Bye Bye Box

This summer I did a “reboot” for my brain.   My mind had been bombarded for years with poison darts and digs to my spirit. Since my brain has been boosted, I’m ready to embark on a sensory safari, prepare to launch, my long-lasting legacy – by offering my expertise in creativity, observation, insight, and idea implementation.

 

Many people fit in the box. Some people feel boxed-in.

A few people think outside-the-box.

I think about boxes. I build boxes. I certainly don’t “fit in” the box. Are you aware of my previous boxes? Did you notice my new business boxes?

What will I create as my future un-box?

Creative Coaching Company

Would you like to go outside your “inner-box” and discover the life you were designed to live?

  AsB

Business Buzzards


The other day I was reminded of the unlikely product that showed up at a nearby gallery only one block down the street during 2010. It didn’t take long for them to add art classes — I had been offering those since 1994. But a pretzel?! I developed my own amazing pretzel recipe. I twisted my SofTwizts completely on my own. Have you ever heard of a gallery offering pretzels? Me neither. What unmittigated gall. That “downtown” gallery included Philly Pretzels within a couple months after snoop-scouting my studio coffeehouse. Whenever mARTi came up with another innovative idea, it was quickly included in another local (or gov’t funded library) business.


The latest stab in the back was the obvious buzzard business picking by the people who became replacements in my long-standing location. After perpetrated abuse resulted in the evacuation for my safety and employees/customers, I witnessed my brains being picked publically, perhaps with the aid of customers I advertised to obtain 😦
To add a twist of the knife of this knowledge, the location where the businesses I nurtured for over 2 decades — is back on the market within 1.5 years after my forced evacuation.

One of the advantages of an internet business is the sleuth-snooping will not directly impact my wallet and survival. When we speak of Cyber Space — that terminology gives me a bit of hope. I can create and help people around the world and my ideas are not as easily duplicated (except for downloading).

“Thin”spiration

Welcome to a new “creative” blog writer who is discovering her place in the “wireless” world. She fits well into my iCygnet blog. Dana is developing her designs. We can encourage her to keep pursuing creativity. You are always Good Enough — just the way you are.

Danadinomyte

anorexia-bulimia-treatments3-14-15-   One of the many things I love about blogging is being able to interact with people through comments. On several of my outfit of the day posts, I received comments from girls telling me that I was their “thinspiration”. I must admit, I had no idea what that meant. Of course I googled it, because I was too curious not to. The search results were surprising and slightly disturbing.

The Eating Disorder Glossary defines thinspiration as, “Any form of media, print, pictures, videos, etc. that are utilized in an unhealthy manner to promote continued weight loss.” Please listen to me as I’m telling you, I do NOT want to be your thinspiration. I am anorexic.

I was diagnosed with Anorexia in January this year during a week long hospital stay. I can honestly tell you that there is nothing glamorous about crying on the bathroom floor after…

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50 Shades of Grey – Part 2

Yesterday, I discovered that I am “trendy.”   That’s an amusing revelation for me at 56 years of age.   As it turns out, there is a new fashion trend across the world to create “Granny Hair.”   I’m not a grandmother, yet I do have grey hair – at least my roots are naturally grey.

My first grey hair was spotted in college. Those were easy to pluck out. They were hidden by the long, wavy dark brown tresses that measured to my mid back. Three decades later, trips to a salon and hundreds of boxes of hair color later, I have decided to embrace the effects of “mother nature.”

Image result for grey in nature 

There is a slight correlation to the pepper/white vehicle I drive and I have been accustomed to wearing black and white as a musician long before my hair began to transform.

Choral Concert Clothing

I’m anticipating the transition to my “Granny Hair” hair and facilitated the process through another popular style – the “layered bob.”

My fraternal grandmother had lovely looking locks of silver for most of the time I knew her. My father’s hair remained salt and pepper from his 60s till it became snowy white wisps in his final years. My mother – well, it’s better if I let her give a descriptive posting on her blog . . .

