Sunday, January 29, 2012


I read an article about how to raise your IQ by as much as 20 points.  I have a fairly high IQ by the testing I have done. It's not Mensa level by any means.  But it does mean that I should be able to follow instruction, understand irony and sarcasm.  I take it for granted.  I have also taken for granted the high IQ of the others in our family.  The leading cause of a high IQ, to my mind, is a curiosity.  No, I don't mean strange, I mean curiosity in that we ask questions, we want to know things, we play games.

Now, my roll model has always been Mom.  When I was growing up she did word puzzles all the time, she read a lot of books about the mind and controlling life.  But it seems that since she retired she may have also retired her less struggle?  But I hate to see her just sitting and losing touch with everything.  She has gotten out some of her old books and is slowly reading through them, working her hands, doing jigsaw puzzles online.  But it is a long road.  Mom doesn't think outside the box.  Well, outside of her own box anyhow.

For example, I got Mom a puzzle book, mind challenges, logic problems, etc.  She looked through the book and only found a couple of puzzles she could figure out; the rest are going to be a challenge.  One she figured out was a grid that you fill in with letters to create certain words.  The grid was only 4 across and 4 down.  It's a start.  However, on the same page was a puzzle that gave you a series of 6 jigsaw puzzle pieces.  You had to choose three of the pieces to fit on a puzzle.  The puzzle itself was just three pieces and the clues were made from the outline of this small puzzle board.  Basic.  (Back to this in a minute.  I want to make a side note to my blog.)

(I took some time today to read through book and I can see why she was so final that she can't do it.  I am going to give it a try; maybe I can do about 25% of them.  I will challenge myself somehow and let you know how it goes.)

I attempted the puzzle.  I was able to figure out fairly quick.  So I have copied the puzzle using a paint program.  The puzzle pieces are not precise, so I will ask forgiveness about the disparity you may initially notice.  Keep in mind if it is off center that is the way it should look, even though the off - centeredness is not precise, this is my drawing error, not an error of the actual puzzle.  With that in mind, below is an image of  the puzzle pieces and the actual puzzle they need to fit in.  Please look at it and attempt the puzzle, then let me know in a comment how difficult or easy it was to figure out.

I will explain in the comments the discussion mom and I have about this puzzle.  Have fun and be sure to leave a comment for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Using Your Imagination

When I was young dad would say 'use your imagination'.  I have always thought I don't have much of one.  However, when I see things I get totally inspired and am able to re-create ideas with little twists of my own.  But I cannot claim to have done anything original.  In fact, no one has for a long time.  We are able to take things and improve on them according to our own perceptions.

What I choose to do with ideas and what someone else chooses to do with the same idea will turn out completely different.  Our imagination is at work.  When we create something, albeit based on someone else's idea, our idea blossoms based on feedback from our family and peers.  I have a memory of an instance which would have fed my artistic leanings from the very beginning.

My brothers had to take summer school in high school, the need for credits to graduate I assume. I didn't want to be left out so I enrolled in a speed reading course and an art class. The art class stays with me to this day, some of the fundamental instruction and the free form projects we accomplished.  My drawing was juvenile at best, a page of rain drops colliding - clustered together, so that all you had on the page was a series of tears.  It was interesting at best.  But Dad looked at it with encouragement.  He told me to use my imagination.  

With that in mind I built on the idea and created a series of faces.  Still juvenile; but the difference was someone encouraged me, saw that I had the potential to create something just a bit unique.

So much from Dad stays with me as a reminder to encourage those around us. His encouragement fed my desire for approval.  I will forever be grateful for his perception of what I could do. What we create may not come from an original idea, but our creativity will make the ending results unique.  Thank you, Dad.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Changes and What Comes Next

Since Birds and Blooms revamped their online magazine and no longer needed my services I have felt so many different things....initially I felt the hurt and insecurity one feels after loosing a job even when it was nothing I did and nothing I could have changed.  Then I felt relief.  My time was so full there was never any wriggle room -- full time at the pharmacy, mostly full time with mom, odd times I was able to spend with my kids and grandkids, and the occasional blog I was able to mete out here -- my time was all spoken for.

I looked at things from the perspective of how it would fit in the B&B blog.  I curtailed my own opinion and tried to conform my writing for a blog that had national exposure.  Oh, I avidly spent time researching online and trying different things to attract birds; I explored and displayed interesting gardens.  And I learned which way to point the camera so what I discovered could be shared.

Once it was over I thought I could do these things for me, because I really love doing them. I felt like I had a ton of time on my hands.  So I will continue to learn what I can about birds (in fact, check out this incredible picture I found online.  This is a Jamaican Hummingbird.)

