Haiku for You 2

Inspired by Michael Malachi’s love for furniture and haikus.

I did buy this piece

With my own money from a job

She holds my secrets

I bought this secretary’s desk with money from my first paycheck. I bought it about four years ago with money earned from cleaning cars in Minnesota. We replaced two knobs, some fancy ones that we found at the local Habitat for Humanity, and give the wood a drink with wood polish about twice a year. Other than that, I have left her as I found her. Inside are many trinkets! And lots of paperwork I need to sort through – an odious task.

Either way, I love this piece, and I love Michael’s works, too (which he upcycles!!) Make sure to check him out.

My Dream Parte Dos

A man and a woman stand in the forest. They huddle. A baby lays on the soft ground between them. The man says that something is hunting them. The woman, listening instensely, nods in agreement. It is a large black dog, he assumes. She shakes her head and holds a finger to her lips.

Looking everywhere, she says that their foe is much more dangerous than a dog. It is a panther. And they will have to fight it together. He can do it alone, he insists.

The panther attacks, killing both man and woman. The baby is eaten. The panther continues on. The trees simply watch.

SHOES

Yep, I’m gonna go be a photographer now. Isn’t that artsy? (I respect photographers and know nothing about it. Just bein snarky).

Anyway, let’s not hang around. I know you’re anxious to hear the rest of my story – why I’m in this dark mood. Ugh. I’m workin’ on it. I want you to understand well, so it’s gotta be good. I will tell you. And you can always tell me. Talking about trauma is supposed to help, right?

For now, I’d rather just listen to the radio though. So here’s the aux cord. Put somethin’ chill on.

A Scientist is a Sinner. Or Is It?

Can you be so full of yourself? To believe in science? Can you be so arrogant? Sure, anyone can. Who owns the trademark on a moral? A value? An idea? A word? I don’t. But my thoughts are copyrighted because they’re original. Yep – there’s that arrogance again. But I never said I was a scientist. I said I invented things.

An inventor uses the scientific process: what profession doesn’t? Do you know the process well?

But is this an experiment? Are you my test subjects? Absolutely not. I’m not even doing anything. Life wrote this shit. She can spit words better than any rapper, singer, writer. She can dance, as well. Something that she and I are still struggling to learn to do together.

And other people are doing most of the work, too. I said I listened didn’t I? A fog has rolled into my mind, and I’m freaked out by ideals. I don’t like them. I like dirt.

This is not an experiment in expressing my beliefs about atheism. But it is a huge part of me. I have to be upfront. And did you come here for blessings? Or pictures of flowers and silly, rhyming words? Don’t we all like the same things? Laughing children, a blooming garden, jokes that are (hopefully) for all?

Listen, wild out. This is all for you in the end. Contrary to popular belief, an atheist is always quieted and my vision is full of red flags. People show them to me because I belong to the most hated group. Is it? I don’t think that it is – I have a lot of privilege. That’s how these words are borne – the privilege to sit around and think, write big words, dream about philosophy. But is it a privilege? Do you want to think all this dumb shit? Probably not. I’d rather be a bank teller.

Honestly, I’m just pushing the envelope (what all atheists do) and you can toss the junk mail if you so choose. And be a troll if you wish. What do you think I am?

Flirt or Flatter a Fan of Your Reader: A How-To

Let me entice you to come on my road trip. I’m sure you are doubting the wisdom of the driver and what direction I’m taking us in, or to (play on dirección – address). But I like a manual transmission, which means I really know how to drive. Sit back, don’t tell me how to use the clutch (do you know how?), and buckle in. We are going to a fancy restaurant. On a date, if you will. Because writing your own and/or reading the thoughts of another is an intimate occasion (sometimes more so than anything lust can dream up). And an intimate occasion deserves some flowery language, a soft light, a calm listener, at the dinner table of communication.

I’m not a bad flirt in real life, and I can definitely do it in writing. But only you decide how bold you want to go (in either realm).

Stay with me now. I’m not trying to splash rainwater from the gutter of your mind (If I want to, I’ve got the wheel and you won’t know when I’m going to veer off that curb). But writing is like seduction: you have to want to, you have to show your assets, and you must have some experience (the cliche write what you know is to be remembered here).

Okay, we’re in the car. I’m driving. We’ve just shifted into third gear. Do you look nice? Are you wearing a cologne? (Don’t wear cologne or perfume like the cloak of an aroma. Make your reader sniff it out).

