With all the strife & stress in the world, I go out of my way to look for anything that brings me a smile. The innocence of babies and animals is at the top of my list. AND combining the two is the best.
Can’t help smiling at this picture of a newborn gorilla. He looks so content . . . it’s hard not to project my human emotions, thoughts and intention onto animals . . . especially on those who “look like me” . . . minus the hair and pug nose.
Here’s the story behind the picture of the new-born gorilla:
“(CNN)Some Philadelphia doctors delivered a different kind of baby than usual Friday.”
Argan trees are an important part of the economy in Morocco. They bear fruit and the seeds of the fruit are valuable — they can be pressed to yield argan oil, valued in beauty treatments and foodie circles. By some reports, argan oil exports bring in $6.5 million.”
It’s not easy to harvest seeds from atop a 30-foot-tall tree. In the arid parts of Morocco where argan trees grow. Goats are encouraged to climb, dine and deliver the seeds to earth, where they are collected by humans and eventually turned into argan oil.”
The goats . . ” go very slowly and they do it. Some goat keepers modify the trees to make them easier to climb, they cut some branches off the trees so the goats can start climbing the trees more easily.”
“They disperse the seeds by spitting them out during rumination.”
However, if there is . . . “a huge number of goats, they eat all the new baby trees, they kill them, so even though the goats are dispersing the seeds, they are eating the baby trees. So the effect is negative. But if there is a small or moderate number of goats, they will not kill all the baby trees produced by the dispersed seeds.”
“These people who take care of the argan trees get money from selling the argan fruit, so they buy more goats. So there is no rejuvenation of the argan forest because the goats are eating all the baby trees.”
Read the entire article and click here: Tree Climbing Goats Help Plant New Trees
Last day of life drawing for this semester. I’ve missed several classes, something I would have been loathe to do in my high school and college years when I never ditched nor dropped a class.
I distinctly remember the first time I stopped attending a class simply because I no longer enjoyed it. Wish I could say it was a daring and rebellious move . . . it was a community college class that I was taking just for enjoyment. I was in my 40’s and high time for a bit of rebellion . . . don’t you think?
But I digress . . . here’s the best of the last sketches . . . in my opinion
All these sketches were 20 minutes or less. I’ve discovered that my attention span is smack dab in the national average of 20 minutes. Ah . . . the things you learn in drawing class.
Several months ago my good friend Peggy Arndt, who is also a retired psychotherapist, suggested we collaborate on blogging the tips, tools and techniques for health, happiness and well-being we have accumulated over our combined 60+ years of experience.
As that was my original intent when I started this CURIOUS blog I agreed . . . on the condition that CATNIPblog also amused me.
By now, you know that I post when the mood moves me. Collaborating with Peggy, who is much more organized than I am, has made me accountable to a regular blogging schedule on Catnipblog. So I’ve been typing my little fingers to the bone and posting on CATNIP so Peggy will think I’m not as flaky as I actually am.
I’m not abandoning this blog as I started Curious to the Max over 7 years ago and have over 1,500 post (yes, you read that right . . . OVER one-thousand, five-hundred posts!). I’m just still in the process of figuring out how to do both blogs.
On CATNIPblog most of the posts emphasize current research and the neuroscience of health and happiness (with a bit of our personal experience thrown in). Once a week we post something inspirational, weird and/or whimsical on Pawsitively Tuesdays.
I’d LOVE it if you would check out CATNIPblog, see the proof that I can be disciplined . . . and subscribe.
CATNIPblog take a look !
You must watch all the way to the end to see the final creation.
Thanks Linda B.!!!!!
Ai yi yiii – ever look up a word in the on-line “Urban Dictionary”?
I looked up “hatch” and was “blown away” by the uses . . . many of which I can not put in print on a G-rated blog . . . most of which I had never heard of nor heard spoken.
Why look up “hatch”, you wonder (or not)? In art class the focus was on hatching – an art technique where lines are drawn in various forms & intensities to create shapes & shadow.
These two quick sketches were done prior to Easter. Eureka! I thought: Hatching and eggs were perfect for an Easter blog post.
Then I got “hatched” – another fibromyalgia flare-up and I missed a week’s worth of art classes.
I’m still not feeling good and not pleased health issues keep hatching . . . but this chick got off her fibro-inflated rear and went to class this week.
I’ve been hatching . . .
P.S. Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!
My paper got all wrinkly and lumpy – I put water on it and it wasn’t water-color paper – though the model was smooth and svelte
The model got all wrinkly cuz I drew him that way.
The model posed as if he was chained to a pole and he put a fake arrow through his chest. I eliminated all the gory imagery. There’s enough pain and suffering in this world and I refuse to draw it even if it’s imaginary.
How can we find balance in the chaos that surrounds us? This was the question at the recent HeART of Spirituality workshops held at Tapestry Unitarian.
“As ye have faith so shall your powers and blessings be. This is the balance—this is the balance—this is the balance.” – Baha’i World Religion
The participants picked images that represented spiritual balance and spiritual imbalance and made collaged Contemplation Cards. Similar to tarot cards or vision boards these cards can be used in many ways.
Can you tell which cards represent BALANCE and which represent IMBALANCE? See all the cards on CATNIPblog.
To see all the Contemplation Cards, a picture of the participants and directions how to make the cards click HERE.
Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:1-8
- 1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
- 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted;
- 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
- 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
- 5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
- 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
- 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
- 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Creepy, manipulative, terrible hoax or a creative, fun-filled joke?
