Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – clothing optional

Just another day, just another nude man . . .

Charcoal Sketches on painter’s cheapie paper

10 & 20 Minutes poses

10 Minute pose – pencil sketch

(. . . and yes, he was wearing a turban and earrings)

“Nude?! Humans have no shame . ..

Frankly Freddie – My new fan club president

Dear Freddie Fans,

Those of you who follow CURIOUS to the Max do not know about my continuing frustration with Peggy & Judy and CATNIPblog.  A case in point:

Frankly Freddie – go bonkers

So it is with delight that my fans are beginning to speak up and let Peggy & Judy know

Up a Tree by Peggy

that without me they and their “cats” would be up a tree.

My # 1 fan (at the present) is JOYCE K.*  She alone has deluged CATNIPblog with cries for MORE FREDDIE!  As a reward I have made her PRESIDENT.

Lick’n Good

Dear Joyce K., Newly Elected Freddie Fan Club President, Stellar human-being and Sender of treats.

I received your payment of one bag of Doggie Treats to join the Freddie Fan Club. The are quite tasty.  Thank you.  I have nominated you for president and duly elected you to that coveted office.  Your official duties are as follows:

  • Increase Freddie Fan Club membership to 100.  Prospective members should pay  a bag of doggie treats directly to you.  You will keep track of the inventory and disburse doggie treats on a regular basis (to be determined based on membership payments) to Freddie Parker Westerfield, object of all fans’ adoration.
  • Neatly frame and display my autographed picture for all the world to see.
  • Find recipes for doggie treats that are tasty.
  • Make the recipes for doggie treats every month and send them to Freddie Parker Westerfield, home-made doggie treat connoisseur.
  • Other duties to be determined, as needed, warranted or wanted by Freddie.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT RET.

*Joyce is currently owned by several Canine Dogs.  Her newest owner COOKIE Dog is probably my cousin.  Joyce, please run DNA test.

Cookie K.

 

 

 

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – new semester

Drawing on recycled paper or using ink that can’t be erased are ways of releasing my expectations and loosening up.

These were done on hardware store “painter’s paper” with charcoal

(the kind you spread on the floor to protect it from paint)

Leaning on a chair – didn’t draw the chair cuz I didn’t want to!

1-2 Minute ink sketches in a very small sketchbook

Charcoal

There’s a Freddie Giveaway on CATNIPblog!

 

Frankly Freddie – The “Tail” of Remington

Dear Freddie Fans and other creatures,
(I originally posted this on CATNIPblog and wanted all you to know about Remi too.)
 
Lyn is Remi’s human.  Because Remi is a very busy canine dog, helping Lyn (he even carries items to the laundry room and puts them in the hamper for her) and working at the senior center I asked Lyn to write this instead of Remi – who deserves some time off. 

Herrrrrrrrrrrrre’s the “tail” of Remington Royce Glover by his human Lyn

 “I had been “dogless” for a number of years due to my work schedule and life circumstances, but had always held on to my hope of one day having a therapy dog again.  In 2008, I found myself in a place where I could seriously consider finding a puppy that I could bring into my life with that goal in mind.”
 
All Grown Up

“Since I used to be an animal trainer and behaviorist, I had a very good idea of what breeds I thought would be the best fit as my companion and the best possibility of being certified as a Therapy Dog.  After months of searching and meeting lots of dogs, I was fortunate enough to find a woman who raised Goldendoodles (hybrid of Golden Retriever/Standard Poodle).  After meeting lots of her dogs I found what I felt would be the perfect new addition to my life.”

“Remi actually picked me more than my picking him ( I thought I would prefer a female, but Remi had other ideas.)   He stood out from all the other 18 puppies.   I was so impressed with his focus on me, his responses and his wanting to interact and figure out what I was doing with him from the minute we met.  Not to mention, he was absolutely adorable!!”

