Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nothing Strange Here

This post is part of the 2013 Think Kit Challenge, a blogging project by SmallBox. 

I managed to make it through day 2 of this challenge without missing a beat. Day 3 got a little delayed. What do you think happened when I walked away from my laptop about 10:00 p.m. to watch the news. You guessed it! I woke up in Day 4. I felt I needed to think about how I would present the strangest thing I have seen in 2013 and still appear to be at least a little normal.

Facebook did this to me. I have friends from all walks of life on Facebook. I have friends from childhood, friends from college, friends that I have met once, and friends that I see every day. I enjoy the variety of posts that I see when I get up in the morning and hit that page. I usually check it again before I lay down at night just to make sure that all is well. I did that about a week ago and that is where everything got strange.

There on my Facebook news feed was a picture that is forever burned in my brain now. Thanks friend! I won't call you out, but you know who you are. Anyone ever heard of Victorian post-mortem photography? I won't link to it here, but I know you just have to go look. There amoungst otherwise harmless pictures of babies and pets was a picture of a child, perhaps 3 years old with eyes that were VERY open standing in front of an older lady who was already quite decomposed.

The discussion that followed was something like this:

"That poor child looks scared to death?

     "That child is dead. His eyes are painted on his eyelids."
"The old lady is obviously dead."
     "Yep, I think they dug her up for the picture."

Good Night! And Sweet Dreams.

Monday, December 2, 2013

And The Survey Says...

Day 2 of the Thinkkit daily writing challenge. Today's prompt, "Take a Poll".

For the sake of variety, I decided to poll a very small amount of people (children, actually-well, grandchildren, actually) to see if I could get manipulate the answers by the way I asked the questions.

To Grandson
  1. What is your allowance per week?
    1. $5.00
  2. What chores do you do for that allowance?
    1. Take out the trash, clean my room, folding clothes
  3. Do you feel like your allowance is fair?
    1. Yes
  4. What additional chores would you be willing to do to increase your allowance?
    1. Do all the laundry and dishes
To Granddaughter
  1. What is your allowance per week?
    1. $5.00
  2. What chores do you do for that allowance?
    1. Fold clothes, clean my room, clear the table
  3. Do you feel like your allowance is unfair?
    1. Yes
  4. How much do you think your allowance should be?
    1. $15.00
  5. What additional chores would you be willing to do to increase your allowance to $15.00?
    1. Nothing. It should already be $15.00.
This was a very simplistic and unscientific poll, but I feel like it illustrates a point that needs to be made about national polls. The poll results can be manipulated by the way the questions are phrased.

I think back on the days when I was a busy, working, mom raising two kids. I realized that the outcome of our conversations depended largely on my communication skills. For instance, if I picked the kids up from day care and asked "What do you want for supper tonight? Yummy hamburgers or fish sticks?" The chances were automatically weighted in favor of the hamburgers even though both of my kids liked fish sticks also. Put the "Yummy" in front of any of the foods they liked and that would influence them to make that choice.

Of course, they were small children, but the same psychology works on adults too. Here are some examples:
  • Most people will pick up an item that is marked $5.98 as opposed to a similar item marked $6.00, even if the $6.00 item is better. 
  • People will attend sales advertising "Prices Slashed" and make purchases without ever realizing that the prices are actually higher than the competitor's price.
  • Buyers in the grocery store will purchase 2 items that are marked 2/$1.00 even though 1 only costs 50 cents and 1 is all they need.
Words are powerful tools that can be used to manipulate the results of a poll and the opinions of the public. If I were asked if I thought it was acceptable to imprison all children with ADHD, I would say "Definitely Not!" But if I were asked if I felt that children with ADHD should be given the benefit of isolation in a secure location as a way to minimize distractions, I might not think that was such a bad idea.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Year in Photos? Thought you would never ask!

This post is part of the 2013 Think Kit Challenge, a blogging project by SmallBox. I thought long and hard before committing to this project. A challenge always comes in handy when one is trying to motivate oneself, so I selfishly accepted this challenge for that purpose. Besides, when I saw the first prompt, I knew I had the material.

My year in pictures seems to be the same year after year. It involves my family and friends, which make up the bulk of my time and energy, leaving only enough time and energy to make a wholehearted but half-a***d pursuit of the Arts. In my opinion, you cannot pursue the Arts - the Arts pursue you. For the purposes of this blog post, I narrow it down to family.

This past year has been a year of challenges for our family, so that is my focus. The pictures below are not for the purpose of bragging, but for the purpose of congratulating these amazing people that have accomplished so much in spite of their difficulties. So I would love to highlight some of their successes.

My youngest granddaughter, Lena, accepting the 2nd place trophy in her school talent showcase. She was in Kindergarten and competed in the K, 1st, & 2nd grade division with a solo tap dance. I am not only proud of her talent, but of her courage and composure. Her Division 2 Young Champions Cheerleading team also took 1st place in the State Competition.
My oldest granddaughter, Carys and her Level 4 Young Champions won 1st place in the state competition and competed at the nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. She also completed her first 5K in August - the Elvis Presley 5K run at the tender age of 9. 
My only grandson, Gabriel, the one who bears the blame for making me what I am today (Grandma), beams with pride over his 1st place Spelling Bee trophy. He competed as a 6th grader in the Arlington Middle School competition with such composure and confidence! He heads to the county competition in February, 2014. In addition to being smart, he is one of the kindest 12 year old boys that I have ever met. I would be remiss if I did not brag on his gaming skills also.

How does a grandmother get so lucky?

