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Archive for November, 2010

Gratitude Mandala

Gratitude Mandala, Dymo LabelWriter 1895, Portfolio Brand Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, Prang Metallic Markers, Tul Permanent Markers, Black Sharpie, Crayola Colored Pencils, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


Inspired by ybonesy’s journal post (This Thanksgiving Weekend, Make A Gratitude Journal), and with a little Holiday time on my hands, I took a different approach to my yearly Gratitude List. I still used the alphabet as a jumping off place. But instead of making a vertical list, I wound around the first page of Gratitude List, Journal Style the journal I’ll be using for my Journal Practice 2011. Then took the major categories of that list and incorporated them into a November mandala.

I always feel full and abundant after making a Gratitude List. The passing of time can be difficult, scary, life-threatening. But remembering what I am grateful for eases whatever pain I have felt. It tips the balance.

I want to move into the New Year giving thanks. Christening a new journal with a Gratitude list comes from a place of wholeness, leaving feelings of scarcity and lack in the dust!

Thanks for the inspiration, ybonesy. And I have so much gratitude for our red Ravine readers. I hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving weekend.



At The Mandala's Center

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, November 28th, 2010

-related to posts: The ABC’s Of A Prosperous 2008 – Gratitude, Feelin’ Down For The Holidays? Make A Gratitude List, A Simple Gratitude List, Reflection — Through The Looking Glass, I Am Grateful For The Alphabet ;-), Coloring Mandalas, On Providence, Old Journals, & Thoreau

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Loteria Journal

Lotería Journal, altered Moleskine cover with ybonesy doodles (plus Caran d’Arch, gouache, and ink pen), design © 2010 by ybonesy, all rights reserved.




I love journals. I’ve written about my love of journals. I have doodle journals and writing journals, and I even have my first ever journal, a gift from my sister Bobbi, who got it for me as part of a Scholastic book order she made for her new class. She gave it to me about the time she started teaching: 1974. I was 13 years old, a newly minted teen, and my journal (it was actually more of a diary, although I’m not sure what the difference is) was the perfect place to log news of piddly babysitting jobs (for which it was not uncommon to make 75 cents!), swim lessons, and crushes. That early journal got me believing that any life—even one so boring as my own—was worth recording.

That’s the beauty of the journal. That it might collect the ordinary and occasional extraordinary goings-on of your existence. And that someday you might look back on it as one experiences the family photo album. Memory, insight, a looking glass into your world, or at least a snippet of it.

So it is not surprising that I’ve recently discovered the joy of making journal art. I’m not sure what else to call it. I take blank journals—the basic Moleskine works great—then figure out designs to create on the covers. It’s a fun project, one that can easily be done over a long holiday weekend.


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loteria journal in process (one) loteria journal in process (two)



To make the Lotería Journal, which I fashioned after the Mexican Lotería cards, I used the following items:

  • Moleskine or other journal – I like the Moleskine brand, but it is a bit pricey. Any simple journal will do; for this project it’s best to stay away from leather or cloth covers.
  • Gesso – to apply to the cover so that you can color or paint the cover (the gesso acts both as a whitening agent to better absorb and reflect light in color, as well as a primer so that whatever you apply bonds well to the surface).
  • Evenly sized images – for this journal I used my own, but you could cut images out of magazines or tear out cool papers and draw different designs on each one.
  • Mod Podge – to glue the images to the Moleskine cover, and later, once the piece is completely done, I’ll paint the entire cover with Mod Podge to seal the design and give it a glossy finish.
  • Paints and wax crayons – to add color.
  • A black pen, preferably permanent, but if you use an impermanent one, just make sure it is completely dry, and when you do your final paint with Mod Podge, do a quick brush; don’t go back and forth or linger else the black ink will smudge.
  • Brushes – a one-inch one for the Mod Podge and a small one for my paints (both of which I keep in water while I’m not using them).


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And given that we are in the Thanksgiving season, I can’t think of a better use of a lovingly created journal than to transform it into a Gratitude Journal. Now, folks out there may practice daily Gratitude, but for my part, this is an area that I’d like to improve. I want to spend more time giving thanks for what I have and less time wanting whatever it is I don’t have.

