Serene Sunday – How Great Thou Art

Last week, a commenter shared a video: Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill singing How Great Thou Art.  I’m not one for country and western music, but this rendition blew me away.  How Great Thou Art is a Christian hymn set to Swedish folk music.  Carl Gustav Boberg composed it in Sweden in 1885.  A British missionary translated it into English, adding two original verses.  The hymn was popularized during the Billy Graham crusades.  It apparently ranks second behind Amazing Grace in favorite hymns.

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Oh Lord my God
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy hands have made
I see the stars
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout
The universe displayed

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

And when I think of God,
His son not sparing,
Sent Him to die,
I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden
gladly bearing He bled and died
to take away my sin

Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great thou art
How great thou art
Then sings my soul
My Savior, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

When Christ shall come
With shouts of acclamation
And lead me home
What joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow
With humble adoration
And then proclaim My God
How great Thou art

Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art
Then sings my soul
My Saviour, God, to Thee
How great Thou art
How great Thou art

How great Thou art
How great Thou art…


Surreal Saturday: Not Your Mother’s Flight of the Bumble Bee

Here is something surreal.  Because I love strings, I trolled YouTube and fell across this incredible performance by violin virtuoso David Garrett.  Garrett is an international German/American violinist who started as a four year old prodigy.  He’s the best looking musician I’ve ever seen and understandable a young heartthrob.  Garrett determined to set a new Guinness Book World Record by playing Flight of the Bumblebee, already a fast piece, in 1 minute 6.56 seconds, an astonishing 13 notes per second.

This amazing exhibition starts at the 5.35 mark.

David Garrett breaks world record for fastest violin playing

David Garrett becomes the world’s fastest violinist by playing Flight of The Bumble Bee in 1 minute 6.56 seconds, an amazing 13 notes per second. Filmed on BBC TVs Blue Peter programme. For more information about David, go to



Foolish Friday: The Perfect Six Pack

It’s Foolish Friday again and I’m back with the best objectification the internet has to offer.  Today we study what a casting director remarked upon: the perfect six pack.  It seemed a nice extension of last week’s pec lecture.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Here is an example.  Lee does sport some fine abs but they aren’t as lean as in later years.

Lee wonders if he was supposed to wear a jock strap. Courtesy

Let’s give those abs a little more… exposure.

RA demonstrates he can indeed hold up a wall. Barefoot too. Courtesy

Guy illustrates beefier but still leans abs.  Notice how concave they are in this picture.  Yes class, you’ve seen it before, it’s one of my favorites.  It shows off a dancer’s physique.

Guy strikes "The Pose." Courtesy

Can we really get tired of this photo?  Seriously?  Here you clearly see the muscle definition.  Yup, I count six.

Guy gets up close and personal with his six pack in case Marion's vision is poor. Courtesy

Last week a student asked: but what of John Porter?  Alas, I was remiss again.  He looks nice too.  Here is a close up of the abs.  Here you can see a bit of the six pack from this angle.  Perhaps we’re too close.

John Porter thinks this new yoga equipment is a bit extreme. Courtesy


Here is a better angle.  John Porter is beefier and the delineation in muscle is not quite as defined.  I would still say Guy rates a 10 because of this.

Porter thought the Good Sister meant something else when she asked him to trim the bush.

Well, this should get your Friday off to a good start.  Have a great weekend.


Fantasy Poll! There’s Some One in the Neighborhood. Who You Gonna Call?

Because Winston has been giving me particular grief this week, a friend called to amuse me with a scenario: Richard Armitage’s secretary calls saying he needs me to come to Wellington immediately.  (I must have passed all the psych and background checks. Amazing.)  Supposedly a good position worth my while awaits.  But then David Tennant’s secretary calls saying I need to come to London ASAP, offering a similar position.  What would I do?

First I thought RA might need me more since he clearly needs a grassroots PR person to whip his image/exposure into shape and get his brand out there.   But DT wouldn’t need such grooming, already having his act together, so I could assist in refining his brand.  I’d get in on the beginning of RA’s rise to stardom; I’d be joining an already rising star with DT.

