Monday, January 26, 2015

Drawing Time

I don't draw. Sure, I always enjoyed art classes in school and as an adult I've always loved dabbling with crayons and colored pencils - but as far as any real talent goes, I missed the boat. At 35 years old, my drawings of people are still nothing more than glorified stick figures.

Despite this obvious lack of artistic flair, the other night, instead of writing in my journal, I felt the overwhelming urge to draw. Over Christmas I bought these great swirled colored pencils at Five Below that I just fell in love with...

Kra-Z-art Swirled Colored Pencils.

...and I just LOVE finding an excuse to use them! I knew not to resist the urge, so I found a fresh page in my journal and, ignoring the lines, proceeded to create this:

My ode to warmer weather in the midst of snow.
The scanned image doesn't do the real thing justice, but you get the point.

Sure, it's no Van Gogh. It's not even Andy Warhol. It's mine, and I am proud of it! I love the way the multiple colors shift and change depending on how you hold the tip of each pencil. It makes whatever you draw so much cooler. These colored pencils were definitely a good investment!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Organizing. Not Cleaning.

I tackled my bedroom closet today in hopes of going through my stuff and having items to donate to my favorite local thrift store.

Unfortunately, all I really ended up doing was taking all my stuff out of big, heavy boxes and re-packing them into smaller, more manageable boxes. There is nothing set aside to donate anywhere.

If nothing else, the smaller boxes were able to be stacked along the back of the closet, giving me more space for the (to me) massive amount of shoes I've somehow managed to accumulate in the last year. I still don't know how exactly that occurred, since I have never been one to have more than, say, three pairs of shoes. There is more than that lining the floor of my closet.

High point of my experience? Re-discovering an old picture frame in one box, and a piece of heavy gift wrap on the bottom of another box. Put the two together, and what do you get? Here's the answer:

new artwork, that's what!

I forget where the frame came from, although I know that it was from one of my long-distance pen pals turned Facebook friends from the States. The piece of wrapping paper definitely came from my overseas pen pal turned Facebook friend from Barcelona, Spain. She and I met through a mutual love of Beach Boys' music and have been friends for a really long time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Darress Theatre in Boonton, NJ

This particular photo op pretty much hit me in the face tonight.

The Darress Theatre, to which that lighted marquee belongs, is the next-door neighbor of the Boonton Holmes Public Library where I work. I'd literally just left the library and was passing the theater on the way to my car when I was forced to stop. There was something about the sight of that marquee, up against the fading light of the evening sky...hello photo op! All I had on me was my cell phone, but many times I've been quite pleased with that camera so I figured the picture would come out well. And it did, I think.

Now I just need to get inside the theater! I've worked at the Library for over a year now and have never really explored the town - and the Darress is an old vaudeville theater that's been around since 1919; I'm sure it's gorgeous inside. I'll have to make that a goal of mine to achieve this year!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Arnold's Pond - Goffle Brook Park, Hawthorne, NJ

Earlier today, I popped my digital camera into my purse because I had a real desire to take pictures today - of anything. I knew it better to be prepared in case The Perfect Picture revealed itself to me. So later on I was running errands when I drove past the county park in my town and when I saw the sun shining across the frozen pond I realized THAT was my Perfect Picture! So after I'd finished my errand I drove back there, parked my car, and hurried onto the grass to get my shot. In the end I took several photos (until my already low battery died out!) - but this one is my favorite:

The house in the upper right is the Van Winkle family home, which is the subject of the true crime book my buddy Don wrote called The Goffle Road Murders of Passaic County.

Here are two more of the photos I took today at the park:

Another shot of the pond, from a different angle
Close up shot of the edge of the pond where it meets the dirt and grass

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Having a Moment

Tonight I poured my heart out into a letter.The kind where pen meets paper.

A friend of mine is moving to Florida. She's also a co-worker of mine, and tomorrow is her last day at work. But as I said to her in my letter, she was never just a co-worker - she's always been a friend to me.

I didn't plan on writing the letter. But after I got home from the little farewell party we held for her tonight, my heart knew that I wanted to give her something tomorrow before she left - something just from me personally, reflecting how I felt about her. My heart said to me, Writing is what you do best. Write her a letter.

