I ran across David Behrens on a program called "Colour In Your Life." Color in Your Life originated in Australia and was conceived by Graeme Stevenson who is an artist in his own right.
David was one of the first people I saw on that show, and his style really intrigued me. It's an expressive style with bright, bold colors set against a black background. That doesn't stop him though. Looks like he'll paint on just about anything. He is very creative.
He says he feels an affinity with ancient symbols and uses real and made up symbols in his works of art. The works are abstract but also representational and expressive. I love the detail and the systematic nature in the creation of his art. He has created his own style.
His works are collected by people all over the world from Australia, the UK, Asia, and the United States.
The Colour In Your Life program on YouTube features Behrens and his art. I think you might find it interesting; I did.
His work is unique, and I love the bright colors and symbols he uses. He says that the process he uses is intuitive and just flows while he is creating his paintings. I like the way things flow with him.
Whatever the process, I love the results he gets.
If you want, you can visit him on any of his interweb venues.
I've been thinking about St Thomas today, so I thought I would include a little painting of the St Thomas Yacht Club today.
I like St Thomas, though you need to have a reasonably high level of discipline and perseverance to live on a tropical island. Everyday things on the island are just a little bit more difficult.
You can't let things get away from you. Eternal vigilance pays off.
And, every once in a while getting away is just the medicine the doctor ordered.
God, is it great to get away.
I get "State Side," as opposed to "The Territory," and everything is different. For one, when you get a drink in a bar, the glass is probably not half full of alcohol before they start pouring the mixer. There's a term for that on St Thomas. It's called a Stateside Pour. Yup, It's a thing. I think the reason is, mixers are more expensive than the booze there. So you've got to keep an eye on your liver.
When I make it back to the mainland, I experience a bit of culture shock. Here are a few signs I've been on the island a bit too long.
1. Road Side Confusion
Do you ever get confused what about what side of the road to drive on; I hope not. You should have that down pat, but traveling back and forth from St Thomas can throw me for a bit of a loop. On the island, you drive on the left, and the steering wheel is on the left side. It's not so bad once you get used to it, but your first couple of excursions in the car can force you to engage a few dormant brain cells. It's not insurmountable, but sometimes it gives you a little bit of an uneasy feeling pulling out of a parking lot. At least, in England, the steering wheel position is commensurate with the side of the road you travel on.
2. Wild Eyed Wonderment
As I wander through the aisles of the supermarket, I look like I've just come from the third world. Everything is so bright and shiny and so new and fresh. The shelves aren't half empty because some container ship didn't come in this week. In the island some days the market will have the bread you want and some days it won't. The very next thing I notice is a gallon of milk costs a ton less than eight dollars, a half pound of butter doesn't need a second mortgage, and if I can spot a nice loaf of bread and it can be scooped up for less than $10.00, I'm liable to swoon.
3. Friendly Faces
Stateside I smile all the time at bank tellers, supermarket cashiers, and other service people. The US is a service oriented country, and we do it well. If you've ever complained about customer service here on the mainland, stop right now. Service is so much better here. I would forgive you for qualifying the Continental United States as a different planet.
The worst service in Arizona is oodles better than average service on St Thomas.
There are some places on St. Thomas where the service is exceptional, but exceptional is indeed the exception, not the rule. At most places, you can hardly get the cashier to pay attention to their job if you can pry them away from their cell phones.
4. Trips Are Easy Man
Going to the store in Arizona or Ohio is as easy as falling off a log. I'll gladly go at the drop of a hat. I'll even volunteer with a smile as big as a kid with a humungous bowl of ice cream.
We plan every shopping trip on St Thomas like a military operation. We have to prepare to go to the right store for bread. Then, the butter is less expensive at that store. The fruit is better at the Fruit Bowl but sometimes more expensive. Do we have to get gas, because the station at Coki is thirty cents cheaper per gallon than the one in town? Can I stand to go to Pueblo this week or will Plaza Extra fill me with less angst, gloom, despair, agony, or depression? Which Drug Store (Chemist) will have what I need for my prescriptions? Do we need to pick up the mail? Is the mail center open at this time?
Friends are important. The people you know and you're comfortable around are few and far between. We've met a lot of tourists, and we used to try to get to know people, but they're here one day and gone the next. Building lasting relationships on the island is difficult. I did start to get to know some folks at the golf course, but Irma and Maria were jealous and put an end to that, and the golf course is not only closed and unkempt but up for sale. Got $42 million to invest?
I like being where my friends are. I guess that's the way with most people. I know it's like that with me.
I think this year is our last on St Thomas. Though I have enjoyed the experience, I'm ready to call it quits. We committed to living on the island for five years, and this is our eighth. I'll make the best of our time remaining, and I know I'll have fun, I always do. I'll lap up as much sunshine and salty air as I can, while I can, but then I will think of the Caribbean in the context of holidays rather than day after day.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a romp on the moon. I was thinking about the astronauts who went to the moon this week. Amongst them was the fourth man to walk on the moon, Alan Bean.
He retired from NASA in 1981 to pursue a career painting. I guess he figured he'd paint what he knew, so he spent the rest of his days blissfully painting that far away place he visited so long ago. I imagine he could have taken up just about anything but he decided on painting.
His paintings are unique.
First, there is no other painter in the world who has first hand experience with the landscape and feeling of being on the moon. He was there, he experienced it first hand and he passes that down to all of us in his paintings.
Second, because he was allowed to keep his space suit and other memorabilia like patches, he thought he would incorporate some of that moon dust he brought back in his paintings. He mixes the paint and adds a bit of magic from November 1969.
Third, he used his space boots, and the hammer used to sink the flag pole in the surface of the moon to add texture to his paintings.
If you look closely at this painting, Spirit of Apollo, you can see the textures he added with his space boots.
I suppose this was not exactly as he saw things 240 thousand miles from our front door, but it's exciting to see how he wanted to convey the experience.
We owe a lot to these adventurers who took that round trip to our little grey cousin in the sky. It's motivating to see such a guy take up painting and sharing his experience and his work. If you want to read a bit more about this painting, you can visit his website and read it in the artists own words. The Spirit of Apollo.
Alan Bean passed away last year and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on November 8, 2018. His funeral was marked with all the attendant flourishes you would expect for such a man.
Rest in Peace Alan, your work will continue to represent you long into the future.
You can visit Alan Bean on Wikipedia or his Website.
Now, you go out and make some art.
What happens when you are just born without fashion sense? I mean, look at this painting I did a few years back, it all fits. All the colors are in all the right places.
