“The untold want, by life and land ne’er granted, Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.”
Walt Witman 1819-1892
Time to begin.
After researching this whole internet social media world, and refusing to blog because I have absolutely nothing to write about, I have discovered their is a need to blog if you want to be recognized, remain relevant, and avoid redundancy. Now that being said, I am sure, that I will fall into the cavernous hole of one of the “3Rs” just because I am old, a woman, and I’m whiter than white of Caucasian extraction. Someday, I must research where my motherland really is, because Ancestry.com has me no where near the Caucasus Mountain Ranges. (However, I did make an interesting discovery a few months ago – of course that would be interesting to me and me alone. If one makes an error in calculating the longitude and latitude of ones’ address by one digit, Google maps will take one to the top of the Himalayan Mountain Ranges.) But I digress.
My task today is to blog at least 500 words and maybe a 1000 using keywords that relate back to what ever I am on social media about. In fact, I feel so overwhelmed by all of this, that it wouldn’t take much to toss this whole venture in the big round filing cabinet. I know nothing about SEOs, CSS, YOAST, or Adwords. When I ask for help, I get, the routine “Oh, I don’t know nutt’n bout birth’n babies, Ms Scarlett!” Why does all this have to be so complicated. WAA WAA WAA….I’m over it. On to YouTube – there must be a tutorial just waiting for me…
Good lord, that’s the other thing. I need to figure out how to get video onto my web pages. You see, video takes longer for folks to watch, thus they remain longer on your page, thus, increasing your relevancy to Google (you remember the 3Rs!)
I need to brag a bit here in the beginning of this essay. Sold two prints at the gallery on Sunday afternoon – yes I did!!!….I was over the moon! The Big Ass Red Car has been all over the county, hanging in different venues, steak houses, government centers, and another art center without any interest. I couldn’t even give it away – well it is pretty big – 24×45 inches. The couple that bought it didn’t know the other one wanted it. It almost ended in a price war with a husband and wife unknowingly biding against each other. All that for a print I couldn’t give away in 2016! My husband was thrilled as much as I was. He will no longer need to lug this behemoth around anymore. The other print was one of the very first drawings I did on my ipad – well before the apple pen and the ipad pro. It was one of my favorites.
How is it that all bloggers look like they have so much to say. I don’t mean this to be insulting. Its just so hard for me to find something important enough to find time for to write about. Then again, I don’t do whole lot compared to some of the folks here that blog.
Here’s the thing. When I blog…no let me change that…when I read the blogs, I sometimes feel reduced to the child looking into windows of household with perfect homes, furniture, beautiful drapes, and well placed paintings on the walls. Of course, the other personality I live with knows that is childish – every person is unhappy about something. Unhappy may be too strong a word. Maybe not particularly pleased with the moment they are in. The Troubles and the troubles and they will always be with us. But who ever this other personality is still feels childish and left out – like someone would feel if they were plopped down on a strange street in a strange country – no language, no friends, no place to go.
I am too old not to have arrived at some sort of negotiable status with self, and that in it’s self is very disappointing. I was hoping that writing would help me discover the secret of negotiating with ones self, but so far, it hasn’t materialized. This blog began with a focus on art, but it hasn’t be about that at all. Its been about me, and how uncomfortable I am in my skin.
Is it normal to look in the mirror and see yourself, but not really see yourself? There are days when I don’t even look in the mirror. This is hard to explain. I suppose everyone knows what they look like, and I suppose everyone hates to have their picture taken. But when I have my picture taken, and then see it, it will take me a few seconds to recognize myself. It’s a very brief pause, but it is there. I never really thought about it until recently when I started becoming more aware of a disconnect between me and the mirror.
I am not a pretty woman. Passable. No one would run screaming from the parking lot if they saw me get out of a car. No, no one would even look at me much. Even less now that I am older and have become invisible.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being invisible isn’t all bad. I don’t bother with make up anymore (which saves me a lot of money), but I do brush my teeth and comb my hair. I have a poor complexion. It is scarred from severe cystic acne when I was a kid. I suppose I could have had that taken care of, but never had the money or the health insurance to cover the cost. So I lived with it.