I’m certainly thankful that the fashion of wearing a grey wig has not become a trend!

Image result for classical concert musician attire   Image result for salt and pepper

Now is it grey or gray?

Here is history repeating itself — through the fashion of hair styles and color.

Hairstyles of Roman Women

Hairstyles of Roman Women

Arts or Alcohol, Books or Beer

This week in my email there was a Groupon for a Paint Nite.   It is a painting activity scheduled in a Pub:  In just about two hours, while you’re sipping on a cocktail, our performing artists will guide you through each painting so that you come up with your own unique masterpiece at the end of the night that you will be amazed YOU created…You just bring your fun loving friends and have a few cocktails to keep the spirits high and inhibitions to a minimum and we’ll make sure your inner Picasso is unleashed.

How did I manage to get through 4+ years of Art School without a drink?!  Geeze – Do you think I could have earned better than an “A” with alcohol in my system?    I know artists and musicians are considered “free-spirits” and “non-conformists”, but I realize after all these years since college (35), is that I am one of the few TRUE non-conformists in the world. I don’t do drugs.  I don’t smoke.  I don’t drink.

I founded an art studio in the early 1990s, promoted musicians, added Coffeehouse in 2006.   We were the most amazing and creative facility in the area — till an abuser became determined to destroy the joy.  I had a Drink-n-Draw activity in the studio/coffeehouse 10 years ago, so I find this new Art and Alcohol activity amusing and annoying.
I became successful because I have ALL my “faculties.”

Back in 2009, my mother and I displayed our picture book “A Box of Bears” (I’m the illustrator) at a downtown festival in a former bank along side a photographer, potter and painter.    We met many people who were gracious enough to listen and hear how the story and illustrations evolved.   We sold a handful of items.

I walked out the front of the building and noticed a long, long, line of people forming on the opposite side of the street, stretching all the way from the middle of the main street intersection down the block.   I inquired what the line-up was about from a gentleman who was also selling his illustrated book.  He informed me that there was a special wine and beer tasting event scheduled at 2 pm.  People had to sign up for it ahead of time, get the special bracelet, and wait in line to show they were of legal age to drink.

I had three thoughts:

  1. I have never or probably will never drink any alcoholic beverage.
  2. Who would ever want to wait in a line that long just to get a drink?
  3. Wasn’t the event supposed to be a community arts & crafts day?!

So, I went inside to let my mom know what all the fuss was about.   I shook my head in disbelief for the condition of the human race. We haven’t evolved socially over the centuries.  We just have technology to talk about it and take risks with the effects.

I said:  “Art or Alcohol”, Books or Beer – I could add: Music or Meth, Dance or Drugs

We have become a culture that can’t get together socially without expecting some form of alcohol in our hands.   There are signs outside of eating establishments with BYOB – as if 15 + different beverages they have aren’t enough of a choice and suitable for customers to consume.

It’s enough to “drive you to drink.”  But don’t drink and drive – difficult to do when you drove away from home to that event.

 

Share the Shelter

This link to the newsletter from The Community Action Program of Lancaster County provides some wonderful insight into how women (yes, it’s still predominantly women) survive the destruction from domestic violence.

I was intrigued by the article of the lady who housed pets for victims.   It is interesting to note that there are MORE shelters for animals than for human victims of DV.

When I needed assistance, town police were inept (duped with the con-manipulation) and there were no rooms available in any Lancaster County shelters.   I also learned that a mother of 4 children couldn’t find a place to stay in the entire Philadelphia area.

Carmel Reflection

Carmel reflecting on his days as a homeless cat

Carmel on the Parlor Seat

Carmel on the parlor seat in the coffeehouse

Carmel, my cat, had been locked from his litter box and food on the days I stayed away.   My employee would discover this situation upon entering for her shift.

