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Welcome to my notebook…

by Jan

This is where I practice scribbling my thoughts, post photos, and allow rambling insights.  Thanks for the visit. Please, feel free to add a comment or in join a discussion. Say what you mean, mean what you say, just one rule: Don’t say it mean!

PS. For more stories and past personal insights, visit JanParkerArts and read from my notebook.

thebigpayoff

by Jan

“Some practices are measured not by the miles we put in or the number of reps we complete, but by the mental muscle it takes simply to show up.”

I have no idea who said this. I found it in my notes. It’s a good reminder. Those words help as I’m doing my best to learn something new, and man-oh-man… learning is hard!

I find I must show up each day, and want to or not — I need to put in the time. So, pretty or not, I paint at least one picture every day.

I’ve had two lessons in watercolour painting now, and as in almost everything in life, I’m not a natural. Learning is frustrating to say the least, and I am so not a fan of my results.

Alas, I’m only a month or so into this 10 year practice. And because I’ve given 10 years of practice to several other arts – I know I will get better… if I keep showing up.

Practice doesn’t make perfect — it makes easier.

I was reminded the other day when I showed a friend how to spin wool. I warned her, it would be hard. I have the memory of learning to spin, and cussing my way through broken bulky, uneven, sloppy, and unusable yarn.

Sure enough, she struggled. I did not take it for granted, when I could step in and help.

I learned to spin as part of rehab when I hurt my leg in 1992. My friend Doe got me going. I cussed in frustration for a long time, both because learning to spin is hard AND my leg didn’t work so well.

I’m not an expert spinner these days, not by a long shot, but, after 25 years of practice, I can make some nice yarn. The Louet wheel I’ve used for all those years, has some nice bells and whistles, plus, it was part of a barter deal I made for tai chi lessons. A good score all around.

The other day, I bought a new spinning wheel. Not because I need one, but because I could not pass up a pretty fantastic deal. It’s a double peddle Ashford Joy. In comparison to the Louet – it’s a bit of a sports car. It spins wool like butter and has different bells and whistles than the Louet.

More than the fancy dancy new wheel though, the pay off has been in time. I can spin fairly well today, no matter the wheel. That’s because I continued to practice.

So, I have great hope, that one day, maybe in a mere 10 years… I’ll be able to paint a pretty picture without too much frustration.

bestquoteoftheday

by Jan

“I’m gonna start a business of evangelical religion, mega-vitamins, and bowel function and I’m gonna make a killing.” —Mika S

P.S. Mika also offered to write doctors notes for those interested in attending the “illegal use of magical qi” class.

Salute!

sunrisesunset

by Jan

From the comfort of our home, if I stand on the deck and look east, I can see the day break during the winter months. In the evening, I turn towards the west and watch the sun set. If I were to leave the house and walk for 5 minutes, I’d have a “better” view.

When we were looking for a house in Sechelt, a view and a shop, were the only real criteria we gave our realtor. I’m happy to say, he listened and we got both, as well as, a nice house.

I used to wrap up in the mornings, and head out to a practice spot, (that is now a housing development), I would made it a point to put myself in the way of beauty, and witness the sunrise in full glory.

When I was in New Mexico, dealing with dad the last few years of his life, I went out every morning to what I called, “Thechurchoftheholysunrise”. I have a zillion photos. Each one prettier than the last.

Today, I admit to being lazy. I stay in bed in the mornings. I read, peruse Facebook, and write, instead of going outside. I still love watching the day break, but these days, I count on Becky to bundle up and capture the sunrise with her camera for me!

Becky has a talent with her camera. Her photos at Sunshine Coast Trails, bring me delight every day.

Now, while I admit to being a bit lazy in the mornings, I’m learning some things are better left to the experts!

Besides, it’s cold out there!

This morning, I poured another cuppa coffee and whispered a small thanks to Becky for catching what I won’t.

AsTVseesit

by Jan

I’m having trouble getting into the holiday spirit. I think it is way too early, and I don’t have the staying power to get wrapped up in the holiday hoopla for an entire month.

I was thinking maybe we’d get the lights and ornaments out around the 24th and take it from there. To me, that is a reasonable amount of time for the Fa, la, la of this atheist at Christmas.

The challenge is, Christmas is commercial and no longer about religious beliefs. Plus, our street is already decked out. Neighbours have their lights up, and we can see decorated trees through their windows when we walk past. I’m starting to feel that since Ken and I didn’t participate in Halloween, we better get some lights up, pretty quick, if we don’t want to be known as the curmudgeons of Samron Rd.

It is hard to feel something you don’t. Still, if TV has taught me anything — the holiday spirit comes to those that need it the most.

So, we’ll get the box of decorations out, order the ham and start collecting crap (er… presents) to stuff into socks, hung with care. Perhaps the TV holiday movies will help move me.

My friend Jacquie has written the perfect sum up about the holiday shows that are gracing the airways this month, so I wonder if I really need to watch any of them now.

I will say that with the exception of not mentioning the miracle cancer cures of children, and one or two christmas cookies capers — Jaquie nails it.

So, with permission and the warning of a “spoiler alert” I give you…

Christmas joy as TV sees it.