If you are a writer, than you better know your damn vocabulary, sentence structure, pronunciation, spelling, and have a handle on your grammar (grammar is hard, so I won’t judge you for it. I’m not a Nazi in any of my beliefs). You’ve gotta know all of that before you take to punching the keys.

Got a date with your reader? Dress up! It’s a sign of respect!

When I’m getting ready to go out (hardly ever) I always start with my eyebrows. Mis cejas have always been thick – before anyone called them “bold” or “‘brows” – and the pain of plucking does not bother me one bit. I don’t usually fill ’em in. For what? I’m going outside to the garden to pick jalapeños. The point is this: edit. Edit as much as you can, what you know how. You will miss some (I always miss an eyebrow hair somewhere) but the effort to show your best self is what matters on a date, or in your blog posts.

To edit sucks. It’s not the fun part, I know. Editing (and eyebrows) are the bane of my existence. But, I’m not showin’ up anywhere with a uni-brow, and I don’t let my work take errors to the Reader page (if I can help it). Sometimes you can leave an intentional error – it’s exciting to the reader – just like one might decide to leave a beauty mark, or freckles, uncovered by foundation – also exciting (better be!) to the man or woman sitting next to you in this 5-speed of life (6-speeds are for luxury cars, which I have no use for).

Think it’s all about you? Not if you want a partnership. Dating, loving, marriage all require that you listen to your audience. Be it man, woman, or faceless reader.

Everyone talks about listening to their audience: it’s important – it takes two to tango. Well, then, put the damn phone down, look up at your listener, and say something. Say something for them. Say something that you want them to know about you. Just don’t say too much! No one likes a chatty Kathy, and mystery is the best genre for leading your reader on.

Set boundaries. Just as you would on a real first date.

Be funny, smart, honest on your date. Show some class. Show your wit. Just don’t make an ass of yourself. Don’t talk about your ex, or your bad habits. And please, don’t drink too much of that powerful poison that a few thousand followers can get you drunk off of. And don’t forget rule number one: use nice language and always ask for consent. (Also, a safe space requires the explicit instruction that slurs or insults are not to be used).

Not sure what consent is? Or how to give it? Then you need to go read something else. You’re pretty far behind. I’ll stop at the next Road Ranger, and you can call a different ride.

Consent in real life is a must. Consent from your reader is a bit more fluid. You won’t know if they’ve given consent until they’ve read your words, commented, or closed out of your site’s home page completely.

A rape of the mind is committed through writing in the form of propaganda. Consent is not given or asked for by propaganda. Propaganda is a genre that seeks to cheat on you, lie to you, make you feel stupid. But that’s a bit heady. Let me roll the window down for you.

Whew! I can breathe much better with that fresh air comin’ in. What were we talking about? Oh yes, dear, you.

There is a way to ask for consent in writing. It may trigger an un-follow. But guns are always goin’ off in the Wild, Wild West of the internet. So saddle up, cowboy(girl). Or, hold on to the grab-bar. I’m about to downshift.

Be upfront about some of your beliefs. Vagueness creeps into writing of any form – long, or less than 140 characters. Not being truthful will creep out your reader, and then your date. Be yourself, because you can’t be me. Or anyone else that you may admire or adore.

You have to be you, and change your opinions of yourself if it will help. Here’s a cliche I don’t like: love yourself before someone else can. Ah yes, love yourself. It’s a worthy aspiration. But how do you love yourself if no one has ever taught you how? Not all of us have been taught. And that’s why I’m teaching you.

A marriage is difficult if he voted for Trump and she voted for Hilary. A marriage is difficult if one likes la fiesta, and the other wants to stay home. A marriage is difficult if one is a lustful carnivore, when the other is a simple vegetarian. A marriage is difficult if you’re the same, let alone different. (Skin color or differences in appearance do not make a marriage difficult – just want to make that clear. Life gives all people difficulties to bear).

Set those boundaries in your blog, with as much dignity or grace as you can. Don’t get up and leave the table, spilling Merlot all over the white tablecloths. Just don’t forget to mention the things that will always divide you and your reader (or date). Some people are not our perfect match. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s always a “one” (shout out to MTV again and AYTO?. “This year, your perfect match could be anyone.” I love it!).

