SYW: On Annoying Commercials, Nasty Food, and the Creative Process

“Monday Melanie” has given us a new set of questions for her Share Your World challenge!

QUESTIONS

What’s the worst commercial you’ve recently seen (or heard)? Why was it so bad?
This is a hard one because so many are terrible! Most annoying are the Liberty Mutual ads. I would not recommend this company to anyone due to their ubiquitous, stupid ads! Everyone I talk to hates their commercials as much as I do. Also ads for intimate products, like tampons or sanitary pads.

Since you crossed off “recently”, the ads for Folgers Coffee were awful. In one ad, a person says, “Is your coffee grounds for divorce?’ I mean, how tacky!! Another really old Folgers commercial bragged about the “crystals” in its coffee. Who wants crystals in coffee?? Just give me pure, finely ground coffee, please! No additives!

What takes a lot of time but is totally worth it?
My hubby says, “love.” Awwww!

So I will say something else: the creative process of seeing a project through to the end. I spend long hours and weeks completing photo albums but I love doing it. I can say that a lot of my blog posts fall into this category as well. They’re time consuming, but fun to do. I’m in an art workshop – same thing. The camaraderie of other people who love art is part of it, but also dedicating 90 minutes a week to painting or drawing something is calming and fun, even if it takes weeks to finish it or to come back to. I’m in a writing group – same thing again. I have written a lot of things, and some of them are quite good, others not so much, but it’s worth the time because it is the creative process that is totally worthwhile, especially when producing a finished product I can be proud of!

Have you ever smiled at a stranger and then wished you hadn’t? Why or why not?
Yes, but only because the stranger stared straight ahead and made no attempt to smile back. So rude. Fortunately, where I live now, everyone – whether we know them or not – smiles and says hello!

It’s good to be able to see smiles again after over a year of wearing masks!

What do you think is the nastiest tasting food?  (This one might be a recycled question.  It’s familiar to me anyhow)
Olives. They’re so bitter.

GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)

Are you at peace with yourself?   Your world?   Please share, whether you said “yay” or “nay”! 
Yes, pretty much. Most of the horrors of my life – the failures, dissatisfying experiences, vindictive people – are behind me. In the senior community where I live, we are all retired and we do pretty much what we want and like to do. Most people are friendly and pleasant to be with.

There are many problems in this world, and a few in my life, but I am overall happy and without regrets.

Gratitude Quotes

CFFC: Males & Females

More comparisons this week for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge! This week it’s males vs females. But I am going to make it females (first) vs males (second)!

Lions – I’m not lyin’! (Ngorongoro, Tanzania)

Maasai people – in a village

French people with dogs by the sea in Normandy

Mallard ducks

Ancient Egyptians: Queen Nefertari and King Ramses II

Selfies: Amsterdam

Two people making funny faces & wearing glasses: father and daughter

Artwork by American artist Charles White: Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep (1956); Harvest Talk (1953)

Children laughing: Chicago Botanic Garden

February Month of “Lurve” – #16-20

Whoa! I have five days to catch up on this challenge, Paula’s February Love Me!

Feb. 16: I love…my house. We moved here in August 2019, a compact, pristine little house (it’s actually a duplex) waiting for us. Everything is new & modern, nothing is malfunctioning (and if it does, we call maintenance who comes to fix it right away and we don’t have to pay for it), there are no stairs, we have a tiny screened porch and a patio with an elevated plot next to it where we can plant whatever we want, and adequate storage space. I think this house is the most satisfying thing about living in this senior community. I was so sick of our old house – nearly 100 years old, it had old plumbing, poor water pressure in the shower, and three levels. The washer & dryer were in the basement, and our bedroom was on the second floor. Now when I want to wash clothes, I just go from my bedroom to the washer & dryer unit off my kitchen. There was always something going wrong at our old house and we had to replace the roof twice. We don’t need to worry about any of that here!

Of course, we had to get rid of a lot of stuff, but I didn’t mind that. It was good to downsize!! The only drawback is having only a one-car garage, so one of us has to park in the driveway.

We live in the house on the left – the red Subaru is Dale’s.
View from the window of our second bedroom, which we use as our entertainment center – TV and computers are here.

Feb. 17: I love…my family. I grew up with three sisters and one brother, and both parents. We were not a dysfunctional family, we got along for the most part. My brother was really mean to me when we were children, and my oldest sister was kind of bossy too, but still we were a remarkably cohesive family. Now my parents are deceased, one of my sisters is also deceased, but we all have kids, and most have grandkids. I love and cherish my large extended family!

