Category Archives: Finance

The Writing Life

Standard

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.36.11 AM

The Mills Brothers  released their hit  “Too Many Irons in the Fire” in 1946.  70 years later, this song could be designated my theme song. Yet, how many irons are too many?  I suppose that much is subjective.

I live a multi-faceted existence and always seem to have a lot of irons in the fire.  With the onset of the new year, however, I find myself busier than ever, but I am also happier than ever, and with great hope for the future.

I am working on opening a new business and have been developing workshops and programs for that, gathering partners and finances, and creating a dynamic endeavor that may take a couple of years to get off the ground, so  I continue to work on other things as I focus on getting this done.

A friend, who is a former celebrity client from a decades-ago stint I did with an entertainment law firm, contacted me over the holidays to ask if I would be part of a $25 million capital raising campaign with a view toward producing 5 new independent films.  I will be working in the capacity of a consultant, designing social media promotions and campaigns, but won’t know many details until some time next week. This will be my first MOIP-related, salaried work I have done since I received my masters degree, and while I’m excited about the work, this is not what I’ll be doing professionally, in the long run, but that is another story for another time.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.42.39 AM

In addition to my art work, a large part of my vocational time is spent writing.  I have my various creative writing projects going on….my cookbook, my novel, my poetry and short stories, all of which take the back burner too often in favor of the writing work that I get paid for.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 8.51.16 AM

Over the last 48 hours, I have written essays on the world-renowned Monte Pascoal cigars, Missouri fly fishing, eyeliner, the Bakken oil fields, Maternity photo shoots and the merits of portable ballet barres.  I have written essays for a graphic design company, two criminal law firms, a judge, an artist and a physician whose specialty is the treatment of diabetes.  I have a long list of articles to complete today, and another list of articles that I will have to complete from our retreat at Lake Tahoe.

I have honed article writing down to a fine art and can knock out what my editors designate as “high quality” writing in a very short period of time.  My research skills were honed to perfection while I was in graduate school, and I am able to produce many articles in a short period of time.  All this, is in addition to writing the Chinese fashion catalog that provides an endless stream of work.

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 9.04.19 AM

Admittedly, I do not feel a lot of passion about the paid writing that I do.  My heart lies with my creative work, but the paid work provides a good income, and I rather enjoy it.  It isn’t what I intend to do over the long run, but for now, it is fine.

I work through a number of different agencies.  Over the years, my ranking has risen to the top with many of these agencies, and I have received a more noteworthy status than I once had as a hack writer.  Today, I am frequently notified by editors and former clients, so that the majority of the work I do is for private clients or special projects.

My work involves long hours and intense concentration, and, therefore, results in my having to make a special efforts to exercise and stay healthy.  This work can be all-consuming, and it is as easy to forget to eat and exercise as it is to breathe.  There have been days when I have started work before the sun came up, and ended it well after midnight.

In this new year, I shall endeavor to moderate my writing into a more manageable enterprise.  I vow to place my health first, and to exercise twice a day, beginning each morning with  yoga and a long walk, and doing a concentrated aerobic effort each afternoon. I have been doing this three times a week, but I am going to up the ante.

This freedom to arrange my schedule as I want it is the primary reason I continue to pursue the writing life.  This freedom to travel.  This freedom to begin and end work when I want.  The freedom to take off a half hour when my best friend calls, or the freedom to stop what I’m doing to pick Ingrid up from school.  These are the reasons that I write.

Tomorrow, as my friends go to their offices and get snagged in rush hour traffic, I will be departing for Reno/Tahoe.  THIS is why I engage in the writing life.  This freedom to leave when I want or to sleep as late as I want …..although I am an early riser….this freedom is why I write.

 

 

 

Empowering Women Everywhere

Standard

Here is a little blurb from the new show, “Empowering Women Everywhere, ” which is hosted by my friend, Nann Gill.

Watch it on Channel 23 (TWC) at 7:30 ET, or on line at empoweringwomeneverywhere.tv.

Become part of the Empowering Women Everywhere Community!

Click HERE.

Membership is FREE!

Read more about the 2 Left Feet Blues Festival HERE.   <clickity click click click….

“Empowering Women Everywhere” is produced by the Academy of Film, Television and Stage Performing Arts, a 501c3 corporation.

The program reaches over a million households twice a week!

For a tax-deductible donation you can become a sponsor of the show.

Sponsorship packages are individually designed to best fit your giving criteria.

