

The garden did not disappoint me. Every conceivable flower that could grow in this area was in full bloom.  The rose garden was particularly vibrant. Trees, leaves and other foliage were thick and lush from all the recent winter rain.  They displayed every possible shade of green, including, yes, lime green.

I toured the vegetable patch, the succulents and cacti, the herb garden and the indigenous plant section, enthusiastically snapping pictures and getting a feel for my new camera’s features.  I started down a path towards the large pond in the center of the park and the banyan grove.

“No, we’re done. Time to go.”  Arvilla was suddenly at my side. I jumped.

“Stop doing that!”  I glared at her.  “And why are we done?  We haven’t been here a full hour.”

“Because I know you.  You’ll hike all over this place and snap a few hundred pictures.  Then you’ll be too tired when you get home to download your pictures and they’ll just sit on your camera for three months which will make me have to come back and kick you in the butt again.”

She had me pegged.

“Fine.”  I started hiking up the hill towards the exit.

“We’re going to stop for a few minutes at the gift shop.”

“Why?”

“Just do it.”

A few minutes later I arrived at the garden’s gift shop.  Arvilla was already there, seated on a bench and filing her nails as she waited.  I settled down next to her.

Arvilla pointed her nail file towards a rack of succulents on sale.  Next to them was terracotta bust that looked just like Arvilla.    “I know the sculptor. That one turned out pretty good, if I do say so. She really captured my essence.”

“You know the sculptor?”

“Well, of course.  You don’t think you’re my only client, do you?”

“Um, I guess I never really thought about it…. um, well, now what?

Arvilla sighed and put down her file.  “Good grief, do I have to do everything?  Get out your notebook and start brainstorming.”

“But…”

“But what?  This is why I brought you here– so your pump can get primed.”   Arvilla stood up and looked into the distance.  “Uh-oh.  I gotta go.  There’s a poet having a meltdown in the Walmart parking lot.  I need to do some consoling.  See you later.”  Arvilla vanished.

“You never ‘console’ me,” I grumbled as I pulled out my notebook from my backpack.

As my pen started moving through the journal, ideas started pouring faster than I could write them down.  I considered the images.   I could use many of the photos I shot simply as they were— as photographic compositions. I definitely could use most of them for reference in creating drawings, watercolor paintings, and elements in digital compositions.  Then poetic phrases started forming in the back of my mind as well as themes for essays on creativity, spirituality and environmental activism. History, theology, philosophy, and ideas for funny short stories all presented themselves in momentary glimpses across my mind’s eye.  I scribbled notes in the book until I finally slowed down and stopped.  I felt light and refreshed.

I clicked my pen shut and shoved it and the notebook into my bag.

“Now…” Arvilla’s voice seemed to be coming from the terracotta bust. “…go home, take one of these ideas and create something”. I nodded.

“And if I find you screwing around on the internet, I will knock out your WiFi for a week.”

“You know I hate it when you do that!”

Arvilla chuckled.

 

ljg 2019   Today’s Ragtag prompt is “stalk“.


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Urban Garden Log #4: A New Venture

Red Pepper Bug Deterrent

A former rector of my church, many years ago, had a vision of ripping up the manicured lawn on the church campus and planting a garden to provide fresh produce for a local food pantry that serves the poor of our community.  This garden came to be and has been an on-going venture for many years.  The rector went on to other endeavors and left the garden in the hands of the congregation.

This morning I joined the group that tends the garden.  I am an amateur:   I know nothing more about gardening except that you need good light, healthy soil, the right amount of water and a lot of energy. The garden manager, who (in her own words) has “a passion for the earth”, is patient and eager to teach individuals like me.  What I learn, I plan to implement in my own garden.

So I had my first lesson today: using a natural homemade concoction made of habanero peppers to keep unwanted critters away from the baby plants.  For nearly two hours I spritzed and sprayed all manner of vegetable seedlings with red pepper pest deterrent.  Other volunteers were working on harvesting seeds for future planting while others were spreading compost, weeding and watering. It was truly a community effort. Another marvel was the diversity of the group.  Women, men, and children of all shades and hues were working together in harmony to heal the planet and help the poor.

You can’t do church any better than that in my opinion.

ljg 2019


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Wandering

I recently read Keri Smith’s book The Wander Society, another of countless books on how to jump start the creative process. The author promotes the practice of “wandering” through the world, both literally and figuratively, and learning to mindfully observe what is discovered.  The book’s description at the Amazon website describes “…the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life.” At Goodreads I gave the book only 3 stars simply because this is not an original notion. That criticism being made, I quickly realized that I have been negligent in this very form of creative self-care.

It has been raining quite regularly for many weeks, but this morning the clouds cleared and the sun broke through. So I grabbed my camera, hopped in my car and began to wander.  I ended up being entertained by a pair of white rabbits in a vegetable garden, joining a gathering of members of a bread baking guild as they made pizza in a wood-burning oven, roamed around the outside and inside of an old church, paused for a few minutes in a Zen meditation room, drove through a university, stopped at a library, and came home to a steaming bowl of home-made beef stew.

I visually documented my wandering.  Here are a few of my images:

ljgloyd (c) 2019


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Some Would Say It’s Not Art, But That’s Not the Point

In this coming new year, one of my goals had been to do some sort of sketching each day.  I have been hesitating in making a commitment to this goal because of the self-doubt that comes whenever I try to create in a medium in which I am not particularly adept.  I know that this lack of confidence would become too burdensome and I would quickly drop the practice.

Then it occurred to me to try “zentangle” drawing because of an article I recently stumbled upon in Psychology Today on the psychological benefits of this type of doodling.  Some might say that such drawings are not really “art,” but the final product is not the point of the activity.   The point in creating these pen and paper doodles is to relax and de-stress. This is really the whole reason of my making this an evening after-work exercise. It has been a stressful 2018 and I don’t foresee 2019 being any different.   So today, I have been exploring the basic techniques. Below is a video on what I want to someday achieve and after that is a basic tutorial I watched this morning.

Zentangle Time Lapse (about 2 minutes):

And a tutorial in case you are interested too (about 30 minutes):


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More Reasons to Write Every Day

I came across this TedX video about the benefits of a daily writing practice.  Since life recently threw me a curve ball, I have fallen out the of that practice.  This video has motivated me to pick it up again and make it a part of my daily spiritual routine– just like prayer, meditation and yoga.   If you are a writer — or even if you are not– I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to this writer’s entire presentation.  She really provides some practical advice for developing a daily writing routine.