If I worked for RA, I’d get to work closely with him.  But if he’s as shy and intense as he appears to be and can’t/won’t grow past it, I’d want to strangle him after awhile.  DT seems to be more socially sophisticated but there’s some indication of control seeking that would make me want to strangle him too.  Both of these guys are a different generation; with whom would I be able to better communicate?

But if all things were equal, I’d have to mull over which would be the best deal.  It’s heading to winter in London but spring and summer in beautiful Wellington.  I’ve been to England many times but never to New Zealand.  If I were stationed in London, I could take side trips all over Europe.  If I were in Wellington, I could explore Australia and Far Asia.  Then there’s the question of how would I travel, who pays what, where would I live, etc.

In the end, I couldn’t decide.  Guess it’s time for a poll!  What would you advise?  Just don’t check RA because that’s who you would choose.  If you’ve been following my blog Dear Reader, put yourself in my place.  That should be fun.

The poll closes November 2nd.  Have some fun with this.


DT and RA

DT wonders of his assistant has arrived. RA wonders if she's the one with the shaver.




Why RA?: Part 2 – Looking for Mr. Goodcrush

[I’m telling this story because it represents my background in fandom spanning a period of almost 20 years.  All observations and opinions stated are mine alone. This post has been months in the making because it’s been so difficult to articulate and pen.   It’s important to know this background so Dear Reader can understand upon what basis I attempt to answer the question of various bloggers in Armitage World: Why Richard Armitage?  This series will be posted sporadically as my thoughts gel.  Part 1 is here.]

Flash forward a few years.  I’d been out of fandom awhile and wasn’t looking for a new one.  Then while cruising the internet in 1996, I came across some stunning information about a defunct television show of which I’d been a fan much earlier.  There was a following for this show but the idea of get-togethers to watch episodes didn’t appeal.  So I had nobody with whom to share my enjoyment of this show except my parents who thought I was nuts.  When I came upon the tidbit that the show was rebooting, I knew there had to be others on the internet talking about this.  So I went back to AOHell, and found a forum pointing to an IRC chat room.  I’d never been in real geek chat room and the relative ease of use make chatting much more enjoyable. (This is on which the ArmitageWorld chat room is based.)  I found a small international group of men and women ranging from high school to Older Than Me.  Joy!

When the show finally televised its first episode in 15 years, we held a group viewing which to my surprise was a lot of fun.  The reboot flopped but the chat room continued.  This group had  been attending the national convention for this show in my city every Thanksgiving weekend for the past several years. I’d heard of this con, but the idea of grown people dressing up as characters made me wary.  Two people I’d met in chat convinced me to room with them and attend the con, reassuring me I’d have a blast.  Considering my past experience, I wasn’t keen on meeting virtual friends. What would these people be like?  I’d taken care this time to gauge their personalities and propensities but had I assessed correctly?

fandom chart

I was thisclose to not going but reasoned that since I lived in the same city, I could always go home.  So I packed and journeyed out to the boonies.  As soon as the two entered the room and gave me such radiant smiles, I instantly knew these women were as intelligent, sane, and friendly as they seemed online.  Everything would be alright.  We’ve been best friends for 15 years.  I met many more friends at the con which was a blast as promised. There wasn’t an ax murderer in the bunch.  The fans ran the gamut from grounded to suspect but I learned with cautious inquiries and observation, I could find a group that was a good fit for me.  One of the biggest things I enjoyed was the camaraderie and fun, things I had been looking for all along.

As luck would have it, I was in the inner circle of a fan club which sprang up around the star of the reboot. He was a British actor moderately popular in the UK but unknown elsewhere. From what we heard, the new Mr. Crush was a hard working, pleasant but very private married family man.  He was shy, charming, quietly intelligent with a sense of humor that wasn’t caustic.  He was also a good actor and quite good looking to boot.  He seemed like a safe bet.  I shared this assessment with a circle older, more mature fans who were grounded in their own lives, many of whom has been involved in other fandoms.