You’d think, having an artistic nature, I would be good at coordinating clothes and colors and getting myself looking smart, but the fact is that I am hopeless at putting an ensemble together that doesn’t look like I’ve been dumped off a turnip truck after a long day picking.
It is not that I don’t want to look good, because, as they say, if you look good you will feel good. That brain function just doesn’t work for me. I reach into the drawers and pull something out, and no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to get it right. I’ve even tried and look in the closet and pick something that would NOT go together. That doesn't work either.
Did you know that unless you match the right shade of blue with the right shade of blue, you will look like a blooming idiot? The problem is I have no clue what those blues may be.
On my sixtieth birthday, we had a little shindig at the homestead. In my closet was an array of clothes that, individually, were just perfect.
I picked a pair of shorts I liked. Then I pulled a nice linen shirt I wanted and put them on.
The problem is the pair of shorts I liked were not in love with the shirt I wanted. The lovely pink shirt ended up continuously bickering with the colorful tropical yellow shorts. I tried to keep them in order, but they just wouldn't listen to me. They just kept arguing and disagreeing with each other.
Eventually, Andrea chimed in to stop the argument, “Now, that’s enough! All three of you upstairs!” She said, "I’ll be up shortly to settle this argument once and for all."
Knowing who the boss really was, the yellow shorts and the pink shirt shut up immediately. Andrea has that way with clothes, she can order them to do just about anything. And they listen.
My wardrobe choice was driving me crazy. I was trying to figure out what I did wrong. I picked the clothes I loved. They were each wonderful in their own way. But the minute you put them in proximity to each other they clashed.
I remember picking out the clothes myself. You wouldn't believe it. They were trying to blame each other for the sorry situation we got ourselves into. I was only an innocent bystander in this clothes selection magnum opus.
When I went to pick out my clothes, it was like walking into a homeless shelter with a hundred dollar bill hanging out of my pocket. Everybody loved me.
While perusing the Attenborough collection, I saw lots of contenders.
I have many colorful shirts, but they’re long-sleeved shirts, and they didn't want to play on this warm summer's day.
One shirt, one exceptional shirt, jumped out and recommended itself. It said, “Scott, you know you like me. I’m that pink golf shirt that you like so well. Wouldn’t it be just the best thing in the world if you would wear me today? I know you like me best. Don't you?”
I thought, “Of course, I love you pink shirt, please come out and play today.”
What a fabulous choice; on went the shirt.
Rummaging through my drawers I saw one of my favorite pairs of shorts, the yellow shorts said, “It’s warm outside, I know that’s unusual for England, I’m a great pair of shorts, don’t you want to wear me. Pick me! Pick me!”
"Brilliant - I love you too," I said, and the shorts went on.
Both items were, in themselves beautiful clothes, fabulous clothes, they were clothes of considerable standing in my drawers and closet.
I should have known there might be problems when I lay the clothes across the bed, and they started to clash. They were both vying for world domination. Yellow is such a colorful color; it’s a vivid color; it’s a fabulous color. I said, “Pink, you are one on my favorite colors too.”
Eventually, Andrea came up the stairs and completely dismissed that the clothes were still arguing. I wasn't arguing. I wasn't to blame. But she said, "You silly, silly man. Do you see what you've done here? Don't you know those colors don't ever want to be together? Everybody could see they were arguing. Everybody could see you had no control over the clothes. Do you know how embarrassing that was?"
I looked down at my shoes, and kicked the carpet with my right foot gently and said, "I'm sorry, but it's not my fault. They chose me."
"Do you know how silly that sounds."
"Okay, let's see what else there is to wear."
In an instant, the clothing goddess arranged my recalcitrant wardrobe.
In the end, it was a lovely party. I loved every minute of it, even though my clothes tried to ruin the occasion.
So, if you see me around and I look like I've got it all together fashionwise, it's either a fluke or I've had some very good advice and direction. Probably the latter.
Until next week, I wish you clothing peace.
When I was growing up, I loved Leroy Neiman. I don't know if it was because of his flamboyant personality or the vivid colors in his paintings. He was, to me, one of a kind. He was pretty much the only modern era celebrity artist I knew about at the time, probably because he was always showing up on sports programs with his paintings.
His colorful paintings are iconic. To me, they represented the sports era of my childhood. He painted golf, football, baseball, The Olympics, and he even painted an album cover for the 5th Dimension. I remember seeing him on television a couple of times when I was a kid.
Neiman did his work in oil, enamel, watercolor, pencil drawings, pastels, serigraphy, and some lithographs and etching.
His paintings blast your senses with motion, strength, and color.
He wasn't a reclusive artist like Andy Warhol or Lucian Freud. I thought, wow, he's an artist and a celebrity.
There are still places you can see his work on the internet. If you want an original, you can expect to pay a few bucks. If I had the money, I'd be right there.
Check his work out on these excellent interweb sites
Leroy Neiman Website Leroy Neiman Foundation
Now go out and make some art!
I painted this about ten years ago in Arizona. I know it was about ten years ago because, a tiny bit more than ten years ago, just before we moved to Arizona, I had one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
This painting reminds me of the mysterious and my life has often been a mystery, even to me.
I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I spent some time cutting concrete and pumping gas. I thought being a Marine would be a nifty idea and the Marines is one of the best ideas I'd ever had, but that's another story altogether.
When I was young I had trouble choosing a direction. I couldn't figure out if I wanted to be a brain surgeon or a fry cook.
So, I drifted, and I dithered. I had dreams and inklings of what I wanted to do but never really went for it.
I've always been hesitant to go for it. You know, to go for it with everything you've got. What's wrong with going for something that you want to do. Well, it's pretty scary.
As a consequence, I think I've spent too much time thinking about doing things and living in my head. I've discovered that being out where the rubber meets the road, doing the things that you love to do, is so much better.
For a long time, I liked playing the guitar, and I dreamt of being in a rock and roll band. I never thought I would be good enough until, about ten years ago, I started hanging out with my friend Doug. We'd periodically get together in his basement to make music. Perhaps we only approximated music, but we had a lot of fun doing it.
We started telling friends what we were doing and how much fun we were having. Eventually, Jon, Wayne, Harold, and Kevin joined us. They may have known what they were doing, but I certainly hadn't a clue. All I knew was I was having fun and more fun than I'd had in a very long time. I loved getting together and making music with those guys.
Eventually, we went from playing in the basement to playing out at various places. I got such a thrill from that experience. If I could have glowed, I would have. It was relatively short-lived, but for that brief time, I had so much fun being a rock and roller.
Eventually, I moved away; the guys kept playing together, and, of course, they've been getting better all the time.
