One of the many reasons why I love the internet with it's wealth of information at my fingertips is ... food! Finding recipes in a matter of minutes - it has enriched my cooking in so many ways.
Yesterday, I entered "cucumber, red pepper, radish recipes" and up came this amazing bulgur salad that I made last night. I was lucky in that I had every other ingredient on hand and it was delicious! Perfect for using up leftover produce. And I'm sure you can use whatever fresh veggies you think would sound good with it. Definitely a keeper recipe.
I also had a pint of grape tomatoes that needed to be used, so I tossed them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. I tossed them with some chopped basil (my absolute favorite fresh herb, followed closely by fresh sage) when they were done. Add to that crusty bread and a few good black olives and you have a healthy and delicious summer dinner.
All thanks to others so generously posting their recipe creations online!
Every day for the past many years, a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers comes to our backyard feeders. They are so used to us and our animals that we get to watch them extensively and up close.
And every year they bring their offspring to feed it. This, too, we get to watch up close and today I took some beautiful photos for you!
Thank you so much for all your thoughtful comments on my last blog post when I was wondering about continuing to blog. I've decided to keep it going for now because I still enjoy it, but more than that I find it useful for myself.
I mentioned in my last post that maybe I needed to "talk" less, but it's that talking to myself that I do here that is the most helpful to me. I really write much of this for my own benefit, to write out my thoughts, to figure things out.
This creative journey is still new to me. I am still in the experimental phase working on all kinds of things, with different media in various styles at the same time, something many artists do when they are in school. And writing about it helps me sort it out.
What gets me into trouble is when I try to figure out what might be interesting to you. Because I can't. I need to focus on what's fun and interesting and helpful to me and then if you like to visit, that's great!
Part of my blogging dilemma also stems from the fact that my relationship to my blog has changed. As with everything that takes on a life of it's own, it never stays the same and sometimes I look at it and wonder if I still like what is happening.
For now I do. I'll keep my focus on what is useful and fun for me to blog about.
And I hope you'll continue to visit when you find the time. And that you'll find my offerings interesting as well...
As I wrote this, the red-bellied woodpecker dad and the baby were at the feeder again. They are so beautiful to watch!
So, I was rereading my last blog post and almost deleted it because I think I'm repeating myself. At least to me it seems that way. I feel that way about most of the things I post anymore. Not about the photos or the art, but about my writing.
And I don't know what to do. I've kept this blog going for over five years and I have loved it. Lately though, I spend most of my time feeling bad about not visiting your blogs more often, about not blogging often enough, about not having it be interesting or varied enough.
Much of my active posting is happening on Facebook these days. Is that where I should migrate all together? Blogging isn't that much fun without visiting your blogs actively and I don't seem to find the time for that as I used to.
The free time I do have, I spend painting or knitting or making jewelry. I know I can't be the only one who wonders about keeping on with blogging. What do you all think?
Maybe I should just change the format of it for a while. "Talk" less and show more. Take photos like I used to and show those. And keep showing what I create.
Emergence 18 x 24 inch acrylic on canvas
I see some blogs with very little writing and more photos and art, who are participating in daily challenges and I wonder if I would like that in lieu of hearing myself talk all the time. It would keep everything simple as well, which might be a good thing right now.
The other side of that though is when I participate in challenges, I want to visit all the blogs who do as well, which would not really solve the time problem.
(All photos are from our recent trip to The Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Such a gorgeous place!!)
Well, as soon as I wrote in my last post that I paint every day, I haven't painted in three days.
I've been thinking lately about how my life seems to progress in these big waves, bringing things into my life that seem to define me for a while and then they disappear and life goes on.
For example, Daniel and I used to play folk music. We played almost every day for quite a few years. We were even in a group and performed from time to time. Music defined us, not just playing but in terms of our friends and travels. And then one day, that part of our lives was done and I have hardly picked up an instrument since. I don't miss it, although I still love listening to the music.