On the fandom scale, I was less than “hard core” but more than average. I’m not sure why I’ve never progressed to hard core in any fandom; maybe it’s my personality or Winston’s constant interference but I seem immune.  In any event, Mr. Crush appeared a good focus of my admiration.  Due to my past experience, I entertained no ideas about meeting him or going any further than socializing with my group.  I was happy for this fandom to inject some needed relief in my life. I could squee and be silly with a like-minded circle.  In a way, I was happy to feel light-hearted.  This group was similar in many ways to ArmitageWorld.

The chief instigator created a moderated mailing list, a place we could feel safe to chat about anything unmolested by internet trolls and unbalanced types.  List mom, as she came to be called, welcomed all forms of creative expression and it turned out we had quite a few talented writers and artists churning out fan fiction (both PG and erotic) amazing enough to be published.  We had paper newsletters and a digital magazine for which I wrote a short story for the first time in years. (That story is lost.)  This was fandom I’d never experienced; a safe group with whom I could feel connected and have fun.  The mailing list grew and flourished.  Meanwhile the IRC chat room also expanded exponentially after the convention.  We started role playing games on Saturdays.  For those who don’t know, we chose roles and then wildly ad libbed in real time mock episodes based on the old show.  Yes, hilarity did ensue as the cliche goes. (Remember this was social media before the advent of Twitter and Facebook.)  Some logs of these RPGs survive today.  Many of us have stayed connected. That was how things progressed for almost two years.

COMING SOON: The Fan Club Goes To The Next Level

Creativity! Color Drawings 4

My new-found creativity is costing me money.  I was using graphite pencils drawing a certain actor when I had the urge to see him in color.

Back I headed to the arts supply store for color pencils and a few how-to books.  These books were a rude awakening.  A color pencil was not the same as a regular graphite pencil but with color.  Using them is an art in itself; that’s why the medium is called color painting and not color drawing.   Oh my.

The books also informed me I needed a lot more supplies before I could start: harder finishing pencils; acetate under my arm to prevent smudging; a color blender; the right paper; masking product; proper tape; fixative, an electric sharpener. I needed the right pencils to use just the right amount pressure on transfer paper to get my image from a sketch to the work paper.  I needed to study techniques like burnishing, underpainting and color blending.  I needed to practice, practice, practice light, medium and heavy shading because – wait for it – color pencil can’t really be erased.  Oh.  But, the books reassured, don’t be nervous, just jump in and have fun.

After my hand stopped shaking, I jumped in.  The first painting, a weirdly shaped apple, resembled something out of a Salvadore Dali work.  Not good.  The second was a scratchy looking unappetizing pear.  Hmm.  The third and fourth were more tries with a more normal looking apple and red bell peppers.   That certain actor won’t be a color painting until I stop sweating blood over vegetables and fruit, alas.

If you can’t see flash, the links are here and here.

Still life shading lessons, color pencil




Serene Sunday – His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Earlier this week, a neighbor and I came upon a little sparrow lying on the ground.  It twitched and twitched and we couldn’t tell if he stunned from the wind or poisoned (which had been known to happen). Neither of us had the heart to put it out of its misery and hoped it was simply stunned. Since Patty was in the hospital with mysterious vomiting, I was concerned with the possibility of poisoning.  I called the vet who told me to call a bird collision coalition and have them collect it.  Sadly they couldn’t help because they had too many calls.  Most likely they dealt more with eagles and falcons and not ordinary little sparrows.  When I returned later it was gone.

That made me think of an old Gospel hymn, His Eye Is On The Sparrow composed in 1905 and inspired by the Scriptures.  It’s an inspiring song that speaks of hope even when one feels like a small ordinary cog in life.  This hymn has been sung by many over the years.  In recent years it was popularized in the film Sister Act 2.  Here is Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount singing His Eye Is On The Sparrow.


