Yesterday was Mindful Monday, but also the 2nd anniversary of my mom’s passing, so I didn’t have the heart or energy to post anything. And I spent most of the day NOT being mindful but instead lost in memories and feelings.
Today I am doing so much better!
Today I received an email, alerting me that I have won a MAJOR AWARD. This was me, opening the email (not really, but ’tis the season and I love this movie):
However, instead of this:
My MAJOR AWARD is this:
Someone or a group of someone’s from something called FeedSpot have decided Ye Olde Blogge made the cut of “Widow Blogs” and awarded me a lovely badge. I wasn’t given any criteria for how this was achieved or how I made a rank of #40.
Seriously, I did not make this up. I don’t know how to create a badge (or I would’ve made one up for myself years ago…hehehe).
Yesterday my good friend and Barbados buddy, Mizz C, came down to Chez Badass for a visit so I was able to present her with her (May) birthday gift. OK, I know this sounds bad. But we are the kind of friends who still feel close even though we haven’t seen each other in months. I was also able to re-give her last year’s Christmas present, which was left behind in my vehicle last February when I dropped her off, after our trip.
We’ve been friends for over 50 years now…the kind of friends who can spend a whole afternoon sitting beside each other, noses in books and tea mugs in hands, and barely speak and think we had the most marvelous time. Because we did.
Anywho, she asked me to paint her a beach scene…someday.
I do like how this painting turned out. I wanted it to represent any beach, anywhere. Mizz C lives in a beach community a couple of hours north of the Village. I chose a beach scene without any details that could convey a certain geographic region and didn’t make the water too overtly tropical in hue. I think I will have to repeat it for myself some day. I think something like this would be perfect to hang in my bathroom, so I can look at it while soaking in the tub.
I followed a painting tutorial by Angela Anderson to create this beach painting.
And because this is a Monday post, I want to speak a bit about mindfulness, as well as and related to art. When I am in my studio (aka laundry room) working on a piece, it is almost a meditative activity for me. I am so intensely focused on what I am trying to convey with my paints, that all other thoughts are emptied from my mind. It’s a nice break from the mind chatter, to have those almost unrelenting pop-up thoughts fall away momentarily.
Four weeks in, I think the meditation that I am practicing is helping me physically. I have less neck and shoulder pain lately, even when spending more time than usual hunched over my computer at work – like I was last week when my right hand person was off and I had to take over some of her duties besides my own. Last time she was off, I needed to apply a heated bag to my neck and shoulders during the day, to help ease the tension. This time I didn’t feel any pain.
I have a massage therapy appointment this week. I wonder if my masseuse will notice a difference. I feel different, on the inside.
I used to think that creating art was a very free-flowing, emotion-heavy, intuitive and spontaneous activity…when I wasn’t doing it. But I find it mostly to be about careful planning, design, and problem-solving…just like real life. And it is a mindful activity. All of which I like. All of which I can get into. All of which I am working on getting better at.
A few weeks back, when I got serious about meditation and incorporating mindfulness into my everyday life, I was searching for some guidance.
I contacted a local-ish instructor of MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) via email but she never got back to me. Not too surprised by this as her website looked like it was state of the art…for 1995. I could have called her, but while I was waiting for her to respond, I did some surfing and instead I found a course I could take online.
I am now on Week 3 of the 8 week Online MBSR/Mindfulness course, hosted by Palouse Mindfulness. This learning is free and available to all (all with internet access, that is). Like yoga used to be – before it became mainstream – when it was hosted in church basements for the few and the curious. (At least, that’s how I was introduced to yoga, back in the 1970’s.)
So far I am impressed with what I am learning – the readings and the videos are from well-known practitioners in the field. The guided meditations and yoga videos are clear and helpful. I recommend this whole-heartedly if you are interested in learning about and practicing mindfulness. There is also an online community for students taking the course, to discuss what they are experiencing. I didn’t sign up for that, so I can’t comment. But if that interests you, it’s available too.
