The Starving Artist: Chapter 51: The Optimistic Skeptic

My Papa B is a cynic. He taught me to see past the words to what people are really saying. To suspect the worst from people, then be thankful whenever that wasn’t the case. He’d reinforce that doing things yourself was the only way to get them done, never expect a free ride and eventually looks fade so you better have a fall back plan. He taught me to question everything, which is probably why I believe in ghosts and they scare the bee-gee-bus outta me.

My Hubby on the other hand, worries about my naivety. He worries that I will be taken in by smooth moves and a steady gaze. That the kind words of a stranger trying to sell me a bill of goods will outweigh all my common sense. He sees me as an innocent Pinocchio, being whisked away to donkey island, which is fun until you realize the error of your ways. And my ears are big enough thank you very much.

As for me…Just call me, the optimistic skeptic. It’s my hope that by expecting the best from everyone that they will realize their opportunity and aim a little bit higher. Hopefully encouraging kindness and achieving a new personal best. That leading by example and sharing that support with a genuine hope for everyone to win, we can start winning together. Wow, that sounds like a lot to ask a smooth talking stranger, huckster or fiend. But being an optimistic skeptic means it’s not a shocker when those strangers fall short of the ideal dream world outcome I’d hoped for. It’s the best of the light and the dark. Luke and Vader. Dee and Dum. But seriously, how cute is it my Hubby thinks I could ever be blinded by a kind word and a glistening set of washboard abs? I mean really.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 51: The Optimistic Skeptic

Lucky Itch

My Papa B has always believed in those old wive’s tales. Like the one about the itchy right hand forecasting a financial windfall. Or how about the one where birds predict the passing of a loved one, which, of course comes in threes. So, what’s the point? Well, these little superstitious quirks have started to rub off on me…Even after all this time.

In the last few days I have had trouble sleeping. I have had itchy hands, feet and throat. The birds have been starring at me and I’m starting to fear the worst, but I’m still hoping for the best. Then there’s the has atypical impulses to purchase lottery tickets; which my Hubby refers to as idiot tax. I haven’t been feeling quite myself, but I also haven’t been feeling like anyone else either. It’s almost as thought something’s coming, in a very West Side Story kinda way. And I just can’t shake that

Now, having superstitions isn’t a bad thing. I feel like it’s the way to look out for opportunities, though I also know that looking for something often means you’re more likely to see what you want to. As with everything it’s a matter of perspective. I am a huge supporter of looking at the sunny side of life. So, I’ll take those birds and stare right back at them. I’ll try my itchy-handed-luck at a game of chance. And I’ll keep hoping those unseen opportunities start popping up. I’m open to it.

Lucky Itch

Thanks For Giving!

Believe it or not, I am not the best communicator, especially with real-life actual non-cyber emotional stuff. And this past weekend was supposed to be filled with giving thanks for all those amazing life amplifying things was no exception. But as everyone knows, holidays aren’t the most relaxing time and making a meal for 8 isn’t exactly stress-free. But it is a proven fact that by expressing gratitude, we all feel better. So, I thought what the heck, I’d give it a try.

This weekend, Hubby had to bring home the bacon. So, while I was eating turkey, stuffing and pumpkin everything he was working in the big city. I on the other hand escaped with my sweetest Puppa in tow, and headed down the highway, hoping for cozy comfort and a little slice of peace and quiet. Now, you should know that my folks have 2 dogs of their own: Reba the Big Lady and Oliver the Lil’Fella. Both Basset hounds, both filled to the gills with personality and both poo-bum stinkers through and through. So, just by adding my teeny Bean, I knew I could wave bye-bye to my peace and quiet. I walked them and snuggled them and petted them and kissed them. And honestly, there’s nothin better than wrapping yourself up in a pile of sleeping puppies; their snores vibrating through the springs of the sofa for extra added relaxation. Ahh, thank you doggies.

