A little information goes a long way

Hello!  I had a question regarding the products and links that I mention in my blog.  No, I don’t get paid :)  I just think that information and ingredients are important, for example the King Arthur Flour and the Cabot Cheese are really delicious products from Vermont, that not only taste fantastic, but are companies that support local farms.  They’re also responsibly functioning companies, Cabot is a co-op and King Arthur is employee owned.  I think that now more than ever how we shop is very important; the more we can support local businesses, buy American made, and deal with responsible, fair trade companies, the better off we’ll all be.  We need to be educated consumers.  We all know that the ingredients that go into our food, which nurture our bodies, are important … think of the other things we purchase, that go into our homes and onto our bodies, as ingredients in our lives.
I also include links with additional information that might be interesting to my readers; for example Wild Hive is less than an hour away, just off the Taconic Parkway, and if you happen to be near Clinton Corners, it’s really worth stopping.  Even for the store I try to purchase responsibly; if I can get it American Made great; if I can get it made in North America or through a fair trade company, that’s good. 
Nothing’s perfect, but if we each do just one thing every day and put more thought into how we’re living and how it impacts those around us, it becomes easier and easier to be conscious of our decisions, and slowly but surely the world becomes a better place :)

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Fall

My favorite time of year … and also a verb; according to Merriam-Webster, to descend freely.  When I hear this, the first thing that comes to mind…waterfalls. Descend freely, to go where life leads you.  Water doesn’t worry about where it’s been, where it’s going, or how it’s getting there, it relies on its nature and acts as its nature dictates.  Being a water sign (I’m a Pisces) I typically “go with the flow”, letting “the chips fall where they may”.  Ed’s a Sagittarius, who says fire & water don’t mix; ask anyone, we’re a great team.  We’ve always managed to make the most of wherever we are and we’re always grateful for everything that we have.

We’re so very fortunate to live in such an amazing country, true our government has its problems, but I think that we should all be very grateful to be here, and especially given that today is Veteran’s Day, we should be very grateful to those that are willing to fight for the safety and freedom of us all.  From sea to shinning sea, miracles and beauty abound.  It doesn’t cost a dime to be grateful, say thank you, and appreciate the things we have instead of complaining about all the things we want.  It never pays to try and keep up with everyone else…we all have our own path and we’re the only ones outside of God that has any idea what’s really going on in our lives.

Reach out to each other with a smile…it costs nothing and what you get back in return will make you feel good.  I was driving down Sunset the other day and I was just smiling to myself, loving the lovely weather and the colorful trees, there was a woman walking along Sunset (and because of the school, I was creeping along at 15mph) so she saw me and smiled back.  I’ve never met her and have no idea who she is, but we had a nice moment :)

Who Are You?

I read Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass on my own, at an early age (around 9 or 10) which may sound not very early, unless you know the version; it was my Mom’s college text for a deconstruction of the story.  The book is huge, I still have it (though it’s lost it’s dust jacket) and I was as fascinated by the 2 columns of explanatory text, as I was by the story itself.  One of my favorite parts was Alice’s interaction with the caterpillar, “Who are you?”.
So often we’re defined by that which is external (job, career, spouse, etc.) you’re someone’s mother, father, child, and they all help to define who you are, but you must have your own identity as well.  Know yourself, love yourself, love others.

As children, we ARE, we exist, we simply BE who we are (in other words, “I AM”).  As we get older we start putting ourselves (or allowing others to do it for us) into neat, tidy classifications and subsequently forget who we are.  As long as there have been people thinking, they’ve been thinking about how to label things (think about it, in Genesis what was one of the first things Adam did?  Name the animals).  I love that iconic image from Alice of the caterpillar sitting on the mushroom.
I LOVE mushrooms (this is one of my favorite catalogs), they’re beautiful, tasty, mysterious and befuddle classification, they belong to their own kingdom…fungi.  They have plant traits and animal traits, they mate; here’s a link to an interesting article by Bill Danielson about Mushroom Reproduction.  We should all emulate the mushroom and defy description, be just as we are and not worry about what box people are trying to put us into.  A job is a way to earn a living, don’t let it define you.  If your job defines who you are, what happens when you retire, quit, or lose that job?  Find yourself, be yourself, love yourself and respect that others have the same right.  In the most recent Alice movie (with Johnny Depp as the Hatter) Alice returns to Wonderland and I love it when she tells Bayard the Bloodhound “I make the path”.  It’s a realization that we all need to come to.

I’d like to finish with a quote from Bill Danielson’s book “Still Speaking of Nature” … “The world is a rich, beautiful, and sometimes even delicious place if only you take the time to enjoy it.”

Friendly Inspiration

After this past week, I feel the need to mention how wonderful our friends and neighbors are.  We live in Coxsackie, NY … the weather can be a little annoying, after moving here from Texas and NY taxes are just outrageous!  But we couldn’t live in a more awesome village and it’s the people that make it so special (it’s also nice that we have a lovely view and Coxsackie’s Riverside Park is the nicest park along the river, though some may say I’m biased on that :).  I think, too often we often take those around us for granted; spouses, friends, neighbors.  Each day we should take a moment and think of those people we’re grateful for, those who support our ideas, are there to listen to us vent, and let us be ourselves.

Photo by Jeff Corcoran

We see people on TV shows that are “inspirational”, “exceptional”, blah, etc, blah; we need to remember that each of us is exceptional in our own way and we all should be looking for those exceptional traits in those around us, instead of finding fault.  Go forth, live joyously, and surround yourself with those that make you feel exceptional, those that make you smile.  Throughout my life there are people (and though I may not have been in touch with them for years) I think of them and they make me smile … I try to remember the things I love about people, and forget the little annoyances.  We’re all exceptional, but none of us are perfect … and those that think they are should just head off to some mountain top and leave the rest of us in peace.