I was able to flee with my cat at the end of Sept 2011, to a home of a former customer.   The family was willing to let Carmel stay with me for a couple days.   Unfortunately the home owner got weird about her space.  She began to think I might want to move in (no way) after she invited me to teach lessons in her sun room. She had her own dragons to slay . . .   As it turned out, her husband rounded up volunteers to remove many of my belongings and put them in a free storage space for a year — very thoughtful, indeed.

I had to move 1.5 hours away from the town I called home for 27 years.  Three years have passed since I made the decision to end an abusive relationship.  I was able to get out before the physical violence escalated.  I kept my customers and employees safe — but we were out of work and my 7 businesses destroyed within 90 days.

I’m still not completely free but Carmel is here with me today — watching as I write.  He’s been my comfort cat through everything.   His day of adoption is coming up early May.   I can finally say that both Carmel and I are doing well 🙂 though we still need a home to call our own.   Anybody got leads?

There’s No Place — Like a Home

 

 

 

 

 

 

Secure Safe Shelter

Throughout my life, I learned of people who were homeless.  One person was an employee from a public school in which I taught for 10 years.  She and her children considered the car a home for several weeks.

  • There are 1,500 shelters for battered women in the US. There are 3,800 animal shelters. (Schneider, 1990) Numbers have increased in the same proportion since then.

A woman is seen in a shelter built by California artist Gregory Kloen.

Then, a young adult student whose father couldn’t pay the rent for an apartment they occupied entered the studio looking agitated.  I asked “Are you living in your car?”  He, reluctantly replied, “uhmhm, yes, I am”. My poignant and persistent question led him to ask if I knew of a place for him to stay.  Well, there was space . . . in the basement of my studios.  He stayed till he found an affordable apartment.

After opening a coffeehouse, another young person came for help.  He (an avid reader) had frequented the public library. The government-funded entity added a coffee shop (8 months after mine!) in the space this fellow took refuge. He crashed on sofas in friend’s homes.  I could only offer a bar of soap and towel to freshen up in the not-yet-opened pottery painting place.  He eventually moved 35 miles away to live with an aunt/uncle.

Empathy has always been part of my nature.   My kindness however was used to provide identity and income for illicit indigents.  I housed a family-in-law for 18 years in property I owned.  They needed assistance.   It seemed like the right thing to do . . .

Then — I finally woke up from the controlled cash captivity. The harm and hurt had to stop.   I couldn’t live in fear anymore, nor be a slave-tenant in my home.  MANipulated to pay to live and work in my own home, I was able to support myself, business, employees.  The fact that my family was covertly robbed and my community company was embezzled to support a con-X and HIS family — that was inconceivable.

The basement that once provided refuge to a former student became my only option.  The x-CON who I graciously agreed to house after his release — was fired from his job — replaced me in my own basement refuge.  I am shocked and dumbfounded that I was forced to leave my home and self-sustaining career.  MANeuvered by a Con, his Counsel and the Court.

Even Safety and Security take precedence over Shelter.

  •  The costs of intimate partner violence in the US exceeds $5.8 billion per year: $4.1 billion are for direct medical and health care services, while productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion.

California artist Gregory Kloen, who builds small portable homes using salvaged materials, says an inexpensive structure is a way to keep someone safe and out of jail.

How many of these shelters fit in one Pro-athlete, Politician, Lawyer or Hollywood home?

Leave it to a creative entrepreneur to solve a serious concern over shelter.   Government can’t do it — they’re too CONcerned about their own paychecks and trips to paradise island.

Persistence, Practice, Perseverance

Last month I moved into “middle age” (55). Or is that 40 — 30 — 20?   Who knows what middle age really is?   Doesn’t it depend on the total length of your life?   And who knows what age it is while we’re living it?

I owned and operated several businesses from age 21 – 52. The reactions and questions were not gender or age-blind.   Now that I’m an official “senior citizen”, I have a bit more stigma with my age and experience in the workplace.

