Day 2 of 5 – Show My Art Challenge

This is the second day of the “Show My Art” challenge, and I have selected three of my older pieces to show you.  This first piece is called, “Van Gogh’s Eye” and was painted by me to give to my now-deceased friend, William Paul Smith.

vangoghseye

The second piece is encaustic on burned wood.  I am honored that it now hangs in the home of artist, Arlene Elizabeth.

red crow

This last piece is a jeweled heart mosaic that I created several years ago.

jeweled heart

The Power of Empathy

It can be very difficult to empathize with those people with whom you have no connection.  Fortunately, most people are not mean, and in most cases, I do try to connect and empathize with others. Do you?

Here is an interesting talk about empathy.

3 Arts a Day

I am participating in a sharing challenge issued by a group of artists on Facebook wherein I was challenged by Kim Larson to post 3 pictures of my art every day for 5 days.  So….here I go….

 

This first mosaic is a guitar that I made for recording artist/friend, Amy Corriea, winner of a CMA award and a wonderful, soulful singer.  The guitar resides with Amy in Massachusetts.

art1

This next piece, called, “Martha”, which now hangs in Seattle, Washington, was inspired by the very materials that made her.  My friend, Karyn D. gave me a big box of those tiny little bathroom tiles that most mosaic artists throw out, and some broken chards of china.  This is what I created with it all:

art2

This next piece, called, “Winter” was a large piece that covered one entire wall.  I sold it to a designer in a show in San Francisco a number of years ago and it now hangs in a mansion overlooking the Pacific near Dana’s Point in California.

art3

And these are my three art offerings for the day.   Come back tomorrow for more.

I Could Say More….but ….I Have Self Control…

kettle of crazy

Have you ever been in a situation where someone that was truly crazy, truly mean, was up to their typical evil because they falsely believe they have something over on you, and you just wanted to rub their nose in their own stupidity?  Don’t. Just ignore them…..Even if you have information that would make them re-think their aggressive bullying.

When you find a big kettle of crazy, it really is best not to stir it.  The crazies will beat that broth with a whisk themselves until it is frothy… so you don’t have to.  The difference between the nut-jobs and yourself is that YOU (or, in this case, “I”) have self-control.

Failure to control oneself is just that….failure…..and who needs to be around hot-tempered, drama queen losers? Attempt to be cool, folks.  Whether your definition of self-control involves stopping drinking or smoking or getting even with the person that keeps making an ass out of him or herself…… exercising self-control is the best answer.  It can be difficult when the other person is a bully who slathers the Internet with stupid memes depicting a reality that only exists in his or her own mind.  You can drop clues about the wrongness of it all until the cows come home, but they continue to gloat and believe lies….so just let them.  betty smokingWhen you feel a good retaliation coming on….even a DESERVED one, meditate! Meditation not only improves your emotional intelligence, it also trains the brain to become a self-control machine. Yes, meditation actually changes the chemical structure of the brain by flooding it with Dopamine, Seratonin and all the other “feel good” chemicals that are produced by the body.  Simple techniques such as mindfulness, that requires as little as five minutes a day to focus on nothing more than your breathing and your senses, improves self-awareness and the brain’s ability to resist destructive impulses. Buddhist monks appear calm and in control for a reason!

Believe it or not, another way to control one’s self is to control what goes into the body.  The brain burns heavily into one’s stores of glucose when attempting to exert self-control in those situations where you don’t really WANT to exercise self-control.

When some crazy has pissed you off so badly that you really, really want to flaunt your situation in front of his or her face, if your blood sugar is low, you are far more likely to succumb to destructive impulses….so eat healthy foods!   Sugary foods rapidly spike sugar levels and leave one feeling drained and vulnerable shortly thereafter. Eating something that provides a slow burn, such as whole grain rice or beans, will give anyone a longer window of self-control.

Getting the ‘ol body moving for as little as 10 minutes at a time releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes one’s brain feel soothed and keeps the exerciser in control of his or her impulses. If you’re having trouble resisting the impulse to upload all kinds of incriminating evidence to your blog, or if you want to splash someone’s CRAZY name all over the Internet…. just keep on walking. You should have the impulse under control by the time you get back.

Desire has a strong tendency to ebb and flow like the tide. When the impulse you need to control is strong, waiting out this wave of desire is usually enough to keep yourself in control. The rule of thumb here is to wait at least 10 minutes before succumbing to temptation. You’ll often find that the great wave of desire is now little more than a ripple that you have the power to step right over.