I am actually looking forward to the things I can accomplish in my gardening; I am also excited about setting the deck up this spring.  Additionally one of the things I could have done better with the B&B blog is networking.  Sadly, there was never enough time.  However, that will change now.  Some of my time will be focused on learning and sharing.  Hopefully I can learn from my fellow bloggers, too.

But the underlying excitement I have now?  From the time I started writing the blog for B&B I haven't picked up a paint brush.  That was the whole point of my blog here, to learn what I could about water colour painting, and to share my progress. The title Cold Pressed is a painting reference to the type of paper used with water colour.  In learning to paint with water colours one of the choices people must make is whether or not to use hot pressed paper or cold pressed paper.  There is so much about painting I want to learn.   Guess I just reset my goals.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Written Word

(This is written specifically for my friends/family who have joined me in this project.  Thought I would share my mind flow so that those of you who are on board, or have been asked to share in the idea by contributing a character can get a clear picture of what my intention is as the lead in the project and what that may mean that I need from you.)

I had a great story line I wanted to follow late last September.  It was kinda cool, I thought.  To give you an idea of the way my mind was thinking the title came to me first:  Brina, The Harvest Witch.  Basking in the success of Mona's pirate story, this was to be short, along the line of Casper the friendly ghost, written to share with the kids in the family around Halloween. But I come up with ideas about the time something should be finished, in other words, about a week before Halloween.  So I thought Thanksgiving still fits in with harvesting, maybe we will broaden the story line, make it a little more than a short story.

Thus is would become a story around a young girl in November.   Failing that, December.  So I enlisted my writer's group, and expanded the base to pull / pool information.  Character studies.  My character descriptions started coming in, not like a galloping horse, certainly.  More like a trickling faucet.  In fact, I received responses from people that were not members of the writers group.  Then I sat back and patiently (patiently? -- oh my goodness, Patience would love this!) waited.  The base was once again expanded.

This time the expansion came not only with good ideas, but great instruction, too.  We learned that Google Docs includes a share tab, we could write on the same document back and forth.  At the same time.  No more writing things out, waiting for an available time to have someone else review the storyline and write their character's part, work through the conversation, get together again. Yada yada yada.

What was the purpose of asking various people to provide characters?  My thinking is this:  I have a certain slant on how my character is portrayed, the way he converses.  I didn't want the supporting cast to have the same slant.  Dawn writes differently than I do.  Yo creates people who are very different than mine.  And Paysh?  Well, those of us who have had the pleasure of being part of the initial group learned that she has a fierce mind, a terrific imagination and a very unique way of projecting her ideas.  Why not allow the creator of the character actually write the part?  The ideas that run through these peoples minds can be very different than mine.

So, the short story becomes a novel; the idea morphs into a viable storyline.  Suddenly I have to have a foundation to carry the characters, the ideas, the plot.  The P L O T ???  My Brina may be a minor character in this story; she may be called something different.  But I will tell you there is actually a plot, and a lot of great ideas.

I have a lot of work to do to flesh out the idea, to give these people the general tenor of the story and provide something worth participating in.  As a conclusion, if those of you who created my base of characters want to stop with that as their contribution, I understand and thank you for the assistance you have given me.  For the ones who are anxiously waiting to become active participants in the development please, oh please just give me a wave and we will work it from here.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Down Time

I have spent today as 'down time'.  Oh, the day started productive:  picked my sister up at 10 a.m. for a quick trip to the craft store -- quick because Grampa Yo was left in charge of the grandchildren.  He is highly equipped to take care of them, being the father of more than those little ones.  But we made it a quick trip, none the less.  That means Dawn and I were back within three hours of leaving the house.  That's good, right?  Heehee.

Then I was anxious to get home and start on my project.  Part of what we have been doing is trying different things for an Etsy Account.  That means this baby (or one similar to it) will be available to order.  We each have a couple of ideas for a variety of things that we can create and offer.

But, back to the 'down time'.  After I managed to choose the paper for the project, Dorthy came over for her semi monthly visit with mom.  Good on Dorthy.  She has never pulled her punches when it comes to telling her what she thinks about mom's choice of inactivity.  We all know about pain.  Each of us have our own 'brand', whether it is migraines, lupus, arthritis, we have all felt the pain of living through each day.  So I cannot judge the depth of mom's pain.  Surely when it started it was manageable, but we had a wonderful father that couldn't stand to see her in pain.  His solution?  Make sure she didn't have to do anything that hurt.  If you are arthritic (I am) you know that the more you move the better off your joints are.  It is a choice.