When I come back to Dayton, I look them up to see where they're playing. I love to go to their gigs and experience a bit of rock and roll vicariously through them.
I feel great that, at that time, I went for it.
Maybe, someday, I'll pick it up again. Maybe.
For now, though, I think I'll stick to writing these letters, and instead of picking up my guitar to play, I pick up my brushes today.
With any luck, I'll continue to get more creative, more proficient, and better able to express myself.
I hope you've found ways to express yourself. It feels so much better doing than just thinking about it.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
This guy's a one-man marketing dynamo. He calls himself the worlds greatest living artist. At least he's got a goal. He's prolific, and he does come up with some work that I like. His name is Jose Trujillo.
What I like most about this guy is his enthusiasm, initiative, and his willingness to "go for it."
He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He came to the United States with his parents when he was around nine years old. Kinda like me. I came to this country when I was nine years old with my parents too from that northern border!
Jose lives in Tucson, Arizona. Maybe I should take a little drive down there. I've got other friends there I've love to see.
His paintings are impressionistic and he says he wants to follow in the tradition of Monet and the Impressionists.
I follow Jose on YouTube. He puts out a video almost every single day. He is energetic and does his best to share his knowledge with anybody who will listen.
In this video he shares his background and why he does what he does. He is a full time working artist. That is a feat all unto itself. It takes guts and a willingness not to hide your light under a bushel. I admire his moxie.
If you ever lacked confidence. If you ever needed a kick in the backside to get going. You might want to look up Jose Trujillo and see how he does what he does.
You can find him at these fine internet outlets.
Iguanas are exotic creatures. They're in just about every nook and cranny on the island.
Iguanas remind me of hanging out at the beach. They can show up just about anywhere.
They look like fierce creatures. You might even think they're dangerous, but they're not. I wouldn't say I'm afraid of iguanas, but I do prefer to give them a little distance.
I do, however, have another phobia. It's a fear that has to do with humans; a particular type of human.
Like lots of people, I hate going to the dentist. I avoid going to see anyone until it's absolutely necessary. I know it's wrong, but I'm guilty.
I equate the dentist with pain. I'm either in pain when I go to the office, when I'm in there, or when I leave. It's all pain.
I've been told I grind my teeth at night. I wouldn't recommend it if you want any kind of longevity out of your pearly whites. Over the years the constant pressure can end up putting cracks in your teeth. It wears them down.
It doesn't help that I like eating lovely crunchy things like nuts, ice, hard candy.
A couple of years ago my grinding and abuse cracked one of my teeth, and it got infected.
I had to find a dentist on St. Thomas. I hadn't even located a barber let alone a dentist.
Either I'd get it taken care of, or I'd have to suffer the fever, and pain that came with my cracked tooth like some demented bonus, indefinitely.
Pain killers weren't touching the lightning bolts generated in my mouth, firing through my eyeball, and escaping out my right temple. It was seriously destroying my island serenity.
I got right to it. I looked up a few dentists online and came up with a list, and a three-pronged strategy.
First, I had to understand the receptionist. I have real trouble understanding people on the island sometimes, and I didn't want any lack of communication where there's pain involved.
Second, after leaping over hurdle number one, the dentist had to be busy enough he couldn't see me immediately. If the dentist was too busy and couldn't see me right away, they were in high demand. If they were in high demand, they were good. Pretzel logic, I know, but I was in pain.
Third, being too busy to see me, maybe they could recommend a dentist who could. A good dentist wouldn't want to ruin his reputation by referring me to a bad dentist. So, if that dentist were too busy to see me, he would recommend someone good who would.
I got lucky! The first dentist I called passed test number one with flying colors. The receptionist was friendly, courteous, and best of all, understandable.
They passed the busy test too. The doctor couldn't see me right away, but he might be able to fit me in tomorrow. Bingo!
I made the appointment right away and was sure to show up on time.
When the doctor did the exam, he found the job required some heavy lifting he couldn't do. He'd have to refer me to an oral surgeon.
Surgeon?! Yikes! Holy Moley!
Finding decent bread on the island is difficult at the best of times. For heaven's sake, fresh vegetables are hard to come by. From what magic hat are they going to pull this mythical animal called an oral surgeon?
I had visions of being medivacked.
I'm happy to say the dentist had contacts. He knew of an oral surgeon only 15 minutes away. He called up and got me right in. I hoped it was one professional doing a favor for another expert. I didn't want to think the oral surgeons were hanging out at Floyds Barber Shop playing checkers just waiting for customers.
He told me the oral surgeon was excellent, so I got in the car and drove over the hill to my savior's office.
When I got in the waiting room, things got a bit blurry.
I remember some irritating and inconsiderate people. For some reason, they assumed it was okay to play videos with the volume up on their smartphones for entertainment. It was like they thought everybody should listen.
I remember getting into the dentist's chair.
I remember getting a shot of Novocain that felt like it penetrated my optic nerve. It numbed my entire throat. I felt like I had to swallow continually. Then, I felt like I had to cough. Then I felt like I couldn't breathe. Gasp.
Was I going to die in this freaking dentist's chair?
The doctor came back it to see if the numbing agent had done its job, and I was apoplectic. He told me to calm down. He said it was normal. I said that his normal felt like crap. He dismissed me like I was a petulant child. (I probably was).
He got to work with his jackhammers, hammers, and chisels. He pulled out several things I'm sure I saw in my studies of the Spanish Inquisition.
I thought to myself, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" Thank you Monty Python.
If they were questioning me, I would have confessed right away. I've seen Marathon Man. I know what happens. But I had nothing to confess. I'd have to make something up quick.
After much tugging and prying and digging out of tooth parts, the carnage was over.
The only thing left was a bruise on my chest from his knee.
I staggered on my way with a suitcase full of Vicodin and a bunch of gauze in my mouth.
All I wanted to do was sleep for three days. I think I did just that. The problem was solved, but at what cost?
It was a very stressful time on the island.
Last week, when I lost a crown. It fell off in my mouth, and my eyes bulged to the size of grapefruits. I waited for the lightning bolts behind my eye; the stabbing pain in the temple.
My previous dental trauma flashed in front of my eyes.
Luckily, there was no pain.
I did feel an extreme desire to wait for help until I got back to Dayton.
When I got here I went to my friend Dan is a dentist. I shyly went to him and said, "Can I come to see you in your office? I think I have a problem."
He said, "Of course."
I was delighted he said yes. There's no gnashing of teeth. It's all in the bag.
