23 December 2007

Little Things..

It's amazing how certain events can put the entire world in perspective. Sometimes it's the smallest of things.

What matters most is what we do with our new found perspective.

Fear and the unknown most often send people on a spiritual journey. I've taken many such trips. Each time I have found myself in the same place at the end of said trip.

Which leads me to two conclusions.

One: I have already found what I've been looking for and return to it when in doubt.

Or,

Two: I am completely lost and traveling in circles.

Either way, I know that I'm enjoying the ride.

There are many things that we will never have control over, no matter what we do. It's frightening.

What helps me is being able to let go of that fear. Like riding roller coasters. Hands in the air. Enjoy the ride, because it's over before you know it.

13 December 2007

Knuckleballs...

A lifetime ago when I played baseball, my specialty was defense. Being a catcher, one of my favorite things to do was to catch for the pitchers that could throw the knuckler. You don't really catch knuckeballs, at best you stop them. Keeping the ball in front of you is the best you can do.

Bob Uecker said, "I always thought the knuckleball was the easiest pitch to catch. Wait'll it stops rolling, then go to the backstop and pick it up." ―

The beauty of a knuckleball is that they move. When thrown right, they move a lot. In any and every direction. They are unpredictable and uncontrollable.

It's been years since I had given any thought to the knuckelball. Until this week.

I find myself overwhelmed. My mind so preoccupied with with something I have no control over that it's consuming me.

I find myself looking for distractions. Anything I can find to do or think about, to take my thoughts away. It's difficult. The not knowing.

Soon I find that my mind has gone back to the what if''s. My eyes well up with tears. My chest grows tight. My life, my dreams, my fears, my hopes, all flashing before me. I shake my head, wipe my eyes and force my thoughts in another direction. If only for a moment. Plaster on the best fake smile I can and put on a brave face. I tell the voice to shut up. It's nothing.

I can see the same fear in her face. It's the not knowing. She puts on a smile for me but I can see through it. I smile back.

Don't worry baby. Everything will be alright.

I fight back tears, smile and distract us. I don't let her see that I'm afraid. I joke about it. It's how I cope.

For the first time in seven years I lit a cigarette. The rush of tar and nicotine to my system makes my head spin. I wish it's something much stronger. Something, anything, to take the edge off. I've lit several since then.

It's most likely nothing. It could be everything. Uncontrollable and unpredictable.

Things that were important last week seem so trivial today.

It's when you grow complacent, catching fastballs and curves, that you are unprepared for anything else. Then someone throws you a knuckleball...

11 December 2007

C'est Fini...

May I introduce "Maitresse"...


16 x 20 inches, oil on canvas.

I can't remember the last painting I spent this much time on. There have been a couple of changes since I shot this photo but this is basically it. I'm pleased with her.

08 December 2007

Getting Back...

After what has been almost a week of being a storm refugee, we are again home. The power came back on this morning just before midnight. All safe and well.

*****

Portland is a great city and after living on the Oregon coast, a much needed oasis of civilization.

We tried to have a little fun while we were there.

Christmas lights at The Grotto, complete with choirs, carolers, a petting zoo and a puppet show about the littlest angel.


The Christmas "Holiday" Tree in Pioneer Square.
I love the color of the sky in this shot. It's a little blurry, but I was shooting from a moving car while driving. I probably shouldn't do things like that.


Mr. Man loved the belly dancer at Marrakesh. She was good. A wonderful time with excellent, traditional Moroccan food, decor and entertainment.


This was one of the many hillsides just out side of Cannon Beach. If you look close, the trees that didn't get blown over have been broken off. There was several miles of this kind of devastation.

This is, was, the largest Sitka Spruce tree in the country. It stood just a few miles from us on Highway 26. Over 215 feet tall, 58 feet around and more than 750 years old. It is now the countries largest Sitka Stump. This weeks storm broke it off about 75 feet from the base.


05 December 2007

Easel Update...And More

I have so much to say and so little time. Oh wait, I have plenty of time.

First.
Here is the second session with my recent portrait. There was a problem with her left eye. There still is. I am pretty sure I can still fix her. I like this painting so far so I will continue.

I haven't tried looking at her in a mirror yet but I will as soon as I get home.


Second.
Speaking of not being home, we are currently in Portland. Let me fill you in.

On Sunday Afternoon, Dec 2nd the coast of Oregon was hit with a massive wind and rain storm. Almost thirty hours of wind of 40 to over 100 mph. We lost electricity, land line phones and cell phones. The city we live in has only three roads out. All three of them were impassable until this morning. Now only one is open. Barely.

The damage was amazing. Hundreds of trees down. Some were more than a hundred years old. Massive in size. Uprooted or broken off like they were twigs. Flooding was wide spread. Some areas had up to five feet of water. Land slides, sink holes and downed power lines were and are every where.

For almost three full days we have been trapped on the coast of Oregon with no way to get out. No way to call the outside world.

Fortunately we had a supply of non perishable food, water, propane, fire wood and other necessities to survive.

The status report is that our area may still be without power for 2 to 5 more days.

As soon as we heard that a road was open we packed a few things, the kid, the dog and left for civilization.

I once again have contact with the outside world. We may be in Portland for a day or three.

Here are a few photos. I'm sorry for the poor quality but this was my first natural disaster.

This house is just down the road from our house. These trees are, were, huge.


This tree is in our neighborhood. The yellow ribbons are on on power lines.


A shot of some of the flooding down the road from us.


There is normally a road right here.


This was a very large billboard.

As we drove to Portland the carnage was unbelievable. I didn't stop to take any photos but will shoot a few on the way home. Since we are now some what tourists. We are going to look at a few city Christmas lights and have a nice meal.

More to come...

02 December 2007

On The Easel...4

Thank you Eclectic and Ms. Glaze for your name suggestions. I like them both and will be using them soon. I ended up calling the last painting "Christine". I'm going to leave it for now but reserve the right to change it later.

I started this painting tonight. It's the same model as the last. This was the first sitting. About two hours worth of work. It's 18 x 24 inches.


There is something about it I'm not liking. I can't put my finger on it. She looks alright but...
I don't know what it is. Even though, I'm not ready to paint over her just yet. I will most likely work through another session with it before I decide.

Of course this all could simply be the fact that I am STILL not sleeping. This could possibly be the longest run of insomnia I've ever had. I may never sleep again.