I survived the standard social pressures of youth, but decided to make the most of my time to study and pursue a subsequent career by working days/evenings/weekends — my choice.  My dominant career mother and nurturing career father encouraged me. They provided what was necessary for me to learn the skills for my own career.   I had persistence. I practiced. I persevered.

At 55, I am about to embark on a new career.  Some folks lose jobs due to “downsizing”, “economy”, death of an owner, environmental disasters.   I’m starting over, not by choice, but by control and conduct perpetrated by one person and an antiquated legal system.

X vs XY Chromones

X vs XY Chromones

Men Mimic the Muse

Men Mimic the Muse

As a woman with incredible drive, I have more knowledge, stamina, experience than most youth.  I’m anticipating my new career to be an extension of  life experiences from many years developing concepts through creativity and consistent character.

Senior citizen means I’m at the top of my “game” without having to jump through hoops to get results.  Well, that’s what I’m counting on from this month on.

Solace in Sweets

Solace in Sweets

“Becoming a senior citizen should not be a time for sulking or melancholia. You are a survivor otherwise you wouldn’t be celebrating today. Survivors have lots of things to do and full lives in front of them yet. So take a weekend, a day or a few hours and just reflect on the good things that have filled your life to date and then start planning to enjoy tomorrow with joy and gratitude for the chance to be the best senior citizen ever” (source: My Thinking)

iQ, mEq, uQ, eQ, WeQ

While working on my website and emails today, a tweet popped up about college students and getting grades for their emotional intelligence.
I clicked on the link and read through the artical.  I reminded me of the book published in 1998 called “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”

Kindergarten

The question was whether college students should be given grades for emotional intelligence?    (the question)

Then I read a comment from a person who asked “give credit for breathing?”   That got me thinking — look out folks.   I’m back at it again, analyzing.   So, consider the fact that at age nine I started learning to play oboe.  My lungs not yet fully developed (that process is completed at age 12), and there I was holding an instrument in my hands in which I had to, ever so slowly, hold and control my breath.   hmmm, I think.  I became a professional oboist about 12 years later (getting paid to perform and/or teach).   Did I get “credit” for breathing or for controling my breath?   I sorta think so.   You can see my breath condensate (my science knowledge) on the inside of this oboe.  Does that makes my invisible breath real?

MarigauxPlexiglasss

At what point will we as humans, begin to accept that emotions ARE part of our existence.   They are as real (or unreal, sometimes) as our breath.  Emotions ARE real.  Ask the folks who lost a loved one in one of the countless, senseless shootings across this country and world.   What is the worst part of a death — not the loss of the body — but the loss of the spirit of the person, the personality, the air space the person occupied, the feelings that came WITH the person.   Emotions can not be replaced with things or money.   They ARE real.  They need to heal just as any other part of our body needs to heal after a “boo boo” or down right surgery.   Emotions are housed in our brains.

Subjective. Sure.  So is art, music, writing, reading, dance, sports, medicine, lanquage, science.  Lots of subjects are subjective.  What we need is a form of measurement like the mathmeticians have managed to get to work in their favor.   “It’s all about the numbers.”  — one of my very unfavorite comments in the last year.   There are SO many aspects of life that are “priceless” that have nothing to do with numbers.

iQ vs eQ (the difference)

Poder These:

iQ – intelligence quotient (answer)

eQ – emotional quotient (answer)

mEq – abbreviation for milliequivalent

hiQ – (answer)

uQ – university quotient — OK, this was odd

WeQ – wind erosion eQuation, worry emotionality questionaire, war event questionaire, work experience questionaire (check this out)

wiQ – Waring Intimacy Questionaire, Walking Impairment Questionaire, (huh?)

theyQ – alien emotions — just kiddin’ (or not?)

I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream. (answer)

Selecting your Season

I have a theory that people often enjoy or feel most comfortable in the season in which they were born.  What do you think?
Take this quick survey.

Four Seasons is Antonio Vivaldi’s most famous work.