I have not regretted my decision to wait to come to Dayton. It was the right choice.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Peter Dranitsin is an abstract artist who lives and works out of North Royalston, Ohio. That's way up there close to Akron and Cleveland.
Okay, I'll have to admit, and I just learned this, this artist is a Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine. He did a combat tour in Iraq. He's a brother - Semper Fi!
It's nice to see a Marine with an "Artsy Side."
I like Peter's art. It has vibrant colors and themes. He has a style that I have tried to replicate at times but it difficult to make it look good.
He uses a lot of free-forms and colors. I can usually see some technique or other I'd like to try every time I see one of his videos. I took a couple of his tutorial courses many years ago trying to get a handle on how to do it.
You can see him in the process of painting this one on YouTube. I've watched a lot of his videos trying to decode the process. I keep trying.
I have to say that it looks much easier than it actually is. Pete uses sponges, spatulas, cling film, and other unusual materials to make his artwork.
He also creates digital art in the form of Logos that he sells on his website.
You should give him a look at these most excellent venues.
If you're me, sometimes life runs right up and bites you in the backside. Something like that happened last Saturday night. It was payback time.
We went out on Friday night. Friday is the day we decide to get off our backsides and escape into the wilds of St Thomas for an evening. It takes strong external motivation to head beyond the walls of your hermit(ish) existence.
Last Friday brought some external motivation. We met a colleague of mine for dinner. Well, I might say he is a colleague and a patron as well. You see Phil and Bonnie Jacobs bought one of my paintings of St John (see painting above).
They retired and moved to Kentucky, near Louisville, with acres and acres of land, five horses and a whole passel of other critters.
Fast forward a few years, and we moved down to St. Thomas. He may have been a bit envious of our move, but he has a great life where he is too. He loves to visit the islands and this year he came to our island. Yay.
Hurricane Irma devastated this place, and there's still a lot of damage around, but repairs are ongoing. Some places, like Fresh Bistro, survived the onslaught of the storm better than others. Fresh is in full swing. The restaurant has good eats and friendly service, and, I must say, they make killer mojitos.
We had a lovely evening and want to thank them for looking us up and taking the time to see us while they were in town. Meeting up with old friends is one of my favorite things to do.
When we came home, we settled in for what we hoped was going to be a relaxing and pleasurable weekend - until Saturday.
Saturday is often referred to by people in the travel business here on St Thomas as "changeover day." It's the time when the sad, sunburned, waterlogged, and detox-ready visitors take their big silver birds home, making room for a new crop of mainlanders whose livers, libidos, and psyches are ready for a tropical makeover. For many, that includes a lot of sun, sea, and relaxation. Others take it up a notch with rum-runners and loud music.
Saturday, for us, brought us a relaxing walk on Magens Bay Beach. It started to rain a bit, so we hopped in the car and boogied on down the road to our house about a mile and a half up the Peterborg peninsula.
When we got home, we decided to kick back and have a cocktail or two and some dinner.
Unfortunately, one of the newest crop was Loki.
Do you know Loki?
Loki is a Norse god, like Odin, Thor, Tyr and that lot, but he's not a nice guy. He's one of those troublesome gods. This guy, who can be a woman too, likes to stir the pot. He is a shapeshifter that doesn't play by the rules and will put a monkey wrench into any good times.
Sometimes they call him a "Trickster." I call him annoying.
We live next door to a rental property that runs $22K per week. I guess if you pay that much you want to let your hair down a bit. But this guy, Loki, when he let his hair down, it covered the earth around him. He had more hair to let down than Rapunzel.
Actually, he was a short, stocky, middle-aged, balding, investment banking party animal from Philadelphia in a tropical blue Hawaiian shirt - and he was the owner - ugh. As he puts it, "I like to party, man."
As we were in mid-chill, we heard a cacophony from the house next door. Just imagine Led Zepplin, AC-DC, and Guns-n-Roses turned their amps up full blast, pointed the speakers at your home, and let it rip.
Well, that puts it a bit mildly.
We yelled a couple of times to ask him to turn down the music. He didn't hear the neighbors above us, or us, screaming, "Turn the F^@*ing Music Down!" So, I strapped on my indignation, slipped on my flip flops, and stomped down in the rain through the open gate to find the culprit.
When I got inside the compound, my jaw dropped at the opulence. There were marble floors, glass walls, Greek columns, and a fountain behind the pool that must have been dripping champagne. I thought I was in Shangri-La.
I found Loki and sidled up to him. "Hi," I said, "My name is Scott. I live next door."
"Hi Scott, how can I help you?" Actually, it sounded like "Hey schlotz cn I hepz-ya?" He was clearly well on his way to funky town.
"Dude! Can you please turn the music down or at least turn the speakers off that point at our house?" I said.
"Sure, man, no problem, come on in, can I offer you a drink? You say you live next door. Do you know Ken? I know Ken. I've tried to buy that house off him a hundred times. He keeps turning me down. Can you talk to him for me?"
"Sorry, no, I don't know Ken."
"You know, I spent $11 million on this place, and when I visit I like to party, you know? I like to party. I'm a party guy. Did I tell you I have 700 rental properties all over the world?"
"I understand (I didn't), but do you need to music quite so loud?"
"Here, let's go in here." By here, he meant his sound room, yes sound room, off of his glass-walled bedroom looking over Magens Bay. "Here it is. I think this is the right knob. Let's see if this works."
"Is that better?"
"Well, the walls are still shaking, can you crank it down a little more, so the earth will stop liquifying."
"You know, I come here every once in a while, and when I'm here, I like to party. I like to get along with everybody. I'm a party guy."
"No problem, I understand, can you please not shake the foundations of our house while you get your party thing going, though?"
My bitching was going nowhere, we didn't have anyplace to turn, and I was sure Loki honestly didn't care.
When I came out of his room, I saw Andrea talking to his wife who was acting clueless. She couldn't understand why we thought it was so loud. "Oh, you'll have to talk to Loki," she said. "He runs everything here. Don't worry; it'll calm down soon enough."
Anyway, we had said our piece, and he had made a small concession. Not nearly enough but I was tired of pushing the point. We scampered home, tails between our legs, shut the windows, turned on the air-conditioner, and watched the television on the other side of the building.
Sunday, more of the same. It started at about 2:30 in the afternoon - not quite as loud but I could still hear it in my marrow. We huddled around the television for a while, wore our noise-canceling headphones, and then went out for a walk. When we got home, I turned our music on to drown out his music.
I was so conflicted because I liked the music he was playing. It was a mixture of the 60s and 70s rock and roll that you can get your toe tapping and your head banging. (Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh, The Eagles, and many more.) It was the thought he was playing the music loud to spite us which infuriated me.
