the ups and downs of life

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Artistic Inspiration

As you know from my blog, I like to write. But I also love to paint. I found that I loved painting a few years back and I kick myself for not doing it sooner. It amazes me that something so dear to my heart came at such a late point in life. I feel such a sense of freedom when I paint. It doesn’t have to be this way or that way. It just is what it is or what I want it to be. It doesn’t have to look like anything in particular. It can be colors blended together in harmony.

I have had some people ask me where I get my artistic inspiration. For my painting I get it everywhere. I love to paint landscapes so I just look outside and see what is out there. If I don’t see anything I like, I look online. The internet is a great tool for finding inspiration. Sometimes I will go to Google images and just randomly type in words and see what pops up. It is amazing to just look through the images with keywords. For instance, I love to look at pictures and paintings of fire. While fire can be dangerous, if you ever look at it closely, it has a beauty to it. The colors in it are amazing. It has red, orange, blue, yellow, and even some white. Those colors blend so well together. I also love trees. I love the shapes and colors of trees and I love the movement of them. I don’t have that many trees where I live and typically when I am thinking about trees it is a little dark to go looking at them. So Google assists me.

The inspiration for my writing comes from every day life. Life is quite interesting, whether it is mine or someone else’s. And sometimes writing about it just makes me feel better. There are so many things going on in the world that I don’t think they could all be written about. I do creative writing as well as opinion writing and humorous (I hope) writing. I like to laugh at what I call the absurdity of life. Life can certainly throw us some curves and they come in all forms and fashions. Some of them are so ridiculous that you have to laugh. Creative writing is a combination of things I make up and things I have seen. It is quite rare that I take anything real and put it into my writing. I may take a situation I have heard about and throw it into the mix but it usually is something not affecting people I really know. As for the opinion stuff…well, I have lots of opinions. Mama raised me to think about things quite a bit and formulate my own opinions. I still do it and I often just say it. Some people like it and some people don’t . Personally, I don’t care. Just don’t condemn me for using my brain because I don’t tolerate that.

If you ever get bored, try some of these artistic inspirations. They are helpful. I promise. People do wonder how I can entertain myself so easily. This is how. I know how to find things to make my brain’s wheels keep turning. I love looking at beautiful things. I love writing about life and making up lives. You might find that this is a fun way to entertain and inspire yourself as well.


Elizabeth 8-30-11

Elizabeth walked in the back door and immediately put her keys in the bowl on the counter and everything else on the kitchen table. She was tired. She had listened to people talk for 6 hours about problems and she had a slight headache. She loved helping people but today she didn’t feel like she helped. Basically she listened as they droned on and on. When she tried to give input about their situations they were resistant and often angry. She knew it was part of the process but today it had worn her out.

Looking in the fridge she realized she was going to have to place an order to some place. She really wasn’t in the mood for pizza. She told herself she was going to have to go to the grocery store. Ordering out was not healthy and was not really appealing either. But she was too tired to truly cook. She did have the ingredients to make a full-fledged cooked meal but it was already 7 o’clock and she was tired. No. She was ordering. She decided on a new place that you could place an order through for various restaurants in town and they would deliver for a fee. It was worth the fee to not have to cook.

After placing her order Elizabeth jumped in the shower. It was going to take her order at least an hour to get there and she wanted to relax. A bubble bath would feel better but she also hadn’t cleaned the tub yet and she would likely fall asleep in it anyway. Warm snuggly sweats and socks and she felt much better.

Her food arrived within the specified time frame and she was quite pleased. She was not looking forward to pizza again so having a real meal of chicken and rice and vegetables seemed like a luxury. Again, she reminded herself that she definitely needed to go to the grocery store. She loved the meal she purchased, but she could have honestly made it for herself for half the price and she felt a little guilty.

She didn’t know why she felt guilty. It wasn’t as if her purchase was taking away from anyone else. That was the beauty and curse of being single and 40. You could buy whatever you wanted without answering to anyone else. She felt frivolous, though. It was as if she should have spent that money on something else. As a therapist she would have told a client that those feelings were a way of dealing with disapproval from some point in her life and that at this point in her life she didn’t have to justify how she lived to anyone as long as she lived above the law. And while that made sense to her at a logical level, it didn’t quite hit home at a deeper level. She shook her head and tried to make the therapist portion of herself shut down. She just wanted to be. That meant she wanted to be in the moment as a human and not analyze life. She wanted to just breathe in and out and allow herself to shut the brain switch to barely functioning. She had to be on all day and be ready with a response on the fly. She wanted to just be.