A Gratitude Journal can take several forms. One idea is to use it as a way to say Thank-You to someone in your life. My sister Janet once created this type of Gratitude Journal for me, although we didn’t call it that back then. But now as I think about it, that’s exactly what it was.

About thirteen years ago I organized a trip to Spain for my dad, Janet, another sister, and my sister-in-law. The five of us spent two weeks traveling all over the country, staying in unique and at times quirky places. An olive-farm-turned-bed-and-breakfast, a renovated monastery, and a former brothel, for example. We had a wonderful time, and afterward Janet made me a journal as a memento of our experience. Handmade paper adorned the front and back covers, and inside on a long single sheet of paper that she folded like an accordion, she made a collage of different scenes from the trip.

You could create a Gratitude Journal and inside turn it into a personalized Thank You to someone close to you. I know I often pull out the journal my sister made for me. It’s so much richer than a Thank You card.



gratitude journal (one)
gratitude journal (two)



A Gratitude Journal could also be something you keep for yourself over a certain period of time—say, the upcoming year—to help practice gratitude in your life. There are a lot of ways you can do this. For example, each day you could think about what it is you’re grateful for and then write about that particular topic. Or make a doodle about it, or do a collage on that page.

QuoinMonkey wrote a post at the end of 2007 titled Feelin’ Down For The Holidays? Make A Gratitude List. She made her list at the end of the year, as has been a tradition of hers for several years now. Here you can see her Gratitude List from 2007 looking forward to 2008, along with mine. And here are QM’s Gratitude Lists from 2009 and 2010. You could follow QM’s example and dedicate a sheet of paper to each letter of the alphabet and see what flows onto the page.

Or maybe your Gratitude Journal project is more about simply focusing this weekend on creating a beautiful cover for your journal. Maybe that in itself is the act of Gratitude, giving Thanks by allowing yourself to spend a few hours making art.

And speaking of giving Thanks, QM and I are immensely grateful for the community and inspiration we’ve received over the years from working together and from all of you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!



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love journal



prayer practice journal

Journal Art, mixed media journal covers—washi paper, Caran d’Arch, collage, small wooden canvases top two), postage stamp (third), stickers, etc., design © 2010 by ybonesy, all rights reserved.


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-Related to post On Providence, Old Journals, & Thoreau

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After The Break - 313/365

After The Break, BlackBerry 365, 313/365, Goldsboro, Pennsylvania, November 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.





Scorpio birthday
the NightOwl’s idea of fun,
playing pool with Mom.





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Note: The night I flew into Harrisburg was the eve of Mom’s birthday. Lady Luck smiled down. We went out to dinner with Paul, won $120 on the push tabs, and had a great time playing pool to jukebox tunes. Mom beat me almost every game. Amelia is a good pool player.


-posted on red Ravine, Monday, November 22nd, 2010

-related to post:  haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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honeycomb (two), harvested from the bee hives in our orchard,
October 2008, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.



It just dawned on me. My late summer, early fall allergies never transpired. They usually start in August and stick with me until the first freeze. But this year, not an itch in my eyes nor a drip from my nose. How did I manage that?

The culprit is ragweed, a ubiquitious plant in the Rio Grande Valley. Could be that there’s less of the noxious weed here, in our new place, than in our old ‘hood. Ragweed grew like mad up and down the road and on the ditchbank behind our former residence, but it’s not exactly absent around these parts. After all, we only moved about two miles away.

I’m beginning to think it must be the honey. For a couple of years now, I’ve been consuming local honey—that is, honey collected from bee hives within about a five-mile radius of our home. The latest blast of honey came directly from the bee hives in our orchard. Dr. Moses, keeper of those hives, pulled out an entire honeycomb and handed it over as a special treat. It lasted exactly ten days. We ate honey by the spoonfuls, and we even ate most of the soft edible beeswax that made up the comb itself.

According to Tom Ogren, author of several books on allergies and how to prevent them, honey contains bits and pieces of pollen from the plants that surround the bee hive. As honey bees zip from plant to plant, they carry with them the pollen from those plants and deposit it into the honeycomb. When we eat that honey, the pollen acts as an immune booster, especially when taken in small amounts consistently over time prior to the onset of the allergy season.