His eye is on the sparrow – Lauryn Hill and Tanya Blount

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Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart feel lonely
And long for Heav’n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
A constant Friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches over me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches (I know he watches)
(I know he watches me)

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me (He watches me)
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know he watches me (He watches me)
He watches me (I know he watches me)


Surreal Saturday – Game of Thrones

As you may know, I’m a fan of videos in which the artist sings/plays against himself.  A chatter in ArmitageWorld brought my attention to this amazing video by Jason Yang.  He uses an electronic violin to play all the parts for the theme of Game of Thrones.


Game of Thrones Violin Cover An acoustic and electric violin cover of the main theme song from Game of Thrones. Arranged and performed by Jason Yang. Original song and soundtrack by Ramin Djawadi. ———- YouTube: Facebook: Instagram: Twitter: Soundcloud:


Foolish Friday: Chesticles!

It’s Friday again and you know what that means.  Yes, class is in session with more blatant objectification for your viewing pleasure.  I initially opted for something sublime like feet, but tiredness has me grabbing for the obvious- the chest.  Time to begin!

Let’s start slowly.  How about a little teaser with a towel thrown fetchingly over the pectorals of Percy Courtenay in Marie Lloyd.

chest ML-16

Percy breaks the news to Marie that she can marry him or he will have to charge for his services. Courtesy


Here is poor Lucas, emaciated from eight years in a prison camp.  However he managed to remain quite buff, don’t you think?  Observe the definition in the pecs enhanced by the sloping ribcage to the waist.

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Lucas learns the tattoos are actually a coded treasure map. Courtesy


Here is a close-up.  Notice the concavity of the sternum.


A close up of the west and east axis of the treasure map. Courtesty


Enough warm up.  Let’s move straight to what you really come here for:

Here is Guy trying on his magic armor just in case Marion walks in.  Again observe the indention of the sternum, the swell of the pectoral muscles and the sloping abdomen.


Guy is glad Marion finally arrived; that armor was chafing his excellent skin. Courtesy


Here, notice — oh hell, everything.


Guy hopes that last pizza and beer doesn't show. Courtesy

*Cough* Getting back on topic, here is a final close-up of a pair of excellent pecs.


Guy grabs Marion's creeping hand. Courtesy


I think that is enough for today.  Have a good weekend.


Hitting the Road or How I Survived The London Journey

I used to travel a great deal. During the 1990s, I traveled abroad almost once a year, mostly to Europe.  London was such a frequent spot, tourists there stop me for directions -and I can tell them.  One year averaged a trip once every three months (mostly in the US).  Ah, those were the days.

packed suitcase

When you travel that much, you tend to suss out the best way to pack and travel.  In 1991, I embarked on my first trip abroad on one of those 16 countries in 1o days tours, otherwise known as “blink and miss it.”  Seriously, I dozed for 5 minutes on the bus and missed Lichtenstein.  (Okay, maybe it was 12 countries in 10 day – my memory is fuzzy and this was pre-Twitter and Facebook).  In preparation, I bought an international suitcase, one of those humongous monsters to hold a new wardrobe.  Oh, I was a fashion plate with a new daily outfit complete with shoes and jewelry.  But it all made for a heavy suitcase at the beginning and an even heavier case at the end filled with souvenirs and dirty laundry.  It was a pain to roll over cobblestones and through narrow doorways.  That suitcase survived two trips.  After having to lug it up three flights of stairs, I swore never again.  Over the time, I acquired a to-do list for how to travel.  Here are a few tips.

Everything you’ll need should fit in a carry-on suitcase.  Yes, the kind you roll onto a plane.  How?