We socialize through computers and it’s amazing, the internet has made so much possible that wasn’t even thought of before; people are able to live in small towns and villages, while being able to obtain nearly anything imaginable through the internet and work for companies in other states, heck other countries, without leaving their homes.  Perhaps the internet will be the savior of small towns.  There’s a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon that I really like and I think that perhaps if Bill Watterson were to write this same comic today he may change the TV to a computer :)

The world’s a big place and there are enough things that make us feel small, without us making each other feel small; share inspiration, raise up those around you, let others know that they have value, it’s all any of us really wants.

Anniversaries

Photo by Jeff Corcoran

Anniversaries, our time to celebrate the continuation of something.  For example my shop on Reed St. is one year old on Saturday, so we’re celebrating one year, still here and beginning our 2nd year.  It’s also the 16th anniversary for Ed & I.  We’ve made it through 16 years and are joyously continuing on.

The traditional first year anniversary gift is paper and the modern first year gift is a clock (check out this website for a full list http://marriage.about.com/cs/anniversaries/a/wedannivideas.htm) … there isn’t a traditional gift for the 16th year, but the modern gift is silver holloware.

For our anniversary last year Ed bought me a Day of the Dead bride and groom figurine; if you’ve been into the store you’ve seen it on the reception counter. 
This year my Day of the Dead gift (excuse me, anniversary gift) is a clock … very appropriate (first year anniversary of the store, it’s a paper patterned clock, PERFECT)  El Dia de los Muertos is actually November 1st & 2nd, I’ll have more on that in a future posting.  Right now, I’m excited about the clock; it’s from Cafe Press; if you recognize the name, it’s because I showed their bat yin-yang graphic on a previous blog.

So, celebrate continuing on, the past into the present, the next great adventure.

Time

Boy, life can really get in the way of living :)
As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, I really need to work on time management; laundry’s caught up, did some fall cleaning, but now I’m behind on the Sketchbook project and all the rain we’ve been getting made painting the cafe set a challenge (check out the project page to see why)  Ed’s been going full-tilt since I don’t know when and today (Friday) he’s actually planned a day off (no students, no rehearsal, no recording work [here’s a link to his ReverbNation page if you’d like to hear some of his recordings http://www.reverbnation.com/edwasilewski], no plans other than doing what the mood moves him to).  Ed’s a musician, so his art is also his job and that can make creativity difficult.  We all need to take time during our lives, to reflect on said lives.  Each day take a moment, take a few breaths and review what we’re grateful for, focus on the positive, give energy to the things that bring us peace and joy.  It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and forget to make time for what’s really important.

Life Rocks!

I’m very fortunate to have the very best husband; he’s my rock.  We all need a “partner in crime”, a bff, someone that we can share life with.  I have a tendency to be a rose-colored-glasses person (Ed once bought me a pair and then they were stolen from a hotel room…seriously…not everyone can say they’ve had their rose-colored-glasses stolen and mean it literally) and Ed can be a little more cynical (he also bought me a copy of “The Cynics Dictionary”, when we were dating because he thought I needed to get a grip on reality).  We balance each other; we’re a team and at least once a day I tell myself how lucky we are to have each other.

So, today’s about Ed.  He’s incredibly talented and has done so much [here’s his bio on our website http://www.seventhstonestudios.com/ed#].  He’s always let me be who I am, but still provides a voice of reason when I need it (again, balance).  Not everyone can make a living with their art, but being able to is a blessing and a curse.  Usually Ed is so busy working that he has no time to be creative on his own terms.
The Seventh Stone on Reed Street will have been open a year next week (time flies, I can’t believe a year has gone by already).  The Jazz Band will be performing Saturday night October 22nd 5pm-8pm; if you’d like to hear Ed perform, stop on by.

Live Life

There’s an artist I like and I subscribe to his newsletter [http://www.gapingvoidgallery.com] …
sometimes he hits his mark and sometimes he misses, but he always swings.  His September 29th cartoon really spoke to me; the tag line is “i like being alive…i just wish i was better at it.”  I find it funny, sad and intriguing, all at the same time.  I laugh often (and often at myself); I find his quip funny because it’s very true of me, but I’m not bothered by it.  I find it sad because there are so many people out there going through the motions of life, unhappy, unaware, afraid to try things because they might not be good at something, anything, everything.  We’re all bombarded by the importance of success, money, attainment, beauty; we feel our self-worth is tied to these things (and other things that we set up as standards for ourselves).  We’re our own worst critics.  There’s so much joy in life that we miss out on because we’re always editing ourselves (of course there are those people who don’t edit themselves at all and we have to remember that they’re just trying to make the rest of us miserable too).  To be happy one has to look for the joy in life; the pursuit of happiness, it doesn’t pursue you.

Ed sent this (click on it to enlarge and read)
These 10 things, are things that we need to let go of.  If we can all find the little things in life we’re grateful for, happy about, take joy in, we’d find ourselves in better spirits more of the time.  Ed and I talk, ALL the time and in the car yesterday we were talking about how important it is to be able to laugh at ourselves, then a customer came into the shop and mentioned the same thing, and then I read Hugh’s newsletter.  Funny how life runs in coincidences.

I began the blog with Hugh and I’m going to quote him here at the end too … from his Thursday newsletter “I think it’s a good idea to always be thinking about our potential and, like in this cartoon [Human Potential], to always laugh at it. It inspires creativity in ourselves and in others, which is why I share what I do, so you can share inspiration in turn.”  So, here I am also trying to share inspiration … can you see why I like Hugh?

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