Remington Royce, 9 weeks old
“I brought Remi home when he was 9 weeks old and we began our life together.  He has, from the very beginning, been the most loving and devoted dog I have ever had the privilege of spending time with.”
 I named him
Remington Royce Glover 
(Remington – inspired by Frederic Remington, one of my favorite sculptors/illustrators). 
  • a name for a male, means sweet and caring. 
  • loyal person with a true heart, a royce loves with their whole heart not letting anything back.
  • knows how to make people happy without knowing they’ve done so.
  •  intelligent and a hard worker
  • great charm, usually having beautiful eyes and a heart stopping smile 
  • the best thing that would happen to a person

He is amazingly smart, learns so quickly and absolutely loves everyone he meets.”
“In addition to all the basic obedience commands, Remi’s repertoire of behaviors include:
  • shake hands with his right paw
  • high-five with his left paw
  • bow to the Queen (me!)
  • do the hokey pokey (turns in a circle)
  • whisper
  • sneeze 
  • back up
  • “stop, drop and roll”
  • He knows most of his toys (and there are many) by name and can pick them out if asked – Caterpillar, gator, teddy, squirrel, snakey, piggy . . . .”
“When I launder his toys, he waits in the laundry room and watches for me put them in the dryer.  When the dryer buzzer sounds to let me know they’re dry, he runs back in and waits for me to open the door of the dryer so he can take them out.”
Remi & Catypillar

 He is “toy” obsessed and will do anything for a stuffed toy.  His favorite toy is his “caterpillar” which he carries everywhere, inside or out.  He has an abundance of toys and knows most of them by name, but his “Catypillar” is definitely the one he prefers. 

“Remi  knows three of our neighbors by name and where they live.  When we go outside, if I say, go see if “so and so” is home, Remi runs to their patio door and waits to see if they are there.  They all love him and if they’re home, they open the door and let him in – they don’t let me in, but …….. (just kidding)”

“Spending time with him and watching him learn and grow into the wonderful boy he is has been so rewarding for me.  As anyone who shares their life with animals can tell you, the unconditional love they offer is amazing. One of the best things about being with him and taking him anywhere is that no matter where we go or who we meet, he is always happy, smiling and excited to be there.”
“Whether we’re walking down the street, meeting children or visiting seniors at the care facility, people look at him and smile!!  Watching  people’s reactions to him is so heartwarming and satisfying.  He just makes people happy – and in a world so filled with fear, stress,  unhappiness  and conflict, I think that is just a wonderful gift for him to give.  I’m so proud of him and honored to be a part of it with him.”
Besides people, Remi has 3 cat siblings that he also loves –
playing with Dashiell, his favorite.

 Remi is certified by the AKC as a “Canine Good Citizen” and a Certified Therapy Dog

“Remi and I currently go to visit a Senior Care Facility every Friday morning – he absolutely loves it and the feedback we receive is that the residents just love seeing him and the other two smaller dogs that accompany us with their owner.  It is so gratifying to see the seniors “light up” and spend time with the dogs.  So many of them tell us stories of the dogs/pets they used to have and recall such lovely memories.”

Remi and his “visiting buddy”, Paulie, at the Senior Center, waiting for one of their favorite people to get to them!

“One resident was very disparaging when we first visited.  She had never been around dogs and had nothing good to say to us, but we’re slowly winning her over.  She now walks by and comments that the dogs are “very cute”.  She still won’t come too close and refuses our offers to have her pet them, but we’re optimistic that will happen!”

“We are hoping to find a way to work with disabled veterans who have served our country and offer them whatever help and joy we can by visiting them at their rehab facility – it’s an ongoing goal for us and one I hope I can find a way to make happen.”

“Watching him makes me want to follow his lead and try to focus on making others happy, rather than worrying about “stuff” in my life.”

“Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to share my wonderful boy with others.
It means more to me than you know.”

Hugs and love,

Lyn & Remi

If you have a pet whose “tail” you would like to share (even if  they don’t have a tail) email me at peggyjudytime@gmail.com. I have connections and editorial rights.