Please call 845-294-8444 to discuss your particular requirements.

On Being Politically Correct

Standard

The Power of Empathy

Standard

This is my friend, Nan, a powerful woman that I am very proud to call a friend.  Please read about her new television show by clicking HERE.

1nan

Place Your Bets….

Standard
Place Your Bets….

I’m not a gambler….but if you are, and would like to place a wager on the Kentucky Derby, this is a venue online where you can not only watch the race.  You can also place your bets!   (Am posting this for a friend who just won $7,000 on a $2.00 bet.)

CLICK HERE!

Nepal

Standard

Click HERE to learn how to offer relief effort to the victims of the earthquake in Nepal.

(Thank you, Karma Hallmark)  xoxo

And I’ll Stand By You, Too….

Standard

When Someone You Love Succeeds

Standard
When Someone You Love Succeeds

I have to admit it.  Personal success feels great.  Each time I accomplish something that sets me one step closer to my goals, I feel elated.  However, that feeling pales in comparison to the emotions I experience when someone I love achieves success, be it a friend or a family member.  That’s right.  I take more joy in seeing someone I love succeed than I take in my own accomplishments.  For instance, yesterday, I received this email from my husband, John:

 

My Dearest Wife,

Early this morning,  I received the news that my “The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” was selected to kick-off San Francisco Dramatists Guild’s  spring Footlights, staged-playreading series on March 2nd.

Attached is the invitation that will be sent out from New York in a few days.

Love to you,

J

SAN FRANCISCO FOOTLIGHTS – March 2, 2015 presentation.

Please join the Dramatists Guild for a staged-reading of John Freed’s

 

“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy”

 

on Monday, March 2 at 7PM
Tides Theatre
533 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA

 

Play Synopsis:


“The Merchant of Pittsburgh: A Comedy” is set in an Equity-based, regional theatre in the late eighties and concerns a fed-up Jewish board member who takes over as acting artistic director in order to stage a Shylock-friendly production of “The Merchant of Venice” while being forced to confront his own set of racial and ethnic prejudices.

 

                        “A brilliant mashup of Shakespeare and August Wilson.”   Arno Selco, Ithaca College

 

 

John Freed’s Brief Bio:
East Coast native by birth, the high point of his acting career occurred at age seventeen playing the lead in “Kiss me, Kate.” He received a standing ovation for his fireman’s carry off-stage of  his co-star after her slap nearly knocked him out at the close of Act One.
Fast forward to teaching dramatic literature, especially Shakespeare,  at Penn State as well as being the theater critic for the “Erie Daily Times” and film critic for New York’s “OneWorld Magazine.” He adapted Richard Wright’s novella “The Man Who Lived Underground” as a radio play produced by the local National Public Radio station and co-wrote “When Shakespeare Was a Woman” while functioning as pro bono drama consultant for the artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre.
His own writing evolved further from developing a series of creative writing and new media courses at the University of St. Thomas in Texas and at Brandman / Chapman University here in the Bay area.   During this time he wrote  “Love me, Fuseli: A Play about Mary Wollstonecraft and her Circle of Friends” and “Figaro’s Follies” – a new adaption of  Beaumarchais’ “Le Mariage de Figaro” which had staged-readings by the EastBay Players in the fall of 2014.

 

He is currently working on the book and lyrics for a musical entitled “All Hallows at Hearst Castle” with composer, Jeff Dunn.

John bi-locates to Portland, Oregon where his wife, Stacy Alexander, is a graduate student, a professional writer and a mixed media artist.  His playwright website is http://freed98.wix.com/johnfreedplaywright .

 

Dramatists Guild’s San Francisco

(end)

My response to John:

To My Most Admirable Husband,
So, once again, a public acknowledgement and congratulations in the midst of many, my darling.   What an honor for your play to kick off the season!  There are insufficient words to convey how proud of you I am.  Each play you write is better than the one that came before it.   I enthusiastically encourage you to continue with your play writing, just as you have always encouraged me with my own creative endeavors.  It is with great happiness that I  look forward to seeing what you come up with next.  Oh….and “break a leg”  (figuratively…not literally)  🙂
Your loving wife,
Anastasia

Yes, In This Case, Bigger IS Better – iPhone 6+ Review

Standard
Yes, In This Case, Bigger IS Better – iPhone 6+ Review

6 years ago, I worked out a deal with AT&T that they’re probably having second thoughts about now….but the crux of it is that I get a free phone upgrade every year.  That said…. this year, I went for the big guy, the new iPhone 6+, and I am so glad that I did…because it IS better!   I got mine two days ago.  The new phone  uses incredible new display technology, has a second generation 64-bit processor and motion coprocessor, a much-improved camera, faster cellular and Wi-Fi networking, and a new transaction system called Apple Pay. The list of this phone’s merits goes on and on.  I love it.