Tuesday evening Loki came knocking at the door and said, "We're going to have a little party tonight. We have a chef coming in and a bunch of friends; and you know I like to party. We promise to have the music down by 9:30. Then tomorrow we're out on a boat and Thursday we're most likely leaving. I hope that's okay; and you know I like to party. But we'll have it down by 9:30 at the latest." Hilariously, the loud music never manifested.
The fact that he came over and warned me or discussed it with me made me feel a whole lot better. He was at least trying to consider us. He wasn't an ass for the sake of being an ass. I didn't feel so much like he was violating my space anymore.
Earlier, I mentioned it was payback time. Here's why.
When I was 17 or 18 years old, I wasn't the fine upstanding citizen you see before you today. I was a bit of an angsty, self-absorbed teen. I think we all were. Didn't you think the world revolved around you?
Anyway, in 1977 or thereabouts I was playing some Jimi Hendrix on my parent's cool-ass stereo. My dad was an electronics engineer, and he built our entire stereo system, from scratch, which my mom got in the divorce. Lucky me cause she got me too.
Dad's stereo was terrific. You could break eardrums with that thing. Unfortunately, we lived in a quiet, smallish condo in Los Altos with paper-thin walls. Our neighbor (I can't remember his name) was a retired man and his wife. The poor guy came over to ask me to turn down the music. Oh no, not Jimi. You can't turn down Jimi! I gave him a few choice words and slammed the door in his face. I'm sure he was dumbfounded and bereft.
I caught hell from my mom later on that evening. She was a good one for giving hell. Suffice it to say; I had to go and apologize and never played the stereo that loud again.
Now, fast forward about forty or so years and as they say. Payback is, shall we say, a bitter and painful pill to swallow.
So, when you least expect it. Your past might jump up and bite you. If it does, grit your teeth, take a big breath and be thankful you weren't an even more horrible child than you in fact were.
I am grateful for all the lessons in my life. I might not like them, but I am thankful.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
I've been following Lori McNee for a long time. She's one of the first artists I came across on the internet.
Lori lives in Central Idaho, but one day in 2012 she came out to St Thomas.
Here she is doing a bit of plein air painting at the Ritz on St. Thomas.
Lori paints great landscapes but what I especially like are the bird paintings she does. What she calls her still life paintings are more quasi-still life because they all have some bird or other in the picture, and, of course, they are alive.
Lori has written for numerous magazines like Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, The Artist's Magazine, and her blog, Fine Art Tips. She was an early adopter of blogging and social media, and it has served her well.
If you'd like to read more about Lori McNee to learn a bit about what makes her tick this article is a good read, Lori McNee-From Duck Stamps to Monet’s Garden.
I like reading her blog too, but you can find her in these exciting places across the interweb.
Practice can mean a couple of things.
You can practice something to get better, or you make something your practice to do something. You make it your habit. It's how you apply your time.
As in - it is my practice to take a walk every day.
Doctors have a "practice." That doesn't mean that they're still working the kinks out. They make medicine their practice. They apply their medical knowledge and skills to healing others.
Lawyers practice the law. They apply their legal expertise to a particular area of the law in service to others.
To be good at anything you have to make it your practice to do that thing. It has to be a habit. It's not just practicing as in rehearsing for a game, but the practice is the game.
I played golf a few weeks ago with my friends Jan and Brian in Arizona. I hadn't played a lot this year.
Because I hadn't played much, I wasn't very confident. I'd miss a lot of shots I should have made. I duffed way more shots than I should have.
I know when I play more, I play more confidently, and I play better.
It's quite stressful trying to hit over a water hazard when you have no clue where the ball's going to end up. Stress will give you the yips, or you could miss the ball entirely. But if you play a lot, and you've hit tons of shots over the water, you expect it to work.
I did have a great time. However, if I had made it my practice to go to play golf every day (or even a couple of times a week, or at least go to the driving range), I would have played much better.
I want to get better at drawing and writing, so I have built a practice of showing up to write and draw every week.
You see, I love making things. Publishing them here gives me the incentive.
I'm grateful you read, and I maybe get something out of it sometimes too.
I want to make you smile, I want to make you think, and sometimes, I only want to divert your attention from all the yuckiness out there and make your day better.
I want to make it my practice to make your life just a touch better from time to time.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
I've been following this guy on Instagram and I love his work. He specialized in multimedia portraits. His name is George Papadakis.
His portraits of athletes are very popular. The portrait he's standing next to here is of a pole vaulter called Sandi Morris.
Here is a portrait he did of Tiger Woods.
These are places you can find her on the internet.
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YouTube Twitter Website
I'm not always crabby. Maybe it seems that way sometimes.
Last weekend I saw these little, teeny, tiny Fiddler Crabs on the beach. Most of them were no larger than a thumbnail. They don't get big at all.
They're called Fiddler Crabs because have one dominant claw that can remind you of a violin. They use that claw for digging, and a waving mating ritual — the crab with the most prominent claw and the best wave wins. It means they will be great providers. Then can dig the best and safest burrows. A perfect place to raise their young.
Their big ole claw is their Valentine card!
Every species has its rituals. Rams butt heads, giraffes bang heads, frogs croak, and have you ever seen a peacock. Now, that's a display.
I suppose we humans have Valentines Day. But we're far more sophisticated than that, aren't we?
We're so far beyond comparing claws.
This year I'll think of you fondly on Valentine's Day. I hope you have all the love you need in your life and more.
Rick, I remember you with love on your birthday. Happy Birthday Rick!
I'll remember all those I love, and I wish them well.
I've never been very good at sending cards. I'm still not very good at it at all.
If you ever thought I shunned you on Valentines Day because you didn't get a card, I'm sorry. I apologize unreservedly.
This week, I'll send lovin' vibes out your way.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
I was introduced to this week's artist's work about six months ago by Clint Goodwin, one of my weekly readers. Clint is an award-winning author who writes historic fiction looking through the eyes of a cavalry horse. Very creative.
This week's artist is Caroline Towning. She is a great equine artist based out of London.
Originally from Yorkshire (near Harrogate), she's been around horses all her life. She said she was taught to ride even before she could talk properly.
She went on to University in Hertfordshire where she studied Digital Art, then went on to work at an animation studio. She worked long hours and there was a lot of pressure. Finally, she got a bit burned out.
In 2015 she decided to follow her dream and become a full-time artist and painter. She bought an easel and paints and got started.
She paints portraits and horses and wants you to feel the horse's breath on your neck. Actually, she says she wants you to feel like the horse is in the room with you.