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Senior editor and correspondent for all things important

Frankly Freddie – Dog Owners are Healthier Hoofers

Dear Subscribers human or otherwise,

My Human has been very lax lately not posting on this MY FAVORITE BLOG but focusing her attention on CATNIPblog which we all know is dedicated to the wrong species.  
She has been a bit under the weather and using that for an excuse not to go to art classes, not to clean her office, not to eat properly, not to do anything she doesn’t want to do.  HUMANS!  I constantly have to remind her it’s time for treats and take her on walks.

My last CATNIPblog post was such an important one that I am referencing it here so all of you who do not have a canine to take care of you will go out and adopt one quickly.

Here’s an excerpt from my post and the salient information:

I take my human out for a walk as often as I can.  She’s a bit delusional . . .  she thinks she’s walking me.  So I constantly have to find proof that she needs to quit patting herself on the back and pat me.

“In a study published in the journal BMC Public Health, dog owners on average walked 22 minutes more per day compared to people who didn’t own a dog.”

“If you look at studies on pet ownership, people who own pets seem to live longer than those who don’t own them,” . . .  

Get a life.  Get a dog . . . like me

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CHT

Certified Human Trainer

If you don’t believe me read this: Dog Owners Walk 22 minutes more per day 

or this: FRANKLY FREDDIE

“When the waters rise, so do our better angels.”*

“Get busy helping someone else and see — over time — the things you might have in common, instead of only the things that might divide you.”

“Remember what can happen when we love our neighbors as ourselves. There are storms that bring us together and storms that divide us. We have a chance now to choose. Harvey already has reminded us what we’re capable of, when we come together.”

Angelic Meowie from CATNIPblog

“The recovery ahead will be long. Our neighbors need to know they can count on us. The families affected will need our help and our attention as the work of rebuilding unfolds. If we hold our focus on the important matters at hand, we can use the power of the people to create that world we all know exists — if we will simply give it life.”  

*Jimmy Carter

Read entire article by Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.

Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping-stones, just as we make them.

Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

Sneak a Peek into my ‘stuffy” life

No nudes today . . . but lots of raw skin . . .  around my nose.  I have a “code in duh node”, can’t think, can’t breathe and stayed home from life drawing.  I caught it from Freddie.  Yes, you heard right . . . FREDDIE.

DSCN6273
Oil

My husband and I got sore throats on the very same night.  The next day we both had baaaaaaad colds.  We were stymied, since we hadn’t been out together the previous week and the people with whom we had joint contact hadn’t gotten sick.

Freddie was groomed 3 days prior to our getting sick.  After Freddie is groomed he is fluffy and soft as down – it’s even more pleasurable to pet him.

I e-mailed the groomer and asked if he, by any chance, got a cold after he was here.

Seems Freddie is the only one who didn’t get sick.

The picture of innocence

 

6 LITTLE STORIES

{1}
All villagers decided to pray for rain.
On the day of prayer all the people gathered,
only one boy came with an umbrella.
That’s FAITH .
{2}
When you throw babies in the air,
they laugh because they don’t doubt you will catch them.
That’s TRUST.
{3}
Every night we go to bed
without any assurance of being alive the next morning.
But still we set the alarms to wake up.
That’s HOPE.
{4}
We plan for tomorrow
in spite of zero knowledge of the future.
That’s CONFIDENCE.
{5}
We see the world suffering,
but still we get married and have children.
That’s LOVE.
{6}
On an old man’s shirt a sentence was written:
‘I am not 80 years old –
I am sweet 16 with 64 years of experience.’
That’s ATTITUDE.
 *     *     *
Thanks Linda B.!

Want more inspiration and smiles?  Check out Pawsitively Tuesdays:

Pawsitively Tuesday – turning to exercise

Pawsitively Tuesday – Think about it.

Pawsitively Tuesday – A Whale of an Idea

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – another day . . . another nude . . .

This is the best of the lot.  What?  You didn’t think I’d post my sketches that look like they were drawn by a monkey?  