Our daughter gave us this photo in a frame. These are the members of my family who were there. But there are many more.
This photo was taken in 2007 (also in a frame) when we gathered to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. She is in the middle of the first row, wearing a black & teal outfit.

Feb. 18: I love…my knickknacks. I have a lot of small figurines and other knickknacks that I have accumulated during my travels, or sometimes they were gifts. I have a lot more than pictured below!

Still life of five random things I have collected over the years! In back is a little round box that opens into a traditional neighborhood scene, from Cuba; at left is a black clay turtle, which also has a whistle; and a Mexican alebrije – a seal made from copal wood and then brightly painted with beautiful designs! On the right is a circle of Peruvian figures made from clay and painted in traditional dress; and a snake I bought at a craft fair, because I just liked it.
Maybe you have seen a meme on social media of a cutout photo of Bernie Sanders at Biden’s Inauguration, placed in other photos. He was sitting near the back and was hugging himself in the cold. A friend crocheted this figure of Bernie for me. She also makes mittens (full size, that you can wear!). Bernie Sanders himself has capitalized on his meme by having it printed on T-shirts for sale; all the proceeds go to Meals on Wheels of Vermont.
This is Josephine (Josefina), a javelina made out of metal by an artist in Tucson, Arizona. I am doing a series of photos with Josephine in various random locations. Here she is on my piano keyboard! (A javelina is a type of wild pig native to Southwestern USA.)

Feb. 19: I love…coloring. A few years ago, there started to be coloring books for adults on the market. They were promoted as being relaxing. You can find coloring books of anything from scenes from Outlander to Cats with Hats to Amazing Mandalas and geometric designs. It is really calming, so I tend to do it while watching the news! I bought several sets of gel pens, which are my favorite medium for coloring, but I also use colored pencils a lot – which are good for doing shading in the pictures – and markers. I like experimenting with different color combinations and it also helps me to color small details without going outside the lines – a good practice for when I need a steady hand for doing water colors or drawings. Here is a sampling:

Feb. 20: I love…walking. Walking is my favorite type of exercise. I like walking outside especially, because I can appreciate the nature around me, and it’s possible to find small things to admire, something I can’t do if I’m riding a bike, for example. I walk in any season as long as the weather isn’t too cold – it’s really the wind that keeps me inside!

On the walking path of our campus, a few days ago.
On our campus – I liked the shape of this autumn foliage!
At Cuba Marsh in spring
Duck on a pond with water lilies, at Chicago Botanic Gardens last July

CFFC: Painting of Many Kinds, Times & Places

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is anything painted.

Roof decoration on Hualapai Center, Peach Springs, Arizona
Appropriate for the 4th of July! Patriotic painted car, Seligman, Arizona
Train mural, Kingman, Arizona
Painted figures on a maypole next to a painted church, Wurzburg, Germany

Frescoes on the ceiling of a cathedral in Passau, Germany – I took this one year ago today!
Pharaoh offers food to the god Amun. Although in poor condition, the paint on this mural has lasted 3,500 years! Hatshepsut’s Temple, Egypt
Hanging on a wall in a hallway at the Moorings of Arlington Heights, Illinois. Depicted are the parts of a cashew tree.
VW in line for 4th of July parade, Arlington Heights, Illinois – I took this photo 3 years ago today!
Birdhouse, Des Plaines, Illinois
Painted chair, Highland Park, Illinois
Gospel Singers, by American artist Charles White, exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago, August 2017
Realistic looking mural covering an entire wall in Quebec City, Canada

Joy With Kids

Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy this week has the theme Let a kid decorateI’m not around kids much anymore, so I went into my archives from my years of teaching. Since my language arts students were all of Mexican & Central American origin, we celebrated the Day of the Dead on the day after Halloween. In the school year 2009-10, the fifth grade classes made posters – they cut out skeletons and then, as a class, they had to decide on a scene and place their skeletons in the scene. When they were finished, we decorated the halls with them.
100Ana shows off her skeleton so far!
Below are their final products!

Blogging Insights in Quarantine

Dr. Tanya has a question she asks each week. This week, #27, it is: What are you doing to ‘repair’ (re-vamp or update) yourself and your blog during the lockdown? 

I haven’t really done anything to change or revamp my blog. I am probably blogging more now, but some days I don’t blog at all. One thing I’m making time for is reading other people’s posts, from pingbacks on other challenges but also from the Reader. I should do a lot more of this, I know.  People will respond more to me if I am commenting on their posts also. So some days when I am not inspired to post anything, I spend my blog time reading and commenting.