The phone feels good in my hand, and I don’t have to squint to see the screen.  The display is brilliant!  I’ve never seen a clearer, brighter phone display screen!   (This is a picture of my screen saver which I sent to my best friend as a Christmas tree.)

screensaver guitars

This time, I got the maximum amount of memory, too, and that makes a world of difference.  I have a zillion apps and they all run quickly and smoothly.  In particular, my friend and I communicate through two apps that are notorious for dropped calls and for taking up a lot of memory, but on this phone, they work like a charm!

apps

 

This phone, with a remarkable 5.5-inch display, faster chips, faster networking, and did I mention a MUCH better camera?  The iPhone 6 Plus may not be for everyone, but it is for me.  I like it more than my big iPad and I like it more than my mini iPad.  This size is just right.   For busy  people such as myself,  who want something that proves to be more productive than it is ‘pocketable’, something that can be considered as much huge iPhone as it is tiny iPad, the iPhone 6 Plus is not just a big thing, it’s the best thing.  I truly love this phone!   Oh, and the camera is incredible!  It does time lapsed photos and also has a timer.  8 megapixels and clear as a bell photography.     I am one happy camper with this phone.  Let me tell ya!   This picture is a low-light one.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 10.54.22 AM

 

Now, the down side.  Actually, the iPhone 6+ doesn’t have much of a down side as far as I can tell…but the accessories are expensive.  Also, it doesn’t fit into the cup holder of my car the way the 5S did.  It is also large enough to break if I sit down on it, so I have to be very careful with it. I laid down $65 clams for a nice, hard case and a new tempered glass screen protector.  I bought a CaseMate brand hard shell case in champagne with a kickstand and it seems very nice.  Time will tell, I guess.  The screen protector is flawless.  Really nice.

I give this phone 9.9 out of 10 stars.  I couldn’t be happier with it!

Last Update of the Year

Standard
Last Update of the Year

I have been trying to make it over here to do an update before the end of the year, but this has been my first opportunity to do so.   First, let me thank my 590  wonderful subscribers and other readers for your continued support.  I appreciate each and every one of you and hope you have gained something from being a part of my life through this blog.   I wish each of you a happy and prosperous 2015.

As I approach the end of 2014, I have made some big changes in my life.  First, I have eliminated some unhealthy familial relationships that were dragging me down,  and have grown closer to other family members.  Both moves proved to be freeing and healing.

I have begun a regular meditation and yoga practice.  I am making art again.  I still have a four point in grad school and am slated to graduate this summer.   As for friendships….every single friendship that I had at the end of last year is still in place.  One, in particular, is stronger than ever, and I feel so blessed because of this. (4).

r     Rene Best musician

Life here has been a December whirlwind!  I took a couple of fun little trips…some that I can talk about, and some that I can’t.  However, my break from school proved to be no break at all.  I had a difficult midterm that took an entire day to complete, two discussion papers to write, a paper on women in leadership roles and a psychometric analysis of a psychological testing instrument used to determine levels of creativity.  Eeeee!  I still have two papers left to write before the fourth, but I’m fairly certain I will be able to complete them on time.  I have also been finishing up a lot of work projects that I had to finish by tonight.  Those are completed and sent to my editors, so I feel great about that.

The good news is that John is home, and we have been having the best time!  We took Ingrid Christmas shopping and to Peacock lane.

hh1

We spent a quiet Christmas together at home, then went to our daughter’s house for gift exchange and a delicious dinner.  My son in law, who makes THESE  gorgeous knifes and teaches black smithing,  hand forged an incredible cheese knife for me. I am so proud of it!  (I love handmade gifts best of all!)   For the handle, he used exotic wood that had some naturally-formed cracks in it.  He ground up turquoise, suspended it in resin and filled the cracks with it.  The picture does not do it justice.  This is a gorgeous knife! He also hand carved a beautiful wooden spoon for me and gave them both to me in a nice wooden holder.  So talented, he is! Thanks, Nate!