The positive view is that April Fools’ is good for one’s health because it encourages “jokes, pranks, and belly laughs and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart!
Here are some April 1st pranks pulled on whole populations. You decide if they are creepy or fun-filled:
1957: “Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The BBC broadcast a film in their Panorama current affairs series purporting to show Swiss farmers picking freshly-grown spaghetti from the family “spaghetti tree”. At the time spaghetti was relatively little known in the UK, so that many Britons were unaware that it is made from wheat flour and water; a number of viewers afterwards contacted the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees. The BBC was later flooded with requests to purchase a spaghetti plant, forcing them to declare the film a hoax on the news the next day.”
Welcome To Chicago!
1992: “Airline passengers descending into Los Angeles Airport might have experienced a momentary feeling of panic when they looked out the window and saw an 85-foot-long yellow banner on the ground that spelled out, in 20-foot-high red letters, “Welcome to Chicago.” It was raised above the Hollywood Park race track, which lay directly along the flight path for arriving planes, about three miles from the airport.”
1976: “During an early-morning interview on BBC Radio 2, the British astronomer Patrick Moore announced that at 9:47 AM that day a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur. Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, and this planetary alignment would temporarily counteract and lessen the Earth’s own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment the alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, the station began receiving hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman reported that she and her friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room. Moore had intended his annoucement to be a spoof of a pseudoscientific theory that had recently been promoted in a book called The Jupiter Effect, alleging that a rare alignment of the planets was going to cause massive earthquakes and the destruction of Los Angeles in 1982.”
Orange-Bearing Pine Trees
1950: “Motorists driving along the scenic Rim of the World highway near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California encountered something remarkable. All the pine and cedar trees lining the road had grown oranges overnight. The transformation turned out to be the work of the residents of the nearby town of Skyforest, led by the cartoonist Frank Adams. They had crept out during the night and strung 50,000 oranges in the trees along a one-mile section of the highway. The fruit was left over from the recent National Orange Show in San Bernardino.”
1984: “The Orlando Sentinel featured a story about a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (or TMW for short) that many people in Florida were said to be adopting as a pet. The creature was four inches long, resembled a walrus, purred like a cat, and had the temperament of a hamster. What made it such an ideal pet was that it never had to be bathed, used a litter box, and ate cockroaches. In fact, a single TMW could entirely rid a house of its cockroach problem. However, the local pest-control industry was said to be pressuring the government to ban TMWs, fearing they would put cockroach exterminators out of business. Dozens of people called the paper trying to find out where they could obtain their own TMW. Skeptics noted that the photo of a TMW accompanying the article showed a creature that looked suspiciously similar to a Naked Mole Rat.”
FAT SOX – Loose Weight from the “bottom” up.
2000: “The Daily Mail revealed that Esporta Health Clubs had launched a new line of socks, dubbed FatSox, designed to help people lose weight. These revolutionary socks actually sucked body fat out of sweating feet, promising to “banish fat for ever.” The American inventor of this weight-loss product, Professor Frank Ellis Elgood, explained that the socks employed a nylon polymer called FloraAstraTetrazine “previously only applied in the nutrition industry.” As a person’s body heat rose and their blood vessels dilated, the socks drew “excess lipid from the body through the sweat.” After having sweated out the fat, the wearer could then simply wash the socks, and the fat, away.”
In Italy, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, and French-speaking areas of Switzerland and Canada, April tradition is often known as “April fish” (poissons d’avril in French, aprilvis in Dutch or pesce d’aprile in Italian).
This includes attempting to attach a paper fish to the victim’s back without being noticed. Many newspapers also spread a false story on April Fools’ Day, and a subtle reference to a fish is sometimes given as a clue.
Click here to Learn WHY WE ARE SO GULLIBLE
She is almost more attractive nude than clothed . . . which none of us students can say about ourselves!
A few 10 minute and 20 minute poses
She is Rubenesque and fun to sketch. I think she has the most sensual body of all the models we’ve had.
Today is the International Day of HAPPINESS. What’a coincidence! Peggy & I have been posting about how to feel happier on our new CATNIPblog.com
There are studies which indicate happiness is over-rated and we should strive instead for contentment. I say we should strive for happiness and be grateful when we are simply content.
How to get happy in a hurry, according to neuroscience
From the book The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time by UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb
Know what Prozac does? It boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude!
1. “Write a running gratitude list or simply ask yourself what you’re grateful for: A warm house, a pet you love, new shoes, a cellphone – doesn’t matter how big or small. Gratitude boosts both dopamine and serotonin, the two most powerful neurotransmitter chemicals involved in giving you a feeling of calm and well-being.”
“Don’t worry if you can’t immediately find things to be grateful for. The mental search for gratitude alone will begin to elevate the level of those pleasure chemicals”.
2. Label negative feelings. “Simply saying to yourself “I’m sad” or “I’m anxious” almost too easy for happiness. Yet in one fMRI study – ‘Putting Feelings into Words,’ participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Each participant’s amygdala [the brain’s fight-or-flight alarm bell] activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.”
3. Make a decision. “Just deciding to do something can reduce worry and anxiety right away. “Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals – all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety.”
“Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which can pull you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world – finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.”
“And you don’t have to worry about making the “right” decision? The “good enough” decision is good enough to make our brains go into at-ease mode. AND you can decide not to decide or change your decision!”
4. Touch people, appropriately! This is one of the easiest ways to release oxytocin which is the pleasure-inducing ‘cuddle chemical’] It can be as simple as a handshake or a pat on the back.
