Update about blog

Summertime in Black Mountain

My other blogs: Alchemy of Clay
Three Family Trees...the Swasey, Booth and Rogers families, now being published every other day or so...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Foggy morning thoughts

Our ritual in honor of the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers included three levels of setting intentions.  We asked for the level of our personal lives first...then for our family/community, and then for healing the earth.

We may not be Indigenous, nor grandmothers, but we honor the land, the web of indeterdependent life, and have a sense of how real power is shared between all aspects of life.

Our ideas for our future group meetings include perhaps welcoming men into the group, and maybe having a "goddess of the month" topic to share with each other.  But for now we are releasing the monthly meeting, and will have a last gathering to have a closing celebration of the past 5 years of the Women's Spirituality Group.

I know I will miss this regular sharing of spiritual ideas of the divine feminine.  It will certainly be included in my book.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

by the roadside

I zipped up to Spruce Pine to pick up some pots at a gallery following the Clay Club exhibit.  On the way I thought I'd record some pictures to share.  I was struck by the architecture I passed, some of which no longer functions as designed.

I politely stopped for the train in Old Fort, after all it's the same line which goes through Black Mountain on the other side of the "pass" over the continental divide.  However this guy was going very slow.

If I'd had my trusty spray paint I could have added some graffiti.

Then it stopped completely.  That's when I saw the side road which allowed me to go around the end, wait for the garbage truck guy to talk to (I don't know who, maybe his girlfriend who's car was going by,)  then eventually get back on the highway through town.  The train was still being switched around.   I swear!

Old Fort is a sleepy southern town, with lots of pretty old homes and trees.

I've stopped before to take pictures of this abandoned home (and the sun was glaring the wrong direction this morning so this isn't a good picture).

And then?  Where are the pictures of the traffic jam from the construction project on the switch-backs going from Marion up to Little Switzerland?  How about the mountain vistas?

Well, the batteries died for the camera.  And I didn't have any extra ones.  Phoey.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Working at home

Painter is enjoying her breakfast.

I sneak outside to welcome the sun.  At equinox it pours directly up my street over the tree tops. The neighbor's dogwood is turning brown mainly, but there's a bit of red beginning.

The last of the Crepe Myrtle shows in glaring white against the shady background.

I think of the folks in that plane above the oak headed to Atlanta probably, and to more travels.  They have no idea what a simple life I'm leading down here below them.  And I've only been part of the "jet set" life a few times myself.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


following an ideal

Wikepedia has this interesting answer...

In its original sense, discipline is systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or any other activity which they are supposed to perform, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". 

Discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be synonymous with self control. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reason to determine the best course of action that opposes one's desires.

Virtuous behavior is when one's motivations are aligned with one's reasoned aims: to do what one knows is best and to do it gladly. Continent behavior, on the other hand, is when one does what one knows is best, but must do it by opposing one's motivations.[1] Moving from continent to virtuous behavior requires training and some self-discipline.

Fowers, Blaine J. (2008). From Continence to Virtue: Recovering Goodness, Character Unity, and Character Types for Positive Psychology. 18,. pp. 629–653.

So I googled the strange term, continent behavior, only to get this...