I think she's got something there. I'm happy to present her to you today.
Here are the places you can find her on the internet.
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Go out and make some art!
This little drawing kinda says it all about today. A surly peacock. Why do they always look angry?
Let me tell you that living on an island like St. Thomas isn't all butterflies, flowers, sand, seas, and rum punch.
Practical things need to be done. Sometimes that involves other people. Today it was the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
If you engage with any government agency, anywhere, you need to have patience.
When you're dealing with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles on St Thomas, you need to store up bucketloads of patience, a smidgen of perseverance, and a hip-flask full of whiskey (or rum) before you stand in line.
Here's what the Virgin Islands BMV says its vision is:
"Our vision is to establish a model of Bureau of Motor Vehicles administration that is comparable to any jurisdiction."
Well, that's high falutin.
Okay - let me compare the VI Bureau of Motor Vehicles with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
I've recently had the honor of using the "services" in both places, so I think I have a pretty good perspective.
First, because the ADOT website is clear, I knew I would need an emissions test, I went down to the ADOT - Emissions Testing Facility. I pulled into the line and waited my turn. I think there were about three cars in front of me.
When I got to the testing station, a youngish guy asked me to take a seat while he put the car through its paces. I sat for about five minutes as the machines whirred. I watched the flashing lights, graphs, and readouts of the magical electronic evaluation system do their job. I paid about seventeen dollars and walked away with my certificate of squeaky cleanness.
I then drove about 1/4 mile to the BMV office. I walked through the door and went to a well-signed table that said, "Information." I went to that table, and a friendly person said, "Sir, you need to stand in the green line," as they pointed to a green line on the floor.
"Ah, thank you very much," I said. I can understand green, and I know what a line is. Perfect.
I waited in the green line for about 10-15 minutes. The line was pretty long, but they seemed to be working through customers systematically and efficiently.
When it was my turn, I sat in front of a young lady who helped me through the process of transferring the title of my father's car into my name and registering the vehicle. The whole process, start to finish, including vehicle emissions testing and travel time, took between thirty and forty minutes tops.
I walked out with a brand new title and registration with time left over for a beer.
St Thomas on the other hand was, shall I say, a little bit different.
We've done this several times before, so I thought we had it covered.
We took the old jalopy up over the hill from Magens Bay, through Charlotte Amalie and down to the Department of motor vehicles. We got there about 11:30, and I proudly pulled into the inspection area. The guy didn't even turn around. I could have run him over.
He eventually came to the car window and asked for the registration document.
Okay, I didn't understand him first. It sounded something like "I've got cotton balls in my mouth because I'm trying out for the Marlon Brando's role in The Godfather. So I probably can't articulate the words necessary to communicate. Please interpret my mumbles as - pass me the registration, my good man."
How we discovered it was the registration he wanted is beyond me. We just handed him every scrap of paper we had on hand, and he pointed at the right one.
Then he walked to the front of the car and said - "Turn on the lights, OK, Left Signal, OK, Right Signal, OK, Horn, Beep, OK." Enough with the front of the car, he went to the rear of the car and said, "Brakes, OK, Left Signal, OK, Right Signal, OK, Reverse, OK.." He stamped his seal of approval on the registration and gave us a slip of paper.
Then, again, he did his best Marlon Brando impression and told us to back across town to a building by "The Fort." I knew where "The Fort" was but had no clue what he was talking about. I was afraid to ask for more directions because I didn't want him to make me an offer I couldn't refuse.
The stamped piece of paper in hand, we hared off back across town, for what purpose we were still not sure, to that non-descript government building near "The Fort." We still didn't know why we were going, but we went anyway.
There was some debate as to whether it was before or after "The Fort" and in what proximity it was to "The Fort." So we headed instinctively to someplace close to the Police Department.
Andrea said, in her determined authoritative voice, "I've got this."
She stoically wandered into the government building, and was immediately x-rayed and had her phone confiscated. I'm sure, just when she thought she would never see the light of day again, she emerged unscathed, bewildered, but proudly clutching the now twice stamped document. We took our pirates treasure, loaded up the Jeep, and made our way back across town.
She discovered, only by chance, they had to check if there were any warrants, violations, or funny pictures of us on the internet.
When we got back across town to the BMV there are no instructions as to what to do or where to go; people were just milling around aimlessly. We had to ask one of the customers what the first steps were. I couldn't see the process/directions posted anywhere. Finally, we co-milled around with people who looked like they were all going in one direction. It was like that Apple Commercial in 1984.
It took about ten minutes to turn the paperwork into an incomprehensible void. It could have been from a science fiction movie. The woman at the counter logged our information into her mysterious master log book and gave us a number.
Our number was 109. Then we heard a disembodied voice say, "Number 87, come to window number three." Yup - we're in for the long haul.
I have to say; there was no rhyme or reason for the order they were calling numbers. By the time we thought they would be coming to number 109 they jumped and called number 110, then 111, then 108, and again called number 87. There is no way to tell how long we'd have to wait.
It was close to 2:20 pm before we heard our magic number. They closed at 2:30 pm today.
We had a small party before lodging ourselves firmly in front of window number #2. We were able to get away with paying only $180 for the entertainment we enjoyed at the VI BMV today.
I would say this BMV is the most inefficient and shoddily run organization on the island, but I fear there are a lot of places here that fit that bill.
On the bright side
I always enjoy visiting Old San Juan. It has a beautiful historical Spanish Caribbean feel.
There are plenty of wonderful places to visit in the old town. We've visited Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro (old colonial fortresses on the north coast) several times.
There is something about sitting down for a cold Magna beer just down the street from Parque de las Palomas after several hours of wandering the streets of San Juan that can send me into an otherworldly state of mind.
I love to wander the streets of the old city looking for local art. I love local art that has a soul. I don't like things that look like sweatshop knockoffs from a third world country.
If you enter the city from the centuries-old Puerta de San Juan, you will find yourself wandering, like many weary travelers, up Caleta de San Juan towards the Cathedral.
Just before the Cathedral Plaza, when the church is coming into plain view, look to your left. You will find a small shop on the left-hand side called Tres Mujeres at 63 Caleta de San Juan.
This little shop is a cooperative run by, and you might guess if you spoke Spanish, Three Women.
This little shop displays the talent of three local women: Ceramics is the department of Yelin Vivoni, Enid Silvestry is in charge of textiles, and the paintings are brought to you by Dafne Elvira.
The artists themselves staff the shop so you're bound to meet up with one of them when you're there. This week we were able to chat for a little while with Enid Silvestry.