If it is not a choice then I will be living the way mom does when I am her age.  I can't go for that.  So I work in retail. I sit on the floor.  I play with my grandchildren.  I try to do things each day.

Yet I write in digression once again.  What was the topic?  Oh, yeah.  Down time.  I spent the day in the dining room (and kitchen - salmon, saute'd carrots, mashed potatoes and peach cobbler).  I didn't gravitate too far away.  Computer was handy and netflix caught me up on my Bones episodes.  So at the table, plotting out my creation, cooking and several episodes of Bones. That is my idea of a great day. Now I can concentrate on Fringe.

What does down time mean for different people?  I have a couple of brothers in law that would consider an afternoon with a sports show their down time.  My sons would consider playing video games (such a narrow word to apply to so many options on what type of device they use to attack their video games).  My daughter Darcie probably figures movies as down time while Marnie likes to experiment in the kitchen.

My down time is spent with crafts, whether it is creating what is pictured above, or writing on one of my stories.  Regardless of how we choose to spend down time, everyone needs it.  It builds the spirit, nourishes the soul.  Not taking any down time is to neglect yourself.  Aren't we much healthier and able to help other people when we spare a little time for ourselves?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunset over Mt. Angel

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Follow the link above for a quick puzzle.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

What if you can't sleep?  What goes through your mind?  If it is the first day of the new year?  3:28 a.m. and counting......

First thoughts......

The family I have been blessed with, and how, after so many years I have been put in a position to be able to help when needed.  The past is a tired old story of my selfishness, and the extreme selfishness of the man I am still married to....and shouldn't be.   So I cover the insurance for my youngest son, even though he is not driving right now;  yeah he pays me, but he uses my vehicles and I keep it just for him...then there is the Santoyo of my heart, my monthly payment to one of  her bills because I had the benefit of using her credit to start myself out with independence -- at least that is the way I felt about the laptop she made sure I could buy; that brings me to Chris, who has been so far for so long I am sure he never felt the love of the family.  I have spoken of what he has done for me, how could I not do what I can to make sure they get through their rough patch?  And, finally the child who helped me find my spirit as a young woman, the one who saved me.  She was named after an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  It was actually about a psychotic woman who needed help. (Subconscious mirror?)  For many many years Marnie needed the kind of help I couldn't provide, (no, she is not psychotic! lol) but the time has come that we seem to be walking on the same plain (or is it plane? -- where is Yo when I need him?). The desire to help her comes easy.  The children, each a child of my heart, each a different reflection of what is inside me, I count myself blessed.  If this is all I have going into the new year, then I am a wealthy woman, because I love each of them more than ever.

......more of what keeps me awake?

Finances.......what does a 57 year old woman do when she never had a plan or built a dream?

  • Thoughts of how to power save over the next 10 years.  Pay off a couple of credit cards, then all of that money can be used for a savings account.  (I actually would like to retire someday)
  • My creativity comes in a couple of guises...painting, which I set aside while I blogged for Birds and Blooms.  Writing, most young American girls' dream; I am not so young, but I have the tools to make mine work for me.  If I brainstorm there could be something there.
  • Actually focus and quit spending money on things I don't need:  coffees three days a week, quit being too lazy to pack a lunch, cigarettes....oh the vices.  lol
  • Ways to make money with what I have -- creativity, what a concept!

Then, of course, my writing, the direction the stories should go.....

My story, the one I have conjoined with my family, the one that started as a challenge, and it may turn out to "be" something.
Then  my "Awakening", the story of the healing of the world. Fantasy, of course, but if I had to choose one thing in my life that I ever finish, that would be the one.


What can I say?  I would do anything for my mother.  I certainly don't know what I would have done without her.  Oh, there has always been that "psychological relationship" between a mother and her first daughter between us.  I know she always felt it with her mother.  I never feel like I quite measure up.  I know she would laugh more with Dawn here instead of me and her admiration for Becki is deep.  But she had the same inadequate feelings with Grandma.  I have learned to ignore it, managed to figure out how to be myself and live under the same roof with her.  She has given up control in her life and has had to learn to trust me like she trusted dad.  That is a different feeling of never measuring up, but I figured it out --- by not using the same measuring cup, I am able to fulfill that part in her life I was meant to:  her daughter that loves her so much.

I have always hated the saying "Today is the first day of the rest of your life."  Extremely trite, such as "Just say no", or "Don't worry, be happy".

But the saying actually means something to me:  I have control over how my life is to go.  If I can be happy too, then I win.