                                  Charcoal sketch

I’ve figured out (pun intended) two things:

  1. I prefer drawing women or men with a bit of flesh on the bone.  There are more curves and lumps which make it more fun to draw. Most of the models, like the one today, have beautiful “hard bodies”.  
  2. Everything I do lately points to my limited concentration span.  While others bemoan not having enough time to finish drawing during the 40 minute poses (two – 20 minutes with a break in-between for the model.  Try sitting perfectly still for 20 minutes) I have done two or three drawings.  I would prefer to think it’s not concentration span but it’s because I don’t particularly like “realism” and am not interested in getting an exact likeness . . .
“Ouch.  We monkeys have talent, not to mention  feelings. . .

Ice cream for Breakfast Makes You Smarter – for your eyes ONLY (CATNIPblog subscribers do NOT read)

Growing up one of my favorite breakfasts was cream of wheat  (we called it Farina) with a scoop or two . . .  or three . . . of vanilla ice-cream.  I’m already drooling at the memory: The cold ice cream melting on the hot cereal.   A delicious bite of  melted ice cream,  a bit of solid ice-cream and cereal.  
When all the ice cream melted I would get another scoop.  Loved the taste, texture, hot & cold, sweet and bland.  It was so decadent to eat ice cream for breakfast.
                                                                   *     *     *    
On CATNIPblog Peggy and I focus on brain & body health.  We’ve posted about brain science & sugar and the neurochemistry of eating protein at every meal.   I am withholding this breakfast-breaking research from CATNIPblog subscribers so Peggy doesn’t get irate comments.  

BUT those of you who care more about being “CURIOUS” than CATNIP . . .  you get the first scoop.

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy Life – back in the saddle . . .er studio

Fall semester for the Emeritus classes just started.  Found myself a bit rusty after not drawing for a few months . . .but nudity has a way of waking the senses .

Ink, Warm-up sketching
Charcoal
Charcoal

As I posted these sketches I realized the model did not have a hair on his body ANYWHERE . . . except on his chin.  Just goes to show how intently one looks at contours, lines and shadows when drawing, “nudity” isn’t the focus.

My favorite

Dirty Words

 I don’t often repost word for word, much less “dirty word” for “dirty word”.  This was so thought-provoking and well written . . .  well,  read for yourself . . . (words by Sharon, color high-lighting and pictures by me)

Dirty words. Stub my toe on the sharp metal caster and you’ll hear me spew lots of dirty words. Crap, kocker, damn it, dreck. It hurt, damn it, I’m allowed to holler, and I don’t have to be nice about it. In English and Yiddish, I holler all the bad words. Feckuckteh caster.

Lenny Bruce, the rebellious comedian who loaded his dark comedy with language considered obscene, made seven particular words famous by virtue of their being too dirty to speak aloud. So of course he did, and was arrested for his defiance. Cover your eyes if you’re the sensitive sort because I’m going to list them here: cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, tits. Bruce’s real crime was pointing out the hypocrisies of our culture but the words got him in trouble. He was too vulgar for polite society, no matter that society was too brutal for the underrepresented and downtrodden. Bruce was no angel, and many people lost sight of his legitimate demand for free speech, the very thing we now take for granted. Today, his seven dirty words hardly raise an eyebrow, so often are they hollered through the night.

An infant’s first word is “mama” or whatever word in her native language aligns with that individual. Fathers have been trying forever to get the first word to be “dada.” But the first word ever uttered by the very first human who found she had a voice box that allowed more verbalization than a huff, grunt, or yowl? It was “fuck.” Had to be – standing small and alone in the African desert, she found the world terrifying, she saw her life in peril, and she said what we all say at such realization. “Fuck.”

Here are dirtier words, much dirtier:  abandonment, abuse, arson, betrayal, bigotry, deceit, drug trafficking, exploitation, false accusation, forced starvation, genocide, holocaust, human experimentation, human rights suppression, human trafficking, incest, lying, misogyny, murder, prejudice, racism, rape, religious persecution, sexism, slavery, terrorism, theft, torture, war, xenophobia – sadly, I’m certain there are more. This is the real dirty language. Still, language is benign. Add music and every word sounds like sugar being spun into cotton candy. To be offended by dirty words but ignore the acts they identify is akin to disdaining the menu but still ordering awful food.

