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Thinking under the Stars

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The night sky in Southern California is a a cooler woman than her daytime sister. Dark skinned,lazily sexy, with a throat pierced of stars. Sprinkled and sparkling. I rock quietly in the back yard at the patio set. The pool pump turns on, spilling water from the spa into the pool. Waterfall noises and I am drifting and relaxing. Thinking about how the things I need to do, want to do and feel I have to do, and then, in the midst of that- I come to a soft quiet place. Of Thankfulness. 


I think about the last year, my wreck, new friends, new adventures, a wonderful therapist that gave me wings back, as I had lost mine. Good thing, (says me husband (in my head) that you didn't loose your marbles like one of the Lost Boys in Neverland. Too late! LOL I think to myself- marbles gone. Replaced with the self defeating idiocies of adulthood. I have so much to learn, but actually, I am finally starting to feel like a grown up. That my super powers have expanded to take in respect for survival, appreciation of family and friends and whimsy. I think you have to mature and then go back and pick that one up. To make it ok with all the "responsibilities". To know that just being in the moment is ok, in fact its rather wonderful. Last, but never least, my mind spun on certain friends who have shown up at just the right time. Muses on the physical plain to help guide me and shake me out of my bad thoughts and self heart hurting behaviors. To help me practice my journey not only with armour but with laughter and strength and openess. To help me believe in myself, my own feelings and truth and my art.

 I want to say to them;

"You help protect me from myself by calling me back to who I should be-"    Jana July 2016

The stars whispered that to me last night and I smiled. The truth of it. You know who you are- thank you.

 I have a wonderful family that laughs and loves and deals. We are a team and we depend on that love to get us thru, but those outside friends who become family in our hearts. They are in a special section,  where I can never say thanks enough and hope I do the same for them. They are gifts for the journey- physically and mentally. I am so glad we recongnized each other- that we are part of the same tribe, and that our paths will continue to converge far into the future. Whoo hoo for rockin ladies!

Deer in the Headlights- our limiting fears...

Posted on July 12, 2016 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

My heart pounds, eyes darting from side to side in my inner self. My fingers wiggle, back and forth. A frantic, fearful countdown to the silent inner dash for safety I feel coming on. The lion in me has become a hesitant and frightened doe and I am about to step out into traffic.

All this because I don't always remember that I am strong. That it's ok to be myself and that I am accepted-that I am a unique soul in a world of lost souls and that I shine--

and what am I fearful of? Can I name it? Most is un-nameable and if I could name it, thenI would see it as it is. A waste of time, a fraud and nothing to be tense and worried about. Just another ghost in Jana's head.

I know this. Realizing my only concern is not of the unknown. Something so many are afraid of, or the approval of others. Of financial or earthly physical things but rather can I ;

Rise to my next best level of myself. 

Will I grow? Inwardly? Outwardly-physically better?

I am still feeling like a deer, but the air becomes less thick. The view more clear. I feel more-solid in my stance. A spirit and an earthling combined.

 I only need to accept what I already know-pull it out in front of me and my scared ghosts of insecurity that haunt me inside.

Let my ROAR become bigger- and my hoof become a paw...

Learning to Navigate the Ocean.

Posted on July 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

( This is one of mine; "Marsea Mermaid" 24x30 acrylic on canvas)

My daughter has a friend that blogs and writes beautifully. Tommie recently expressed herself again in her wonderous relateable way about breathing in Life and not holding back. Her words spoke volumes and attached themselves in my heart and to my own thirst for room to breathe. For mutual understanding that holding back and not living to your full potencial can suffocate on many levels. In my universe it's my artwork- by painting what I think I should paint. what I think would sell, what I think is accepted. That has turned me into a craftsman (woman) for many years rather than an artist. For continually chasing that elusive ghost of acceptance by family and others. By not just finally finally seeing that I am not others and they are not me. I cannot expect them to be and my growth is not dependant on their understanding of it. It's a frightening thing to let go of that net I have created and held so tightly to for all of my life. To swim in an open sea. I feel like I'm still floating timidly in the harbor- but at least, at the very least- I jumped in off the dock, and swam.