  • All your clothes should be neutral colors that are interchangeable. If one piece doesn’t go with everything, then discard it.  The material should be wrinkle-free and easy to roll.

packed sardines

  • A rolled article takes up less room than a folded one and can be packed more tightly.  You can roll underwear, bagged shoes and breakable souvenirs in the clothes if needed.
  • On my trip to London that was supposed to last seven days, I packed according to a formula: 7 days minus 2 days traveling, divided by 2 = how many outfits to pack.  Wear the same outfit coming and going; unless it’s a stinking mess, hang it up and let it air.  It should be ready for the return trip. Don’t wear the traveling outfit at any other time.  I recommend a cotton blend top and jeans; they are breathable, wrinkle-free and the best material should disaster strike.
  • So I on my seven day trip, I could take two or three whole outfits.  In a pinch you can take two for day and one for evening that can changed with scarves, jewelry etc.  Since I didn’t intend to dress, I opted for three outfits and and an extra pair of walking shoes.  Always take an extra pair and alternate them every day; your feet will thank you. Never pack shoes with no arch support like flats or ballet slippers.  If  I’d brought a dress, I would have selected not -new (already broken in) shoes with a comfortable heel and scuffed soles to prevent slipping on pavements.  Underwear and socks follow the same formula.  Ideally, I should wash my undies out in the sink at night but I can’t be bothered. So I took daily changes.
  • If you’re bringing a bulky coat, try to wear or carry it.
  • If traveling more than a week, take small packets of detergent and portable clothesline.  Fourteen changes of undies gets bulky; the whole idea is to economize on space. If you trip is 14 days or more, it’s time to start washing clothes.  There is usually some laundry facility in the hotel or nearby.  A carry-on bag can only hold so much even expanded. The most I’ve gotten into one is 5-7 outfits plus daily undies and two pairs of shoes.  On long trips bring a collapsible bag for those souvenirs and gifts you’ll want.
  • Bring a small toiletries bag with things you need in small travel bottles, not the bulky regular sizes.  Don’t worry about running out; most everything you need can be found at nearby store.
  • Bring several spare plastics bags for dirty and wet items and to separate out things.  You’ll be surprised when you need them.  Inquire if the room has an iron and dryer; they usually do.
  • If you have a high ick factor, bring plastic hair baggies you can put on your feet to shower.  Pack thin traveler’s slippers to avoid walking on carpet.
  • If you’re traveling abroad, don’t forget to bring the smallest, lightest plug adapters (and voltage changer if needed) you can find.  Remember, DO NOT USE A VOLTAGE CHANGER ON ELECTRONICS.  They have internal adapters; you’ll burn them out.
packed living in suitcase
  • Bring a tote bag big enough to carry a slim wallet, a collapsible umbrella, spare glasses, sun glasses, lipstick (leave the make-up kit in the toiletries bag) and other sundries you can’t do without.
  • Most importantly, buy a waist wallet you can wear under your clothes.  This should hold: a copy of the inside of your passport; a copy of your birth certificate; you driver’s license; any traveler’s checks; and temporarily unneeded cash and credit cards.  This will be a lifesaver should you lose the tote bag I told you bring. When my backpack was stolen in London years ago, my waist wallet helped get me a new passport in a matter of a few hours.
  • Lastly I’ve forgotten this every time, but in case of flying internationally and encountering a journey like my Rome adventure where my bag was AWOL for two days, pack in the tote bag a change of undies, a top and maybe a bottom if it will fit. Then while your suitcase journeys elsewhere, you can feel fresh while you wait.

So if you travel lightly and prepared, you have half the battle won.  May the travel karma be with you.



Why RA?: Part 1 – Are You Sitting Comfortably?

[I’m telling this story because it represents my background in fandom spanning a period of almost 20 years.  All observations and opinions stated are mine alone. This post has been month in the making because it’s been so difficult to articulate and pen.   It’s important to know this background so Dear Reader can understand upon what basis I attempt to answer the question of various bloggers in Armitage World: Why Richard Armitage?]

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin.

fandom-by-the-crayola-of-doodahWay back in the early 1990’s, I was involved in a major fandom. I was in my early 30s who had just left a bad long term relationship. I was still a bit naive and callow and frankly, not happy with my life.  I found a group (let’s call them Alice, Bea, CeeCee, and Daria) of what I thought to be like-mind fun women in a forum on AOL. (There might have been a few more of us, but these are the ones I remember).  Anyway, AOL was not so fondly called AOHell because lasting through the long connecting handshake and reaching the forum was a labor of love in the days of 4800 baud dial-up. This fandom surrounded a show that became a major convention industry.