By Jacqui Parker-Snedker

“Not that anyone I know watches these things- but. The latest round of Christmas movies; single woman, divorcee, widow, returns to Middle America, middle of town, Middle Earth, with child, dog, Mum, to stay in old Lodge (being reclaimed by the bank), old family home (being reclaimed by the bank), old chocolate factory (being reclaimed by the bank). Meets handsome but slightly evasive (for reasons we learn about as this drek unfolds), who is the town reporter, handyman or reindeer herder who in the end turn out to be the son of Santa. The couple of this romantic (slightly) comedic opus by turns face each other, retreat, resolve, break apart, fight, briefly write a truce because of problems with the child, dog, mother. Only to have, five minutes before the end (and I’m on my knees on the carpet pleading for mercy) a major misunderstanding- he’s been seen with;(an out of town female reporter- who is in fact his sister but seems incapable of saying so), an actual wrench in his hand (he finally has a piece of work to do) or is caught with a sleigh that he ruefully admits is Santa’s (Dad’s, he says with a shrug). The child, dog, Mum run towards his open arms- single woman, divorcee, widow explodes in fury claiming he is misleading her child, dog, Mum and storms out. At this point I excuse myself to go anywhere else in the house, to make a sandwich, sleep for 5 minutes, have a reviving shower) to return to the living room to find everyone in each other’s arms (how’s that happen?) and watching Santa lifting off for the long journey into night.
Come on Polar Express.

Ho-Ho-Ho!

cointoss

by Jan

Here is a little something from the notebooks. I don’t think this one made the cut for Today’s Step, but it is singing to me today.

“People who get what they want, usually know what they want.”

Using outside eyes, I am a very forthright person. I do my best to say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean. For the most part, (just ask Ken) I’m rarely short of opinion.

Yet, lately I find myself being wishy washy. I’m having trouble making simple decisions, so the word “no” seems to fly out of my mouth faster than “yes”. Then I change my mind, then I change it again.

Lucky for me – I’m not talking about the big decisions.

The things I find myself struggling to say yes or no to, may not really change my life, but they do change the way I spend my day. And I’ve always said, the quality of my day, will make up the quality of my life.

I remember my friend Kim telling me, that it was just as easy, to say yes as it was to say no. After all, they are both just one word — yes — no.

There’s a book (I haven’t read) written by a woman who spent a year saying yes to what ever came her way. I heard her in an interview, say it was “life-changing”

I’m thinking a book on saying No would be as well. It just may not be as exciting. Perhaps she and I are just walking down different sides of the street right now.

I struggling with questions like… Want to go? Want to stay? Want to mingle? Want to be alone?

Basically I’m asking …Shall I join in or opt out?
Yes, or no?

The other question I’m asking myself these days is… Do I need a story to go with my answer?
Yes, no?

The point is – I have a choice, and nothing screams privilege louder than having a choice!
(Except for maybe having choice and not being able to make it.)

acceptedandmet

by Jan

As the year comes to an end, I realize I’m tied with last years reading record. In 2016, I read 52 books.

BUT… I still have the entire month of December to beat that number. (I think I can, I think I can…)

The first book I read from start to finish, way back in 1984, took me a month to read, was a novel about Captain Cook, and I struggled to make the 30 day library due date.

Today, I’m more practiced in reading. I’m still not a fast reader, yet I’m persistent. And, there are three books on my night stand as I write this. One I am half way through, one I just started, and one that was recommend to me that I found at the library yesterday.

Full disclosure – Reading also includes listening to books for me. I can make a nice quilt at the same time an author can tell me their story.

I was given a reading challenge at the beginning of this year and while I’ve read more books than on this list – I did meet this challenge. Yay me!

I promised to share my list when I finished. So, here it is…

Reading challenge accepted and met.
A book you were suppose read in school – Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
A book from your childhood – The Bluenose Witch, by Margaret Emery
A book published 100 years ago – A Room of One’s Own, by Virginia Woolf
A book published last year – The Sellout, by Paul Beatty
A non-fiction book – Endurance, by Scott Kelly
A book by a male author – Sapiens, by Yuval Harari
A book by a female author – Laughing all the way to the Mosque, by Zarqu Nawaz
A book by someone who isn’t a writer — My Hitler Youth, by Jurgen Grone
A book that became a film – Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly
A book published in the 20th century – The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
A book set in your hometown/region – Last of the Sunshine Sketches, by Terry Barker
A book with someone’s name in the title – The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsio
A book with a number in the title – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
A book with a character with your first name – They Left us Everything, by Plum Johnson
A book that was recommended – Fallen, by Kara Stanley
A book over 500 pages – Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski
A book to finish in one day – The Days, by M.A.C. Farrant
A previously banned book – To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee
A book with a one word title – Projection, by Priscilla Uppal
A book translated from another language – My Name is Red, by Alain de Botton
A self improvement book – Living Low Carb, by Johnny Bowden
A memoir or journal – The Doc’s Side, by Eric J. Paetkau
A book written by someone younger – Hamilton, by Lin-Manuel Miranda
A book set in a place I might visit – Gumboot Girls, Edited by Lou Allison
An award winning book – In the Darkroom, by Susan Faludi
A self published book — Coach Hudson’s Words of Wisdom, by Coach Hudson

wishIknewwho

by Jan

There was a famous writer who, when asked if he loved writing, replied,

“No. but I love having written.”

aParkerconversation

by Jan

“Who is that one for?”
“No one in particular.”
“We’ll keep it, until we give it away.”
“Perfect!”

toolittletoomuch

by Jan

The Ancient Chinese* said, “The only problems in life are from having too little or too much.”

One would think the solution is in distribution, but I’m not so sure. The more obvious solution might just be our ability to express gratitude for what we do have and not get all worked up around what we don’t.

*citation needed

speaksforitself

by Jan

We’ve got company this week, and I’ve not a lot of time to write, so…

I’m going to leave this quote on the page and let it speak for itself.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” ~ Martha Graham to Agnes DeMille