Well, that was the dogs taken care of, now on to my human folks. In an effort to be more giving, I volunteered to manicure my Papa B and Momma, massaging their hands and using one of my various talents to show them I care, cuz I’m just too darn tough to say it. It was my hope that I could also de-hair my brother, but he told me if I brought those Roddamn tweezers anywhere near him, I could stick’em, well, you get the picture. So, we talked and laughed and ate together- as adults. We snoozed and strolled and went to the museum and local vintage stores. I watched the leaves falling from trees and the stars circling above. I know it’s October, but somehow it feels more like Home; the way family is supposed to feel. Then I realized that I was relaxed and I was full of gratitude and turkey.

I am grateful for the time away. I am grateful for the love and the food. And though I’ve only been gone for 2 days, I know Hubby is missing the Bean. So, as I wrap a care package up to take home to my lonely Man of the House, I know I’m feeling a billion times more myself. And at least 10 times more grateful. So, I suppose it’s time to head on back down the highway. And after this long weekend of thankful time, I am well fed, well rested and covered in fur, which is a good thing cuz tonight I have to be a Gorilla, but that’s a story for another time.

For all those things and so many
more, I am grateful. There, now don’t we all feel better?

Thanks For Giving!

TalkBack Tuesday Topics: Early Retirement

In the last few days I’ve been working my Joe-Job, which is great finance-wise, but not too awesome creative/love/emotion-wise. You know, so it got me thinking about working harder vs working smarter…And stuff like that. As always feel free to weigh in, in the comment space provided below.

Would you rather:
Work 5 days a week for 10 hours a day for the next 20 years and then retire comfortably
OR
Work 7 days a week for 20 hours a day for the next 5 years and retire a millionaire

As a fan of ‘let’s get this over with mentality’ my instinct is to say work solidly for the next 5 years, especially if I get to come out a millionaire. But I do love a lazy Sunday. Though being a retired millionaire before my 40th birthday is very tempting. So, lets go fast and hard. Then lazy Sunday everyday!

Would you rather:
Never walk again but have everything you’ve ever wanted
OR
Dance everyday until your death but always struggle to make ends meet

Um the problem with this is that if I can’t dance, I’d never have everything I wanted. Life will always be challenging but sometimes a little bit of dancing goes a long way.

Would you rather:
Have to carry around 100 more pounds but happy with your job
OR
Be almost weightless but hate every minute of your job

I don’t want to work that hard to be happy…can you imagine carrying around all that extra poundage? Yuck. By expending all that extra effort, it might actually make me sad. But the idea of hating work while floating through life, isn’t too shabby. I could do that, unless it’s a 9-5 job, 5 days a week. Then let me carry the weigh at my freelance 3 days on 4 days off job.

TalkBack Tuesday Topics: Early Retirement

The Starving Artist: Chapter 50: Kick, Stretch & Kick, I’m 50

Wowsa, can you believe I’ve written over 50 chapters of the Starving Artist? I mean, I can barely recall a Monday without serious cyber reflection. Now, not all of these entries have been deep or even meaningful, but they’ve all been a slice of me. And a benefit of sharing myself I have been about to shed unwanted weight, both physically and emotionally. This blog has become somewhat of a dumping ground for my overactive and cluttered brain. A healthy and hyperspace form of nearly free therapy. But the part I’m most surprised by is how much I’ve learned about myself and how much happier I’ve become.

In the past, I’ve found it hard to celebrate the little wins. I glean over them onto the next without pausing to think about how things have changed. Speaking of celebration, I am 20 days away from another milestone, my birthday. For some people getting older is tough. It’s as though they see life as a hallway with doors closing as they walk past. A journey with fewer and fewer detours. They treat life like the tedious daily grind it can be. As though each day is just another brick in the wall. The shuffle of tired feet and the shuffling of papers. A sad and sorry state of affairs if you ask me. I’ve always considered myself an optimism expert with a dark side. But in these last few months I’ve been feeling evermore that life is a tisket, a tasket, a little yellow basket. And this basket can hold as much life as I can carry; and with all the exercise I’ve been doing lately, I’m pretty strong.