In between meditation sessions and work, I have been busy creating. I finished the piece I showed in-progress a few posts ago:
I’ve been thinking a lot about art lately, as I reflect back on 2017. It’s something that has been helpful, enjoyable, and thought-provoking for me this year. More on that in another post.
This week I went back to the orthodontist to discuss refinements to my teeth. I am thrilled with them as they are. However, the tooth artiste (as I like to call Dr. Kevin…or was it Dr. Brian? I can’t keep the brothers straight) had some other ideas.
He used a bunch of dentist terms to describe what he thought needed to be done – long story short, I am getting more trays and have to wear some elastics too, and this refining process will take another 6 months. I was told at the start that my Invisalign treatment would take about 2 – 2.5 years and here we are at Month 10 only, so I gots nothin’ to complain about!
So here is what my teeth look like now:
And here are a couple of before and after closeups:
For now I am experiencing a brief respite from having to wear the trays 22 hours a day. I only need to wear them when I go to bed. It feels…weird. Like I’m forgetting to do something.
But that will end soon enough when I get the call that my new trays are in and refinement begins!
Survived another one! That makes 2 NaBloPoMos and 3 A2Z Challenges under mah belt, so far!
Whenever I do one of these challenges, I end up asking myself why I don’t come up with a more regular blogging schedule since I can obviously commit to go the distance.
And every time I do one of these, I find some great fellow bloggers to follow and I fall in love with my blog all over again.
Some bloggers will be heading right into Blogmas, starting tomorrow. I considered this, for about 5 seconds. Until I remembered I’m kinda not into Christmas enough to blog about it for 25 days straight.
Unless people want to read 25 semi-ranty posts about the commercialism of Christmas and how it slowly but surely killed my spirit. Could be my niche, ya know?
Instead I’m going to spend at least some of December doing my favourite activity for this month – reviewing 2017, and goal-setting and planning for 2018 (and beyond).
Some of those goals will be for Ye Olde Blogge. I am thinking of committing to at least one post per week for 2018. So that’s 52 posts (plus A2Z and NaBloPoMo). And I am going to draft some sort of plan for the blog as well – you know, like a business plan except without the money-making part…’cos I don’t think I want to go down that road at this point (if ever).
Right now my blog is like Seinfeld. It’s a blog about…nothing. Because I post about almost everything that I’m thinking about or doing.
And I think about a LOT. OF. STUFF. And I try to do a LOT. OF. STUFF.
Maybe that will change, but I highly doubt it probably not.
To all those that succeeded with posting every day in November for NaBloPoMo 2017, congratulations!
To all those that attempted the challenge but didn’t manage to post every day in November, you still lapped those bloggers that didn’t even try, so congratulations to you too!
Well, Black Friday and Black Friday weekend came and went and I didn’t see the inside of a mall.
I did buy a couple of things though – one planned for and one unexpected, but kinda planned for (I’ll explain). So I feel pretty good about my little bit of consumerism. Both purchases were….mindful!
First off, remember when I told you I unsubscribed to almost every email prodding me to buy? I left a couple…one was Michael’s, because I only buy my art supplies there when I have a sizeable coupon (50% off, I’m looking at you!), and those coupons come in the email.
And the other was Amazon, because – thanks to their emails – I found out I have access to Amazon Prime Video, and now Music and I am quite enjoying both of those services. Especially since I gave cable TV the boot a few months back.
During my overhaul of Chez Badass into a liveable space, being an Amazon Prime member made a lot of sense and I was seriously debating discontinuing my membership now that my place is fully small-applianced. Then I got the email chiding me for not taking advantage of my Prime Video subscription (part of being a member). OK, maybe not chiding. Maybe I was chiding myself for being such a dumbass that I did not know I even had access to this.
Anywho, since then I’ve been enjoying shows like Bosch and American Gods…but not on my TV. Only on my iPad. Alas, although my TV is only 3 goddamn years old, it apparently is too old to handle the Prime Video app. I won’t go into the swearing and gnashing of teeth and phone calls to LG customer service and an information-gathering trip to Best Buy that preceded this realization but let me just say that that’s a Saturday morning I will never have back.