I smile thinking of it that way. Being in the pool with the other silly swimmers for so long and not realizing that we were in a tank. Not realizing that there were others like me- yearning and growing and on their own journey. I salute that now- so much more than I ever have. I raise my cup in praise and bow in respect. Its a hard swim and in the midst of a stroke here and a floating break there- we look over, and recognize each other. Same tribe- same quest. Different words and struggles, but the same.

 

I'd like to see all of "us" as mermaidians- unique and beautiful. Maybe that's why I paint them. Mystic storybook creatures that can do things that I cannot do. Ha. I'm sure if they existed that they'd have their own dramas. Oh, but the thought of it- the seamless swim through the waves or dance with the dolphins and whales. I like that idea. Much better than drought ridden land here in Southern Cali and freeways and stressed out unaware people who take no time to be kind to others or to themselves.




   

Thoughts While Walking....

Posted on March 27, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

 As I walked Cookie, our dalmation lab mix, in the field across the street I was struck by how clean and crisp the air was. How etched the mountains in their blue distance. How clean the drying field grass was- and, how many foxtails were poking me through my socks! Its early summer, or late spring depending on how you look at things in hot, dry Southern CA. I love that little bit of green that lasts for a month or two around here. Fields that look like great rolling lawns before they have to turn them under for fire protection. 

Little birds flit expertly from tall grasses to sage. Weedy trees try to stretch fingers of branches skyward. Mice and rabbits live here, a little haven from the tract homes encroaching on their lands. Cookie thinks she will catch a rabbit one day. I don't think so but it's amazing to watch her, muscles in motion-full tilt as she runs after them. I think she'd probably wait for them to play if she ever cornered one. No biting, just right up in their faces like she does our cat, Diva. They'd die of a heart attack and then she'd really be confused! Ha.

I call my Dad. I check to see if he's taken his pills, "behaved himself' (that answer is always no)  and tell him I love him. He's 89 this year- Wow. Going strong, except he talks more about his childhood or Korea or WWII. No one can hear me visit on speakerphone out here and I can walk and visit and enjoy the sky.  I can't help but think of him. Of Mom, who's been gone since 89, of my childhood among the orange groves and hills of Riverside. My heart visits climbing trees and riding bikes. endless days in the pool and waterlogged afternoons where we sat at the bottom of the driveway. waitng in suits and towels for the ice cream man, begging Mom for quarters. I think I was lucky to grow up out here when I did. The 60's and 70's. it was busy but still beautiful. You could get to the beach in 40 minutes or the mountains or the desert. The hills were green, the weatjer hot but not insane. The style Mod! The homes mid-century.  Skaters were still new, very West Coast and cool. Surfing, boogie boards. The smell of Bain De soliel and coppertone in the air. Yeah- it was better.

Dancing under the Moon

Posted on May 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

   Laying awake in the cool night, I am restless and my thoughts are going a million miles an hour. Next week I paint, as a "live artist" at the Joshua Tree Music Fest. What, where, when range my skull. How is what makes it's permanent mark first. The process is something I can concentrate on. The building, the painting, the style. The images almost come after, though there is always that central theme or idea.

   I noticed, in drifting off, having that moment or two of just "building". I often use that to get myself to sleep- creating that dream home, that trailer, that gypsy wagon (newest spurt of interest) As I did so, my heart laughed at what my mind was doing. There was a full moon in my design and I recalled so many, many times of my father taking me outside to see the "ring around the moon" as a young girl. That meant, the elves and fairies were dancing. The gnomes and brownies too probably but not as much. Gnomes are like grouchy old men many times, they don't dance much, but love to watch from the shadows. I, of course, had this on good authority as I did have the Elves & Fairies book, and my Dad of course. Mom helped out with that too- always there with her expertise on building twig homes or sewing tiny blankets and pillows. (If you left them in the homes, they often disappeared- to my delight- I am sure my Mom had something to do with that) I smiled to myself- thinking how I still noticed that glow around the moon if it was there. My art still tends to go in that direction.  I paint mermaids and imaginary realism in so many of my works. I still favor children's book illustration. I still love Peter Pan and The Jungle Book.

