Groundhog Day Again

It is that day, once again – Groundhog Day.

That day of the year when in certain locations, hordes of folks get up early; arouse a sleeping groundhog, and patiently wait for 8:00am to roll around. Why? Simply to discover if the rodent sees his shadow or not. If it’s sunny(therefore the groundhog sees its shadow), we’re in store for “six more weeks of winter.” If not, then “spring is just around the corner.”

Perhaps the most famous of these weather prognosticators is “Punxsutawney Phil” from Pennsylvania. Back in Ontario, it happens to be “Wiarton Willie.” You can go to Wiarton and visit his enclosure(we have!!).

In our neck of the woods, of course, it is “Shubenacadie Sam”, who resides in a lovely home at the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park.

Fun fact…. because Sam lives in the Atlantic Time Zone(which is one hour behind Eastern Time) – he always makes the first Groundhog Day prediction in North America.

Many of us have likely seen the Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day.”

A major component or theme in the flick is when he wakes up every morning, he finds himself still in Pennsylvania and it is still Groundhog Day. Every day is exactly the same – it’s Groundhog Day.

So, what’s the point of this?

Stop waking up and making the same mistakes day after day. It’s like you’re living out Bill Murray’s character from the movie.

If you want to change or to stop making the same mistake over and over again – simply change.

Not making any change(s), yet hoping the results will be different or better, is essentially the definition of insanity.

Let’s not wake up each morning and relive Groundhog Day all over again.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Advocate Harbour – Cape d’Or Inspired Acrylic Painting

It appears I have today off from the local county school board training process I’m currently involved in. Today is scheduled to be First Aid training and certification, and as I’m currently certified in Emergency First Aid and AED use – got the day off.

So, I’m taking the opportunity to post a non-scheduled piece this morning.

I just recently finished a larger-than-normal (for me) 11 x 14-inch acrylic painting of a Nova Scotia-inspired seascape beach with adjacent cliffs.

The painting was inspired based on a view from the beach at Advocate Harbour looking towards the cliffs of Cape d’Or.

When looking at the photograph, the cliffs are about 5km away.

At Advocate Beach looking towards the cliffs of Cape d’Or in the distance.

Given that distance, there isn’t a ton of detail that can be seen. If I was to paint more or less what is found in the photo, it might capture the essence of the area, but not much of the detail.

Having been to Cape d’Or(on the top), the views of the cliff faces are one of the many attributes that make the area spectacular, as you can see in the next photo.

With all of that, took a bit of inspiration and blended these elements together to create “Cliffs of Cape d’Or From Advocate Harbour”.

Part of what I was attempting to capture, was the simplicity and gentle lapping of the waves as they wash up on the beach in the photo, as well as a sense of power and fury that this area knows all too well. All in all, I’m pleased with how the final result came about on the canvas.

As I had mentioned in previous posts, I still learning to trust the process of getting layers of paint on the canvas in order to create depth and feeling within the painting.

Somehow, I think the whole “trust the process” is a reality that will continue to take some work on my part.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Making Chicken Salad Out Of Chicken Poop

Or so the saying goes.

So, what the fu@k is a metaphor in the first place?

In the short version – “a metaphor is a figure of speech that describes an object or action in a way that isn’t literally true but helps explain an idea or make a comparison.”

An example you say? Well here are three I found – all pertaining to life:

Life is a song; we each get to write our own lyrics.”

“Life is a puzzle; you can only see the picture when you put all the pieces together.”

“Life is a garden; with care and love you can cultivate beautiful flowers.”

Metaphors, like other components of speech, have their place. And yes, they sure can go a long way to help explain or clarify something.

After having said all of that, it doesn’t matter how much you dress it up, a bad idea is still a bad idea and will always be a bad idea.

Ultimately, if it looks like a duck; walks like a duck; and sounds like a duck………it’s a duck.

And no matter how hard you try, you can’t take a big old stinking mess of chicken poop and turn it into a lovely-tasting chicken salad.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Make Art Often

I’m a big, in fact, huge believer in art simply makes life better. I didn’t say what type of art, I just simply said “art makes life better.”

Art makes us think.

Yes, even those who you wouldn’t find looking at art or even thinking art – it’s going to make them “think as well.” Something that I suspect they don’t do very often or very well for that matter.

In an online university course, I did a few months ago, there was one statement of many that stood out for me. It was along the lines of, “the making of art is not what the final piece looks like or sounds like, not what it’s worth or not worth, but the newness that is added to the universe in the process of the piece becoming itself.”

People need to see your work. The universe needs to display your work. Art regardless of the form it takes, adds richness and newness to make our world; our daily existence in it…… a better place.

So, make art often.

Look at art often.

And live life because of art often.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

It This One Of Those “Do Unto Others?……….”

How many of us have been aboard this sinking ship at one time or another?

Tossing out a somewhat uneducated guess is, that most of us have been there. In fact, you might be there right now!

Life has taught me many things over the course of far too many decades. But one lesson it has imparted to me is this, there is a very thin line between acting rationally and calmly versus out of control and irrationally.