knife

John wanted to do something extra special this year, so surprised me with a trip to Sun Mountain Lodge   up in the beautiful Cascades. What an incredible trip! It was cozy and romantic, stunningly beautiful and gave us the opportunity to get caught up after spending a long time apart.  We loved it there and want to go back in the spring.

cascades

Met some friends there, and were able to parlay the journey into a side trip Seattle where our granddaughter, Maya, is visiting from the East Coast.  We were absolutely thrilled to learn that she plans to return to the Pacific NW.  We have missed her in the 5 months she has been gone!

ingrid and maya

We stayed with our darling friends, Sheryl and Dylan and really enjoyed the company.  Sheryl is like family to us.  It was high quality, beautiful family time.  We visited and took Ings to the park.  We went out for dinner.  We went to an incredible display of Christmas lights.  It was so much fun.  I feel so happy just thinking about it.

ings and sheryl

Much, much more has happened, but I haven’t the time to write about it all.  Tonight, we are going to join our friends, Toni and Peter, as we did last year, for dinner, drinks and dancing.  We’ll start the evening off at a little wine bar known as “Arrivederci” and then meet other friends in another location to ring in the New Year together.  There won’t be any redneck bars and plastic cups in the mix for this year,  but as my friend pointed out, I’ve always been more of a crystal stemware type anyway, so it all works out. 🙂  I know I’m loved.  I’m happy.

I’m lucky….and I know it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Be safe and have fun!

We Do Not Invest in Victims. We Invest in Survivors.

Standard

I am now in week 3 of my term.  Yesterday, I discovered that my Testing and Measurement class involves the dreaded statistics that I’d hoped it wouldn’t….so that one is the challenge that is taking up the majority of my time these days….but I am taking good care of myself and pressing forward, telling myself I can do it.  Just studying hard, eating right, getting a lot of exercise, and learning to focus on what counts.  Incrementally, just like last term, I am starting to understand.

The course that owns my heart this term, however, is the Women in Leadership course,  Wow.  It is powerful and exactly what I need just before opening this business.  It is a wonderful thing and comes naturally to me.  One of the required resources this week was the following TED video.  I’ve posted the video, which I encourage you to watch….but I’ve also pasted in the transcript.  Well worth the watch!

We do not invest in victims, we invest in survivors. And in ways both big and small, the narrative of the victim shapes the way we see women. You can’t count what you don’t see. And we don’t invest in what’s invisible to us. But this is the face of resilience.

Six years ago, I started writing about women entrepreneurs during and after conflict. I set out to write a compelling economic story, one that had great characters, that no one else was telling, and one that I thought mattered. And that turned out to be women.

0:54 I had left ABC news and a career I loved at the age of 30 for business school, a path I knew almost nothing about. None of the women I had grown up with in Maryland had graduated from college, let alone considered business school. But they had hustled to feed their kids and pay their rent. And I saw from a young age that having a decent job and earning a good living made the biggest difference for families who were struggling.

 So if you’re going to talk about jobs, then you have to talk about entrepreneurs. And if you’re talking about entrepreneurs in conflict and post-conflict settings, then you must talk about women, because they are the population you have left. Rwanda in the immediate aftermath of the genocide was 77 percent female. I want to introduce you to some of those entrepreneurs I’ve met and share with you some of what they’ve taught me over the years.

 I went to Afghanistan in 2005 to work on a Financial Times piece, and there I met Kamila, a young women who told me she had just turned down a job with the international community that would have paid her nearly $2,000 a month — an astronomical sum in that context. And she had turned it down, she said, because she was going to start her next business, an entrepreneurship consultancy that would teach business skills to men and women all around Afghanistan. Business, she said, was critical to her country’s future. Because long after this round of internationals left, business would help keep her country peaceful and secure. And she said business was even more important for women because earning an income earned respect and money was power for women.

So I was amazed. I mean here was a girl who had never lived in peace time who somehow had come to sound like a candidate from “The Apprentice.” (Laughter) So I asked her, “How in the world do you know this much about business? Why are you so passionate?” She said, “Oh Gayle, this is actually my third business. My first business was a dressmaking business I started under the Taliban. And that was actually an excellent business, because we provided jobs for women all around our neighborhood. And that’s really how I became an entrepreneur.”