( This illustration is from my very worn and official book by the way)


   I know the harsh, hard realities of the world around me. I read it every day. I see it on the roads and in the eyes and on the lips of so many. What a sad sad thing- I think it would be nice to believe in true heroes, chivalry and happy ever afters. I know a couple personally and they make me smile and make my heart proud at knowing them. The world should take notice- we should push back at those who try to take belief in honesty and loyalty away. Those who want to live in death and hate. As simple as a child's thought, we should take back our wonderment- solidly and completely. Throw away the gross, the crude, the war mongers and the whiners. Demand that they change- give them a taste of what they all really want in life. A dance, under the moon.

I know that's not possible, but it's nice to imagine.

Pepper Trees

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)


It's foggy outside and as I backed down the driveway to go to the store, I noticed the little droplets of mist that had collected on the edge of the pepper tree leaves. Dangling like glass ornaments, glistening in the early morning. Everything is cool and has an edge of mystery. A morning where you want to snuggle, to hunker down by a fire with a good read, or a good "watch".

It's Spring. Things are slowly starting to seem like a new year. That it isn't clean up after the holidays or getting used to writing 2013 time. I am 53 this year and feel like I know nothing- or am just dicovering so much. Life happens. All around you and sometimes you feel like a child in the center of a highway. People, like cars, speeding past, honking (like they know where they are going) Hell bent on SOMETHING. I bet they don't know what. Then that moment hits. That clear and transforming moment, that, no matter how small or how strange, hits you and everything is clear. As if all the moments in your life. all those crystal bright and transforming "notices" from God- are right in front of you.

 The morning sight of the water droplets hit me like that. Chandelier glass, hanging from a bright green leaf, reflecting the sunlight. Reflecting tiny sequences of landscape as I backed past. I saw all the huge pepper trees on my childhood street and city. The feel of the dropped seeds as they lay underneath with tiny branches and leaves. The lacey shade they produce. My bare feet in the summers as I ran down Victoria Ave to where ever I was going. Each summer being so determined to toughen my bare soles to a hard leather and be able to stand the hot cement and roads. To prove I was a wild southern Cali child. To be on vacation from school.. Why this (my feet) was so important, I am not quite sure at this point in my life. I think it was the Tom Sawyer in me. The reader of Tarzan books and the inner adventurer. Sometimes, it was just because I needed to be a kid. (and a Tom Boy).

In tiny moments, we find the perfection of the universe- if we just notice. A child hugging their parent. A hand in another's. The way the setting sun slips through the colors of sunset as it falls down the horizon. How very clear those moments become when we notice. How permanent in our memories. Building blocks to base opinions and reactions. I am so lucky to have so many good memories. So many happy moments to overlap the sad. There are so many with clear, horrible and ever replaying. memories in their lives. Those who are frightened and just surviving and those who are running from things they cannot get out of their hearts and minds. One wishes they could help with that. My heart, in the darkness before I sleep on some nights, prays for that. To help, to understand, to mend. At least those whom I know about. To protect, those who cannot do so themselves. Wouldn't it be nice if we all acted on this huge and amazing feeling? That we all took the time to help the feelings  for others flourish?

 Sometimes the news is just a barrage of hate and reaction of one broken soul against another. I guess that's what we are here to learn. To recognize the growthtoward self betterment and act on it. To see the need to do so and be more- inside and out.

 I know a vision of a perfect pepper leaf and a droplet shouldn't move me into such deep ponderings- but then again- who am I to fight the need to be better? Or the little clear messages that are sent. So expertly, by things so much bigger and better than our selves?

 (and the droplets still looked really cool)

California's COLD!

Posted on January 13, 2013 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)
 

We are riding out a cold spot and the western states are so much colder than usual. Frost on the ground. Ice on the windows. Fear for the oranges and other crops. Growers are picking them early rather than let them get frozen and lose monies. Summer's trip skiing in Big Bear was a cold frozen 2 days, where she had fun but was stopped by accidents both coming and going up the 2 lane hwy to the mountains. Just glad it wasn't her.