Don’t mislead people, though (See? Had to edit something that was published. But only because it was an important distinction. Updated). Don’t write something that you don’t actually know. We will be able to tell. Readers can spot red flags, and already know that red flags eventually turn vermilion. Maybe you put up a red flag on purpose. I would. To scare off a stalker or trollish commenter. You can’t sleep with everybody, no matter how much you may want to (anyone remember the Great Tunechi’s Every Girl In The World?). Look out for the flags your readers throw up, too. And don’t ignore el rojo. Red usually means stop. And so does the word “no” – one of the easiest to hear, say, write, or recognize.

Leave your reader with something to think about. Show a little skin, but leave your body to the imagination.

Decide what you want to show. Your assets? Your wit? Your views on the bittersweet world that we live in? They say not to wear short-shorts with a tank-top or a mini-skirt with a halter. Pick one, they say: arms or legs, humorous or grim outlook. Try to keep it consistent, and use some organization. I have messy hair and all, but I put it in a braid if I’m going out to eat.

Oh, the check is coming. Did you have a nice date? Was it fun? Did we learn about each other? No, no. No kisses on the first date. And no, you cannot come home with me.

Remember that reading and writing are chances for connection. I swear, it is intimate. But don’t judge a whole person by one logged blurb of their life. Take some time to read them well, look at their creation, and think about how you might answer that come-on. Only then might you ask for a kiss, to go up to their apartment. Words do affect, so be careful which ones you choose. It’s always nice to ask for that kiss, rather than lean in unannounced.

Okay, boys and girls. Before you leave this sex-ed classroom, can you tell me what you have learned?

I don’t care if you have learned or not. I’m not a real teacher. Understanding is impossible to measure, anyway.

I’ll spell it out for you, then, my poor, sweet thing. As a writer or a reader, of books or of blogs, you should always dress it up, discuss consent and boundaries, lead ’em on a little, and pay attention to bright red flags.

You just might get a second date. And then a third or fourth. One of those dates just might lead you up a flight of stairs, into a private place, to one of the best reads you’ve ever had in your life. Writing and reading are fun, just like that three-letter word is supposed to be. That one little word that I have just referenced oh, so sexily.

I’m Planning a Road Trip

I’m going to take you on a trip. To literary wonderlands of thought-provoking, question-inducing blurbs of the reality I’ve invented, and am still working on.

My philosophy comes from thoughts that roll, evolve, and rot in the metaphorical compost pile of my mind. I try to make the accidental seedlings grow. I listen to the Master Gardeners, and envy the green thumbs of others. You can always weed the garden. Or, fuck it. What’s wrong with weed(s)?

Don’t let language control you. Fuck is just a word. To be offended is your perception, and never my intention. See what I did there? #teachingmoment.

Pondering on a Poem

I usually don’t dabble in poetry. I don’t understand the rhythms involved and leave it to those with more…flow or something. I don’t know what it takes to write poetry, but sometimes I stand under the impossibly blue, impossibly vast sky and the Earth hums to me, tells me what to say. This probably won’t make much sense, but I didn’t think poetry had to. If you have a much better poem (let’s stick to the theme of wilderness or the outdoors), leave it in the comments.

stay with me now,

as i jump from thought to thought

the stepping stones are covered with moss

yes, it feels quite soft

the winds are in the treetops, the sky is about to fall

and if we don’t have a tomorrow

i’ll tell ya now,

i swear i loved it all

Watercolor of the day ~ Burro Lore (Re-Blog)

Thank you John Klobucher for your work! I had to update this re-blog (8/19/19) to include a quick story about why I loved this watercolor so. My husband taught me to roll my “r’s,” which took a long time to produce well, doesn’t always work, and is not a requirement to speaking Spanish, by making me practice the word burro (it’s a more difficult combination of consonant – a rolling one – and vowel). Donkeys are beloved for many reasons, but for me, it’s personal. Klobucher has many other watercolors to offer. A lot of them feature the beauty of the Southwest and I love that lively aesthetic.

What’s cool about Fine Art America is you can pick the medium you want the artwork you’re buying displayed in (poster, print, wood, canvas, etc.). I receive no commission from John Klobucher or Fine Art America. Click on John’s links if you want to see his page for yourself.

Art of Lore

Burro Lore #1 ~ Watercolor by John Klobucher

Hello friends and art fans! Here’s a little Art of Lore

Many years ago on an epic quest, I came across this friendly donkey in the Black Hills of South Dakota, not far from Mount Rushmore. But in this painting, she’s made her way a thousand miles southwest to the edge of a Utah canyon where she seems right at home on a narrow trail in the morning sun. Anyone want a ride? Hop on!