Once I settled down, I thought a couple of things. First – there is no way I am buying a new goddamn TV just to watch Prime Video with. Second – maybe it’s time I went with Apple TV. Well, thank goodness I checked things out on the Interwebs first, because I learned that Apple TV does not offer the Prime Video app. But apparently might, soon? And in the meantime, I could magically beam it from my iPad through the Apple TV box onto my TV. Hmmmmm…sounds like a lotta work, that might not work, ya know what I mean?
So I held off, waiting for the big announcement that Apple TV now offers the Prime Video app. Still waiting….still waiting….
Then the email from Amazon came, announcing something called a Fire Stick – for only $50 with free shipping. A quarter of the price of the Apple TV magical box that still does not offer the Prime app. A no-brainer.
Yep, so that and some cadmium yellow and cobalt blue paints (55% off). Those were my big Black Friday weekend purchases. My Fire Stick should be delivered today.
Yep, I responded to the email prods to buy…but I had planned for those purchases in advance. They were things I already had decided I needed and was planning to buy. So, they were mindfully done.
Yep, and for now, I am very happy to remain a Prime member. They keep adding value to this subscription. Well played, Amazon!
I have been meditating every day and practicing doing things mindfully, and dumb shit still does bother me. At least it takes up more of my mental energy than I feel it deserves.
There was a post that popped up on my Facebook feed (isn’t that the way these things always start?), and I’ve was thinking about it off and on for most of yesterday. The person posted in one of the Village’s community groups that he was upset because he ordered pizza delivered but didn’t tip the delivery guy, and the delivery guy got sarcastic with him, thanking him for the (no) tip. No mention was made of poor service. Mr. No Tip chose not to tip for his own reasons.
So Mr. No Tip felt he had to justify his actions (poor, single dad with no car) and complain that he doesn’t get tipped for his work, and seek assurance from the Facebook community that he was right, goddammit, and the delivery guy was wrong and let’s all talk about it and get worked up and hopefully delivery guy gets fired and the named pizza business takes a hit for employing someone so rude.
Well, this wasn’t explicitly said, but why else wouldn’t you just shake it off and move on with your life?
I think I know. Because Mr. No Tip just might have felt like a bit of shitheel for no tipping, and then he gets called on it, so now he feels even worse and therefore has to take measures to feel good about himself again, online. I’m no therapist (thank goddess, eh?) but I’m just supposin’.
Anyways, I read the comments (I know, I know…sigh) and people were commenting on how a tip is not a given and yeah, they had problems too with said business and drivers…but what about poor servers, yada yada. The general consensus was that the driver never should have said what he did. And I agree.
But the driver didn’t complain on the community forum about that douche that stiffed him for a tip or call him out by his name*, so I focused on Mr. No Tip’s behaviour instead.
And this got me thinking all kinds of thoughts. I tried to not think about Mr. No Tip himself, whom I’ve met IRL and who has not impressed me with other whiny shit things he has posted. I tried instead to put myself in his shoes as I thought through what was posted.
Which was easy, because I have been in his brokeass shoes. And when we couldn’t afford to tip someone for service, guess what? We didn’t eat out. We didn’t order in. We made do with what was in the kitchen cupboard.
Money was always tight growing up. When we went out for the day as a family, Mom made sandwiches and the Coleman stove was packed so we could have soup and tea to go with our meal. Because there was no extra money for restaurant food, not even at a cheap diner. We picnicked at a roadside rest area instead.
Once a year, my parents treated themselves (and later, us kids too) to a meal out for their anniversary. They saved up the money (including tip) to go out for a real treat – Chinese food. They didn’t say: We are supporting 5 people on 1 immigrant working man’s salary and we can barely make ends meet and this is our only meal out for the next 12 months, so we are entitled to not tip.
They tipped, because that is what you do in our society when you receive good service at restaurants and the like. You don’t make your brokeass life the server’s problem. If you can’t afford the tip, stay home. If you can’t afford the tip, don’t order delivery.
That doesn’t mean you have to tip – but if the service is decent, you should tip and you should factor that into the cost of your meal before you go out or order in. That’s how I was raised.