I was at a neighborhood party once, oh, I must have been in my 40s at the time. The hostess, an older woman, called me aside into her bedroom, with another female guest. The hostess proceeded to explain to me that this woman’s face was “ravaged” like mine, but she had it taken care of , and I should do that too. Wasn’t her complexion beautiful? At that moment I was speechless. What washed over me were the childhood memories of my mother and I sitting in the chair at the doctors office. The doctor looking at my greasy face full of sores, saying its a shame, she is going to grow up with this and be jealous of other women’s complexions. And there it was. Like being hit with ice cold water on a freezing winter day. I’m sure that the hostess meant well. She was never unkind, but I don’t think she ever thought it might not be the best intervention for this person. And so I thanked her, complimented her guest on her beautiful complexion, and cheerfully left the room, and the party.
Once again, I am outside looking in.
Been like this my whole life. And yes, I will admit, I am a bit sensitive, okay, maybe too sensitive about my appearance. I am hard on myself, and I recognize that I push myself to ignore my issues and move on in spite of them.
Its times like this that I wish I had a sibling when I was growing up. Being an only child, I was isolated with my mother, who suffered for her sanity on a good day. It wasn’t much better when my pop came home. He was in no shape to deal with her or with me. So if there were any problems they were pushed down and under. Still waters run deep.
I can remember my aunts buying me books to read to help me understand grooming, how to dress (“you don’t see the elephant dressed in stripes do you?”), how to hold a conversation, etc, etc, etc. Looking back, I wonder what those women saw and thought when they looked at me.
I hope, dear reader, you don’t think I am a hopeless hot mess of a person. I have been married for 45 years, one child, a registered nurse, and have worked most of my adult life in spite of my issues. There are times when I am at my weakest, when all of this crap comes surfacing again. I try to remember that the people that matter to me don’t care, and those that do don’t matter. It’s a clever little saying that gives me another door to leave by.
It’s almost 2:30 am. I should be in bed. Shopping tomorrow – big day! Thursday is 10% off day for folks over 65. It’s the little things that make getting up in the morning OH SO WORTH IT!
Love to all and to all a good night. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!
I have gathered you all here this morning because I need some sage advice. So here’s the thing:
I am a small member of a small farmers market board, in a small town. I sell my art there on Saturday mornings. We are currently having an issue with the phrase “What the Market will Bear.” Traditionally, (10 years) we have never had more that 2 egg sellers or 2 honey merchants. The Board believes that having another egg seller, or a third honey seller will hurt the market. Now we have a third honey seller who wants to sell at the market, and she is being told she will not be permitted to sell because of this.
My argument is that there has never been a way to determine what the market will bear because it was never challenged. But it is falling on deaf ears. Is there any way to win this argument without creating a sore paw?
Thank you in advance for any input you can supply.
Is it possible in my life time to have an election without controversy, false advertising, advertising ad nausea um, stupid slogans, polarization, and even stupider (is that a word?) people running for office for which they are under qualified? Do I vote for Mr.Dumb or Ms.Dumbier? Everyone wants to get rich off selling my flesh by the pound to the highest bidder.
Here’s the other thing that has me scratching my head. In the mail last week, I receive two letters addressed to me from “Lionel Dripps” and a “Carrie Clark”. He is the grand-pooba of the Center for Voter Information and she is the grand-poo-bette for the League of Conservation Voters. Who on earth funds these folks? Anyway, Lionel proceeds, in a very non manipulative manner, explaining I am a part of their study. My voting record isn’t that great, they are going to watch to see if I vote, and if I don’t vote, they will call me to find out why. Really? I never told them I wanted to be a part of their ridiculous study. Pretty nervy! And it gets better. Carrie Clark lists my state voting record. She includes dates that I voted when I wasn’t living in this state. Yes, in 2012 I voted, but in 2014 I did’t vote. Hmmm. We didn’t move to NC until late 2013. I’m pretty sure I voted in 2014.