I remember the airplane engines, on posts high above the orange groves across the street as a child. You knew to bundle up if the engines roared through the night, moving the air. It was a lonely sound. out there in the darkness if you woke up. Like the regular train in the distance. To keep the crop from freezing, Smuge pots  full of kerosene would be lit and the growers would spend a long night keeping things going. In the mornings, early at the bus stop, we would pull them over, still warm from the night before. Using them for a "camp fire" till the bus came. A group of about 5 or 6 kids. Grumbling about homework and teachers. Wishing we were home in bed. Or having pancakes at least! Ah! To be in Mom's house safe and warm.

 My own, Summer, rolled up early yesterday morning, after a first week of Winter Qtr. in college. Sleepy, coffee in hand. She set it down, put on a fire and curled up under the blanket on the sofa. I din't hear from her for a couple of hours. It made me think of doing the same when I was younger. Even when I was pregnant with my first child, Corey, I used to take naps on my Mom's big Cal King bed. There's a security with home. A place to dream and get started again. People to hug you. Mom to cook you food. I miss that as I miss my own Mom. Seeing in myself, so much of her and hoping I have given my own children an upbringing and memories to last them as mine did.

  It's about 5 AM and the neighbor next door has a new puppy or small dog which she lets out to potty about 4:30 AM. Her baby talk to it is loud enough to disturb Cookie, who sleeps under our bed. She grumbles a low bark. I am awake and resentful. Not of her, but of the oogie,woogie sweetie surypy talk going on in the courtyard beneath my bedroom window.  I'm up! Coffee in hand. The dark kitchen getting started for the day...

The Physical World and Our Hearts

Posted on December 25, 2012 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)


 I write on Christmas Day while thinking of all those I have come to know over the years through my art and my travels. Internet friends, trailering friends. Family, extended family. Most of us are good loving people. Oriented toward hard work, getting ahead. Love of each other. Moralistic and responsible. Even as we have fires in our lives that burn certain aspects to the ground, we rise, phoenix like to start again. We must, we have no choice. It's what we do for ourselves, for family for friends. We try again.

With all the amazing and wonderous things and people this earth produces, it is so sad, so wrenching to my heart to even read the the titles of articles of the school shootings in Newton, or the loses in the wake of Sandy. To see we are still getting debris from Japan after the Tsunami has been gone these many months and years. What creatures we humans are. Reaching beyond our earth to try to capture the stars and then spending so much energy and hate and hurt to try to kill each other. Why is not obvious to everyone how stupid that is? How much better we are working together for the higher good? Freedom of choice. Two roads- always. I guess that is part of our gift and our learning as we grow and survive here in this physical life. Always a choice to grow or to burn our bridges and stagnate our souls.

I don't have the answers, and I am sure that I am swayed by the fact thaty I was born in a free country. To complain, to rejoice as I wish, to learn and educate myself. Both as a person, and a woman. To react with the response of one raised by conservative parents in a wilder and healthier and a bit more "hippie" California of the 60's. I do think that everyone, everyone deserves this. To be able to have that quest for a better life for themselves and their families. To believe in a future for their children and to believe in the hope and the basis of their country- even if it's not doing so well right now. Because we have changed history for the better in the past, I believe we can do it in the future. I believe that there are simply more of us that are nice, and tough and inwardly strong, than those who are hollow and hateful. We just have to gain our voice and respond in a bigger way. We need to be the crusaders for our next generation, to be examples of giving and work and heart to guide them out of a materialistic and hateful time in our history. To bear the burden in a public way and make sure the truths of what we need to say- sticks.

With everyone fighting on so many levels across our globe, we forget the obvious. That the wonder of science and discovery (at least for myself) only reinstates my belief in a higher being and a higher cause for our place here on this earth. That our capacity to be those amazing creatures that God has given us the tools to be are right here inside of each of us and that we need to stop our whinning and our fears long enough to hear the still strong voice of our spirit. To catch our breathe at the wonder of our universe and to stop a moment to remember that the good does outweigh the bad and that we, as a race, can make it so.

 I think about the New Year ahead and pray for harmony and strength and blessings for my family. For my children to continue to have the chance to better their lives and their futures. For my husband to find health after so many hard years recoving from his accident that almost took him away from me. I close my eyes and wish for doors of opportunity. For windows of love and revelation and for love, just love. Happy New year 2013.