I really enjoyed looking through their shop. If you every get to Old San Juan wander up from the Old Gate and take a peak in their shop.
Go out and make some art!
A polar vortex has invaded and seems to be turning everybody in the northern hemisphere into popsicles.
And I'm petitioning for warmth for everybody. Not in a bad world-ending Global Warming kind of a way but a kind please give 'em all a break way.
I hate the cold. I really, really hate the cold. When I heard about this frozen invader, I counted my blessings.
In England, the arctic blast shut airports, snaffled roads, and brought commuters to a standstill.
Wisconsin, I heard from Holly, is colder than Antarctica (okay - it is summer in Antartica but still...)
A snow plow driver died in Germany when his vehicle fell into an icy river.
In Moscow, it's always mind-numbingly cold in the dead of winter, I've seen the movies.
Things are looking up though.
This weekend promises some warmer air will be pushing its way northward.
And, of course, on Saturday, it's Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil has our meteorologic future in his grubby little paws.
February 2nd is when Americans set their hopes for warmth on a poor relation to beavers and squirrels. Groundhogs / Woodchucks (same thing) don't even have a cool tail like a beaver or a squirrel.
Remember the tongue-twister, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?"
No, Well, nowhere in that little ditty does it mention the weather.
Groundhog Day is just like all human celebrations. It's time to make merry and send cards to each other. Oh - sorry, that's Valentines Day. Or maybe it's Christmas.
Nevertheless, we all like a little celebration every once in a while, don't we? I do.
So, let's celebrate anyway, spring never comes along soon enough. And people have to conjure up some hope to get through the rest of the winter.
It doesn't matter if Phil says sees his shadow or doesn't see his shadow, officially, winter won't come to a close until March 20th at the Spring Equinox. That's at least six weeks away.
But bring on the buck-toothed prognosticator:
Have at it, Phil of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. I'm anxiously waiting on your prediction. Give everybody some hope, will ya?!
Until next week, I wish you warmth and peace too.
This week I bring you, Timmy Ham. Sloth used to be his "tag" name, but Sloth is now a thriving art business.
He has commissions from large companies like Logitech. He seems to always be on the move and creating something.
Part of his artwork is digital, and part of it is physical. I like how he bridges the divide. His style is all his own. He began as a graffiti artist and still does a lot of his work with spray cans.
His company produces t-shirts, caps and other merchandise (merch as he calls it). I love a lot of the innovative things he does to get noticed.
He sometimes does free art drops in and around the Phoenix area. A free art drop is where he'll put some piece of art wrapped in a parking lot or some other public area. He'll tweet the location so people can come and pick it up. I think it's a fun concept.
He'll do larger than life murals or produce an original work on a pair of Van's for you.
He has been a prolific YouTuber and has a large following.
I like his art and his drive. He's a young guy on a mission.
See him at these places on the internet:
Flowers remind me of a peaceful existence. They are at one with nature. I drew a little abstract flower this week to remind myself what peace there is all around us if we only notice.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” King James Bible, Matthew 6:28-29
I needed the reminder because I spent the better part of an hour and a half yesterday on the phone. It wasn't productive phone time. It was a useless interaction with several automated attendants that caused my blood to boil.
I'm sure this is nothing new to you. Each of us has, at one time or another, submitted ourselves to the ignominy of the automated phone attendant.
Your Call Is Important To Us
Whenever I hear, "Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line, and your call will be answered in the order it was received." I picture myself being put in the hopper of a meat grinder until I come out the other end as the mushy remnants of what I used to be - a strong, confident soul. I know, without a doubt, that my call is NOT important to them and that I have become sausage.
I'm a number in a queue. I've become a statistic in a clickity-clack number-crunching system that depends on my compliance. As Pink Floyd would have said "Another Brick In The Wall."
Please Listen Carefully
Who's kidding whom, when they say, "Please listen carefully to the menu because our options have changed." Bullshit, your options haven't changed since Galileo was jailed for telling people the earth was round and rotated around the sun.
So, why are they lying to me? Oh yeah, they don't want me to hit zero to get to an operator/a helper/a real person. That would cost them money.
Please Anwer A Few Questions
There is the point at which they pile insult onto injury. After prompting me to enter my account information, my security pin, the name of my first pet, my mother's maiden name, a bottle of scotch, and the color of the underwear I'm sporting today, they have the gall to ask for the information again when I get on the phone with a representative. It's like the first interaction never took place.
The Next Available Professional
Companies say they're using an automated attendant to better route your call to the next "professional" who can best serve their bottom line, oops. I mean to serve you. What they're saying is, "To better serve you, please tell us how we can help:
I Apologize For Your Wait
If you finally get the "next professional" on the line, they've been trained to defuse your irritation and their disinterest with feigned minion-like profuse apologies for your wait, though it was probably because they relieved themselves in the bathroom while you were waiting. The representative answers with such self-effacing kowtowing that's just embarrassing enough to assuage your anger. You might even feel like apologizing for putting them in the unenviable position of lying prostrate at your feet. Me I'd rather kick 'em.
The Service Cost Center
Your call is NOT important to them. Your call has become a disturbance; it has become a bother, a nuisance, your request is now a line item in an income statement to show investors how efficient they are. Most companies count customer support as a cost to be slashed rather than a service that can be provided to bolster loyalty.
Unusually High Call Volume
"Unusually high call volume," my ass. Okay, when you're experiencing unusually high call volume every day for three and a half weeks in a row, can we still call it unusual?
It's time to start calling it what it is: bad management, ignorance, and disinterest.
Proper Customer Support
A long time ago I worked in customer support, on the telephone for eight hours a day, for the better part of five years. I learned a bit about customer service during that time. I learned about talk-time and ASA (Average Speed of Answer).
It was crucial we took each customer request seriously, and to make sure we answered each call quickly and to the best of our ability. We were measured on how well we resolved the issue rather than how long we spent on the phone. When ASA went up, we hired more people. When questions went unanswered, there was additional training.
That was proper customer service.
I have concluded, without a doubt, and you can quote me here:
"Automated Attendants are tools of the devil designed to impersonalize, denigrate, create confusion, promote inefficiency, and dash the unsuspecting human heart against the rocky shores of incompetence and disinterest. They allow a company to disguise their apathy and tell the most blatant lies. "
There, I've said it.
I feel much better now.
Until next week, I wish you peace.
Last weekend we spent some time on Magen's Bay Beach. It's been rated one of the top ten beaches in the world.
The reason I bring it up is we found a budding little artist on the beach. He was a bit young for me to plaster a photo of him on the internet. So, we'll let him be anonymous. I think he was about 10 years old. Let's call him Young Jake. I like the name, Young Jake.