It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies but that exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect. But this is typically what we see. In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and the effect over time is very much like that from undergoing a whole series of allergy immunology injections. The major difference though is that the honey is a lot easier to take and it is certainly a lot less expensive. I am always surprised that this powerful health benefit of local honey is not more widely understood, as it is simple, easy, and often surprisingly effective.

                                                           ~Tom Ogren







Allergies run in our family. Before he succumbed to a battery of allergy shots taken over many years, Dad always carried with him a sinus inhaler, a small white tube that fit into the nostril. I cringed in church whenever I saw him pull out the tube and then watch it disappear up his nose. That was the height of embarrassment for a kid aged 8-11, before I learned about all the other things my parents did that would eventually embarrass me.

My own allergies made their first appearance when I was 17. I worked as a hostess at a famous restaurant in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley. One night my allergies got so bad that I crouched behind the reception counter, sopping up the drips from my nose with a cloth napkin. I couldn’t find a box of tissues, and I was wearing a spaghetti strap dress, else I would have used my sleeve. I could hardly move from behind the counter given that my nose and eyes were running profusely. I finally had to go home.

It’s been a blessing not worrying about allergies this year. Usually I buy over-the-counter Claritin and take a dose on the worst days when my allergies hit. But this year I’m letting the honey do its magic.

I feel like someone who’s stumbled upon the best-kept secret in the world. What could be better than honey as preventitive medicine? It’s relatively inexpensive compared to Claritin and/or allergy shots, plus it tastes fabulous!

I just wish honey worked for the flu, too. Alas, I don’t think it’s that powerful. But, the good news is, I already got my flu shot—a week ago today—and even though it made me feel achy and sick for two days, I’m now ready for the onslaught of germs that always descend on our family when the weather gets cold.

Here’s to clear lungs, drip-free noses, and strong stomachs all winter long! And to the bees!



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Early Take-Off

Slice Of The Mississippi

Rivers & Wings


Opposing Forces


Mighty Susquehanna

Slice Of The Susquehanna

Shadow Shifting


It’s almost time to fly home. I don’t travel far enough get jet lag like ybonesy. But I do suffer from bothersome motion sickness. I’ve had it since I was a little girl, and found out about it when we would do winding family trips from the Pine Barrens of Georgia to the Great Smokies of Tennessee. I learned to keep my eyes on the horizon, and never to read or look at maps while in motion. Fresh air helps, too, along with sitting in the front of the vehicle or resting your head against a seat back.

These days I’m more likely to be in the driver’s seat (even though I have a terrible sense of direction) and most times I am flying cross country to visit family or friends. This morning I drove the 212 miles round trip to Philadelphia with my brother for his transplant check-in. (Frankenbelly 3 has zipped his recovery into the fast lane! November 18th marks 1 month.) Saturday we shared family stories and celebrated early Thanksgiving with relatives who have driven the 10 hours from South Carolina to Pennsylvania more than six times this year to be closer to family.

Travel is a gift. Travel can wear you out. And make you a little dizzy. When I arrived in Pennsylvania last week, the day before my mother’s birthday, she handed me a book on home remedies and pointed to the section on motion sickness. “See if this helps,” she said. The ingredients are pure and simple: pack the ginger, chew on some cloves.

According to Readers Digest Kitchen Cabinet Cures — 1,001 Homemade Remedies For Your Health, the same chemical compounds that give ginger its zing—gingerol and shogaol—reduce intestinal contractions, neutralize digestive acids, and quell activity in the brain’s “vomiting center.” If you eat 1/2 teaspoon of chopped, fresh ginger every 15 minutes for one hour before traveling, mix a pinch of powdered ginger in water, drink ginger tea, or nibble pieces of candied ginger, you should be good to go.