Our group focused upon one actor on the show known to have an extremely dry sarcastic sense of humor.  We decided, sight unseen, to attend a convention in San Diego and meet.  It was a big affair and many of us had never attended such an event.  It was a beautiful city with fantastic weather and we all enjoyed the adventure of it all.  The actor was funny and in his element onstage.  The audience was not disappointed.   My job didn’t send me to industry conventions, so I thought this was a wonderful excuse to travel,  make friends and see new places.  I was terribly green and unschooled in the ways and personalities of fandom.  I’d never traveled before to see any celebrity, so it felt quite weird and daring.  It was a chance to get together, and be giggly, girlish and silly, a stage I missed out in my adolescence.  It wasn’t my first actor crush but it was the first I had ever actively shared with any one else. I don’t recall having any expectations of the actor aside from wondering how he looked in person and how he would present himself out of character.  At such a large event, I didn’t even expect to get an autograph or attempt it.   I perceived no “relationship” to him apart from being a fan which was a distant abstract concept to me and I was content to stay that way indefinitely.

It never occurred to me to examine some of my travel mates more closely or even the actor himself.  I assumed our only motivation was to have a good wholesome time because that was my mindset.  That brings to mind the old legal adage, “to assume, is to make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.”  As I said, I was naive.

fandomI was late joining the group and therefore didn’t know that a history already existed between Daria and the actor. She was a nice,  sweet, very unassuming woman who was something of a door mouse.  She was on a first name basis with Mr. Crush who knew her on sight. I was aware she’s lost a great deal of weight but not that she did it to impress him.  She lavished him with expensive presents but lived hand to mouth in garage back of her parents’ home while she toiled in a low paying job.  All of this information came out as we met from time periodically for the conventions.  After awhile the thrill of traveling receded and I could see the dynamics of this group.  Of the five of us, Bea and I were there for the camaraderie; Alice and CeeCee seemed to teeter on taking all this too seriously and Daria was disturbingly intense.

As my awareness of the dynamics grew, I became more uncomfortable as was Bea.  Things came to ahead when we traveled to be in the audience of a radio program starring Mr. Crush.  This was the first time I’d had a chance to have a one-one encounter with him.  Some in the group was thrilled about this and seemed a bit too in earnest in their pursuit of his attention which I found crossing the line.  On the fateful evening, Daria, Alice and CeeCee waylaid him in the corridor of the hotel.  From what I could see he was smiling and comfortable, so Bea and I approached.  As I stated, he has a very dry sarcastic personality, but in that moment something in his demeanor indicated that he was actually laughing at us.  I don’t know if I was being overly sensitive;  but life had taught me to recognize veiled contempt when I saw it. Maybe that’s not what he intended to exude but that’s how it felt.  I was turned off.  The three were clueless but the two of us were DONE with the whole thing. It was as if I’d taken a step outside myself and viewed the situation with a cold objective eye.  My fangurling dropped away.   I was disturbed by the trio, by me even being there and mostly by this actor. In a flash, I wondered what kind of man he really was and whether he was the type of person I should admire.  I recall thinking, “maybe it’s not a good thing to get too close.  Just who the hell is this guy?”  The group broke up shortly afterwards.

My fandom isAs far as I know, the trio are still fans, 18 years later.  I saw Alice on Facebook two years ago talking about seeing him in a play.  We don’t know if Daria was still hoping to be noticed.  We lost contact with CeeCee.  Bea confided a few months after the breakup she had similar misgivings.

I came away from the group a bit more savvy about fandom dynamics and with whom I should associate before jumping into a situation.  I also became aware that the object of my crush might not be who he seems but that I can never really know who exists behind that public persona.  Although I felt a bit more experienced, it turned out I still had a lot learn from my next fandom.