Also, I want to do more writing challenges on my blog, which is why I decided to start participating in this one! I love to write, but sometimes I can’t think of anything to write about, so these prompts are helpful.

We’ve been in quarantine since mid-March, and it is going to continue at least until the end of May, maybe longer! When it first started, I wrote down some things in my journal that I could do with my extra time, which I enumerate below with modifications (although I’m retired anyway, so my schedule hasn’t drastically changed. The main thing is that our senior community no longer has any activities, which I really enjoyed.):

1. Read more. – This is happening, although not a lot more. Since the book groups at the library that I belong to have been suspended, I’ve been doing more reading of books I acquired or had around the house, and just want to read. But now the book groups have gone virtual and I participated in my first Zoom book group this morning! So now I am reading the book for the next meeting. The library is choosing books we can download on Hoopla free of charge if we have a valid library card.

2. Do artwork. – Since my art classes have been suspended, I’ve had to motivate myself to do more artwork on my own.  I’ve done several drawings, and am working on a drawing of one of my grandcats, Freddie, on a dark background using colored pencils. I’ve done a practice drawing and have seen what I need to improve. I want to give the drawing to Freddie’s “parents” – our daughter & son-in-law. My son-in-law is an excellent artist too, and I think he will appreciate it very much, if it comes out well. I also wanted to do some painting, but can’t find my paints!

20200421_220027
Here is a drawing of a cat I did recently – it’s not Freddie, though!

20200421_143644
This is the style of drawing I want to do of Freddie. I also have been drawing a lot of swans, because we have two pairs of swans here and one of the pairs will be having cygnets soon! I want to photograph them, and draw them as well.

Besides my computer in our extra bedroom (where our TV is also), I have a desk in the kitchen, which has been used since we moved here as a dumping ground and storage for a variety of miscellaneous items. I want to clean up that desk and make it my art desk! My art stuff is all here in the room with TV & computers, but it is becoming impractical, because I have acquired more supplies and have a lot of finished pieces. So I want to transfer all those things to that desk and have convenient places to put everything. That means finding a place for everything else that is currently being stored there!

3. Work on travel photo books. – I finished my first Shutterfly photo book about Israel and received it in the mail last week! Now that I’ve done one, I can see where I can improve and also know better how the photos look on the page, so now I am working on a couple of others of recent trips.

20200429_171041
My Shutterfly photo book of our trip to Israel

4. Sort through and put away the things in boxes that we haven’t gotten around to going through in the eight months we’ve lived here.  – This is a project in progress. I’ve sorted the box of bathroom stuff and sorted everything into bins by category, with labels, for easy access.

Last weekend we had some warm days so we spent time in the garage going through boxes we hadn’t unpacked yet. Some stuff I threw away. Some stuff we put aside for my church’s huge rummage sale. The stuff we wanted to keep is now consolidated into one box plus one Trader Joe’s shopping bag – which is sitting in the living room! So now I have to put that stuff away.

5. Put up wall art. – I really need my husband’s help with this. I’m not good with hammering nails into the wall in the right places and putting the things up straight. I’ve been dropping a lot of hints, and he knows it and so far isn’t taking the bait!

6. Exercise as much as possible. I am being gentle with myself, because some days the weather is crappy so we don’t want to walk outside. If the weather is even halfway decent, we walk around the campus twice, which is two miles, and then go out again later if the weather is good. When we have to stay in, we have been recording the exercise classes given on our closed-circuit TV station by the fitness instructor here, and then replay them and follow along. That’s what we’ve done the last two days, but tomorrow I will go out walking again. I’m trying to be more consistent, as much as feasible during quarantine, in my exercise routines. I have to admit, though, I can’t wait until we can go back to the fitness center and the swimming pool!

 

 

October Squares: Nature in Art on Display

Here is my contribution for today for Becky’s October Square with the topic lines & squares.

These are photos of artwork that I saw on display (except the last one, which I drew last week). Each one has definitive lines and each also incorporates nature into the artwork.