Grinding cloves between the teeth also helps. But if you’re looking for non-food related remedies, try Sea-Bands, knitted elastic wrist bands which operate by applying pressure on the Nei Kuan (P6) acupressure point on each wrist by means of a plastic stud. Liz introduced me to them a few years ago and I swear by them for both car and planes. Here’s a wrap up of other practical suggestions for motion sickness in the Readers Digest book:


On Planes:

  • Eat low-cal snacks & light meals 24 hours before departure
  • Choose a seat in the front of the plane or by the wing
  • Direct the air vent above the seat toward your face

In Cars:

  • Sit in the front seat
  • Keep your eyes on the horizon
  • Don’t read or look at maps
  • Keep your head still by resting it against the seat back
  • Turn air vents toward your face

On Boats:

  • Ask for cabin on the upper deck or near front of the ship
  • When on deck, keep eyes firmly fixed on horizon or land

If the cloves and ginger don’t work, one last home remedy listed for motion sickness is warm lemon-aid. Squeeze one whole lemon into a cup sweetened with a teaspoon of honey. Keep the drink in a warm thermos while traveling. And I’d add the Sea-Bands to every category. The acupressure works!


-posted on red Ravine, Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 — all photos © 2010 by QuoinMonkey — with thanks to my family who have made this week in motion a joy and a pleasure

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New works

New works, small paintings done in Caran d’Ache (wax crayons)
with gloss finish, images © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




I love ‘em and hate ‘em. If it weren’t for art shows, I don’t think I’d ever make art. In fact, making art in the midst of living the rest of my life is the pits. There’s got to be a better way to be consistent.

But the good news is, I love making art again. How did I last however many months I did without it? My friend Laurence turned me on to these wonderful waxy crayons, and I happened to have a bunch of small (3″x 3″ — that small!) wooden canvasses, so I played around with collage and color.  And I did my usual pendants and bracelets.


hand-with-eye-(new)My dilemma: How to make art every day? Or every week, or even every other week?

I love the tedium of it. It’s technical and minute, and even when I’m coloring outside the lines I’m still focused on one canvas. I love how my mind goes from being a net to being a funnel whenever I make art.

There’s a sound associated with that feeling. It goes something like Ffvooom.

That’s my lesson for today. Shows are hard, but shows are good. They make me show up for my art. And if I limit myself to two a year, then I can’t complain. I just got to stop procrastinating.


 

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Tomorrow I’ll be the featured artist at a wonderful little bakehouse called Cravin’ Cookies. It’s one of those best-kept-secret type places, inside an old house. Barb, the owner, makes the tastiest baked goods. I love her flour-less chocolate torte. And her Key Lime pie. And peanut butter cookies. Yum!

Hope to see my Albuquerque friends tomorrow!



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Mr. Calavera

Mr. Calavera (calavera is the Spanish word for skeleton), pen and marker on graph paper, doodle © 2010 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.




The Missus will be happy. I finally finished the drawing of her husband. He’s not an easy man—a hard-drinking, hard-living type who would have driven any good woman to die of love. But he’s also an old-fashioned guy, opens doors for women (probably too many doors and Lord knows where they lead) and his kids crawl all over him when he comes home late smelling of whiskey. He can ride a horse and slaughter a cow, grow a garden, hold his liquor. A man’s man. And a decent poker player, to boot.

And you know what? He’s just as devilish in the afterworld as he was in this one. But that’s OK, because over there life is easy. For the both of them. No guilt or sin or any of the baggage that keeps us running in circles in this world.

The Missus (aka Dying Love)Day of the Dead was celebrated last week on November 2nd. I hope my lovely couple—fashioned after my grandmother and grandfather, although if he really were Grandpa, he’d be wearing jeans and a cowboy hat, and a bolo tie if he had to dress up; everything else is the same, though—had a great time.

In this world they had a combustible marriage. Too many poker games, plus that damned redhead on Coco Street, and gambling away dinner for the next two weeks, which brought about a swing of the broom, or worse, when he came home late at night with his paycheck gone. But they were bigger-than-life-sized characters. I wouldn’t have wanted them to be any less explosive or colorful or real. I’m thinking of them this early November. Realizing how with each passing year I inch a little closer to taking their place in my family chain.

Happy Day of the Dead, all you living (for now) folk!



-Related to post Ghost Hunting — Tips & Tools Of The Trade

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