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Monday, August 26, 2013

Color Wheel: Spinning Wheels Must Go Round


I had my first painting class last Saturday at the Escuela de Artes Plasticas de Puerto Rico

It was a class on color theory. I arrived for the first class two weeks ago and the start date was postponed until the next Saturday. I arrived on the next Saturday and discovered that the professor was absent. By the third class, I expected that we might not have class or maybe some other changes could occur. Perhaps the room location would be changed? (Ah, life in Puerto Rico!) It's okay though. I did not mind the changes because they gave me more time to become accustomed to the routine of driving to Old San Juan, which involves finding parking, figuring out how long it takes to walk to the classroom and of course (for me the essential information),  locating the nearest place to have a cup of coffee. More importantly, I had time to deal with the stress of revisiting the old dream of studying art. 

I'm in a period of life called "the redo" as in the common expression, "I want a do-over!" This "redo" does not include everything done in life (meaning regrets) but rather what was not done, which could also, but not necessarily, mean regrets. This understanding signifies that I realize that it's hard (if not impossible) to do everything in one life.

I highly recommend that you revisit your early dreams. At some point in life, I think everyone should take a look at the remaining memory-bits of their earlier choices (and their consequences) and try to re-construct them. Asking questions such as:

What did I decide? What were the consequences? 

What choices led to the life I am living now?  How would I like to shift the current direction of my life?

Periodically, we should give ourselves permission start again. In order to have a happy and satisifying life, it's essential to avoid heavy regrets about life decisions. It's so easy to say, "It's too late."  How many people look back and say, "I wanted to be an/a __________(artist, singer, dancer, musician, pilot, actor or?) and my __________ (parents, husband, school counselor, children, fear, logic, or?) made me choose _______(business, teaching, homemaking, and so on). We all make decisions that blame circumstances (such as the preceding) or ourselves and we accept that their direct consequences; however, we don't always know that, in fact, many times we did not decide. We delayed our decision so long that the choice no longer was visible.

We don't realize that not deciding is also a decision.

On a personal note, I don't think I'm alone when I say that many artistic people find themselves in non-artistic fields just because they did not choose. Certainly, we can argue that our creativity has been put to use in another "more practical" career; nevertheless, that earlier desire often demands our attention. It can still push retired people, for example, to take dance, voice, pottery, modeling class or to show up for an audition at the local community theater. What I'm suggesting is that this "foolish" behavior is worth it and nudging you to start now. Don't wait until you have the time. Further, this choice to actively engage the remnants of the earlier less encumbered  you, can awaken the memory of wonder, i.e., the ability to appreciate and experience unencumbered joy.

Be warned! Making the choice to revisit your lost dreams causes mental and emotional turmoil. For example, for the last few weeks  my nighttime dreams have been influenced by symbols of that earlier time in life (and the earlier me) where I changed from being a carefree idealist to a "poser" pragmatist. I choose the word "poser" because those who genuinely know me realize that I remain an idealist. You might say that I suffer from  a Pollyanna-ish optimism and try my hardest to keep her under cover. I'm a look for the silver-lining kind of person. Indeed, I force myself to squarely deal with the dreaded practical problems all of us encounter in ordinary life. It's fine. I have no problem with keeping my feet on the ground. However, I know that a real emotional/psychological breakthrough can be made by jumping out of an airplane- of course wearing a parachute! (I did that!) And if that experience was one of your early dreams, you don't actually have to jump out of an airplane but just engage the dream  and at least (below) play with a parachute (photo credit). Or maybe go zip-lining? (I want to do that!)


My homework assignment is met with some anxiety. Recreate (with acrylic paints) the color wheel using the three primary colors yellow, red, and blue (photo credit).

It has to be exactly 15 inches in diameter and "look pretty." How do I do that? Below is what the homework assignment should look like...

  Only, a reasoning and/or creative person must be aware that the brushed in and home-mixed colors might not behave! I am a novice but at least I'm choosing how to spin my wheels. I wonder what kind of dreams I will have tonight? 

"Spinning Wheels" by Blood, Sweat and Tears

What goes up must come down
spinning wheel got to go round
Talking about your troubles it's a crying sin
Ride a painted pony
Let the spinning wheel spin...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Cats in Old San Juan

 Cats are everywhere!

Taking an early morning walk in Old San Juan last Saturday,  I noticed the cats on the sidewalk grooming and gently curious. I fell in love with a little kitten who wanted to chew on my big toe! When I reached down to play with her, she reached up and with two paws together, she grabbed hold of my glasses. Such a friendly kitten and so much trust towards a complete stranger! I worried about her safety. 

However, I discovered that caring local community has come together to help these cats. If you would like to read more I've posted two links below, which provide information about the cats in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Cats in Old San Juan

"The cats are a part of the Old San Juan experience, much like the cats and chickens that are a part of the Key West experience. Some of these cats are said to be descendants from the original cats that arrived on the ships when the first Spanish settlers came to the island. But the cats need help to stay healthy and alive. That is where the Save a Gato (Gato means cat in Spanish) organization comes into play."

Feral Cats in Old San Juan

"The problem is that cat populations will explode without intervention. Save a Gato  is a volunteer organization that manages the feral cats in Old San Juan by providing food and water. They also have a trap, neuter, and return (TNR) program, during which they also give necessary vaccinations." (Read more here.)

(Click on the title for more about this organization and how you can contribute.)

I'm Only a Cat

I'm only a cat,
and I stay in my place...
Up there on your chair,
on your bed or your face!

I'm only a cat,
and I don't finick much...
I'm happy with cream
and anchovies and such!

I'm only a cat,
and we'll get along fine...
As long as you know
I'm not yours... you're all mine!

Author Unknown