Over the past 50 Mondays my life has changed and rearranged and continues to shape shift. As though my journey is aimed in the general direction of happiness, but the ocean of life keeps tossing me to and fro. Though if you know me, you know even stormy weather has a silver lining. The biggest secret I am busting to share though is: Even in a sea of trouble you can sail on a boat named Happiness. It’s all about how you read the maps. And today’s maps read like Thank you cards. There are so many things to be thankful for, and I am thankful for most of them. I am thankful that I’ve stuck to my guns. I am thankful that I am creating art again. I am thankful to be back in the work saddle again. I am thankful for dreary Sundays I can fill up with knick-knack nuggets that needed my attention. I am thankful for a Hubby who wears my gloves. I am thankful for my inspiring BFF. I am happy to feel at home. And I am happy to be 50, without looking a day over 32…for at least 20 more days.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 50: Kick, Stretch & Kick, I’m 50

TalkBack Tuesday Topics: Perception

Today’s TalkBack Topics are all about reality vs perception.

Q1. Would you rather
Lie about everything and have no one know
OR
Be a thief and everyone would know

A1. Whoa, right off the hop, straight to the heart of the matter…It would be such a challenge to lie to everyone all the time. Part of me thinks you wouldn’t have many people to lie to after a very short time. But that doesn’t mean you can stop lying. But stealing on a regular basis breaks the same trust. So, my heart tells me, I’d be a thief…but Robin Hood style. That’s an option right? 😉

Q2. Would you rather
Have people believe that you have a Doomsday device but you don’t
OR
Have one and nobody know

A2. I’d keep that secret. People often forget that just because you have something doesn’t mean you’re ever going to use it. Though the idea of where to store a doomsday device “safely” rises all sorts of other questions. And what an ego boost to know that you have the control to end it, even though there’d be nobody to gloat to after.

Q3. Would you rather rid the world of
Jealousy
OR
Bitterness

A3. One is green and the other is sour. Both are contagious. They both stink. Plus I find that jealousy can cause bitterness and visa versa. I’d be happy either way. Literally.

Happy TalkBack Tuesday, folks. Got any questions for Ms Manners?

PS. Just so you know, this was a perfectly spelled entry. Perhaps my first- Take that proofreader Blamo!

TalkBack Tuesday Topics: Perception

The Starving Artist: Chapter 49: The Ruined Soup

There are women who whip together culinary delights with the simple flick of the whisk. There are women whose homes are inviting; as though banana bread grows in their oven. Domestic Goddesses draped in gingham aprons, spooning out comfort by the bowl. I am not that woman.

This past Wednesday I was struck with the impulse to utilize the veggies from the fridge that were pushing their expiration date. There was cauliflower and broccoli, garlic, cobs of corn and collard greens. And I thought to incorporate the most veggies, a soup was my best bet. Now, there is something special about soup. Something that reminds me of community and togetherness. It’s warm and soothing. And as you may remember, I’ve been sick. So, obviously soup is the best choice! Right? Wrong. It was a culinary disaster. A bubbling crock pot of what’s now being called- Poop soup. Yes, Poop soup and for 2 good reasons. One: the green goopey sludge was high in fiber, actually it was only fiber and water. And two: it stunk up the whole house for days. And I mean STUNK. Like broccoli left in a dirty pot while you’re in Jamaica at an all inclusive resort. It’s just sitting there, stinking up the place and reminding me of my failure.

Now, you may be saying to yourself: Why on earth is she writing about failed soup? Because, like most things it’s not about the soup. Lately, I have been feeling happier and more pathetic than I can ever remember being. I know, I know, those are two very distant emotional relatives to be in such close quarters. But that’s where I’m at: Finally starting to fulfill my creative needs. I am performing on a semi- regular basis. I’m happy, satisfied, challenged and loving it. Here’s the pathetic part; like so many others, I gauge my success by how busy I am. By the hours worked in a day. And by how good my soup is. By these standards, I fall somewhere between wretch and a warning sign. I mean, it’s not exactly Soup-nazi status just yet, but the threat of no-soup is very real. So, while stirring tears into the bubbling green glop, I knew that even the best soup in the whole world, made with all the serenity and love of a talented Kitchen Wizardess, wouldn’t have helped me feel any better. But at least that would’ve been edible.

The Starving Artist: Chapter 49: The Ruined Soup