You can put in all the asterisks, ellipses, blank spaces, bird calls, or underlines you want in order to grant your writing a measure of gentility, but face the facts. You may swear upon your holy books, mutter amens and hosannas, grovel on your knees, pledge your honor, and promise repentance. None of it means a thing without follow through. Every writer, humanitarian, philosopher –  every decent person accepts the same truth. Words are harmless, scratches in the dust even when howled under duress. It’s the acts that are horrific, and the reality that these acts take place every single day all over the world – the acts are far worse. More hurtful, longer lasting, intentional.

Writing these words does not make writing a bad act. Writing them brings the implied actions to the attention of a public that often wants to hide behind prayers, lattes, and cell phones. There is no indecency in words. The indecency is in the fact that so many engage in the actions described by the words. When we eliminate these bad acts so completely that to say one of these words engenders genuine confusion among all people – what does that mean? I can’t understand words that don’t relate to the human condition anywhere in the world– then we can label them as really bad words.

Words can lead the ignorant to understand the complexity of past events, so write. Words can warn or instruct, so write. Write the truth in any and every way you can. Employ words that hoist power, and worry little about words that bear no weight. Even if they’re ugly. Worry about acts that injure, abuse, kill, threaten, maim, enslave, bludgeon. If the dirty words you write make someone see the other side, feel the pain, and change their behavior, you’ve done your job. If the dirty words you raise on a poster cause the government to enforce justice, you’ve done your job. If the dirty words you speak arouse the pulse of the apathetic public and encourage them to find out the truth for themselves, you’ve done your job.

Call me a dirty girl. I yearn to be that and more. I will not stand down. The only thing I own is my integrity. Pen to paper. Truth to power.

Here in fact are the very most vile, horrendous, and disgusting words in English, and they can be translated into any language and still carry the same inherent evil. I hold out my hands for the cuffs. Arrest me. These are the dirtiest three:

GUILTY AS CHARGED

(Check out Sharon’s Blog: Ink Flare)

What’s the Word Wednesday

Solipsism 

(sŏl′ĭp-sĭz′əm, sō′lĭp-)  n.

  1. :  a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also :  extreme egocentrism  

    Mirriam Webster

 “Solipsism (/ˈsɒlpsɪzəm/; from Latin solus, meaning ‘alone’, and ipse, meaning ‘self’)[1] is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.”  Wikipedia

chimpanzee-covering-his_~320626

1. Philosophy The theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.

2. The view that the self is the only reality.

3. Absorption with oneself without consideration for the needs and desires of others: self-indulgent memoir that revealed the author’s solipsism.


sol′ip·sist n.
sol′ip·sis′tic adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

 

1 Corinthians 1:10

I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

You (and hot dogs) are the stuff fireworks are made of

The explosive black powder in the firework shot into the air contains almost the exact same amount of energy as a simple hot dog.

The firework uses the energy in black powder to fill the sky with light. We use the energy in a hot dog to do everything — move, breathe, think, stay alive.

“And here’s the surprising thing: the firework and your body use the same basic chemical process to get at that energy.”

“Luckily, as Skunk Bear’s latest video explains, our version of this reaction is a bit less explosive.”

Want to learn more about fireworks? This Skunk Bear video explains the chemistry behind their bright colors. (Hint: It has something to do with everyday table salt.)

 

Skunk Bear

National Pink Day, June 23

Brain research is clear – our thoughts trigger the neurochemical flood of emotion.  Think negatively and you will feel anxious or fearful.  Think positively and you’ll be flooded with the neurochemistry for happiness, contentment or love.

Life need not be fraught

with negative thought

“This too shall pass

half full is my glass”

“It’s bright and sunny

all milk and honey”

“It will be ok . . . 

on another day”

That’s  how to think

to be in the pink

Thinking Pink by judy

Read these for information on the research:

Worry your life away – literally

Research shows you will be happier for 3 months – Music to my ears

5 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO CHEER UP QUICKLY, ACCORDING TO NEUROSCIENCE

It’s all relative

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.”