Our Habits in Private Ultimately Determine our Results in Public
April 12, 2010
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
~ Jim Rohn
I’m getting into the habit of spending 1 hour a day thinking on paper with a pen or pencil. In doing that daily for 365 days, that amounts to 365 hours of thinking. Further, that amounts to over 9 full time weeks (40-hour weeks) of pure thinking. That’s over 2 months spent on “full time” thinking of better ways to do things. And I still have another 8,395 hours a year to do something else!
The key is to just to do a little bit each day.
I was spending my daily thinking time with a yellow paper pad and pencil Sunday morning. In one of my thoughts I came across the concept of discipline being needed to achieve something. Maybe in regards to discipline itself, disciplined action, or perhaps self-discipline. I can’t remember what kicked off the line of thought.  But if figured I should know what discipline is exactly.
To wrap my brain around the concept, I decided to look the word discipline up in Wikipedia:
(you've already read what I quoted above, but there is this addition)
In the field of child development, discipline refers to methods of modeling character and of teaching self-control and acceptable behavior” (e.g teaching a child to wash her/his hands before meals). Here, ‘washing hands before meals’ is a particular pattern of behaviour, and the child is being disciplined to adopt that pattern. ‘To disciple’ also gives rise to the word disciplinarian, which denotes a person who enforces order.
So then discipline isn’t about inflicting pain, but about inflicting order.  Or teaching a system to get a desired results. Self discipline then is about teaching oneself the order or system necessary to achieve some desired result. We often associate self discipline with self control.   The ability to motivate ourselves to do something that we don’t want to do in order to get results that we like. The assertion of willpower or self control over our more basic intentions that would derail us from achieving our desired end.
Virtuous behavior is when one’s natural motivations are aligned with one’s desired aims. That you will do what you know to be the best course of action and do it willingly and maybe even happily. Continent behavior is just the opposite. Continent behavior is when one does what one knows is best, but must do it by opposing one’s natural inclinations to NOT want to do it – so it’s a little or perhaps even a lot painful.  I think that’s the form of disciplined behavior that we often associate with “discipline”.
The “do it anyway and I don’t care how much it hurts” concept.   It’s important to achieve what you want to achieve.
Ideally we move from continent behavior to virtuous behavior. This requires requires training, the building of habits, and self discipline.
Julia Child has an amazing background. In addition to being one of the teachers that many great cooks (my dad included) can look to as a model, Julia Child’s early forays into the cooking world were purely uphill.  She barely knew how to cook when she started.   She’s a great example that it doesn’t matter where you start, but what is hugely important is the path you’ve laid out to determine where you finish.  Along with your disciplined actions along that path.
Julia Child entered into the elite and all male French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, via sheer persistence. I watched a scene in amusement  in a recent movie on Julia Child, Julia and Julia. Julia child watches on her first day as her fellow classmates expertly and rapidly chop onions while she lags sorely behind. The instructor then tutors her on proper knife technique, while the others watch and probably question her culinary skills.  The fact that someone is a laggard is not amusing.  We all have to start somewhere.   The bravery is in the starting.  What Julia did next was though was amusing and illustrates the reality of great success.
    Julia committed to the ideal that is the first and LAST time that is going to happen to her.
    She would practice her craft relentlessly.
In the next scene we see Julia’s husband come home that evening to find his wife chopping a giant mound of what must be a couple bags of onions. Having experienced cutting onions ourselves,  it’s clearly painful.  Yet, she cut onion after onion after onion to perfect her skills. This is what she does in private.   It also clearly reflects her inevitable results in public.
The scene is hilarious as Julia and her husband are both crying from all the chopped onions, and the message is clear: Julia is going to do whatever it takes to succeed at Le Cordon Bleu. The very next day in class she chops the onions expertly and is easily the first to finish, thereby gaining the respect of her fellow male students and instructor.  It was the first of many firsts for Julia.
Julia’s example of persistence and practice is clearly a model to us all.
The rest, is pretty much history.
Julia Child’s Early Beginnings

This is part of a blog written by

“Helping People Realize Their Dreams One Vision at a Time.”
Alan Kauth
Intero Real Estate Services

He sells real estate!  So I explore further...what an interesting guy.  But he hasn't posted anything since April 2012.  What happened?

I liked (and quoted below) some of what he said in

Change Your Words – Change Your World
April 4, 2012

Years ago, when I used to work for Tony Robbins, he said something back then that I’ll always remember.  In fact, I can even hear his raspy voice ringing in my ears right this very second as I write:
“The quality of our lives is directly proportional to the quality of our communication – both to yourselves and to others.”
In past blog posts I’ve focused on the quality of the communication to ourselves.  There is a reminder from “Medicine of the Cherokee, The Way of Right Relationship” by J.T.Garrett & Michael Garrett that we should feed the wolf who helps us and not the one who eats us.

This guy's web site isn't about buying property, but some interesting philosophical stuff.  He even has a philosophy listed:

I figured I wouldn't cut and paste his whole site. But it's interesting, isn't it?

And have I answered my question about discipline yet?  Maybe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Photos with watermarks

Do you put your watermark on your photos?  I guess that's so if someone uses them on another site (besides yours) there's a reference to your name.  Credit maybe?

I've never done that, but it seems like a pretty good idea.

Unless you're trying for an artistic image, in which case it's like an intrusion into the design.

Maybe that's why I've steered clear.

But just in case I decide to do it, how do you do it? 
Is it just something in a camera, or when I download onto the computer, or do I have to add it as an editing tool?

I'm willing to learn.  I may even try doing it.  Let me know if you have the skills...Thanks.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

on writing

Obviously I continue to use writing as a way to express myself.  To share with whomever might be clicking in.  I don't pretend to be a pro.  I'm in awe of people who write professionally.  Just as I'm in awe of professional potters.

Yep, I may have a yen, but I don't have a earth shattering drive.

For me writing is pleasant.  And often it's an escape.  Well, I do fall into something here.