“A hug is the best but if you don’t have anybody to hug get a massage which has been shown to boost your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels.”
Take a look at more CATNIP “Happy-How-To” posts! Just click for a specific post or get them all by clicking CATNIPblog
It gets better the longer you watch!
Mary Ray’s Heelwork To Music Routine at Crufts 2017
Thank you for responding to my survey. For every response I got a treat.
Here are the top rated areas you’re most interested in reading on CATNIPblog:
Tied for #4
- Quizes to learn about myself
- How to deal with difficult people
- Managing time and commitment
Tied for #3
- How to improve relationships
- Nutrition for brain health
- Finding purpose
No tie for #2
- Stress reduction – be calmer & more relaxed
Tied for #1
- Mood lifters – quick ways to feel happy
- Animal Tails & Tales
- How to “read” other people in order to improve relationships
- Humor – everything is funny seen through the right lens
- How to deal with old age losses – friends, health, purpose
Peggy & Judy’s pick: How to live in retirement in the manner we’d like to become accustomed.
Freddie’s pick: How to get lots of treats without more polls and subscriber drawings.
Maui’s pick: How to achieve alpha-status over Freddie.
IF you haven’t already you can still be entered in my drawing, Click HERE:
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET
The art teacher instructed us to focus on whatever gets our attention and then exaggerate it. Tall order . . . . . especially since this blog is G-rated for General Audiences.
(These are just for you Rick C.!)
Can you tell what “caught” my eye in each pose?*
The three sketches are all charcoal “quickies” – about 10 to 15 minutes each.
Sketch #1 – focus, the shadows (last pose, I was tired and they were what I responded to)
Sketch #2 – focus, his arm (exaggerated proportion – he has large muscular arms)
Sketch #3 – focus, his chest . . . this one’s fairly obvious.
Thank you for all your responses to my survey. I got treats for being supportive.
Peggy and my human are excited to launch their new blog CATNIP
I’m getting excited too cuz I’m being supportive and will get treats for my contest.
I keep asking them Why on earth name the new blog CATNIP and not FREDDIE?
According to humans, catnip makes you mellow. (What they don’t know is it drives cats wild with desire.) Peggy & Judy want to help you find your mellow but if it drives you wild with desire for more CATNIP they’ll be pleased.
Peggy and my human each worked for over 210 dog years as Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. That’s a lot of years. They decided to share what they’ve learned and the tools they’ve taught rather than have all their stuff blindly dumped into a shredder after they’re gone.
So . . . continuing to be supportive . . . I’m sponsoring a contest to help them be successful bloggers, like me.
Everyone who subscribes to
by Saturday, March 18, 2017 will be entered into a drawing and I, Freddie the supportive one, will send the winners a WONDERFUL prize.
Click here to enter!! http://CATNIPblog.com
PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to CATNIP so Peggy and my human don’t think I’ve sabotaged them (as retired psychotherapists they are sometimes a bit paranoid).
It’s easy – just enter your e-mail address in the subscribe box at the top right hand corner of the CATNIPBLOG site.
Freddie Parker Westerfield, Certified Canine Therapist, RET
P.S. I made them promise to have fun doing CATNIP. I know them . . . if it isn’t fun they won’t do it. So if you pay attention you’ll see some of their original drawings, stories, poems sneak on cat feet into the CATNIPblog.
P.P.S.S. Neither Peggy nor my human are very smart when it comes to technical stuff. Ronna Skinner, graphic designer extraordinaire (not to mention Peggy’s cousin-in-law) helped get the cats Peggy drew, safely perched onto the letters where they can play with “CATNIP” to their hearts content (and not bother me)
Not too very long ago, I thought that really good artists (writers included) got it exactly right the moment they laid pencil to paper. When I write posts I spend exponentially more time editing than on the first draft. When I draw I correct and correct and correct some more.
Not too very long ago, I learned that this is what 90% of artists, writers, dancers, singers etc. do . . . adjust, correct, redo, undo . . . and it never will be perfect. It’s knowing when to stop and move on.
It’s a great metaphor for life. We keep adjusting, correcting and practicing, knowing we can’t get it perfect . . . just better.
LOVE LOVE LOVE this model. She has curves.
Much more fun to draw than muscle & bone.
Warm-up poses, 5 minutes
I’m trying to be very supportive, however, I think my human is sniffing catnip.
I was really glad she and her friend Peggy Arndt got together because Peggy gives me treats. I was glad when they told me they were collaborating on a new blog where they were going to share the materials and techniques they used to help clients when they were psychotherapists because as a retired Certified Canine Therapist I want everyone to know how to make themselves feel good.
Now I’m upset. They are calling the blog CATNIP because they think catnip makes you feel mellow. If that isn’t bad enough they are dedicating CATNIP to Peggy’s cat Maui.
Personally, I think catnip makes you crazy and the blog should be dedicated to me.
Now that they are both retired they seem to not be doing much of anything except wandering around*. So they don’t go too far astray, I created a survey for them to help them be successful bloggers, like me.
Please fill out my survey for their CATNIP blog!
(You can choose as many areas of interests as you want and when you’re done click “vote”)
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET
*Thank you for your kind response to this most delicate matter.
There’s a phenomena going on in the sketching world called Urban Sketching. People, from all over the world, gather in public places and sketch whatever is in front of them .
You sketch fast, just trying to get an impression rather than an exact likeness. Coffee shops are a favorite place for Urban Sketchers because the people aren’t moving quite as quickly as on the street or a football field.