So I attempt to fact check them on both of their claims. Of course, Lionel has no contact information. I did manage to find some information on him, and as you guessed, he is a scammer. I did find contact information for Carrie, but was unable to speak with her. Her office is open from 9a-5p, Monday thru Friday per the answering machine. Of course, why would anyone be there to answer a call at 3p? So I left a message. Anyone want to bet me a lottery ticket that I never hear from her.
I voted early. It I had not voted early, I would have just stayed home and not voted. Whats the point. This just adds to the miasma stench radiating off all of our elected officials. Where is the leadership, where are the statesmen? The level of trust is gone, and I have no idea how or if it will ever return.
Yes, I have been a devotee of Joseph Campbell’s for many years. If I could have attended just one of his classes, I would have cleaned anyone’s house for a year for free, including the windows.
The other day, a friend sent me a YouTube video of Bill Moyer’s interview with the man. It was her first introduction to him, and she was hooked. We chatted about him and his views on life, the ego, the bliss, story telling, myths and slaying the dragon. I just love him…Campbell, not my friend….but I digress.
So after this brief, but totally enjoyable discussion, I prepared to go to the Market where I peddle my art. Packed everything with care – tent, eight hand painted trays, several hand painted boxes, samples of my work, and a sign up sheet for my newsletter. Threw in the table coverings, and my sign. Got to the Farmers Market in record time. Feeling energize, and full of my bliss. You must know, dear reader, there was a time when I was a nurse that upon arrival to the hospital to work my shift, I would sit on the parking lot and cry for at least twenty minutes. I mean cry…not just a whiny whimpering simpering “Oh lawdy, lawdy, whoa is me” cry, but a gut wrenching sob. When finished, I would pull myself together and enter the hospital to serve my fellow man. I made it through nurses training, praying each day to get thrown out, but instead graduated with flying colors. How on earth does something like that happen? Thirty-nine years of nursing. Fearful every day of those thirty-nine years that I would hurt someone due to my own negligence, yet knowing full well, I was a good nurse, and a caring one. How on earth does something like that happen?
Well, today, as I was following my bliss, I was happy. My little blue tent was up, my tables were full of beautiful colorful art. The sun was shining. The birds were singing. I sipped my coffee waiting for the market patrons to show up. Slowly, they began to trickle in, two by two, sometimes an mother with several children, some young folks – all wandered by my tent to look at my wares. Many complimented me on the art. A few chose to have me do commission work with their vision of how they wanted their personal piece of art to turn out.
It was a pretty good morning until…
…at about 11:30am, a group of well dress young women dropped by the tent. They didn’t appear to be really there for the vegetables and fruits, since they didn’t have market bags, or baskets, and they were a bit dressed up for the morning at the market. I was speaking to another customer about a commission piece, when I heard the young women discussing my work very loudly. “BeBe, look at this box. What is this suppose to be anyway? Just look!” The tight snicker of nasal laughter accentuated the comment. Three of the women, turned to look at what the other woman had in her hand. Again with a snarky sarcastic voice, “How cute is this. They had little children decorate the box tops!” Again the sarcastic laughter and “I hope they didn’t pay those first graders for these paintings!”
I tried to maintain my composure as I continued to negotiate my commission with my customer, but my customer was also hearing what this incredibly rude female was saying. I looked at my customer, who put her hand on mine, and slightly shook her head. When I started to turn to the well dressed blabber mouth (WDBM), my customer’s hand grasped my hand firmer, which gave me pause and I did not engage with the the WDBM.
My ego wanted me to engage in a fierce conversation with the WDBM in the worse way. The little girl from the south-side of St. Louis was starting to awaken, and the hairs on the back of my neck were tingling. However, my Bliss put my customer in my way, saving me from a gut level reaction I would have regretted, to a more genteel and professional approach of just ignoring the bitch. They were only at my tent, I am sure, less than a minute, before moving on to smell goat soap..
So Saturday morning, I slayed my dragons, silenced my ego, and lived to sell my art another day.
I wonder if there is a word that means the opposite of namaste? I must research this for my next engagement!