The dilemma that confronts us when we find ourselves in these situations is, we often can’t tell where the freaking line between rational and irrational is. It’s like the line doesn’t even exist.

Or if it does exist, it’s blurred as fu@k.

There is this old biblical concept, referred to as “The Golden Rule”, that gets thrown out there by all of us at some point, usually in reference to someone sitting across the room from us, who at that very moment has created a firestorm of strife in our daily existence and us in their life….all of this occurring at the exact same moment.

It goes something like this, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You get the idea here.

It is never us…..it’s them.

We get into a heated pissing and screaming match with someone, yelling at them to stop yelling at us; and at some point, we scream out “please – can’t you calm down be rational” ….all the while we’re still yelling at them.

Yup, that is one fine, albeit blurred line we’re balancing on. And, at this point, you’ve fallen off. Sorry, you’ve taken a fall – big time.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; disocver yourself —

The Streak Continues

We’ve found the solution to keeping “the streak alive” when I’m on this 3-week training exercise.

Gotta love the “scheduling option” on WordPress.

So, the plan(and I’m using the word “plan” in its very broadest definition) is to pre-write posts for Monday through Thursday for the next three weeks. And then use the WordPress scheduling feature to have one post go live each morning.

Sure, the posts won’t be as in-depth and insightful as you’re used to. And sure, they might not be these long-form gems that answer the most burning questions of the day.

I’m not even sure if they ever at any time were in-depth and insightful or a gem of any description.

But remember, the key here is simply to “keep the streak alive.” Yes, they might be heavily relying on an inspirational quote or two, all mixed in with a few added sentences to hammer the message home.

This is simply a situation where a blogger has got to do what a blogger has got to do to keep the ship afloat and pointed at the horizon.

That’s it; that’s all; that’s the plan.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Saturday

For some unexplained reason, it seems to have taken longer and has been much more challenging to get through the past week. Not sure why that is. There hasn’t been anything exceedingly different the past six days, than there normally would be.

But, nevertheless, today is Saturday. The start of the weekend. Although you might say Friday evening is the start of the weekend, let’s not put too fine a spin on this here.

Saturday does tend to be the day for running errands or puttering around our “old homesteads.”

In the warmer months, the first sound you might hear early on a Saturday morning would be the distant or not-so-distant sound of someone with a gas lawnmower fired up cutting their grass.

Saturdays are also the big day for farmers’ markets.

In the city where I used to work before moving to Nova Scotia, there was a farmers’ market every Saturday morning located on the grounds of City Hall. It was pretty extensive, covering the inside lobby; the outside forecourt, as well as the entire parking lot. The city would also close down one street beside City Hall to accommodate more vendors. I believe there, it had been written into the municipality’s incorporation laws from 150 years ago(give or take), that the municipality(village back then) had to provide town space to accommodate a farmers’ market.

To me, there is always something exciting about it being Saturday, especially in the summer. Not that there aren’t neat and exciting things to do in the winter, but it pretty much goes without saying, there are certainly more opportunities in the warmer months. Back when we lived in the “old homestead” on the shore of Georgian Bay, Saturday was the day to check out those farmers’ markets; outdoor art and craft exhibitions; visit quaint villages and hamlets; hike a neat location and then refuel at a country store/bakery.

One of our favourite Saturday “road trips” became known as “The Great Beaver Valley/Grey County Bakery Extravaganza.” The day, which we usually combined with another outing, basically involved stopping at each of the great country bakeries in the Beaver Valley and portions of Grey County, and as you might guess – buying some of the locally produced fattening baked goods. What tended to make it special was we would only do it at most three times a year and usually if we were out in late November or early December, Christmas shopping in the area.

I don’t know the number of times we ended up at the marinas or shores located in Owen Sound, Meaford, Parry Sound, or Thornbury, ON after being out for the day to watch a summer evening’s sunset over the expansiveness of Georgian Bay.

I must begrudgingly admit, that since moving to Nova Scotia, we haven’t had the same “Saturday fervor” as we might have had back in Ontario. Granted, our first few months tended to be pretty hectic, getting settled in and with those inevitable new “old homestead” decorating jobs(and yes – there are still a few to do).

Part of the problem we have now is, for the most part, the days all tend to be the same. When not having to go to work, it is hard to tell if it is Tuesday, Friday, or Saturday. I only know that it might be a weekday when the school bus picks up and drops off in front of the house beside us. So, we often sort of forget it is Saturday.

Secondly, we aren’t really in tune yet, with what happens on the weekends in at least our area. We’re not familiar with many of the regions, let’s say within a 2-hour drive of where we live. Also, sourcing information on events and things like that, I do find slightly more challenging here.

In addition, as a couple, although we do tend to be spontaneous, we also tend simply to sit back and hope that an “adventure falls out of the sky.” Which rarely happens.

Lastly and perhaps more importantly, I think we’re not as intentional about getting out and about here, as compared to back in Ontario. I mentioned to Lynn before she came back from visiting her Mom, that we need to head out once every two weeks or something and simply pick a new place to visit and check out.