I live in the suburbs where life is a bit slower and so is the sketching. Here’s a few of my
Students in my drawing class
Woman waiting and waiting and waiting . . .
Whoops, wrong suburb
I’m baaaaaaack . . . sorta . . . missed all my art classes, missed church . . . cancelled The HeART of Spirituality workshop cuz I’ve been feeling puny. (And when I am feeling puny I eat, watch the cooking channel, download recipes and read all I can about what not to eat in the hopes that I will follow that advice.)
The only constructive thing I’ve done is work on the NEW BLOG Catnip with my good friend and colleague Peggy Arndt.
(Peggy is a retired psychotherapist too AND an artist and author. I’ve never caught Peggy feeling puny and eating since she’s within a pound or two of the same weight she was when we were in high school together. If I didn’t like her so much I’d hate her.)
Between the two of us we have amassed decades of information on neuroscience and behavior and relationships . . . and eating . . . and addictions. We’re going to share all that on a new blog called CATNIP (but I digress . . .)
While I was researching for CATNIP this article caught my eye . . . here are some excerpts:
By Barbara J. King*
“The average American eats more than 33 pounds of cheese a year.” (Thirty-three pounds is about the amount of weight I’d like to lose. I need to stop eating my American share of cheese.)
“This is according to Neal Barnard, physician and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. And that’s a problem, he says, because it’s helping to make us overweight and sick.”
“Loaded with calories, high in sodium, packing more cholesterol than steak, and sprinkled with hormones — if cheese were any worse, it would be Vaseline …”
Some foods are fattening. Others are addictive. Cheese is both — fattening and addictive.”
“Barnard explains that dairy protein — specifically a protein called casein — has opiate molecules built in. When babies nurse, he notes, they’re getting dosed with a mild drug: “Milk contains opiates that reward the baby for nursing.”‘
“It’s no different with the cow’s milk — or other mammalian milk — from which cheese is made. In fact, Barnard says, the process of cheese-making concentrates the casein”
“Call it dairy crack.”
“. . . Barnard notes that vitamin D may play an important role in protecting us against some types of cancers. Citing prostate-cancer data, he suggests that because dairy products are high in calcium and calcium intake can slow down activation of vitamin D, cancer risks may increase with cheese-eating.”
“The National Dairy Council (or cows who would rather be milked than molded into meat patties) does not endorse Barnard’s descriptions of cheese . . . and points to research from Harvard School of Public Health that shows no association between cheese and long-term weight gain.”
“However, if one’s goal is to lose weight, there is something to be said for not teasing yourself with occasional doses of the very food that caused the problem in the first place. (I might add sugar and refined carbs to the list . . . might?) Better to end that bad love affair. If a person is concerned about asthma, migraine, rheumatoid arthritis, or other sensitivities, one soon loses all desire for the food product that caused the problem.” (So far THAT argument hasn’t worked with me.)
(Maybe every time I feel puny I should picture myself eating 33 pounds of VASELINE . . . )
Read the entire article and click HERE.
*Barbara J. King is an anthropology professor emerita at the College of William and Mary. Barbara’s most recent book on animals is titled How Animals Grieve, and her forthcoming book, Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat,
The Cheese Trap, How Breaking a Surprising Addiction Will Help You Lose Weight, Gain Energy, and Get Healthy by Neal D., M.d. Barnard, Dreena Burton and Marilu Henner
No further explanation needed . . .
Hug a seal
give it a kiss
all love is real
not hit or miss
Charlie O’s watercolor “Hug a Seal” is charming (Charlie is charming too . . . as is evidenced by the stories he writes to accompany his water-color paintings).
Check it out (there’s a sweet video of a seal hugging a dog) and click here DOODLEWASH
Had a hard time concentrating and my arms were hurting when I tried to draw. I’m blaming it on the rain . . . a convenient fall-guy (pun intended). When my drawings don’t turn out as well as I would like I usually blame it on the model.
You can see some of the structure lines & corrections in these 2 minute sketches.
The model held onto a rope in the poses. We were suppose to concentrate on the angles.
These below were 20 minute poses but I could only draw for about 10 minutes.
Usually, I use large drawing paper and stand at an easel. This session I drew on a smaller sketch pad and sat down. I figured if the model could sit
so could I . . .
Baby Hippo Fiona is the cutest ever! Mama Bibi and dad Henry probably not so much . . .
“A baby hippopotamus, born prematurely at the Cincinnati Zoo, has struggled to stand, eat, gain weight and breathe.”
“But on Sunday morning, the zoo announced “encouraging news from hippo headquarters.”‘
“Baby hippo Fiona, now in stable condition, has taken her first wobbly steps.”
“Fiona was born at the zoo on Jan. 24, six weeks early. She weighed 29 pounds, when baby hippos are normally 55-120 pounds, the zoo says. She was too weak to stand and couldn’t nurse on her own.”
Read all about Fiona, click HERE!
I am enjoying sketching the human form much more than inanimate objects or landscapes. It stands to reason that I chose to be a psychotherapist rather than a landscape architect.
Here’s my latest sea-scape
and here’s my latest See !
He kept moving his right arm . . .
I’ve written or spoken about my journey with fibromyalgia, the 40+ doctors, tens of thousands of dollars of tests and doctors telling me that nothing was wrong while handing me a psychiatric referral.