Talking has never been easy for me.  I never was a phone teen like so many girls were.  I guess I should have started texting a few years ago, and would have more instant messages with friends.

 Instead, I kind of journal here.  I'm very grateful whenever anyone makes a comment...and surprised in a way.  I've been blithering away by myself, and suddenly there's someone who has something to say back!  It's usually pleasing too.

It has been a gorgeous day here in the mountains of North Carolina.  And here's another reflection of sky on water above well worn rocks.

Yesterday I saw this

What did you see?

Marmaduke and kids interacting!

Did you see that dog that just went by?

Pat and Bette at the pottery booth (seen here through the booth behind theirs)

Tailgate vendors are each other's best customers sometimes
A healthy community gathering
Check out my other blog for the rest of the pictures from this Saturda at  Alchemy of Clay

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Vernal Equinox all you Pagans!

Not a pagan?  Well you have a happy Saturday...the day named after one of those pagan gods...like every day of our calendar, and most months too!

So when the wheel of the year turns, and you realize you're part of the gravity here...enjoy that our dear earth is still turning through the seasons!

I happen to try to live close to the earth, though not as much as some of my friends.  What I do try to do is remember that I'm part of nature, not separate, and certainly not in charge of it.

Well, I do have to take out the trash, feed the animals, and clean up after us all.  That's the part I'm in charge of.

Have you seen the new TV show on NBC called "Revolution"?  A take off perhaps from Kevin Cosner's movie "The Postman," along with input from a book "One Second After" by William Forstchen, a local Montreat/Black Mountain author.  His book is scarey enough, but is a good wake-up call to how fragile our technological lives are.  I liked that many of the local sites came into play in the book.  I haven't decided whether I like Revolution or not.

Now why am I watching a post-apocalyptic TV show?  It's fascinating.  I don't expect I'd survive very long if any of these doomsday events happened, so I can just look at them with interest that's not predicated on fear for my own survival.

So the equinox gives me pause, and I eagerly run out into nature to grasp the experience.  A day and night of equal length.  How truly wonderful.  I will roll around in the pile of leaves that someone else raked (virtually that is), while enjoying that feeling of warm sun on one side of my body as the other feels the coldness of winter winds approaching

Friday, September 21, 2012

Water is our most natural reflection.

Reflections that take you away from it all...

A wonderful art exhibit is on display at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts right now.  This is my attempt to come into the genre that David Young has mastered and shown in the gallery.  For more info see BMCA Gallery  (Note the web page for BMCA is out of date, but this link will take you to the current gallery exhibit.

This is also being posted on weekend reflections blog

Thursday, September 20, 2012

So if I drop dead?

it's another day in the mountains.

I mean, I could.  Anyone could.  And I keep thinking I am of an age when anything can happen.

I don't mean to sound depressing.

Today has been a relatively high energy day.  And my body just hit a wall this afternoon around 3:00.

I had gone to lunch and ate outside on the patio under one of those plastic fake palm frond umbrellas.  The main indicator of the sunshine and warmth was the plethora of bees who came to share our meal.  They were insistent that anything we could eat, they could eat too.

Then I went to the studio and stood there glazing my 6 plates.  I finished, and felt really tired.  I stumbled on the legs of a chair that were sticking out a bit.

It was hard to drag myself up the little slope to the coffee shop where I got a half decaf Americano.  I became irritable.  Why did the clerk leave my Americano sitting on the cappuccino machine while he went searching for the "right mug" for some visiting guy who'd ordered a coffee after me?  Finally he got the one he wanted (second or third try) and the clerk came and handed me my drink, which I gratefully took and said "thanks" with perhaps a bit of a bite to my tone.  After all, I'm a repeat customer while the guy with the right mug is from out of town.  And what was going on that another clerk was just walking back and forth doing who knows what?

By the time I added the sweetener and half and half, my hand had become sticky, and I couldn't get it cleaned off.  I slowly walked back to the studio, still feeling less than 100%.

I sat for the next half hour, doing a sign-up sheet for the pot luck dinner we're having in a few weeks.  I just drank that Americano down in no time.  And had absolutely no feeling that I was affected by caffeine.  Drat.

Went to the grocery store to pick up vacuum bags, and yogurt, and a few other things that totalled less than $20.  Got home, put the cat's flea repellent on the backs of their necks.  Scrambled a couple of eggs with some margarine, sprinkled the Good Tasting Yeast on top, and in another half hour, dinner was over.

Did I mention that I told cats I had to lie down for a while before I could do any more?  That was about 1/2 hour.  Then I fed them, then me.  Notice I don't keep things in order.