 Think about this: Here were girls who braved danger to become breadwinners during years in which they couldn’t even be on their streets. And at a time of economic collapse when people sold baby dolls and shoe laces and windows and doors just to survive, these girls made the difference between survival and starvation for so many. I couldn’t leave the story, and I couldn’t leave the topic either, because everywhere I went I met more of these women who no one seemed to know about, or even wish to.

 I went on to Bosnia, and early on in my interviews I met with an IMF official who said, “You know, Gayle, I don’t think we actually have women in business in Bosnia, but there is a lady selling cheese nearby on the side of the road. So maybe you could interview her.” So I went out reporting and within a day I met Narcisa Kavazovic who at that point was opening a new factory on the war’s former front lines in Sarajevo. She had started her business squatting in an abandoned garage, sewing sheets and pillow cases she would take to markets all around the city so that she could support the 12 or 13 family members who were counting on her for survival. By the time we met, she had 20 employees, most of them women, who were sending their boys and their girls to school. And she was just the start. I met women running essential oils businesses, wineries and even the country’s largest advertising agency.

So these stories together became the Herald Tribune business cover. And when this story posted, I ran to my computer to send it to the IMF official. And I said, “Just in case you’re looking for entrepreneurs to feature at your next investment conference, here are a couple of women.”


But think about this. The IMF official is hardly the only person to automatically file women under micro. The biases, whether intentional or otherwise, are pervasive, and so are the misleading mental images. If you see the word “microfinance,” what comes to mind? Most people say women. And if you see the word “entrepreneur,” most people think men. Why is that? Because we aim low and we think small when it comes to women.

Microfinance is an incredibly powerful tool that leads to self-sufficiency and self-respect, but we must move beyond micro-hopes and micro-ambitions for women, because they have so much greater hopes for themselves. They want to move from micro to medium and beyond. And in many places, they’re there. In the U.S., women-owned businesses will create five and a half million new jobs by 2018. In South Korea and Indonesia, women own nearly half a million firms. China, women run 20 percent of all small businesses. And in the developing world overall, That figure is 40 to 50 percent.

 Nearly everywhere I go, I meet incredibly interesting entrepreneurs who are seeking access to finance, access to markets and established business networks. They are often ignored because they’re harder to help. It is much riskier to give a 50,000 dollar loan than it is to give a 500 dollar loan. And as the World Bank recently noted, women are stuck in a productivity trap. Those in small businesses can’t get the capital they need to expand and those in microbusiness can’t grow out of them.

Recently I was at the State Department in Washington and I met an incredibly passionate entrepreneur from Ghana. She sells chocolates. And she had come to Washington, not seeking a handout and not seeking a microloan. She had come seeking serious investment dollars so that she could build the factory and buy the equipment she needs to export her chocolates to Africa, Europe, the Middle East and far beyond — capital that would help her to employ more than the 20 people that she already has working for her, and capital that would fuel her own country’s economic climb.

The great news is we already know what works. Theory and empirical evidence Have already taught us. We don’t need to invent solutions because we have them — cash flow loans based in income rather than assets, loans that use secure contracts rather than collateral, because women often don’t own land. And Kiva.org, the microlender, is actually now experimenting with crowdsourcing small and medium sized loans. And that’s just to start.

Recently it has become very much in fashion to call women “the emerging market of the emerging market.” I think that is terrific. You know why? Because — and I say this as somebody who worked in finance — 500 billion dollars at least has gone into the emerging markets in the past decade. Because investors saw the potential for return at a time of slowing economic growth, and so they created financial products and financial innovation tailored to the emerging markets.

How wonderful would it be if we were prepared to replace all of our lofty words with our wallets and invest 500 billion dollars unleashing women’s economic potential? Just think of the benefits when it comes to jobs, productivity, employment, child nutrition, maternal mortality, literacy and much, much more. Because, as the World Economic Forum noted, smaller gender gaps are directly correlated with increased economic competitiveness. And not one country in all the world has eliminated its economic participation gap — not one.

 So the great news is this is an incredible opportunity. We have so much room to grow. So you see, this is not about doing good, this is about global growth and global employment. It is about how we invest and it’s about how we see women. And women can no longer be both half the population and a special interest group.


Oftentimes I get into very interesting discussions with reporters who say to me, “Gayle, these are great stories, but you’re really writing about the exceptions.” Now that makes me pause for just a couple reasons. First of all, for exceptions, there are a lot of them and they’re important. Secondly, when we talk about men who are succeeding, we rightly consider them icons or pioneers or innovators to be emulated. And when we talk about women, they are either exceptions to be dismissed or aberrations to be ignored. And finally, there is no society anywhere in all the world that is not changed except by its most exceptional. So why wouldn’t we celebrate and elevate these change makers and job creators rather than overlook them?