January is my birth month and I prefer colder temperature to warm temperature. I don’t tolerate the summer well.
I enjoy this season of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons performed by the renowned Itzhak Perlman.

4 panel painting

I prefer to hear a flute play the melody — more pleasing as the violin even with the greatest performer can get scratchy to my ears.
Which is your favoite season of the year?  Factors that may effect your answer may be from what area in the world you live.

As far as my favorite time of day — that’s also probably uncommon. I prefer the nightime because it’s a great time to write, read — think.

The Long and Winding Road

Winding-Road[1]
The path to peace is a long and winding road for survivors of violence.
There may be no guiderails. We get near the edge or end of the road often feeling discouraged.
But when we look around, we discover great beauty and comfort during our travel to wellness.

0_A_winding_road[1]

A problem that really exists – Media, Advertising, Family.
People believe and perpetuate what they see, read and hear.

Time to Heal
_____________
End the old
Begin the new
Reflect and hope
This is a safer year.
_____________
Meet new people
Find new places
Comfort and help
This is a better year.
_____________
Replace a memory
Discover a talent
Peace and laughter
This is a happier year.
_______________________________________
Transitions_Address_Logo[1]
_______________________________________
Songwriters: LENNON, JOHN / MCCARTNEY, PAUL

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door

The wild and windy night
That the rain washed away
Has left a pool of tears
Crying for the day
Why leave me standing here?
Let me know the way

Many times I’ve been alone
And many times I’ve cried
Anyway you’ll never know
The many ways I’ve tried

And still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t leave me waiting here
Lead me to your door

But still they lead me back
To the long winding road
You left me standing here
A long long time ago
Don’t keep me waiting here
Lead me to your door

_______________________________________

Fall2011 – Voices

Winter2012 – Voices

Summer2012 – Voices

Fall2012 – Voices

Wonders of Work

There is nothing in the world other than art and oboe that I enjoy participating in more than WORK.  There are so many benefits to working that go beyond a paycheck.

I started my first job at age 17 at McDonalds.  I was assigned to the grill and made burgers, fries, milkshakes, egg McMuffins.   I had to clean floors and empty trash in the seating area.  Unless I had a rehearsal or concert, I worked exclusively on weekends. I was glad for the work and money. I never had the attitude that the “job” was beneath me or not appropriate to my future career. (Best employee 11/10/2012 – Kara)

 

By the time I was in college, I started working part-time as a tutor.  I tutored Music 101 students — non-music majors who needed assistance understanding the difference between the sounds of instruments and certain composers music.    I was a conscientious student. Though I was an art major, the music professors recommended I tutor students who needed help with their class.   I found ways to relate the student’s area of study to music and enjoyed working in an area related to my degree — education.

Before I graduated from college, I was hired for an official art teaching position.   I taught drawing, design & graphics, 9th grade general art, jewelry, pottery, art appreciation.   I formuled ideas, assignments, graded, displayed, prepared supplies, disciplined.   No one needed to monitor me.  I was self-motivated to do the best job possible.   After two years of temporary positions, I divided a paper into columns to mark the pros and cons of the current job, but decided to take a full-time position that required me to move. I retained the connection with music colleagues after the move.

 

I planned to remain in the school system for at least 10 years. I stayed 11.5 years. The entrepreneurial spirit that I exhibited since selling pewter jewelry at age 16 needed to be nurtured. I was 32 when I “retired.” The adventure of working every day had just begun.  I never needed someone to coach or prod me to work. I began building an amazing business that developed into a marvelous merging of art, and music. The final addition was a coffeehouse. A restaurant was not in the picture as I was growing up — definitely not a dream. But what a joy the inclusion of coffeehouse was to my art studio. Sometimes, it barely seemed like “work” even though I was on call about 98 hours a week.

  

I loved all my jobs that were destroyed by a hostile spousal takeover.  My pay was nothing to brag about, but the connection to my family of art, music and coffeehouse friends was “priceless.”