After putting away her dishes and leftovers Elizabeth decided that watching TV in bed might turn that switch to off. Lying in a comfortable, warm cocoon was always relaxing. She brushed her teeth and hopped in the large king size bed. Her bed was another one of those things that she used to have guilt over, but after the first week of comfortable sleep she got over that. She had trouble sleeping all her life and she felt so good to finally really rest. Her bed was not a guilty pleasure; it was a medical necessity.

She arranged the pillows in just the right way and lay back. She wanted something interesting but not too entertaining or else she would never go to sleep. It was early yet but tomorrow was Friday and that was her short day in the office. She needed to be there by 9am and would finish by 1:30. Looking over at the clock she chuckled. It wasn’t even 11. Actually it was just 10. But it had been a long day. She decided the History Channel would be a good choice. It had some good shows and the narrator’s voices were usually pretty soothing. She made sure to set the sleep timer on the TV so it would shut off after a while. Closing her eyes she listened to the tale of the American Revolution.


Character: Elizabeth Harper

Elizabeth Harper is a 40-year-old psychotherapist in a mid-size southern town. She is currently single but was married years before. It ended in divorce. She has since dated, but has not found a serious relationship since. Her father (James Harper) passed away 10 years ago and her mother (Maggie Wilson Harper) is alive. Her mother is free-spirited and often tries to get her daughter to loosen up. Elizabeth loves her mother but seems to be unable to be as free-spirited as her. She admires the way her mother is able to just let go, though. Elizabeth does not have children. This bothers her but she is unsure of what to do about it. Elizabeth’s best friend is Crystal Jackson. Crystal has two kids and a husband and often is quite busy. They talk every now and then and while they are limited on communication they are still very close.

My Cats ARE Like Kids

There are some people who want to believe I am the crazy cat lady because I feel my cats have humanistic characteristics. They have either never had cats or never been around them. My cats are like kids. They behave very much like them. I know they’re not human. But let me tell you, they sure can behave a lot like humans!

Both of my cats have distinct personalities. Chloe is independent and self-reliant. She only wants you when she needs something that she can’t get on her own. Chloe is so independent that she doesn’t meow like most cats. No, my cat barks. Yes, you read that right. She barks. It’s this funny meh meh meh sound but it is definitely not meowing. Soleil on the other hand is a clingy, attention-seeking personality. She needs me to love on her constantly to feel loved. She is a “talker” and will meow quite loudly if she is not getting the attention she feels she deserves or needs.

I have been waking up to find my glasses on the floor beside the bed. I thought I was knocking them off in my sleep. I found out this morning that is not the case. The way I found out was the I didn’t jump when Soleil wanted me to and so she meowed by my head for about a minute. When I didn’t stir she moved to the table and she knocked them off. It was as if she was saying, “Ha! I’ll show you!” That didn’t set too well with me, but I did get up. I was awake at that point.

So whether you like cats or not, they are like kids. Their behaviors are quite similar. It may not always be pleasant, but they are cute. And I do love them. And I am not the crazy cat lady! I only have 2 bratty cats and realize I do not really want or need anymore.

Are We TOO Connected?

In this age of technology it seems that we are connected to something or someone 24/7.  People have their email where it forwards to their phones. They are always on Facebook. They post from their phones. Their Facebook forwards to their phones. People tweet and post statuses all the time. Some are funny. Some are interesting. Some are whiny. Some are just downright annoying. It makes me wonder are we too connected?

Where do we draw the line on staying connected? Should there be a time period that we are online? Should there be a limit on how many posts a person can put on Facebook or Twitter? Who would police this anyway? Would we follow rules if we were to govern ourselves? Should there be a 12-step program for social networking?

Another question I have is why are we so drawn to social networking? Is it because it is easier? Or are we just nosy? For me it is a combination. I like to know what is going on and it is easier to tap on the keys to find out. I have a crazy work schedule and so I am usually not awake when the rest of the world is. So that is how I keep up with them. But what’s the excuse for everyone else? Are they just addicts? And am I just making excuses?

I really don’t know the answers. But I do think we need to step away from our computers more. Even as I type it I cringe. I love my computer. I prefer the safe bubble of my home. But one thing I have found is that technology has made me forget how to live. Social networking has created social awkwardness. Isn’t that ironic? I can get along fine with people, but I sometimes find that I prefer chatting by pressing keys while sitting in my pajamas. I need to disconnect in order to reconnect!

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