The important thing to remember is you have to give these strategies the opportunity to work. This means recognizing the moments where you are struggling with self-control and, rather than giving in to impulse, taking a look at this advice and giving these tips a go before you give in.  Exercise a little self-discipline.   The crazies will take care of themselves.  It takes time to increase your emotional intelligence, but the new habits you form with effort can last a lifetime.

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An Evening at Xico

My 89 year old father (in another state) suffered a serious medical setback yesterday, so my heart was heavy with worry all day.  Fortunately, he came through the procedure with flying colors and was recovering rapidly last night, so I met a friend for dinner to celebrate that and to simply relieve some of the tension that I had been feeling.

It’s always a treat when my friend, Denise, flies in from Tuscon.  Last night was no exception.  We had a lovely evening at one of my neighborhood’s best restaurants, Xico.  Located at 3715 SE Division Street, Xico offers a small array of freshly prepared, gourmet Mexican food and designer cocktails.

The wait staff is highly knowledgeable about both food and beverage.  This is always a winning element for me.  I like it when the staff knows the food well and can talk about it intelligently.  Here is a little video of Denise and the waitress discussing some of the food:

After hugs and greetings, we started our meal with  smoky margaritas made with Sombra,  one of the restaurant’s “suitcase” mezcals from a mysterious collection that Xico owner Liz Davis hunts down in dirt-floored Mexican palenques where men still hack agave cores with machetes.   It also had fresh lime juice, honey and a half-rim of rust-red, “worm salt” or  sal de guasano, a condiment traditional to Oaxaca but little known here.

margarita

3 appetizers accompanied our cocktails.  We had a small dish of the Queso Fundido, which is usually served with chirozo (Mexican sausage) but, of course, being a vegetarian, I asked that this ingredient be omitted.  It was a perfectly perfect blend of broiled queso barra and muenstar topped with serrano-tomatilo salsa, radish, cabbage and Xito’s fresh-pressed tortillas that were bursting with organic corn that they grind themselves, right in the back room. They smell like wildflowers. A lot of this restaurant’s ingredients must be smoked, crushed, pampered, or flamed before being blended into their masterful concoctions.  This dish was complex with multi-layers of salty, smoky flavor and bursts of fresh herbs.  Wow.  There are simply no words to fully describe how delicious it was.

queso

We also had the Blood Orange and Apple Salad, that consisted of tequila-infused apples, pomegranate, cucumber, chile arbal, queso cotija resting in a drizzel of blood orange vinagrette.  Mmmmm!  It was as delicious as it was beautiful!

salad

The third appetizer we tried was the Fried Cauliflower.  These were cruciferous  flourettes in an arbol salsa with queso cotja, creme and cilantro.  It was light, full-flavored and delicious.  It seemed the flavors of all the food at this restaurant are so perfectly balanced.  It is unbelievable how they do it.  For every tart flavor, there is a counterbalance of sweetness, and everything was so masterfully prepared and presented.

cauliflower

We each had a main entree, too.  I am not going to write about Denise’s entree because she had pork and fish…but my own was a delicious, roasted Chili Relleno with Amaranth and Black Beans.

chili

This dish was prepared unlike any chili relleno I’d ever tasted, starting with the fact that it was roasted and not fried.  The chili was filled with black beans, amaranth, sun-dried tomatoes and requeson.  It rested in a tomato-canela broth and was topped with sour cream, guacamole, sauteed hedgehog mushrooms and sliced vegetable escabeche garnish.  It was served with a side of Mexican rice.  By the time it arrived, however, I was so full that I could only eat a bite or two, so I had it wrapped and took it home to enjoy for lunch today or tomorrow.  It was light (despite the sour cream, which I pushed to one side…) and delicious!

Denise and I had the best talk!  I enjoyed her company so much, and especially enjoyed the fact that we talked about a future business that we are planning to do together.  She and I just click, in terms of our belief systems and the things that are important to us.  We both had such a good time.

I walked home, ever thankful for my good friends, for my family, for living as close as I do to restaurants such as Xico, for the crisp, cool evening and for just being alive.  Evenings like last night make all of my hard work worth every minute of it!   Oh….and speaking of hard work, I should get back to it now.