So what about you Dear Reader?  Were you part of fandom before Armitage World?  Is this fandom new to you?  Please feel free to share your stories.


I Think That I Shall Never See A Poem As Beautiful As A Tree – On A Bus

Once upon a time, a colleague bought a big silk ficus tree for his office.  It lived in a corner, held Christmas tree ornaments and lights during the holidays but most of the time just held dust.  One day, the colleague in a fit of pique transferred to another location, packed his grip and bequeathed me the tree.  So I promised to care for it and took it to my office where it lived against the wall, unloved and undusted.

tree on bus

Tree and I ride the bus. It's a seat hog.

Eventually I changed residences and it dawned that this tree would fit well in a corner of the living room.  But considering its height, I would need a nice friend with a van to transport.  A van never materialized.  Years went by.  One day the office director announced an office move; all our belongings had to fit into two boxes or we had to transport the excess ourselves.  More time passed as it usually does in a bureaucracy, and finally the director proclaimed that stuff had to go.

So that’s how I came to be on a bus last week with a dusty six foot ficus tree.   I muscled it to the curb and hoped to flag a taxi van.  But as luck will have it, these vans only appear if 1) your back hurts or 2) your knees ache so you have to literally climb into the seat.  I felt fine so hence, no van.  The tree refused to ride in a regular taxi.  So there I was on the street hugging a tree.  Then remembering the new-fangled bus with low thresholds and no stairs, I walked the tree onto to one.  The bus driver looked askance as I flashed a cheesy smile.  The tree and I got a good seat out of the way and away we went.

tree at home

Tree at rest in its new home.

It traveled quite well as trees go.  Its roots stayed glued in the white wicker basket that I could tip to keep branches out of the way of riders.  It was quite courteous and didn’t hog a seat for the disabled or elderly.  It drew a lot of double takes and comments from mystified travelers: a tree, was it real, was it silk, it gave the bus a little panache, etc. When I commented taking a tree on a bus was the most unusual thing I’ve ever done, one lady matter of factly pointed out that the tree was getting home.  Tree and I got to our stop without a hitch and walked (with me using the trunk’s middle as a fulcrum) home without knocking over a single pedestrian.  I smiled at the doorman who without batting an eye remarked it was a fine tree.

Tree now stands in its appointed spot in the corner of the living room looking a bit dwarfed by the high ceiling. I’m considering naming it.  It got a thorough dusting and a sniffing by Patty.  It’s getting a new fishbowl planter pot and stand as a homecoming gift.  It’s amazing how a bit of greenery can liven a room.  I don’t have a green thumb, but a deadly thumb that kills plants at the slightest touch.  Decorators pooh-pooh fake plants but I don’t care.  It really is a lovely tree.

How about Atticus the Ficus Tree?


Serene Sunday: Both Sides Now

Judy Collins used this song as a cover for her album Both Sides when I was child.  I was intrigued by it because my idealistic young self understood only half the lyrics.  Listening to the song now as a somewhat cynical adult, I can fully comprehend the truth of the words, with a touch of wistfulness for the loss of youthful innocence.  But as she sings “but something’s lost and something’s gained in living every day.”  Being in a contemplative mood, my choice for today is Both Sides Now.

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Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun they rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels the dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real, I’ve looked at love that way
But now it’s just another show, you leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care don’t let them know, don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud, to say, “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I’ve looked at life that way
But now old friends are acting strange they shake their heads, they say
I’ve changed
But something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

Surreal Satuday: These Are Things I Can’t F**king Remember [NSFW]

Katie Goodman is a comedian who sings irreverent outrageous ditties. Most of her stuff is so risque, I hesitate to show anything but if you make sure the boss, the kids and the hubby aren’t around, you’re really identify with and enjoy this ode to the 40 year brain.  If you have difficulty hearing the lyrics, they are here.