That seems to be how I function. I love the experience while it lasts and then I am full onto the next thing. Without looking back. Without regret. Most of the time.
There was a time when I was a career woman. For quite a few years and I loved it (mostly). And when it was over, it was over. I've not looked back and I shake my head thinking that that had been me. It seems like a different life, a different person.
Can you see the black bear in the grass?
Now I have discovered my own creativity and that feels completely different. I've been painting and discovering my creative side in depth for the last five years and I wonder what took me so long. How did I function without it? It's become so essential to who I am these days.
Strangely, the way this happened for me was by moving to Savannah. While Savannah is beautiful and I love being near the ocean, I don't feel connected to this place like I have to other cities and states we have lived in (New Mexico, for example or California). Our house is home to me, the town is not.
Because of that, I have spent more time at home than ever before. I had stopped working by the time we moved from Albuquerque and suddenly found myself being a "housewife," not a title I really liked (mostly because it's not my passion and I'm not that good at it). I found myself without a clear definition of who I was and never knew how to answer that recurring question: "So, and what do YOU do?"
I had to learn to just be with me and to be ok with not knowing where this would take me. And in that space of not knowing, that's where I felt the first creative stirrings, remembering that I used to love to knit when I was a teen and maybe I could take it up again.
From there I discovered the phenomenon of blogging and the amazing online community it created. I saw some blogs of people doing collages and started thinking that maybe I could do that as well. And when I started making art, I wanted to blog about it publicly and share my creative journey with my new online community. That actually surprised me as I have always been a very private person.
Suffice it to say my life was never the same. I notice it especially this year as I am really giving myself permission to be me and have stopped worrying so much about what others might think.
It's a powerful experience and quite unfamiliar to me and scary at times. To put my art and creations out there for everyone to see, even those I know might judge it insufficient. I'm observing myself not caring about their opinions so much and I am astounded.
Many years ago I saw a vedic astrologer (I was in my mid-20s). He told me back then that my most wonderful years would begin in my 40s. He spoke of art and writing and beauty and ease and travel in my life at a time when I believed I didn't have a creative bone in my body. I was convinced he was wrong. And now I am living it.
This is happening rather late in my life as I am approaching my 50s, but I don't think I could have been ready for this any earlier. My life, especially my inner life, has evolved in a rather circuitous route and that's ok. Do I sometimes wish I could have found all this sooner? Sure! But I guess in a way the timing of it happening now is perfect. Maybe exactly because I am in my mid-life (assuming I live to a ripe old age...).
It makes me look forward to what else there might be in store for me and for you all! I love reading about your accomplishments, your realizations, your triumphs.
I firmly believe that each of us have something very unique to contribute to the world whatever that may be. Some of us know what it is from an early age and the rest of us figure it out as we go along.
As George Eliot said so eloquently: "It is never too late to be what you might have been."
Dear friends, I have been so sparse in blogland. I haven't written or visited your blogs. I'm barely keeping pace with my life and the creative explosion I seem to be experiencing lately. At the same time I have this yearning to connect with you again, to write about all that's going on and to show you some of the things that excite me at the moment.
When I have been here at home, I've been painting every day and usually finishing a small painting every day.
I've painted those without preconceived plans of what I wanted to paint, just being guided by colors and shapes - a truly exciting way to paint.
Some came out bright and clear, others more dramatic and even moody.
All of them spoke to me and reflected my feelings at the moment. And I realized that most of all, I like to paint how I feel rather than what I see. A still life might be a nice exercise I could enjoy, what really gets me excited is when my paintings convey emotion. Even with my portraits. I am much more interested in making sure they are expressive rather than painted in detail. I haven't figured out why that is, but maybe that's not important.
Ok, I have more to show you in my next blog post - a couple of portraits I finished recently. Plus jewelry and a few sewing projects. Lots has been going on!
But for now, I am signing off and am going to visit some of your blogs before I do anything else!