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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Mira’s List – grants, fellowships, and more

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A blog well worth visiting..

Research proves your thoughts can physically make you younger.

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Just in case you needed proof, here’s a link to BEST article!

I choose my age before my birthday each year. It’s not vanity. It’s about not allowing my own thoughts to age me.   This is a belief that I am very passionate about.  In my bathroom for all to see is a card: “how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are”

I knew as I headed into my 40’s that if I ‘registered’ those ages in my head in terms of my own ‘expectations’ of a person that age, as well as the cultural expectations of people that age.. well, I would not be a crazy waterskiier that I still am.   It was self preservation that has made me be the age I think I am.  It was knowing that thoughts alone would be enough to make me more fragile physically, and might keep me from making big changes, including leaping from careers,  and certainly could prevent me from becoming an author and artist when our culture implies that you can only be that if you’ve been doing it all your life.      (and by the way, I am past that whole 40 decade.) 

 And, finally, here’s proof that backs up my beliefs!  Check this out!

Just say NO! to aging: A provocative new book from a Harvard psychologist suggests that changing how we think about our age and health can have dramatic physical benefits

GO!  GO check this out! I’m so excited.

By the way, last year I was ‘eternal’, the year before ‘timeless’, the year before ‘ageless’, and then I think I was 37 1/2.  This year, I’m “nana-age”.  (Hey,I coulda had my girls at 14)   My family actually celebrates the age I’ve chosen or that they recommend each year.  If I do need to know how old I am in linear left brain thinking years, I normally have to ask my daughters.

I think people born later in the century than me may have a healthier perspective of aging and ability than my generation.  Which of course I have no idea what generation I belong to, being timeless and all.

Today, Father’s Day, I didn’t pre-plan to entertain my Dad, who is on the other side, but…

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Sometimes I just trust that something will happen as it should, instead of fussing with ‘what might be appropriate’ at times when I really don’t have the answer anyway.

I knew I would want to honour my Dad on Father’s Day.  He died a couple of years ago.  (Halloween, in fact.  What a guy. Such a magical man, such a magical time to cross over)   But, there is a part of me that had this thought about Father’s Day:  “If I ignore it, it will go away.”   That’s the part that struggles with him not being here in mortal form.

And so, I just decided to put my painting artist hat on and paint ships all weekend.  (That is more appropriate than one can imagine.. but that, dear readers, is far too long to explain in a blog.. it’s in  novel #2… partly in process, but #1 is getting completed first.)

Anyway, I decided to trust.   I knew something would happen. If you’ve read the previous post you’ll know I was supposed to be painting and ignoring the ‘other important projects’ like the new office chair that lays in pieces waiting for assembly. However, today, Dad’s wife, my stepmom, popped over for coffee.   So, being a practical girl, I thought we could visit and I could assemble that chair. (since I don’t visit and paint very well)

First please note: My dad was a mechanical wizard. Owned and used every tool known to mankind.

It wasn’t a difficult task, but as I kept misplacing a bolt (either under my butt or already in my hand) I laughed and said, “Dad must think this is pretty funny.”  I hadn’t consciously been thinking he was nearby, but alas.. the words were spoken. 

Next, I was trying to get a little plastic thingy where it needed to go, and rather than grab a hammer from downstairs, I grabbed the ice cream scoop, further cracking up both Leona and I as we visualized Dad shaking his head with a smile.   Even funnier, was that the scoop was Dad’s and has been in the family for .. well.. ever.    And that made us look at each other with that look that says, “well, I’ll be darned, he is here!”   

Next, I made him proud.  Leona, now very involved in the assembly of the chair, suggested vice grips for the silly little plastic thingy.  AND I had vice grips.  Right there in the kitchen in the pot of spatula’s, wooden spoons, and other cooking utensils.  (Ya, it’s a sign of my cooking skills I’m sure.  Maybe I need them to release things I’ve melted together.. like pots, or something).  I know Dad was proud that I had vice grips handy and that we got the job done. 

Of course my Dad had given me those vice grips one year in my Christmas stocking. ( I do love tools.. a lot.  I may not be so good using them, but I love them.)

In a blog post, can one really say enough to help others understand how true it is that Dad was nearby, and that we entertained him well?  Perhaps not. But Leona and I knew.   

The painting I just finished today will probably be named after him in some form.  Wanna see?  It’s not a good scan.. but here it is:

father's day ship not good scan

copyright 2009 by Janet L. Whitehead

What does it take to create?

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I thought I would go camping this weekend.. 2 to 3 nights, up the lake, boat access only, and bring my paints.  Key purpose: get some paintings finished for an upcoming show.  With the rainy stormy weather,  I realized I was only kidding myself.  Yes, I’d go.  The wind and rain would play havoc with painting, but I would sit there in my glory enjoying the lightning, taking pride in my anchoring skills as the boat survived the storm, and basically drinking in the beautiful energy of a wind, water, and lightening.   But that wouldn’t get the paintings done, now would it?

So I promised myself.. I will paint all weekend at home. I will not let the 187, 486 other important projects interfere… (like the new office chair scattered in pieces beside me waiting to be assembled; or the new promo cards that need to be made.  {oh no! they do have to made by Monday if they are going to be back by the show!};  or.. well, the fridge.  I’m pretty proud of myself for putting the ‘camping-like food for painting weekend’* in the fridge and consciously warning myself that ‘cleaning out the garbage in there this weekend is against the painting laws.”  

*oysters, cheese, crackers, pure raspberry juice, cottage cheese and fruit… mmmmm…”     What was I doing shopping? ARen’t I supposed to be painting?

Hey What am I doing here!!!!???????

Maybe if we all practised being two..

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IMGP3705Evalee is two!  Oh the fun of it all!  Everyone got to play ‘slide’, ‘wagon’, baseball,  and participate in pinata smashing, candy grabbing, .. icing picking, and if we weren’t the ones laughing, we got to listen to the laughter of children!    A perfect party for a two year old!

Here’s the gist of my message on the card for Evalee:  “May you have many fun  things to play with, and many fun people to play with, and lots and lots of playtime… cuz that’s what two years old do!”

Exactly when did the world decide that there was a point where we stopped playing and work was far more important?

That’s just wrong.

Practise being a two year old….  the more we practise, I bet the more we get inspired, and smarter, and funnier, and more loving… and the ‘chores’ that can’t easily be converted to play, get done quicker and easier with less stress, and the new ideas and new perspectives  that emerge lead us to … hey, exactly to where we really want to be!

Go play.

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