This Ted video got my attention. I hope it gets yours because it’s likely you or someone you know has other invisible disorders such such as fibromyalgia, IBS, migraine, interstitial cystitis, vulvodynia and ME/CFS which affect millions and have been largely ignored by the NIH.
“Jen Brea’s Outrageously Successful Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME) TED Talk”
Despite my own struggles, I’ve been blessed with relatively mild symptoms and the ability to lead a fairly high functioning life. Long ago I lost count of all those I know, worse off than me, who have “untreatable” or invisible illnesses – friends, former clients, internet blogfriends, children and many who follow my blog
To all of you who are on similar journeys – – you are in my prayers. It’s not a cure but it’s all we’ve got . . . for now.
First week of art classes. It’s amazing how “rusty” I felt after just 4 weeks of not drawing. The model had not ONE ounce of fat anywhere on his body.
I decided to push myself a bit and drew a few quickies using pen & ink. Ink is a bit intimidating since I can’t ERASE.
I drew him to look like an old man! . . . in my defense his head was shaved . . .
Not only didn’t the model have an ounce of fat anywhere on his body he didn’t have an ounce of hair anywhere . . . at least not in the places I saw . . .
March 1st will mark two years since I retired. Now that I have all the time in the world I have much more time to procrastinate. During retirement I have fine-tuned my procrastination skills.
I also have a continued quest for self-improvement. In between TV shows and relaxing I squeeze in reading articles and watching videos that inspire me to develop better habits.
Here’s the latest video which I found so inspirational I turned off the TV.
After listening to this Ted Talk I decided to do a trial run before my actual two-year retirement anniversary.
I’m going to treat the things I keep saying I’d like to do like a flooded basement. (you’ll have to watch the video). So! here’s what my emergencies are for this coming week:
- Do something everyday (as opposed to doing nothing)
- Cut out sugar from my eating “habits”.
I’ll let you know next week . . . or two . . . how I did.
Papa’s Instructions Pome
Children of ours, it’s your time to play
So listen closely to what I say
To your DNA you must stay true
Here’s exactly what you are to do:
Dump buckets of muck
up judy’s nose
Make sure you duck
before she blows
Bang on her brain
whistle in her ears
like a choo choo train
til she bursts into tears.
Pound on her head
jump on her chest
all night long in bed
so she gets no rest
Children, it’s now up to you
judy is yours to do
Cuz Mama is weary
with no app or Siri.
And your papa is tiring
of non-stop siring
It’s Mom & me off to find a new home
Hallelujah! you’re on your own
Practice what we’ve taught
drive judy crazy, make her lazy
don’t give it an afterthought
Spend all your time
making her go outa her mind
It’s the Year of the Rooster – I was born under the Chinese sign of the Rooster. Always thought it to be a curse I was born under a sign that wasn’t fertile enough to lay an egg or two.
According to my friend Sharon Bonin-Pratt (whose last post inspired this post) People born under the sign of the Rooster are hardworking, funny, trustworthy and talented.
I’m not hardworking, at times am funny, almost always trustworthy, and have latent talents that get laid but never hatched.
This Rooster year started off with a cold virus that delights roaming the cozy recesses of my sinus passages. It’s day 11 (but who’s counting). I’ve been a total slug – no energy, no resolve which gives me a perfect excuse for not making New Years’ resolutions.
(The truth be told, I never make resolutions for the New Year – learned long ago that when I inevitably fail to keep a resolution it leads to feeling badly.)
What energy I have has been directed toward resolving to be more creative this year.
In preparation I’ve been obsessively reading everything I can find on how to break my creative block and stop procrastinating.
Most everything I read about procrastination indicates that we procrastinate when we don’t want to do something that is not enjoyable. Being a master procrastinator I also procrastinate with things that bring me enjoyment.
For inspiration, I read blogs of people who write, read or draw daily – all things which bring me enjoyment. I feel badly I’m not like them which leads me to read articles on procrastination and meeting goals (I know how to set them, just not meet them).
Finally the article below has liberated me! I know what to blame:
My dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is lazy . . . not me.
“What is it exactly that helps us be creative? What fuels us when we get into an especially productive work flow? What makes the hours disappear when our brains focus on a task?”
“What, in other words, is happening in our brains when we’re being creative?”
“Cognitive neuroscientist Heather Berlin at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai says we know a little bit about what’s going on. Berlin studies the neuroscience of imagination, creativity and improvisation. And for those people who might be facing writer’s block? “There’s really no prescribed medication,” Berlin says. “There is no real magic pill.”’
Instead, she says, creativity depends on which part of the brain you might be using.
“When [people] are improvising, there tends to be a pattern of activation where they have decreased activation in a part of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex,” Berlin says. “And that part of the brain has to do with your sense of self, your sort of inner critic, making sure that your behavior conforms to social norms.”
“Translation? When you’re at your most creative, “basically you lose your sense of self,” Berlin says. “You kind of release your inhibition. The second you become too self-aware that comes back online and you lose that flow state.”’
“In addition to losing inhibitions, people who are in a creative state have increased activation in a part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex, which has to do with the internal generation of ideas. In other words, the ideas are coming from within.”
“Some people, when they’re in the flow state … a lot of people say ‘It feels like it’s flowing through me. It’s coming from someplace else,’ you know, ‘It’s coming so naturally I don’t even have to think about it,’” Berlin says. “It’s called liberation without attention. You can only keep a certain number of variables in mind when you’re thinking about something consciously. But if you let it go, you actually can come to a greater understanding because the unconscious can do much more complex processing.”