This topic of resilience is very personal to me and in many ways has shaped my life. My mom was a single mom who worked at the phone company during the day and sold Tupperware at night so that I could have every opportunity possible. We shopped double coupons and layaway and consignment stores, and when she got sick with stage four breast cancer and could no longer work, we even applied for food stamps. And when I would feel sorry for myself as nine or 10 year-old girls do, she would say to me, “My dear, on a scale of major world tragedies, yours is not a three.”

 And when I was applying to business school and felt certain I couldn’t do it and nobody I knew had done it, I went to my aunt who survived years of beatings at the hand of her husband and escaped a marriage of abuse with only her dignity intact. And she told me, “Never import other people’s limitations.”

And when I complained to my grandmother, a World War II veteran who worked in film for 50 years and who supported me from the age of 13, that I was terrified that if I turned down a plum assignment at ABC for a fellowship overseas, I would never ever, ever find another job, she said, “Kiddo, I’m going to tell you two things. First of all, no one turns down a Fulbright, and secondly, McDonald’s is always hiring.” (Laughter) “You will find a job. Take the leap.”

The women in my family are not exceptions. The women in this room and watching in L.A. and all around the world are not exceptions. We are not a special interest group. We are the majority. And for far too long, we have underestimated ourselves and been undervalued by others. It is time for us to aim higher when it comes to women, to invest more and to deploy our dollars to benefit women all around the world.

 We can make a difference, and make a difference, not just for women, but for a global economy that desperately needs their contributions. Together we can make certain that the so-called exceptions begin to rule. When we change the way we see ourselves, others will follow. And it is time for all of us to think bigger.

November 22, 1963

Standard
November 22, 1963

Assuming you were born at the time, where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news?jfk

Doctors Without Borders Auction Preview!

Standard

https://www.biddingforgood.com/auction/auctionhome.action?auctionId=208357702  <——-click here!

Here is your chance to preview all 141 STUNNING pieces of mosaic art created by artists from all over the world in the Doctor’s Without Border’s Charity Auction that will be coming up in November.  There are SO many beautiful choices!  Proceeds go toward a most excellent cause, so make your selections and get ready to place your bids!  dwb mosaic 2014Four René

by Stacy Alexander

© Stacy Alexander – 2014 – All Rights Reserved

Lesson For the Day

Standard

 

 

drama5

 

To My Best Friend

Image

think

A Bountiful Feast

Standard

feast

I have been cutting back on personal expenses.  One way in which I am doing that is to spend less on food.  I have set a goal to not spend more than $50 a week on food, and I’m off to a great start.  Today, I received the first of a weekly organic produce delivery from a local service called, Organics to You.  It cost $36, and I received a big box full of organic fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.   I made myself the lunch pictured above, but it was so much food that I could only eat about 1/4 of it, and it hardly looks like I’ve taken ANYTHING from the box.  It is still brimming with organic goodness!  After this delivery, I know I am not going to have to get a box every week.  I can stretch this food out for two weeks, cutting my food costs in half!

Because the box arrived in time for lunch, I just made a quick, easy meal of organic tomato halves and raw chard tossed in a pear/Champagne vinegar dressing, some field roast with my homemade North Carolina mop sauce (hot and spicy!), some lightly steamed green beans with dried roasted garlic, parsley and sea salt, some carrots candied in just a touch of honey with hot pepper flakes and sea salt, and a sliced nectarine.  Everything is so full-flavored and delicious!

I plan to process everything else that is in the box, just to make it last.  I will make zucchini croquettes and freeze them.  I will make lentil salad and carrot muffins and oven-dried tomatoes.  There are many other vegetables that I will have to come up with recipes for, but I really enjoy doing this.  Should be fun, and I’ll be able to just pop something into the oven and have dinner ready in no time!   Really looking forward to this!

Healthy, low cost food is where it’s at, baby!

I am laughing.