These Are The Things I Can’t F*cking Remember – Katie Goodman of Broad Comedy

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Foolish Friday: Profiling

It’s the end of the work week so it must be Foolish Friday again.  Time for more Richard Armitage studies.  We’ve already studied his callipygia, eyes and shoulders.  Let’s take a look at a less frequently discussed asset: his profile.

Here is a screen cap of John Thornton in North & South.  Notice the patrician profile, slightly aquiline but not quite Romanesque.

John Thornton considers the comfort of a newfangled invention - underwear. Courtesy


Here is another more dramatic shot of the profile.  Notice how the high collar, cravat and backlighting accentuate the angles of the face.

Thornton realizes insurance premiums will skyrocket following a study showing cotton mill workers will more likely die from bad cafeteria food than accidents. Courtesy


Here is a rarely seen clip from Cleopatra.  That’s RA as a guard on the far right.

RA hopes he won't drop his popcorn again and miss his bit. Courtesy


But back to a more close-up study.  Here is Lucas showing us how impressive is done.

Lucas thinks he's won the profile contest hands down. Courtesy


This shot is almost turns into three-fourths instead of profile but I love the expression on his face.

Lucas learns his American lover's death being a dream was just a joke after all. Courtesy


Of course I can’t leave this study with out beholding Mr. Patrician himself, Sir Guy of Gisborne.  With the hair, guyliner and stubble, what more could a profile need?

Guy hears Marion threw her chastity belt key down a privy. Courtesy of


This is not a great shot of the profile, but you have to admit it’s a great pose.

Guy casually holds up a wall as Marion just happens around a corner. Courtesy


This shot has nothing to do with profiles but c’mon, Glamour Guy’s on a horse.

Guy fumes that Tree Boy and his hag is ruining his shot. Courtesy

Class is dismissed.  Have a good weekend.


Letting Go or Getting Your Money’s Worth 20 Years Later

creativityAs you may know, I’m rediscovering some of my old creativity.  For the last few days I’ve been engrossed in drawing, something I hadn’t done in almost 15 years.  Picking up the pencil again was like coming home.   Drawing is like riding a bike; you never really forget.  So I didn’t have to fear losing “it.” It was always there waiting.

As I sketched, other feelings rose to the surface and I found myself becoming crabby and bitchy.  (Okay, crabbier and bitchier.)  Why was I becoming discombobulated?  Finally I realized these were negative feelings from my adolescence and early adulthood.  I frequently sketched during this time and the feelings became associated with drawing.  (If you’ve been keeping up with my psyche trio and Winston, you expect that Jada thought “more fodder for Dr. G!”  Jodi groaned, and Quiet One was quiet.  Winston cocked his head in interest but I drugged him.)  I know right away the answer is to associate new positive feelings for the bad ones.  But the biggest issue is all about letting go.

It occurred to me that although this blog’s focus has been about rediscovering my creativity, it’s been necessary to get through obstacles blocking that creativity. I was wary about starting a blog because I was afraid I wouldn’t have anything to say.   Writing frustrated me because the words wouldn’t flow and I worried they wouldn’t ever.  I feared I’d lost the talent to draw.  I had trepidation journeying to a foreign country because I was scared to be all alone for the first time.  All of these were unnecessary fears because when I determined to move ahead, I saw none of them were true.  I didn’t have to push or crush or shatter these fears to get around them; all I had to do was let go.

past present signSo this journey has also involves discarding old preconceptions of the way I was and the way I am now.  The more I let go of the way I was, the more I can see the possibilities, the potential, the rising creativity now.  This might seem a “Duh!” moment.  Twenty years ago, I paid a therapist a lot of money to tell me this.  But as we know, Dear Reader, what is intellectually obvious never sinks in until the mind is ready to accept it.

I’m on a bigger journey than I originally anticipated at the beginning of this blog.  As I let go of old issues, I wonder what will unfold.  I don’t forsee becoming the next Picasso with some Zora Neale Hurston on the side, but I do hope to one day “fully  realize my potential” as motivational speakers love to say.  If I don’t, hopefully there will be some more nice stories, drawings and travelogues in the mix.