I was so fortunate that Charles also got his days and times mixed up and was available to monitor the studio while I was eating lunch, during the time I'm usually the studio "resident."  Sometimes my "clocks a la Barbara" have influence on others.

Right now I'm ready to lie back down with a book.  The studio is open again for another 2 hours this evening, but I'm not energized.  So I've got the vacuum ready to go tomorrow, when I feel up to it.  I've got a volunteer obligation in the morning, and another one most of the afternoon.  So housework does get squeezed in when it can.  Today I did all the laundry, and have the last load in the drier waiting to be hung on hangers when the buzzer sounds, after my next lie-down.

So the answer to the title, if I drop dead...I'm just one drop in a very big bucket of life on the planet.  Some folks will miss me.  Some have never heard of me and won't be affected at all.  And I will be sorry to not complete this book.  See, that is perhaps why I come up with ideas like this...a reason for living.  Maybe?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cleaned fish tank today

I've finally gotten out of my funk, where I hid in the computer and started writing a book. 

Yes, that's how my funk took me this time.  I never know what's going to happen.  It's like my creative juices have become toxic, or changed from being bright yellow into a terrible citron color...and maybe just a bit neon cast instead of sunshine.

Rain seems to affect me more and more.  Silly me.  I'm nice and dry, and have a beautiful umbrella in which to shelter while splashing hither and yon.  But maybe it has to do with old muscles and bones and lungs.  I have just about given up trying to figure out why some days I don't fell like making a single thing.

I am glorying in the sunshine today.  Cleaned the 30 gallon fish tank, where the Gourami and huge Angel fish are happier at least.  The little Barbs and sole surviving Blood Finned Tetra are still flitting around, but I admit don't have much personality!  (OK, I see I have to take pictures soon of the aquarium!!)

I just photographed some recent pots.  Did a re-shoot of one.  It's a sweet baby blue, and I tried using the new camera with a special setting which umphed up the blue (sorry, nothing on the Coolpix  L810 is an f-stop) but it was messing with the highlight color too. 

I first used what the crazy menu cites as a setting to take pictures of "food."  And I changed it so the color of the glaze looked the same as it did to my naked eye.  But the highlights which were white came out tinted blue too.  Oops.  So today I used just a regular close-up setting, and I think the white balance was for "incandescent" bulbs.  So many things change the colors...and that's what I want to be most true for pottery.

The blue pitcher will be posted on  my pottery blog .

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Getting Organized

This is the book I'm working on.  Actually just started, but have some interesting events to talk about that occurred right after I turned 69.  So whatever the other 11 months may hold in my archives, that first month is full of stuff.

I was chased to CT and back to NC by Hurricane Irene in August (just after my 69th birthday).

My refrigerator was dead when I got home, because I only had a cat sitter, not a refrigerator sitter.

A really good friend (who had been very ill) died.

I volunteered to:
  •  organize a Care Team  training program for members of my church.
  •  teach a class about celebrating becoming "crones" whenever women might chose to.
  • help with a church service on the Vernal Equinox by the Women's Spirituality Group.
  • help with my friend's memorial.
An old friend and her husband were fired from managing their apartment complex, and were in jeopardy for their housing.  He suddenly disappeared and my friend and I emailed each other frantically for several days.

That was just the first 30 days of being Sixty Nine.

Early trip to FL for NCECA conference of pottery people, where I saw 2 of my sons, some grands, and lots of pottery.  (actually odyssey trip number one for that year)

Odessey to Florida number two in Nov. with Sarah, when I was officially 69.

I've got so much material to sift through, an outline of the adventures will be sketched out soon, including what might go together with what.

I don't think a chronological presentation will actually work, since my travels kind of go together...and they occurred throughout the years 2011-2012.

The Split Personality

My other self may be found here...Alchemy of Clay

A book idea

Well, I've got plenty of resources, and keep thinking of more, for the discussion, sharing, whatever, of my last year.  While I was 69.
Or maybe When...
Anyway, I'm not going to give you all the gorey details here.  I'm very busy doing computer avoidance work, a defence mechanism I've invented to avoid the other more important things in my life.
So while I have very important things begging for my attention, I can just avoid them here on computer.
As my sons and grandkids do, just turn on the puter, start a program you like (game, blog, emails, writting program, etc) and zone out.
It's more entertaining than other people's ideas, at least those who provide supposed entertainment on TV these days.

I started this blog as a place that would be separate from my life as a potter, where I could dip into the lives of gardeners, photographers, and writers who blog, and maybe share something different with/from them.