Yesterday, way back there in September, we went to the store. Now you must know that we went to the most expensive grocery store in our area because we were going to buy fish, and this store has the freshest. Then, while we were there we would just pick up a few incidental things. Yes, to the tune of $212 of incidental things. Got home, lugged everything in from the car, and got them into the fridge or freezer. Yes, that was in idyllic September. Sometime during the night, the freezer died. My ice maker melted all over my hardwood floors, and the Rocky Road is now Rocky Puddle.
This Whirlpool boat anchor was 5 years old. There is no reason in the world for any appliance that costs $3300 to expire in 5 years. Of course the warranty ended 8 months ago. So did the three year extended warranty. If Mr. Whirlpool was here right now, I would poke him in the eye.
Then, I get the invoice from Etsy. Yes, I am one of those fools that thought “Oh, let me sell my art on Etsy. It will be a great thing. People in search of affordable original art will flock to my site and buy the digital downloads to hang in their trendy lofts” Can we say ghost town, tumbleweeds, whistling winds? Been open since June. Sold two trays and no prints. That’s fine. I’m good. But I am tired of bleeding money into someone else’s pocket. I’m keeping it open until after the holidays cause word on the street is this is the time when it will all be worth it. We will see.
I don’t want to sound disingenuous, because of no sales. But Etsy makes this process of selling on their site so ponderous, that a one woman shop doesn’t have a chance at success. How do you get found if there are thousands of others doing the same thing? Not only that, but you have to research keywords and engage Google Adwords ($$$$), and then to keep relevant, you have to keep researching keywords as the Etsy algorithm changes almost weekly, make your titles longer, then make them shorter, and then you need to change offerings as the seasons change, and then there is the photography ($$$$$) and Instagram and Pinterest which you must post on several times a day to the point of becoming OCD. And then there is the bookkeeping. I am not an accountant. I am a nurse and a creative. I do not balance my checkbook, but I can figure an IV drip rate without much difficulty. The Feds didn’t help things when the passed the law that all online business are responsible for paying sales and use tax to the state where the purchase was made – thank you Amazon for failing to use your clout to smash this one. Do you have any idea how many tax rates are in each state? Well, NC alone has at least 8 of them that vary .5-1% of the purchase price. Of course, accountants do not volunteer their work, so that is another bleed into a pocket not mine.
Shall I whine on….
The Hurricane – Florence, to be a little familiar with the beast – blew the leaves right off my recently planted wisteria vine. Yes, it gets worse and I am still very verklempt about this issue – I volunteered my efforts to the Red Cross. This occurred before Flo had land fall. Being in NC, I knew there was going to be a need for nurses, so unselfish as I am, I thought I would get a jump on it. I am retired, I have no life, but I would like to have some control on what little I have of it. I filed all the paper work. I got a notice the Red Cross got my information, and they would let me know when the background check was finished. A few hours later, the email came over and said I was good to go. Stay tuned for the next email. From that point on, the Red Cross has asked me to register as a volunteer no less than 6 times. After I filled out the forms for the 4th time, and received a calendar of areas and shifts to sign on for, I made the huge mistake of asking for direction to one of the health clinics. Lo and behold, it threw me back into the “Thanks For Your Interest in Volunteering for The Red Cross. Please fill out the application and we will get back to you after we do your back ground check.” I finally gave up. Then last Friday, I get a call. Guess who from – yep, that crazy bunch at the Red Cross. This sweet little gal on the other end of the phone started to ask me if I would be interested in becoming a volunteer for The Red Cross. They had openings as an air port greeter and a transport person. With my most reserved voice I explained to her my dilemma. With a gasp (and I could just see grabbing her chest and her clutching her pearls!) in a very loud voice says, “YOU’RE A NURSE! We need nurses. I will have someone call you back.” That was three days ago. So far, I have received three more applications to join the Red Cross. I am pretty sure, I am finished with this, too!
This is not an ad, but if you are interested in looking at my crap that nobody wants, you should be able to pull it up at this address – do let me know what you think.
And so Florence made landfall with a wimper as Cat 1 – not to degrade her presentation and reputation – she still packed a wallop as a Cat 1, and continues to wail like a banshee, but a Cat 4 as predicted would have blown NC off the map. Some of the coastal piers have all but disappeared, flash flooding in the lowlands, power down for a few hundred thousand folks, but so far, no issues with evacuations or tornadoes. I am one grateful gal.