Huntington Beach Weekend

Posted on June 25, 2012 at 8:50 PM Comments comments (0)


(Surf and Sand Soccer photos by Jana)


 

We took time out to enjoy a weekend in Surf City USA- Huntington Beach, for a Sand Soccer Tournament with our daughter. Walked the sands, ate dinner at Dukes at the Pier.


Stayed in the wonderful Shorebreak Hotel across the street. The views from the second story surfer themed hotel are wonderful. One can't complain too much about losing a weekend to surf sand and soccer either. The breezes were just right and the cool early mornings made for photo ops with benefits.




The girls of FC Murrieta and Coach Max.

Brushes with Life

Posted on June 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

  The early morning sends sunlight streaking through the blinds on the kitchen window, making stripes of daylight on the wall. The cat is whiny and mad, I've forgotten food for her in all the craziness of the last few days and she has run out. Our dog, Cookie, waits patiently by the back door, her big eyes saying more than she knows. It's Saturday and all are still asleep upstairs, curled in dreams, somewhere where I am not. I'll get to my walk soon, but right now, the coffee smells too new and too warm not to have. Yogurt and granola, a bit of internet. Breakfast.


My daughter, Summer, has graduated. Top Honors, 3 Varsity sports, clubs, ASB, Prom Queen. What more can I say? It's been a long wonderful race and we've reached the confetti at the end. In September, she starts anew in college. Architecture major. A Masters. I'll have a whole new role then, same title, new duties. For now, I'll rest on my laurels, view her in the pride and love I feel at her accomplishments and readjust my heart to the fact that my capacity in her life is changing. My life is changing. Corey is going strong with work and college, she's on her way and I am still in that doorway of motherhood telling them to fly from the nest but so, so wishing that they continue to come back. To wave and smile, to remember my arms are always waiting.   I kind of hate that I'm so mushy. There are paintings to finish and a commission to do. This messes me up and interferes with my drive to create. With the parts of me that still need to be independent in a way of the family/motherhood thing.

It makes me tear up with that huge parent pride feeling that we all have when realizing that we didn't just have them. That they chose us. That they gifted us with their presence.


   Time to feed my soul beyond the family I tell myself. As if that is actually separate from love and family and not meshed into it. To find those things that inspire and push me. Things that affect me so I can't help but share with those I love and the world on canvas and on page. Visual, textured, bright, weighty things that teach me and give me gifts of creativity so I don't fall through the cracks in the sidewalks of the neighborhood and never get out. Funky people and crazy places. New artistic techniques and new brushes with life= some good, some bad.   

   Three days ago, four local boys, two graduated, two about to, were all in a horrific crash that took the life of one and forever changed the survivors, who are still critical in the hospital. All this happening while my daughter is at Disneyland for Grad Nite and graduating. I know one of the families, their son, a first boyfriend of my child. Close, caring and hardworking. They are waiting in the hospital now, as I did when Rob was hit a bit ago, to be there should they wake him from the coma he is in. I know this anguish, this ache of the soul. My heart is with all of them. My mind flashes to the last trip his Mom put up on Facebook. To the cap and gown she had just shared online in a snapped photo. This is his graduation. I can't even imagine what is ahead.    So in the midst of all I am feeling, my prayers and emotions run to her. To all the families so affected. My heart dreams of a better tomorrow for them, even as I put up the photos of my own child in her celebrations. I've hugged this boy. This young growing man. I watched as he courted my daughter in their freshman year and I hugged his Mom and sister when they brought me care and food when my husband was in his own terrible wreck that almost took him from me. I watch as my daughter, alive with life -new, wonderful boyfriend and future, struggles with her own aches and fears for him and the family she grew close too. The realizations about life and death that she is having forced upon her in this situation and  my empathy and love feel like they will burst my chest. Life is precious, it is fragile. We need to do those celebrations. To respect the love of those around us. To carry the knowledge of all that we have in every step. So I am celebrating, and hoping for good. I am going out the door into the early morning with healing prayers in my heart and on my mind. Even as I paint and draw and sculpt and travel my way into a new period of life. Realizing that family gets me there. Family holds me up. Family is my rock I stand on.


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