“For those suffering from creative block, Berlin has some practical advice:”
“You have to take in all the information and then go for a walk,” Berlin says. “Go out, do something else. Because those people who sit there and just obsess over thinking about it too much, using your prefrontal cortex you’re actually limiting yourself. So letting it go can actually help you get over, let’s say a writer’s block or a creative block.”
I’d go for a walk but I have a cold. Maybe some other time . . .
To see all the MARVELOUS “Found Poetry” the participants created and the full report you’ll have to click HERE: The HeART of Spirituality – Healing
“Do not run away from grief, oh soul. Look for the remedy inside the pain because the rose came from the thorn and the ruby came from a stone”. – Rumi
Here’s a sample!
“The more you plough and dig the ground the more fertile it becomes. The more you cut the branches of a tree the higher and stronger it grows. The more you put the gold in the fire the purer it becomes. The more you sharpen the steel by grinding the better it cuts. Therefore, the more sorrows one sees the more perfect one becomes… ” Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha’i World Faith
“When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself”.
– Pema Chödrön (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brow is an American, Tibetan Buddhist and ordained nun)
I admit I’m obsessive about steering clear of people who are sick. I’ve been “known” to remove my groceries off the counter and go to another check-out if I see a clerk sniffing or coughing. With fibromyalgia everything lasts longer and is more severe so I go to great lengths to avoid people who even appear to be sick.
My husband caught a cold 2 weeks ago and I’ve assiduously washed everything down – counters, door knobs, light switches and my husband – with disinfectant.
Turns out I was disinfecting the wrong person.
I woke up yesterday with a scratchy throat, a headache and feeling even less chipper than I usually feel in the morning.
The Queen gave me a cold
How do I know, how am I told?
This cold is a dignified one
no snorting, sniffling nor dripping a ton
My makeups impeccable, not a hair undone
Despite a sore throat and my throbbing head
staying all day, aching in bed
I shan’t complain
For how often does one contract
a ROYAL pain.
“But at 90 . . . she is exercising caution as she recovers from a heavy cold which she’s had for at least 12 days, (12 DAYS!!!! ) and which is bound to have left her feeling pretty miserable. (tell me about it).”
“She hasn’t yet had an opportunity to go outside and explore her 20,000 acre private Norfolk estate. (So true, so true)”
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN . . . and me too!
P.S. Wash your hands after reading this post – I’m contagious . . .
It’s been a rough year. Maybe it’s the media bombarding us with political enmity, flood, fire, war, death, illness . . . but it does seem rougher than usual. My resiliency is running low.
To put things in perspective on this last day of the year I remind myself that this earth has been around billions of years and I am standing on a planet hurtling through space and haven’t fallen off . . . yet
The earth is moving about our sun at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second, or 67,000 miles per hour. Our solar system–Earth and all–whirls around the center of our galaxy at some 220 kilometers per second, or 490,000 miles per hour.
“There are anywhere between 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way and an estimated 100 billion planets. Around one in five stars are like our sun, and astronomers have estimated that about 22% of them have planets the size of Earth in their habitable zone, where water can exist as a liquid. This means there could be 8.8 billion planets within the galaxy capable of supporting life (not accounting for composition of the planet or its atmosphere).”
“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith
My Annual Christmas pome – Sick Ole St Nick undoubtedly struck a chord among my many many followers – well at least one . . .
Goodness, I feel sorry for the poor man in red his weary reindeer and sled
Don’t blame me cuz I’ve never participated in dragging that man from his bed
The worst you can say is I’ve not enough candles and therefore can’t light
All my eight menorahs, yes, count ’em, eight Hanukkah for eight days of light
Tell Santa to give up the late ride and eat chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil
Safer to spin driedles, tell stories of brave Maccabees and the miracle of oil
And he’ll feel much better when he rises well rested at the end of this year
Not having delivered gifts heavier than a wish for peace and good cheer
*Disclosure: Printed without permission from the author . .
T’was the Day After Christmas Eve Pome
It’s true so they say that on Christmas day
old St Nick is always sick
from sugar, carbs, inhaling soot
and lunging sacks of children’s loot
Santa has to unbuckle his belt
to make room for cookies, and chocolate gelt
Popping antacids with each milk drink
he’s lactose intolerant, that’s why the wink
Up all night,
by mornings light he’s a fright
The chubby ole fellow, no longer mellow
Back’s in spasm, eyes are red
Climbing to chimney tops, legs like lead
When home he goes, the ho ho hoes
have turned to moans
the silent night filled with grunts and groans
No longer just plump he’s a fat grump
The reindeer too have lost their cheer
for all things festive in the New Year
His packed on pounds during the rounds
create huge drag for even a stag
They huff, puff and wheeze
looking for a stiff breeze
to help carry Santa over roof tops and trees
All the way back the reindeer pray
he’ll loose 50 pounds before next Christmas day
Cuz Rudolph et. al are running out of gas
hauling Santa’s growing ass
* * *
Merry Christmas to all who indulge and bulge!
from judy and Freddie Parker Westerfield
Doodlewash is a blog I follow – both for Charlie O’s great water-colors but even more for his wonderful stories and descriptions about each drawing.
Today’s Doodlewash post inspired my pome.