My daughter accomplished a lot this year. She had surgery on both of those beautiful eyes, taught school, taught yoga, redid 3 bedrooms, all while raising my wonderful grand kids. She somehow managed to have a bit of a social life in addition to all of her responsibilities.
My son also accomplished a lot in the past year. He moved back to midtown (his favorite place to live), rebuilt a long-neglected social life, lost weight (so proud and so jealous), worked at his job, worked on his music, and remained an all-around good guy. This guy is my wings!

How does a mother get so lucky?

I did my first juried art show in many, many, many years. It was the premier show of Art2Wear in Germantown TN. I have to admit that I loved the attention, the adoring crowds (wink, wink), rubbing elbows with all of the creative people.... But it gives me pause to consider what I really want to do, and I really enjoy rubbing elbows with my tight knit little group at Memphis Melange Etsy Team and Indie Style Market. They keep me artistically stimulated, give me creative criticism, high fives, kicks in the butt when needed - you know, like family. 

There is one more picture I have to throw in, just because there is a lesson here to be learned.
Never, never, never accidentally fall asleep around my family.You are fair game for a practical joke.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Inspiration!

Two years ago today, part of my inspiration left this world, but he will always be in my heart. Two years ago, he closed his eyes and crossed over to his eternal reward. He died of complications of being old, that being one of the major causes of death for elderly people.

Born in 1921, he lived through the depression, World War II, serving with honor in the European theater during World War II. He came home to his child bride, started a family, and spent the next 65 or so years setting the best example a parent could possibly set. He worked hard, played hard, worshiped fervently, and loved his wife and family unconditionally.

From my earliest memories, I saw him as a benevolent patron of the arts, from the beginning bragging on my little artistic endeavors - making me want to do better and better. He was a extraordinary doodler and I still have in my possession some of his absentminded doodles. They are, to me, reminders of the great love he had for us all. He was never idle for a minute (the idle mind is the devil's workshop). He always had at least a pen and even the tiniest scrap of paper to fill with his doodles.

Leslie Wade Tyler
July 25, 1921-September 27, 2009

PMC is my new love - and my old love. I have loved PMC since 2004 when I first read an ad inThe Memphis Flyer for PMC classes. I signed up right away and attended with 2 other ladies that knew very little about the product or the process.

My instructor was knowledgeable and inspiring. She had lots of samples of things she had made. I knew when that class ended that I would take another and another and another until I was sure of my proficiency with the craft. spent two hours, one night a week for 4 weeks immersing myself

That was 7 years ago. Little did I know at that time, that PMC was in it's infancy - with new variations and new products coming quickly on the heels of the original. When I first laid eyes on the product, I that PMC3 was new. Now there is PMC Pro. There is gold PMC, copper PMC, bronze PMC, steel PMC. Add to that, glass clay - yes, glass that can be formed as a clay, fired and become colorful pieces of glass. Think of the possibilities.

I took one more class and delved deeper into the most fascinating medium that I had ever worked with. Being an art major in college (eons ago) the only classes taught were
drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, design, and printmaking. I had independently taken a copper jewelry class and loved it. PMC brought together so many of the things I have loved to do over the years.

Unfortunately, before I could take another class, my instructor was killed in an automobile accident. I didn't know that at the time, so I kept emailing her and trying to call her to arrange to pick up a couple of pieces of mine that she had kept to fire and to arrange for that next class. I finally gave up and started looking on the internet for classes. I learned that I could take a 3 day certification class and be qualified to teach. Obviously a teacher was needed in my community.

Since I couldn't find an instructor locally, I signed up for the certification class in Chattanooga Tennessee - three days of classes that would take me to the level that I would be able to teach classes. At the last minute, the class was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Back to square 2.

I found an instructor outside of Nashville Tennessee, signed up, and showed up at Mudpuddle Pottery for my 3 day certification class. The rest, as they say, is history. I was (and still am) hooked.

The great thing about PMC is that it can compliment any other art or craft that one is interested in - especially jewelry. Enameling can be done on the PMC as well as mixing of the metals. This is something that I haven't tried yet, but cannot wait to dig in.

I will be, over the next couple of weeks, finalizing my first lesson plan for an introduction to PMC. I will start with an informative demonstration and set up a basic class from the interested parties in attendance. The class will be small (4 or 5 people) and, at the end, everyone will take home a piece of fine silver jewelry.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Monday, October 25, 2010

For What It Is Worth

For what it is worth, I think I was offered a job today. At least I came home thinking that I had been offered a job. Later, the job offerer came to my door and gave me her business card and said that she couldn't print the job responsibilities, but she would email me.

The moments tick by. . . .

Still no email.

For what it is worth, I reached my hand of forgiveness out today to someone who, I think, needs to feel that everything is going to be okay - in spite of the fact that they have wronged me. Hey! I can be forgiving. It was only money. It was only something that I was looking forward to. It was only something that I had saved for. It was only something that, in my imagination, was going to complete an invented process that was going to make enough money for me to retire on easy street.

Now, it is also turned into a rescue. Now I will feel even worse if I file for resolution through PayPal. Now the thirty some-odd dollars I get back from PayPal will haunt me as I conjure up images of the seller huddling in the corner of her dirty little hovel sobbing.

For what it is worth, I have suffered more today from ocular migraines that in the past 6 months all combined. I have had at least 4 episodes, but am better now. No episodes since about 2p.

For what it is worth, I still have a car full of boxes filled with fragments of my life waiting to be cleaned and priced for a yard sale this approaching weekend. Could that be another emotional trap? Are their things lurking inside those boxes that will create a firestorm of uncontrolled blubbering? Surely not.