This prolific little sand artist was impressive. At about ten years old I was still drawing stick figures, and my sandcastles looked like the buckets they came from - maybe.
Here is some of the work Young Jake left on the beach.
I love that he was out in the open making work for everybody to see and enjoy.
I'll bet he just thought he was playing. He worked diligently on his creations and always kept his attention on the task.
I think this kid might have a great future in the art world.
Sorry, he has no web locations.
Go out and make some art!
Everybody seems to have a smartphone nowadays. I think I've seen six-year-olds with smartphones.
Okay, I know not everybody has a smartphone (Brian, Peter, and Frederick you know who you are - though I know Frederick has a super cool real camera). I imagine if you're in my little artsy update audience you might have a smartphone, which has a camera.
It's funny how we still call them phones. They're more like a mini-computer that happen to make phone calls.
Though my smartphone camera does a pretty good job at almost everything like panoramas, videos, timelapse, slo-mo, zooms-in and out, I'm looking for a better camera because I like taking pictures and some things about my iPhone camera frustrate me.
Because I have a camera on me almost all the time, it's changed how I live my life, at least how I remember my life.
I've taken somewhere in the neighborhood of six billion (exact number about 16K) photographs with my phone.
I try to keep a diary of the things that I do from day to day by writing down things that happen during the day. Some days I write more than others. I wish I did it every day, but I don't.
I use a program called Evernote for my diary. For each entry, I add a couple of photos to the mix.
I use the photos as a reminder, as a touchstone for future reference. When I go back over my journal, as I often do, the pictures help me remember where I was and what I was doing.
As I ride that highway to addle-mindedness, I'll need all the help I can get.
A fancy new camera might help me take better quality photos but do I need that for the way I use the images?
Maybe a new camera can help me document my trek on the Appalachian Trail.
I've seen a lot of great videos from hikers on the trail, though I haven't seen any videos from a sexagenarian. I know there has to be some of us out there.
I've personally met people in their seventies on the trail. So it can be done.
But do I really want to have to carry a separate camera around? It's all about weight when you're "carrying a wardrobe on your back", as Bill Bryson mentioned in his book, A Walk In The Woods.
I think, for now, I'll stick with my iPhone and the camera that comes with it.
It does the job. I don't think I need a better one right now.
Right, now that I've come full circle and I've cleared that up for myself ...
Until we meet again, I wish you peace.
Let me introduce you to Gwenn Seemel.
She is a prolific artist and frequent YouTuber.
I love that she posts her videos in both French and English. I listen to the English version. Then I switch to the French version to see how much I can understand.
She has, what I think, is a unique style I like very much. Of course, I like it, I don't include anything I don't like - not yet anyway.
In her YouTube videos, she often explains her process and how the art market works for independent artists. Most of her videos talk about some part of the struggle of being an independent, full-time artist.
I find many of her videos insightful and helpful as I try to navigate how the art market works. I think you will like her artwork. I do.
You can find her online by clicking below.
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Sometimes I need a bit of motivation.
I need a bit of a boot up the backside.
Let's call my metaphorical boot - gratitude.
Life sometimes throws some horrible things at you. Atrocious stuff like somebody I had to fire yesterday and the emotional blowup/fallout everyone had to endure afterward around me.
There was the passing of my extraordinary father — what a great dad.
Sometimes I get in a funk, and I'm my own worst enemy.
These things are all part of life.
Then there are things like getting together with my friend Dale yesterday, whom I hadn't seen in years.
I got to play golf twice this week.
I got to spend two weeks with some good friends visiting from England.
So many things come my way unexpectedly and at just the right moment.
It's difficult to see how anybody could have planned my journey.
Let me tell you a little story.
When I was about 14 years old during the Age of Aquarius, when the moon was in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligned with Mars, my mother, God bless her, went out to an astrologist, probably after one too many Screwdrivers, to get a reading done on her number one son (and possibly his brother as well). What do the stars hold for their future? Where will they end up?
In that report were charts and graphs in triplicate (everything was done in triplicate in the 1970s, or it wasn't done at all). There were hieroglyphs, petroglyphs, moons, stars, and constellations rising and waning planets. It was more detailed than a D-Day battle plan with arrows, and cliches, ships, guns, and even euphemisms. It had all the trappings of a big ole “You bet your sweet bippy,” astrological report. It had lots of stuff in it, that to this day, I don't understand or even believe.
I was quite an insecure young man.
Fast forward about forty-five years and the predictions made in that forecast have been eerily accurate.
Honestly, I do think astrology is a lot of malarky. Maybe that report planted some seeds in my head to give me confidence and provide some kind of assurance that things would be okay.
Without getting all mystical and freaky, I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been placed on the planet where I was, in the right family, at the time, and in the body/mind, I occupy.
So, when I feel like crawling into bed with a bottle of whiskey and a wet blanket, I pull out my metaphorical boot, and I apply that boot generously to my backside.
Life - it's all we got, we gotta be grateful.
Until next week - I wish you peace.
This weekend we took a trip up to Prescott, AZ. Prescott has a beautiful downtown area. There were two places I visited that were particularly interesting.
The first was an outdoors outlet that sold all kinds of gear for the trail. Then, on our way in to have a beer at the famous Hotel St Michael on the corner of Gurley Street and Whiskey Row. Guests of the Hotel St. Michael have included great icons of the old west like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. Teddy Roosevelt and Zane Gray also stayed there. It has a real old time feel to it.
The complex that houses the hotel (110 S Montezuma St) houses the studio and gallery of Scot A. Weir. Scot's paintings captured my attention immediately and drew me into the shop. When I interrupted him, he was working on a canvas and talking with potential customers as they wandered in and out of the shop.
Scot was indulgent and humored me while I peppered him with questions. Far too many to put down on this little article. I didn't get hardly enough time to talk to him. I was with friends and I was summoned to move on. I'm sure he's glad they hurried me along.
Scot just recently moved to Prescott from Wyoming. His style of artwork fits the old west. His landscapes are stunning, and many of his paintings have a whimsical twist that I like very much.
His gallery is right in the middle of town, and his shop gets plenty of foot traffic. People were continually in and out of the shop, and he sold one of his original paintings while I was there. Congratulations Scot!
I can see why he's so successful, he puts his head down and get's on with the business. No fanfare, no hoopla, just a hard-working, exciting artist with a great eye, and what I thought was a good heart.
I hope to stay in touch with him.
If you want to see some of his work I'd suggest the following places online.