Pome by judy
No one catches Santa on the roof
or in the snow sees prints
of tiny reindeer hoof
for Santa’s no bigger than a fly
and reindeer all the size of ants
ferry him through the Christmas sky
I don’t think it silly at all
to imagine reindeer quite so small
how Santa slides down chimney flues
with nary much soot on his beard or shoes
So make your cookies the size of peas
and leave the milk in a thimble please
Limit the weight of gifts and such
to crush an ant
it doesn’t take much
* * *
To read Charlie O’s inspiring story click here:
The last class for this semester – I continued to play with water-color pencil.
I tend to draw the heads too small . . . or . . . another way of “looking at it” . . . I make the bodies too big. Then again, he is a big guy.
The uneven jaw line is reflective of his beard and mustache.
I admit it. I’m a bit paranoid about catching a cold or the flu.
When I get sick insult is added to injury as my fibromyalgia symptoms flare for weeks after I’ve recovered from the cold.
I avoid anyone who sneezes, eyes are watery or is coughing. I’ve moved my groceries from one counter to another to avoid check-out clerks who looked like they are sick and on occasion come home and taken a shower if I THINK I might have been exposed.
Now I learn it’s possible I’m avoiding people who aren’t sick, just afraid, sad or incredibly empathetic!
Sneezing is “catching,” like a yawn.
“It is true that emotions can affect your nasal membranes. Fear makes them shrink (which can make you sneeze), and sadness makes them swell (which can also make you sneeze.) Though there is conflicting evidence, yawning has been linkedto empathy, and one study showed that psychopaths — people who lack empathy — may even be immune to contagious yawning.”
“If sneezing fits are like yawning fits, does that mean that if we are tuned into others’ emotions, we might sneeze out of sympathy? Though hard evidence is murky, there is some reason to believe that both yawning and sneezing fits may be powered by the mind.”
The article Here’s Looking achoo – debunking the sneeze covers even more:
- Sneezing is good for the soul
- Sneezing is bad for the soul
- If you say “God Bless You,” God might spare you. Or not.
- Tweezing your eyebrows can make you sneeze.
- Sneezing always comes in threes.
- Bright light can make you sneeze.
Read the entire article click HERE.
Only 15 days till Chanukah! 15 days till Christmas! 22 days till New Year’s! Time for my yearly reminder on how to keep sane.
- Instead of buying a tree watch your friends decorate (and take down) theirs
- Convert to Judaism
- Sit in the lobby of a 5-star hotel and enjoy EXPENSIVE decorations.
- ADOPT a pig, instead of eating one.
- Make dinner potluck, you supply the paper plates and plastic cutlery
- Christmas dinner – Start with dessert and forget the rest.
- Sit on the beach in Bali.
8. Go to bed on the 23rd and get up on January 3rd.*
9. Only buy presents for Jesus.
10. Put a cover on the outside chimney opening so you don’t have to put out cookies and milk.
11. Watch your friends decorate (and take down) their Christmas tree.
13. Stay in a 5-star hotel for 8 days and nights.
15. Instead of gambling with a dreidle at home go to Vegas
16. Don’t give presents, do good deeds
17. Go to bed on Thanksgiving and wake up on New Years**
19. Eat macaroons with Ben & Jerry
20. *Remember! Stay in bed until the 3rd, unless you’re Jewish.
21. **If you are Jewish, go back to bed.
Peace on Earth & Sanity to all my Friends!
During the break in the life-drawing class a few of us talked to the model. She said most people had no idea what life drawing was and believed that nude modeling was akin to porn! When asked what she did for a living her answer was “posing for people who were learning anatomy”.
First, It never occurred to me that most people weren’t familiar with life drawing. Second, her answer made sense. When drawing a nude model students are intensely focused on the anatomy, the line & shading that emphasizes or de-emphasizes the muscle structure, the curve of the spine and the “personality” of the pose – not on nudity.
It’s a bit like reading an engrossing story. Your focus is on the plot line, the images created, the messages conveyed, not whether the” book” is hard-covered, paperback or on a tablet.
I was pleased with this sketch as it catches the likeness of the model.
Wasn’t so pleased with this sketch so I took out colored crayons and just scribbled. Still not pleased but it was fun!
Besides being soft and cuddly a mission of mine is to bring poetry to the masses, of which you are some. And I am here to bring you the truth . . . even though it might hurt.
Santa was frantic at the North Pole
Finances in the red, he was in the hole
Mrs Claus couldn’t afford sugar
For her cookies sublime
Dear old hubby didn’t have a dime
North Pole employment had exploded
and Santa’s credit had eroded
He’d spent his last cent on black Friday deals
and turkey with the trimmings for thanksgiving meals
The night before Christmas he no longer had clout
When all the elves threatened a walk-out
Elf-union held all the chips
As evidenced by the grin on all the elf lips
For every elf in all the land
Had won a pay deal without tipping their hand:
Double pay all December
a free thanksgiving meal in November
Finally fringe benefits for elves was real
For Santa and the Mrs, there was no appeal
Santa had bitten his nails to the quick
Both right and left eyes developed a tic
All Santa could do was self medicate
So he stuffed his mouth from the cookie plate
And downed all the rum from a hot toddy cup
his blood pressure sky-high, went up and up
His big fat belly shook like a bowl full of lead
While visions of bankruptcy danced in his head
So all you children and adults too
Have compassion and learn to make due
STOP asking for presents and things you don’t need
YOU must now take heed.
It’s no time for greed
If you want Santa another Christmas to live
to every red-kettle-bell-ringer
Dig in your pocket and GIVE.
Freddie Parker Westerfield
New model – not an ounce of body fat on the boy. The majority of students are well into their 60’s. I made note of how many of the women asked him to return to model ! . . I myself prefer the models with a bit of ballast around their belly. Gives me more room for error.