All night I worried about Squeek. Where would she go with all this wind? She weighs less than an ounce (officially 8/10th of an ounce). The winds were reaching speeds greater than 25 mph. I had visions of finding her little body plastered to the siding. My imagination was on overload. I blamed myself for not finding a way to trap her to keep her safe.
Early this morning the wind and the rain were bearing down. My potted fig tree flew out of the pot. My big brave dogs refused to go outside to pee. BUT Squeek and a friend were doing the Flying-J maneuver and feeding as if it was a sunny day in the neighborhood. There they were doing their best Cirque du Soleil act. Imagine trying to stick a straw into a soda can while it’s being blown about in a storm. I have to tell you I have a new appreciation for those flying cigar butts! Honestly, they are truly amazing little critters.
As the storm continues to progress today, I will be keeping up with my little friend, Squeek.
Change comes easily for some, no so easy for others. But change will come. We can fight it, rage against it, use magic creams, dye our hair, but those changes will come. I think I take slowly to change, especially the body changes. I hate it for what it means. I hate, we in the Club Being, must be mortal. We have no choice. We must eventually either by suicide or nature give up this mortal coil. And I am angry about it. When you are young you don’t really give it a thought – its something that happens to old people, its not eminent or relevant. If they attend a funeral, it might be thought of for a hot minute while gazing into the casket – seriously, how often does any normal person see a dead body. To see one all dolled up seemed to me really weird, and therefore, displaced to the back of the brain for later consideration and discussion.
I was an only child in a family of multiples – lots of grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and cousins. So when folks started to pass away, I mean it was in droves. I was in my late teens when the tragic 3 started. Does everyone have those 3 clustered unexpected deaths of loved ones you cared about so much that their deaths changed your normal daily routines? I think that is when I started really thinking about death and all that it meant. Then after a few months, a new normal appeared, and so death took the back pew. In my 40s the grands, aunts and uncles started their decline and left us. Over 11 or 12 years, we lost about 20 people in our family. Then my parents died, my husbands parents died, and there we were. We had elevated ourselves to the level of Family Elders – which simply meant our departure was now relevant. We should have had a big block print NEXT tattooed on our foreheads!
When I was a young mother, sitting on the front stoop with my neighbors on a hot summer evening watching the kids playing, my friend Eleanor turned to me and said. “Going to Sears tomorrow. Want to go with me. Got to get a new washer and dryer.” After a short discussion of why she had to buy the high end Kenmore washing machine , she rationalized it like this -“Well, Ed and I aren’t getting any younger, and these will be the last washers we will probably buy, so I want to get real nice ones.” That absolutely brought the whole mortality issue back with a punch to the gut. Out of the clear blue. There it was. There IT always is. Death and all that it means.
I think we, especially those of us in the free world, experience a lot of choices. We go to a fast food drive threw and it takes 10 minutes to figure out what you want – the menu is endless. We go to buy clothes – the selection is endless. Groceries – holy cow, where do I begin? You want to put your money in the bank – you get to choose several tiers of savings and checking. We are flooded with choices. So when the body says its time to go, the most natural thing to do in a world of choices is to ask for a deal. However there is no deal. Death becomes evident and relevant – always their, but tastefully hidden behind the self.
So what do you do? You live the best you can. You go about meeting your needs and the needs of others. You are kind to small children and animals. You try not to be extravagant so you have some money to leave to your loved ones. You live your life in the Shadow of the your pending death. How can you think any other way about it? You plan. You get your advanced directive filled out, make a will, put stickers on doodads, and buy a prepaid burial plan….yes, we did it all.
Have you ever seen the little video “Duck, Death and the Tulip” Its so sweet. I’ll try to include it here for you to see. I think this way about Death now, even if I still rage against it. I have to many things I still want to do and see, and try and taste. I am spoiled. There is no excuse for it. So many changes I want to see, if I am dead, I can’t see. For example, the technology available to us now, and those evolving from those current technologies will be awesome. I will miss that, and I am not happy about it.