In my younger days as a married adult, money was tight as well. I was still in university. I remember one of our first meals out as newlyweds – could’ve been an anniversary, I can’t remember – we thought we had enough cash with us to cover our meal and the tip but when the check arrived we found we had miscalculated. Oh shit. We were young and unprepared – no credit cards; debit cards were not a thing yet, nor ATMs; banks were closed; and I had left the chequebook at home. So we had to slink out of the restaurant without leaving a tip for our nice server. I left a note explaining that there was nothing wrong with the service; we were dumbasses who couldn’t add. I felt like a total shitheel that night. I never let that happen again.
I went back on Facebook later in the day and saw a post that said the original post (and comments) had been removed and Mr. No Tip has been removed from the group as well, by the group’s administrators (yet again). He was removed about a year ago too, for making an somewhat similar ranty post, with racial overtones that offended a lot of readers including yours truly. Then he popped up again a few months later, having rearranged his name on his Facebook account.
So, what does any of this have to do with mindfulness, you might be asking by now?
Like the cool cat at the top of the post, I was hoping that being more mindful would mean this kind of thing wouldn’t occupy so much of my brain on a November Sunday. But that is not what mindfulness is about actually. It is about taking a pause before automatically reacting. And in that pause, (hopefully) seeing and acting with more clarity. With mindfulness.
I paused yesterday. I did not fire off a comment (snarky or otherwise) to enter the fray. Which is something I might have done earlier. I did take a pause to not react, and instead to clarify my own thinking. And I recalled some nice (and some humbling) memories as I did so. And then I wrote it all down on Ye Olde Blogge, because…NaBloPoMo…hehehe.
*Mr. No Tip didn’t either (I doubt he knew his name), but he did name the business involved which I think ultimately led to his post being deleted.
I saw a post this week on Facebook (where I get almost all my news and entertainment, these days) describing some popular Dutch food items. One of them was the glorious kapsalon, that Mizz J and I discovered on our last trip to the Netherlands.
Kapsalon covers all the best necessary food groups with its delightful mix of fries, cheese, garlic sauce, sambal, shawarma meat, and veggies. Hehehehe.
After experiencing this takeout food of the hedonistic gods, we were all fired up to bring this to Canada, the land where La Belle Province introduced the world to the wonder that is poutine.
But since we are not restauranteurs, the learning curve was very steep indeed and we soon lost interest abandoned our mission to bring this delight to the New World.
Until this week! There is a restaurant in the Village that would be perfect (IMHO) to introduce this tinfoil tub of deliciousness to North America. They already sell shawarma AND fries! So I contacted them (via Facebook, natch) this morning.
I wish I had some of the pieces that I have completed recently to show you (because I’m kinda proud of them), but they are earmarked as gifts so they won’t be appearing on Ye Olde Blogge until they have been delivered to the recipients.
September and October were pretty quiet for me on the artistic endeavours front, because those months were so freaking awesome, weather-wise…but now that we are here in damp, grey November I have returned to my laundry room/studio to do more than laundry!
When I first started back into visual arts again, I had thought I needed to find a local artist to take lessons from. Then I remembered I lived in the Information Age so I hopped onto YouTube. Love you, Interwebs!
Oh my. So many wonderful, giving art teachers to choose from! So much inspiration and instruction out there! So many tips and tricks! Especially for born-again beginners like me! Available at any given moment. Always there for you. And you can pause them whenever you need to!
This year-long course (almost at an end) is a paid-for subscription, and delivered in monthly instalments. I was following it faithfully for the first 3-4 months, then work got crazy and it fell by the wayside…but I have downloaded all the videos etc. (mine to keep FOREVAH…BWAHAHAHA!) so I will get around to the rest of them eventually.
During this course I realized something. Me and art journalling (which Mandala Magic is very much about)…huh, not so much. I prefer to get straight to the canvas. This might change when I retire and have more free time – but for now, when the muse strikes I want to get right at starting a “piece”.
Which is my plan for this grey November Saturday. What’s yours?