At an art gallery in Poulsbo, WA: Notice how this artist has incorporated lines of musical notation into the white spaces (birches and birds) of her painting.
20190913_113915
Artwork for sale in a display window, Poulsbo, WA:
DSC02307 (2)
Detail from a box on a table in the lobby at the Moorings in Arlington Heights (most likely made by one of the residents):
20191011_172945 (2)
Here is the entire box:
20191011_172945.jpg

My latest “still life” in pencil and pastel pencil (not on display!)
20191008_164725 (2).jpg

 

October Squares #2: Glass Art

I am featuring pieces from a museum again, for Becky’s Month of Squares in October with the topic “Lines & Square.”.

These pieces are from the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington. We went there to see Chihuly’s glass art, but the museum has so much more than that. The first exhibit we went into featured Native American artists using themes from the Northwest tribal art.

20190915_123217
This piece is entitled Fox by Skokomish artist taqWitsa Vera Smith (born 2002), using fused glass.

Here are more beautiful pieces from that exhibit.

20190915_123135
John Edward Smith (Skokomish, born 1973), Untitled, (2015-2018), blown and sand carved glass

 

20190915_122902
All 3 pieces by Old Peter, (Chehalis/Skokomish, born 1980)

20190915_123026

20190915_123243
Delbert Miller (Skokomish, born 1957) & Jack-lyn Smith (Skokomish, born 1980), Family Outing, 2015-2018, brown & sand-carved glass and hair

20190915_123708

CB&WPC: Murals

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is Murals.

The word mural comes from the Latin word for wall.  It is defined by Bing as: a painting or other work of art executed directly on a wall. Wikipedia goes into further detail: A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.

We usually think of murals as paintings on a wall, especially when it covers a large space. At our public library, I was surprised to encounter some new murals that had been painted in a hallway:
20181002_112233 (2)
I am posting it here in black & white because that’s what this challenge is all about, but the artist used very vivid colors. The wall across from this one has another mural; here are two close-ups of part of it:

Here is a mural advertising Coco-Cola in Lexington, Illinois.

DSC_0895 (2).JPG

If mural art can be any type of artwork, certainly ancient Egyptian carvings on walls qualify. They built temples to kings and gods, creating friezes and carvings on a grandiose scale which exalted the king’s victory in battle, his offerings to the gods, or the gods’ protection of him. This is an especially beautiful example from Karnak, which after 3500 years is still clearly visible, of the gods Thoth (left – with the head of an ibis) and Horus (right – with a falcon’s head) pouring water over the king from two jars. The king stands in the middle, with several symbols above his head signifying protection and long life. 20181226_151651 (2)
In the ancient past, these carvings would have been painted but the color has been lost to millenia of exposure of exterior walls.

In Israel, which we toured after Egypt, I particularly liked this mural painted on a curved wall in Magdala, the home town of Mary Magdalene. In the Bible it describes how she felt Jesus’ spirit enter her when she touched his robe at their first meeting. The mural shows the bottom of Jesus’ robe and Mary Magdalene’s outstretched hand, with her finger reaching out to touch the hem of his robe.
20190109_161850 (2)

WPC: Works of Art

Sue W.’s Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Work of Art.  Works of art are everywhere – an artist’s painting, a mural on a wall, a beautiful building, or natural works of art – a sunset, a rainbow, blooming flowers, animals – and animals creating their own works of art!  A work of art doesn’t have to be spectacular – it can be quite “ordinary” as long as it is aesthetically pleasing. Here are but a few samples of works of art I have photographed.

Man-made:
Artwork at the Art Institute of Chicago:

20180802_120131
John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925), La Carmencita, 1890, oil on canvas

 

 

20180802_140108
Charles White (American, 1918-?), Abraham Lincoln, 1952, Wolff crayon and charcoal on paperboard

Colorful mural on a wall in Des Moines, Iowa
20180927_111259.jpg
Political art in a café, Des Moines, Iowa
20180927_115747
Modern sculpture, Mason City, Iowa
20180929_111245
Stockman House, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mason City, Iowa
20180929_103719

Nature’s works of art:
An arrangement of orchids at a supermarket
20180904_175307
Lotus flower, Chicago Botanic Garden
20180727_163959
Wild sunflowers in my neighbor’s garden – she looked at this scene and said she had a natural work of art right in her backyard!
20180910_183510_001
Sunrise, Des Moines, Iowa (seen from our hotel room window)
20180927_071251_001
Trees bending over and reflected in a creek, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, Arizona
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Yellow-breasted weaver making a nest to attract a mate (not only is the bird a work of art, but he has created his own work of art in this intricate, tightly woven nest), Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
SONY DSC
Works of art can also be heard, rather than seen – here is violinist Joshua Bell playing “The Swan” by composer Camille Saint-Saens.