Title: Burro Lore
Painted: August 2017
Paints: Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colours
Paper: Arches Watercolor Block, cold pressed, 140lb 9″x12″

To shop for prints and other products featuring your favorite Art of Lore images, visit John Klobucher’s galleries on Fine Art AmericaFineArtAmerica.com/profiles/john-klobucher.html

And for Words of Lore, go to LoreOfTheUnderlings.com

May the Lore be with you!

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Tips on Painting with Toddlers: Don’t Toss Out That Easel Just Yet

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small amount from qualifying purchases. I try to only recommend items that I personally own or have used, and hope that they serve you well also, if you do decide to buy.

Sergio and I like to paint. Not every day, because you can imagine how messy and time-consuming that would be. But, on rainy days like today, we like to fire up our creativity with a few art projects. I am not a creative person when it comes to colors, paints, or anything visual. I’m still learning, I suppose. However, I am one of those stay-at-home moms with nothing better to do than cook up ideas for the kids. Painting is one of those ideas that always sounds fun. It can be frustrating for mom or dad though, so here are a few tips to keep it fun.

I am interested in researching how to recycle paint, and which paints are better for the environment. For now, we paint what we can (old jars, rocks, pieces of wood, and of course, paper) with what we have. This keeps the price for materials down (canvases look great, but are incredibly expensive).

Washable Crayola paint, watercolor palette, brushes, and a recycled jar to put rinsing water in

I love trays. This one is made from silicon (I think? It doesn’t say on the bottom) from Aldi. It has handles and is lightweight; Sergio can lift it also when helping to clean up. Trays tend to keep everything together, easy to reach, and this particular tray doesn’t mind a few spills. Other good options are available on Amazon.

Set up your area, including snacks, utensils and paints, mediums, and whatever else you want to add, before telling your son or daughter about the day’s activity. I have made this mistake many times, and am often followed frantically by an excited, chattering three-year-old on my quest for supplies.

Something else to consider is where you and your little artist will paint. I like to set up a spot outside, so that stubborn paint stains can be pressure-washed from concrete areas or, more ideally, absorbed by the grass and dirt underfoot. For me, painting can have calming effects, which are multiplied when practiced in the open air. I have a screened-in patio, so making a paint station outside is easy for us. If you have a few more obstacles in the way, think creatively, and hoard some cardboard or old linens to use for covering important spaces in your home.

Once your area is clean, covered with an old tablecloth or piece of cardboard, arrange your tools of creativity and make sure the child can reach everything. I also use this easel (I love that it is not made largely from plastic and is easy to carry from room to room) to give Sergio ample access to his work. This is not a fun activity for the children if you don’t allow them to explore and grab their own materials.

On this note, painting is an excellent way for toddlers to dabble in colors, shapes, and textures. It’s a good time to practice vocabulary, so don’t forget to talk about whatever they’re doing. (Today Sergio said the words “dark” and “star” while painting.)

I practice my own creative efforts while spending time with my son.

Mistakes and spills will happen, making supervision necessary. Young children are prone to tasting, smelling, and smearing things all over the place. While working with paints (washable or not) supervision is very important. While sitting next to Sergio, I looked away for one second, and turned back to see a blob of blue paint in the tin of rocks still to be colored. My son had opened a paint jar by himself, and dumped everything out; at least it wasn’t on the floor. Another good reason to use washable paint.

We quickly found a solution by simply painting the rest of the rocks blue. Painting is a nice way for children to explore their surroundings because accidents can turn into artwork.

Another tip is to slyly remove items or tools that are not currently interesting your child. Too many objects to use or things to do can be overwhelming for young ones, and you might have less mess to clean up if you secretly take away the less exciting stamps, stickers, or glitter. Please don’t let them catch you doing this, and remember: I am not liable for any tantrums that occur in your house.

Don’t forget to have fun and don’t worry about cleaning up: everything is much easier with a tray to toss it all into. If you and your artist made it outside, there should be even less to worry about cleaning. Stick your brushes in a jar of water (mineral spirits or paint thinner for acrylic and oil-based paints), and go take a break. You’ve earned it. Keep that easel for the days when you’re not sure what to do, or those times when inspiration strikes.

Plans for a gallery of Sergio’s work are under way because displaying your toddler’s artwork is just as important as making it.