50 Shades of Grey

humanae-project

Tonight I met the sister of a classmate from my High School.  I had the chance to let her know how much I admired her family for being the only black family to enroll in my small town school in the 1970s and ask what it was like for them.  We knew we received a very good public school education and acknowledged the respect we gave to teachers who were in charge of our education. We reminisced about the “old days” as they were — but mostly admitted how glad we were to move on in our life from High School.  Over 35 years later, this wonderfully educated women transcends the prejudices of society, towns and gender based systems that still exist regarding race and gender.

This is a re-blog from 2012 and seemed very appropriate to re-post after seeing

It’s interesting how much our country is shades of grey, yet our choice tomorrow is between “black and white.”

When I taught in public school in the 1980s – early 1990s, there was a principal in the school who saw everything black or white.  That always infuriated me — as I KNEW there were many shades of grey.  I’m generally tolerant of varieties — I’m an artist and musician.

Thank you Miss Clairol, I’m not yet ready to let my hair go completely grey.

This is one of many light to dark brown hair dye colors I will use till I decide to go “silver”

NaturalInstincts

Of course nature has its share of grey animals. Some furry, some scaley, some slimy, some leathery.

  

Sometimes birds are grey before their feathers change to either white, black or pink (flamingo)

 

Check out the baby panda who starts out pink and ends up white and black.

 

This is just a small sampling of grey paint colors:

With only a little research you can discover all the shades of human color — and I haven’t seen much black OR white:


This portrait project seeks to discover every possible human skin tone.

That’s quite a project!

Alive to Survive to Thrive

What better way to spend my time in “witness protection” (PFA without the paper) than to learn a new language! In 2010 I claimed to my customers, students and friends that if I died tomorrow, I’d have no regrets in my life… Well, that was a lofty evaluation. Or should I say coverup, based on the behind the scenes unraveling true saga.

Healing the head (see earlier posts) can be complex, certainly less understood than physical injury, and almost exclusively overlooked by law enforcement and the legal system — unless it ends in tragedy. Fortunately for me, the survival section in my brain guided me out of a relationship at the point the alarm flashed code RED.

 

So here I am, wounded, yet fully alive to survive and thrive — AND already fully into the process to learn a new language.  I’ve started with Spanish.   I’m training my brain by immersing it in the language everyday.   The program that I started with included 8 cds at a low introductory price.  It took me a couple months to get through the intro set.  I received the FULL set if 16 cds.  I’m on the second set (level II) of another 16 cds.   I expect to completed with these in another week.

One of the other methods I’m using to study Spanish is through viewing DVDs.  I purchased 8 dvds at a discount that included a Spanish language option and subtitles in Spanish.   The first movie I watched was “Cats and Dogs”.  My next movie will be either Flushed Away or Shrek the Third.

I’m not fluent.  I speak at the level of a toddler. There is hope because I have advanced past one/two words to 3 – 5 word sentences.

I’ve found quite a few helpful programs online, yet still find having the cd playing in the car each day has been working well for my immersion.  There are videos, blogs, movies to help with training the brain.     I’ll report back about my language progress — slow, steady and sure.

Talk to ‘ya again soon — maybe in Spanish — but I haven’t learned how to spell yet — so there’s another challenge.   Till then . . . adios amigos.

Courtesy Call

Once upon a time there were carrier pigeons:

 

YouTube video – humorous version

A few hundred years later we added pony express for communication:


We used morse code with a telegraph:

Telegraph and Morse code

A phone was invented:

old fashioned telephone

Alexander Bell and his new invention

We had access to fax machines:

historic fax machine

modern fax machine

Cell phones came into the market:

First mobile phone

It wasn’t long till we could email to communicate:

EMAIL    @     Internet

@ symbol

Soon we had access to texting  through SMS:

texting

text penguins

The question is — why can’t people have the courtesy to contact someone when they change their mind about showing up for an appointment?!

There are a multitude of efficient ways to communicate. Find one and be courteous to other people.

tin can communication