“A team of veterinary and human medical specialists was called in to deliver a gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo after the mother, 17-year-old Kira, appeared to struggle during labor.
Usually, gorilla births are quick and the mother does not appear distressed. With Kira, however, staff at the zoo noticed she was growing tired after being in labor and were concerned for her health.”
“The surgeons, anesthesiologists and an OB-GYN were prepared to respond if anything went wrong during labor or Kira’s pregnancy. While gorilla cesarean sections aren’t out of the ordinary, this was the first assisted vaginal delivery for a gorilla since 2000, according to the Philadelphia Zoo. The birth required tools similar to those used during human deliveries.”
“Kira, a western lowland gorilla and first-time mother, gave birth to a healthy baby after a 1½-hour delivery and was fully recovered the next morning. This is the third offspring for 32-year-old father Motuba. The newborn male joins another baby gorilla from the zoo, also fathered by Motuba.”
‘”It was an anxious and dramatic day at the zoo, but in the end a tremendously rewarding one,” Dr. Andy Baker, Philadelphia Zoo’s chief operating officer, said in a news release.”
“I knew all along she was related”

Tree-Climbing Goats – Weird, Wild, Wonderful World

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 

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – last ditch efforts

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

Starting with my favorite

Caught the likeness of both his front and his back . . . 

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.

Why I’ve not posted on “Curious” for awhile.

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.

Catnip Logo Header
Self-help tips, tools, techniques & neuroscience research for MIND, BODY & SOUL – shared with a wink and a smile

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.

Cat LogoShirt 1:2 frame-2 copy

 I’d LOVE it if you would check out CATNIPblog, see the proof that I can be disciplined . . . and subscribe.

Click here:

CATNIPblog take a look !

My Sketchy Life – hatch, hatched, hatching

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.  

HatchVerb – To lose it; to get wound up over something; to be upset.

I’ve been hatching . . .

P.S.  Thanks Peggy A. for doing all the scheduled posting on CATNIPblog!  

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – lumps & gore

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

(and young) 

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.

The HeART of Spirituality Workshop – Finding Balance

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. 1 To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  2. 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. 3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  4. 4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  5. 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. 6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  7. 7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  8. 8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

April Fools’ Day – Something’s Fishy

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:

P.S.  Click here to find out the science behind WHY WE ARE SO GULLIBLE

Pasta Prank

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.”

Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity

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.”

The Tasmanian Mock Walrus

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.”

Bob Blowfish sez: “A fish out of water is not a prank, no matter what the occasion.”

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.

http://hoaxes.org/aprilfool

Click here to Learn WHY WE ARE SO GULLIBLE

Sneak a Peek into my Sketchy life . . . my favorite model

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.

 

How to get happy in a hurry

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

Here’s a taste of CATNIP”

Feel’n F el INE by Peggy

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 forA 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

Falling Waters & Rising Spirits

Research Shows You’ll be Happier for 3 Months

Meditation can reduce depression symptoms by 40%

How to Snack Your Way to Mental Clarity

Frankly Freddie – Your Picks, My Treat

Dear Human-beings,

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

Other:

  • 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:

Frankly Freddie – Catnipblog Subscriber Drawing

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life, G-Rated

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. DSCN6865

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“Quickie?  What’s a “quickie”?

*Answers:  

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.  

Frankly Freddie – CATNIP coming to a computer near you!

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.

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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

CATNIP

  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, CDT RET
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT RET

Frankly,

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)

Ronna
Ronna

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Life imitates Art

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

Frankly Freddie – I need your help

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.

Maui
Maui (not Freddie)

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 CATNIblog!  

(You can choose as many areas of interests as you want and when you’re done click “vote”)

Frankly,

Freddie Parker Westerfield, CCT, RET

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author

 *Thank you for your kind response to this most delicate matter.

Sneek a Peek into my Sketchy Life – Suburban Sketches

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

suburban sketches.

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Students in my drawing class

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Woman waiting and waiting and waiting . . .