Standard

Ha. Ha. Ha.  Laughter is good for you! 

laughing

.3smilesha hamarilynnerudastacyonphonelaughing9pemalaughing8laughing3old woman laughinglaughing4laughing6laughing5laughing7laughing2laughing1laugh1tee heelalughingjohnny cashgenielaughingkels subwaykaugh1stacyonphonesharron angle

Try it!  Laughter is the best, most  joyful music on earth!  Regardless of what might be “wrong” in your life, you’ll feel a lot better if you can just find something to laugh about!   Laughter is medicine.

Four René

Standard

This is my contribution to the Doctors Without Borders Auction for 2014.  I will post details when they are available.  I call this piece, “Four René,”named after my best friend.  I tried to create a piece that would convey the happiness that his friendship brings to me, so I made this one as bright and sunny as possible.   It was the best I could do, considering I didn’t have all of my materials available to me at the time.

dwb

FOUR RENE

10″ x 10″

Glass, ceramic tile, vintage jewelry on wedi board with wooden frame

by Stacy Alexander

2014

Native American: As in other cultures, ceremonies and ritual acts are repeated in fours. The Native Amercican cultures have used the number 4 most frequently as in the four cardinal directions. The four winds are depicted by the symbol of the cross and by the symbol of the swastika. The swastika as some misbelieve was not created by Hitler. It was instead borrowed from the Native American and occult beliefs of which Hitler had great interests. Hitler derived his “insanity” of power from his misdirected interpretation and use of metaphysical principles. He used knowledge that his human consciousness couldn’t possibly understand and the use of this knowledge for personal gain is part of the imbalance that creates the chaos and karma.

Buddhism: The Damba Tree of Life has four limbs and from its roots four sacred streams of Paradise that represent the the four boundless wishes of compassion, affection, love impartiality. It also represents the four directions of the heart as well.

Chinese Buddism: there are four celestial guardians of cardinal points are Mo-li Ch’ing, the East, with the jade ring and spear; Virupaksha, the West, the Far-gazer, with the four-stringed quitar; Virudhaka, the South, with the umbrella of choas and darkness and earthquakes; Vaisravenna, the North, with the whips, leopard-skin bag, snake and pearl.

Chinese: Four is the number of the Earth, symbolized by the square. There are four streams of immortality. Four is even an number. It is Yin in polarity.

Christian: Four is the number representing the body, with three representing the soul. Again we see the theme of the four rivers in Paradise. There are four Gospels, Evangelists, chef arch-angels, chef-devils, four Fathers of the Church, Great Prophets. There are four cardinal virtues–prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance. The are four winds from which the One Spirit is said to come. There are four horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Revelation: There four angels standing at the four corners of the Earth, holding back the four winds of the earth (Rev 7:1). The great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language (four-fold description) – Rev 5:9 11:9 13:7 14:6 the four-fold description indicates that these people come from all over the earth.

Egyptian: Four is the sacred number of Time, measurement of the sun. Four pillars support the vault of heaven. There are four canopic jars placed around the dead at the four corners guarded by the four sons of Horus who are associated with the cardinal points. In the Hermetic it is the divine quaternity. It represents God.

Gnostic: belief in Barbelo, the Four-ness of God.

Greek: Four is the sacred number of Hermes.

Hebrew: Four represents measuring; beneficence; intelligence. In the Kabbalah four is memory; four represents the four worlds of the Kabbalah.It also represents the four directions of space and the four levels of the hierarchical organism of the Torah.

Hindu: Four is Totality; plenitude; perfection. Brahma, the Creator is four faced. The temple is based on the four sides of the square, symbolizing order and finality. There are four tattvas the four bodies bodies of human and kingdoms of nature which are animal, vegetable, mineral, mind. There are four yugas. Four is the winning throw of the dice. There are four castes and pairs of opposites.

Islamic: tradition the four terms of the quaternary are the Principle which is Creator; Universal Spirit; Universal Soul; and the primordial matter. These correspond to the four worlds of Kabbalism. There are four angelic beings and four houses of death. There are four levels to the Bardo.

Mayan culture four giants support the celestial roof. Four is seen as the number of support .

Pythagorean: Four is Perfection; harmonious proportion; justice; the earth. Four is the number of the Pythagorean oath. Four and ten are divinities. The Tetraktys 1+2+3+4=10.

Scandinavian: there are four rivers of milk flowing in Asgard.

Sumero-Semitic: Four astral gods are indentified with the four cardinal points.

Teutonic: four dwarfs support the world.

Taoist: There are four celestial guardians, Li, with the pagoda; Ma, with the sword; Cho with two swords; Wen with a spiked club.