This class I ventured out of my comfort zone, put away eraser and went for it with permanent ink and no preliminary sketch in pencil.
Notice the box? I keep trying to draw within the box so the figure doesn’t run off the page. Here’s my result!
If you are an art buff or interested in the psychology of nudes read this article Why The Nude Still Shocks. Not only is it interesting it underscores my past reluctance to put up the sketches of men as opposed to women. (see Equal Opportunity Nudes)
The model this week was male but he was wearing this warrior “get-up” that the men in the class seemed to enjoy drawing , . . must be a testosterone “thing”. I say “TAKE IT OFF!”
Dear Human Beings,
Time for my ANNUAL Thanksgiving ‘Ode To Tom’ and tell you what I’m thankful for:
- I’m thankful that I was not born in a country where they eat dogs.
- I’m thankful you are all my best friends!
- I’m thankful for all the treats I get even if I don’t get as many as I deserve
- I’m thankful I am soft and fluffy so people want to pet me
A Turkey’s Tale
by Freddie Parker Westerfield
A turkey named Tom lived on a farm
His story is such, so they say
Waking at dawn
he’d peck at the lawn,
searching for bugs,
nibbling on slugs
of which he was particularly fond.
Then on Thanksgiving day
Gobbledy gobbledy gone!
So if YOU took Tom from off his farm
in the middle of the night
please give him due thanks
for gracing your table. (It’s fitting and only right).
And for all the bugs and many slugs
which make him an organic delight
P.S. I was told to tell you that my Human-being wishes you all things to be grateful for in your life, like she’s grateful for me.
My BEST FRIEND Shari sent me this picture. I think she might be a Turkeytarian . . .
Clothed! The model was clothed! I actually found it easier sketching nude people with no distractions . . . like folds of fabric and print patterns and color.
The model had on an elaborate costume with intricate patterns and gold threads. I tried to eliminate all the “distractions”. Here’s my first attempts at using water-color pencil.
Jokingly, I asked the model if she would take her clothes off. She replied, “Will you?”
If this isn’t the cutest, weirdest little critter I don’t know what is!
A Puggles Pome
Puggles are the puggliest
Their little snout the ugliest
Cuddle them quick
for when they’re grown
they’ll claw you
and won’t give a lick
“Sydney Zoo is celebrating the arrival of the first baby echidnas, known as puggles, in almost 30 years. The tiny (cute), and incredibly rare Australian mammals, hatched in the summer weighing between 250 and 500 grams. Echidnas, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, lay eggs – which hatch after 10 days. They’re then carried in their mother’s pouches for up to two months.”
My friend Peggy and I are working on a new project to share our stash of therapeutic strategies, tips and tricks on the internet. In my exuberance, “playing” with settings for the new web-site, I mistakenly changed the theme setting for this blog . . . and can’t figure out how to change it back again . So Curious to the Max has a new look, in case you didn’t notice.
And in case you didn’t notice we had a new model in class. All these sketches were 15 minutes done with water-color pencil.
There are two “fronts” and two “backs” (She was sitting on a poofy cushion).
AND in case you don’t see the connection between my blog change and my sketches: Clicking a button on the computer and irreversibly changing the blog template is like drawing with water-color pencil. I can’t erase or correct either of them.
Take a peek at the entire class from the beginning 2 minute sketches to the 20 minute poses.
Tried water-color pencil for the first time. Discovered it doesn’t ERASE so the first go over needs to be very light.
This model was great. She was more voluptuous than most and I didn’t have to draw muscles!
In the sketch below I used an old piece of cardboard backing. If you look you can see the water stains from years past.
For the last pose the model put clothes on . . . probably because I couldn’t get her breasts symmetrical!
I may take these drawings and experiment some more with the water-color.
It’s THAT time of year again for “Cooking with Judy” Here’s my yearly Thanksgiving post — cuz it’s tooooo good not to be shared!
I have a reputation, among those who know me, to have an “interesting” sense of humor. Even though How to Cook A Turkey with 500 degree heat sounds like a joke IT IS NO JOKE.
- Pre Heat oven 500 degrees (this is not a typo)
- Clean the bird
- Throw it into a covered container – put on lid or aluminum foil
- Do not add ANYTHING to the pot and/or the bird.
- Do NOT baste or look at until time is up (you will hear burbling, don’t worry, by the time you hear burbling the turkey is dead)
- Bake (and I do mean BAKE), 7 minutes per pound, unstuffed at 500 degrees FARENHEIT
- 7 1/2 minutes per pound, stuffed
- Yes, it comes out brown and beautiful.
- No, it is moist and delicious
- I always put the stuffing in a casserole rather than the turkey – others have stuffed the bird and said it was great.
- Yes, it will smell like Thanksgiving not like a house-on-fire.
- No, PETA would not endorse this because it is more humane . . . for the cook
- Yes! 500 degrees. It is not a typo
- Yes, 7 minutes a pound
(Well, not actually “worser” but I try to avoid trite phrases like “bigger and better”.)
In case you’ve not noticed . . . my drawings all go off the page. I don’t mind the aesthetics of that but I want to be able to do it “by design”. I try framing, measuring, planning . . . as the drawing progresses the limbs or head (or both) end up off of the paper.
The life drawing teacher suggested I get a BIG board to work on a BIG piece of paper to get the entire torso on the page. So much for bigger . . .
(Showing my hand on the paper to give you a sense of the scale).