Today, however, we’re heading to Halifax.

We’re first hitting up Ikea – which on a Saturday can either work out to be a reasonable adventure or more of a crazy zoo-like experience. I think the art store downtown(Halifax) is also on the list. Some grocery shopping in Dartmouth is likely to make an appearance.

And finally, we will deliver the painting I sold to our daughter for her restaurant downtown. That part of the trip is very exciting. We’ll likely catch dinner at her restaurant, as she won’t be there until 5pm.

Saturday. Not where I thought the post would go, but perhaps not a bad itinerary and destination in the end.

What do your Saturdays usually entail?

–as always with love —

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

Sold – ‘Colourful Wildflowers On A High Cliff”

Over the years in my blogging career, I have mentioned from time to time that the “art/creative gene” so to speak could be found in our daughter. She was the one who excelled in graphic design in her college program. She was the one who garnered awards at the prestigious “Blue Mountain Foundation For The Arts” competition when she was in school.

I had originally posted about this painting back in November, “Colourful Wildflowers On A High Cliff.”

So, when it invariably comes to getting informed advice on the old creative and painting journey – she is my go-to person. I do suspect that often she simply says “wow – that’s a great job Dad!” in order not to deflate my fragile ego and have me curled up in the fetal position in a dank corner of the basement crawlspace due to a rather “honest critique.”

Nevertheless, I did send her a picture of this painting and another one suggesting that if she wanted one or both of them, they were hers to have.

Her reply back was, “wow – that’s a great job Dad!(see above)”… and I’ll take the seascape one to put up in the restaurant. Oh, and as well, other people here in the restaurant working with me today are interested in both pictures.

So, I sold it to her.

Although she hasn’t e-transferred me the coin yet. Kids – what ya going to do? Oh well.

I think the operational plan at this point to is head to Halifax on Saturday to do a couple of errands and then deliver the painting to her. This is all very exciting and at the same time scary. It’s one thing to give a finished piece to a family member; any family member, who is almost obligated to “at least appear to like the painting.”

It is altogether something different to have it displayed in a restaurant in the middle of the downtown restaurant/bar district – so that half the brewpub/restaurant crowd in the greater Halifax regional area see it.

I’ll try to survive through it, though.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —

The Beginning Isn’t Necessarily The End

This morning hasn’t started as I thought it might.

We’re not talking about anything terrible or life-changing, it just wasn’t what I might term a normal start to the day. Actually, the start was about the same, except it happened about two hours earlier than normal.

The short version of this somewhat unholy start to my day came about from waking up in the middle of the night not feeling 100 percent and then not being able to fall back to sleep. So, I clocked in to kick start my day somewhere around 3am.

And you know what?

At 3am, your brain(or at least my brain) doesn’t function or fire on the correct number of cylinders as it might say at 9:30 in the morning. I don’t mean the “groggy or foggy brain” that wakes up in desperate need of a caffeine hit(although I don’t have a problem with the caffeine part).

I mean that small section of your brain that when awakened at 3am having for its very first thought of the day a negative one.

I get that for most of us, waking up and getting up at 3am, is for the most part a negative experience. Perhaps unless you’re getting up to head to the airport to jet off to a sunny island in the Caribbean for a mid-winter vacation. Then it should be more positives than negatives.

But, in all seriousness, it is that one negative thought whatever it might be, that quickly leads to a second negative thought, and then followed by a third one. And thus the cycle of negativity starts. Even though all you’ve done since you’ve rolled out of the sack is pour coffee and go to the bathroom. That’s the take I envisioned my day would be like.

When having a coffee while sitting in my ever-so-comfy reclining chair, I started to give some thought to a post for today. However, given my brain’s somewhat current negative outlook for the day, coming up with an idea or any idea appeared to be as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster.

Nevertheless, while aimlessly scrolling through some random pictures saved on the computer, and fervently hoping for even a small morsel of divine inspiration, I came across a painting I had completed in the past month or so.

As I glanced wistfully at it, the realization dawned on me……” don’t forget you just sold that painting to your daughter to hang in her restaurant in Halifax.” Don’t care what you think – that’s pretty positive.

And boom – the day changed.

Or at least how I perceived the day progressing in terms of my overall mood changing for the better or more positive in tone.

Weather-wise today though, it is still going rain in what we might refer to as “biblical in nature” and with winds gusts that will make the “Wizard of Oz” look like a gentle breeze on a summer’s afternoon.

And that’s the point of this. Often our thoughts are not based on the reality we find ourselves in, but on how we “feel or might be feeling.” And feelings can as they justly say be rather “fickle.”

So, if our day can instantly start with a negative feeling or thought, that isn’t based on any reality other than “why am I up at 3am?” – why can’t that negative thought or feeling be exchanged at our mind’s “service counter” for a more positive slant on things?

I’m genuinely thinking it can.

–as always with love–

— get outdoors; find inspiration; discover yourself —