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Whoops, wrong suburb

Am I Addicted to Dairy Crack? (parenthetically speaking. . . )

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:

DSCN5582
cow by judy

The Case Against Dairy Crack

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”

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Non-dominant hand, one-eyed, fat-tipped marker, puny drawing

“Call it dairy crack.”

 “Dairy proteins appear to trigger inflammation, apparently by triggering the release of antibodies, which leads to the constriction of the tiny muscles in the airways. By avoiding dairy proteins, the trigger for the [asthma] attacks is gone.”

“. . .  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

Sneak a Peek – getting in the mood for Valentine’s Day

No further explanation needed . . .

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20 minute pose, Water-color pencil
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20 minute pose, water-color pencil
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15 minute pose, water-color pencil
"She's got to be kidding"
“Getting into the mood! She’s got to be kidding . . . an explanation is definitely needed . . .”

doodlewash SEALS the deal

Hug a seal
give it a kiss
all love is real
not hit or miss

day-10-hugging-a-seal-head-in-water-1
Charlie O’Shields’ water-color

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

Sneak Peek into my sketchy life – not the best . . . not the worst

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.

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The model held onto a rope in the poses.  We were suppose to concentrate on the angles.dscn6842

These below were 20 minute poses but I could only draw for about 10 minutes.

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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 . . . 

"Excuses, excuses . . . "
“Excuses, excuses . . . “

 

Learning to Walk

Baby Hippo Fiona is the cutest ever!  Mama Bibi and dad Henry probably not so much . . .

baby-fiona_wide-0495d60b84dcba6d79deffd4cb35a7eb3292b228-s800-c85

“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!

Sneek Peek into my sketchy life – from sea to shining SEE

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

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Pen & Ink

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and here’s my latest See !

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Charcoal sketch

He kept moving his right arm . . . 

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Charcoal sketch

Invisible Illness – Prayers in search of “Cures”

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. 

Difference in Reactions to Fibro and Pacemaker

Fibromyalgia: Hysterical Middle-Aged Woman’s Syndrome

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.

17 minutes

“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.

 

 

 

Sneeeeek Peeeek – Back to the drawing boards

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.

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Charcoal, warm-up sketches

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.

Pen & Ink sketch
Pen & Ink sketch
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Pen & Ink Sketch
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Charcoal sketch

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 . . .

How to gain control of your free time

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:

  1. Do something everyday (as opposed to doing nothing)
  2. Cut out sugar from my eating “habits”.

I’ll let you know next week . . . or two . . .  how I did.

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Update on my condition

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:

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Mama Cold, Papa Cold and their 3 virus babies 

Baby 1

Dump buckets of muck

up judy’s nose

Make sure you duck

before she blows

Baby 2 

Bang on her brain

whistle in her ears

like a choo choo train

til she bursts into tears.

Baby 3

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 

teaching how-to

 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

Blame game: roosters, virus and my dorsolateral prefrontal cortex

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.

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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.

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Creative block here’s neuroscience how to fix it.

by Elizabeth Shockman

“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 . . .

 

 

The HeART of Healing Workshop

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!

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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   

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December 29, 2016 – https://judithwesterfield.wordpress.com

“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)

The Queen and me

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.

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Queen is feeling better, says Princess Anne

“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 . . .

 

Spinning in control

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

NASA archive image, relase date October 17, 2000. This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite collected the land surface data over 16 days, while NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds. Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC Credit: NASA Earth Observatory NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram
NASA archive image, release date October 17, 2000.
This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth.  Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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

 

Antidote for Santa – Peace & Good Cheer

My Annual Christmas pome – Sick Ole St Nick undoubtedly struck a chord among my many many followers – well at least one . . .

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By Sharon Bonin-Pratt*

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

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Happy Chanukah!!

*Disclosure:  Printed without permission from the author . .  

Annual Christmas Day Pome – Sick Ole St Nick

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

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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

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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

Freddie Parker Westerfield, Published Author
Freddie Parker Westerfield, CDT RET

Why Santa never gets caught

How Do Reindeer Fly?

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.

Water-color by Charlie O'Shields
Water-color by Charlie O’Shields

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

and know 

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:

How Do Reindeer Fly?