So I did. And yes, I poured my heart out. My eyes got a little wet as I did so - and I don't care, because this friend is definitely worth a few tears. God knew what He was doing when he crossed our paths, that's for sure. She's on the sensitive side, too, so I figure her eyes might get a little wet when she reads what I had to say.

But at least there's hope that Snoopy might just make her smile, too. :)

If you've got friends, don't be afraid to tell them how much you appreciate them!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Bookworm Heaven

Apparently I've been living under a rock because this Broadchurch book was published in September 2014 and I NEVER KNEW ABOUT IT UNTIL NOW!!!!!

I can't wait to read this thing. Like, tonight.

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Post of 2015!

Happy New Year! 

Sorry I've been gone for nearly a month. The holidays were kind of chaotic, and blogging was kind of...impossible for me. At any rate, I'm back now!

2014 is officially over and a new year - 2015 - has begun. Having long since abandoned making traditional New Year's resolutions, there is always something I aspire to do with my life. Whether it's trying something new, changing the way I do something, or wean myself off a bad habit, I no longer have this mindset that I have to start on January first and be perfect in doing whatever it is from that first moment on - or that, if I "fall of the wagon," I should abandon ship and consider myself a failure. I've learned that I need to relax my expectations of myself and just go with the flow. Take each moment at a time. Live for the now. You know what I mean?

Here is one example: Last November 18th I began drinking lemon-infused water. The "old" me would have gotten totally anal about it and waited until December 1st - or even January 1st - to take on the challenge because I wouldn't have thought it worth it jumping in in the middle of a month. But I came to realize how silly that train of thought is, and so I derailed - on purpose. It didn't matter what date or time I began doing this - what mattered was that I kept up with it. And it also didn't matter if I accidentally skipped a day here or there (there was one day), I knew that it wouldn't ruin my goal; I would just keep on going. In the end, I have been drinking lemon water now for a total of one month and eighteen days (including that one day I "fell off the wagon")! I am extremely proud of myself for keeping up with this GOOD habit, because I was never a fan of drinking plain water, and now that I have found a way to enhance plain water and enjoy drinking it, I'm keeping my body hydrated so much better than I used to and am reaping the benefits!

In addition to keeping up with my hydration habit, in 2015 I aspire to do much more writing. After all, what good is a writer if she's not stretching those writing muscles? One writing-related habit I started last year that I'm still keeping up with is that I'm still composing haiku poetry every single day - which I began on this blog last November 1st after randomly challenged myself to write haiku every day that month - and I enjoyed it so much that I just kept going! I now have a composition book filled with over two months' of haiku - some days I even wrote two poems. And even though they might not be the most profound poems, the practice itself is challenging and fun and I am probably never going to stop because I'm enjoying it so much! In addition to haiku, I just want to write more - blogging here more regularly, writing in my journal when the urge hits, writing more essays and opinion pieces - just because I can.

One other thing I aspire to do in 2015 is nurture my photography - by taking more pictures in general; by posting to my photography blog more often and doing more monthly challenges on the blog; by giving more attention to my scrapbook; and to give more of my photographs as gifts to my friends and family. This last point is something I have slowly come to accept as, well, acceptable - I would have been too shy and embarrassed to do such a thing five years ago (God forbid I draw attention to myself!). But I love taking photos, and my ability has grown through the years; I was asked to contribute to a staff art gallery showing at the Riverdale Library after I began working there in 2012 and it was then, when I saw my framed photographs hanging on the wall and having our patrons ask, "Who took those beautiful pictures?" that I realized I do have an eye for photography - my younger sister and I both inherited the talent from my father - and I want to share that with my friends, family, and anyone else who cares enough to stop and take a look. So in 2015, I intend on furthering that desire and talent to capture life from the lens of a camera - and I am excited to think of the possibilities that holds!

The excitement I get from thinking about these long-term goals is what pushes me. And I strongly believe that when something is exciting to you, it gives you more energy to pursue whatever it is - and gives you more of a chance for success at it rather than failure.

Happy 2015

And best wishes for success in
whatever YOU aspire to do this year!