Tuesday, March 31

Flower Bouquet (Creative Tuesdays)

Here's my interpretation of Creative Tuesdays' theme for this fortnight. Phew! So glad I got it finished. What a saga, let me tell you. Initially, I had bought some irises to use for a still-life but by the time of getting around to actually drawing them, they had already withered. So, Monday morning, I dashed about to various shops looking for another bouquet, to no avail. Luckily enough, I had taken a few photos on my phone days prior and with some other online references, used those instead. 

Considering my last foray depicting a flower, I thought: 1, Right, best stay away from oils with the limited time left! 2, Only use photos for a vague reference since I'm better off "interpreting" than literally representing, becoming too quickly bored and impatient, as it were; And 3, Use water colours this time round! Well, as you can tell, the last option didn't quite pan out—I couldn't find any! (Alex no doubt absconded them for her CA trip to help bring her brother back here.) Not to be deterred, however, I finally settled on pastels... obviously.

While not as finished as I would have liked, considering all that's going on the home front, it's the best I could muster. At least I did it though, right? :) So, how about you? 

Now, onto the reveal to find out who else completed this assignment. Must say, can't wait to see your various entries! Thanks for joining in, or even if just following along. :)

(BTW, new theme will be up Wednesday night on CT's blog.) ADDENDUM: NEW THEME up (finally) on C.T. ! HAPPY... But it's not as easy as you might initally think. Check it out!


Thursday, March 12

"I hate cinnamon rolls! I love flowers."

 My wee "little children" (15 months ago)!

"I hate cinnamon rolls! I love flowers." This is what I heard a darling little girl say while climbing on her playground's gym. "Your turn now!" she boldly added, summoning her friend to go next. Capturing that moment in my heart, I carried on walking past them, reminded of the sweet simplicity of childhood... or at least, how it should be in an ideal world.

Hearkening back to when my own children were that little; seeing where they are now and who they've become, I can't help but feel incredibly privileged, humbled even, to have been able to play such a (big) part of something so miraculous. Watching one's kids grow up is a sobering, beautiful thing. The responsibility gives life that extra meaning and oomph, if you will, to keep going when things get tough...if not for oneself...for them. I'm thankful to have had that chance.

While I don't talk much about my own kids, that doesn't mean they aren't central to my life. In fact being a father has been one of my greatest joys. Protecting their privacy, especially when younger, was always tantamount to me. And now, seeing them more engaged in the world around them, playing their own central part and becoming young adults, makes me know in an even deeper sense, just how much it was all so worth it. I'm sure most parents think this of their own, but I can honestly say that I believe the world is a better place with these three in it.

I could go on on but I think you get the picture. :) Loving others is what it's all about and loving one's children grows you in ways one can't imagine. My only wish would be to be able to bundle them up once more, bounce them on my knee, read them bedtime stories, and roll around with them on the floor like we used to, laughing until we cried...except now they're all too grown up and I'm not as sprightly as I used to be. ...Well, um, I suppose that is actually more than one wish. :)

Sunday, March 8

"Old Age Begins Now"

"You know, Michael, old age begins now!" she said, with a sparkle in her eye.

Yes, that's Bettie for you — an elderly woman we often see sitting in the big leather chair by the corner window of our favourite place in old town, The Little Bird Bakeshop. The first thing that drew me to her, of all things actually, was her wonderful white curly hair atop her floral bandana silk scarf. This woman, needless to say, has style! Dressed in a rather bohemian yet classy fashion, she might even strike you as a type of contemporary older version of Audrey Hepburn. Sipping her tea whilst enjoying a warmed up morning croissant, she can often be found with either a few books on hand, writing and drawing in a notepad, or perusing the Arts section of the New York Times.  She reminds me some of my mother's marvelous older friends back in London days — characters who marched to the beat of a different drum, full of interesting stories, perspectives, and a life to show for it. I just had to know more.

"Hi, I don't know if anyone's ever told you this, but you really have amazing hair! I love it, all bunched up like that. In fact, I was just commenting about it to my wife when she suggested I come over and tell you..." Beaming from ear to ear, Bettie looked up and replied, "Really?! Why, thank you!" From then on, each time we see her, we make a point of saying hello. Every visit, we seem to learn something new and fascinating about this lovely curious woman.

Once, I actually asked her if she ever did yoga since Alex thought she may well have, seeming so nimble. Not only does she, but even gets up each morning, exercises and mixes in her own "made-up" Tia-chi, to boot! As she noted, "People always say, 'Oh you're so lucky to be so small!' but I tell them, 'Ha, I work at it!'" Just this morning, actually, we learned that she hasn't owned a car in over 20 years, preferring to walk everywhere. "Freedom!" I chuckled, upon which she shared how she actually made the conscious determination when she was only 15 to take care of her body, having grown up in a rather obese Italian family. "Well, you're certainly an inspiration for us, let me tell you! We need to get back into shape ourselves." That's when she remedied with the above reminder, adding, "You're never too young or too old, for that matter, to start... We're getting older every day!"

Mulling over her words later on, Alexandra kicked into her mentor-like enthusiastic fashion, prodding me to start something new myself! To be fair, I've been rather in a slump as of late, needing to push away the years of auto-piloting where I let the hurts and losses of the past too easily rob me of dreams of the future, let alone fully enjoying the present. As Alex rightly noted, I thrive when choosing to focus on the things of everyday life that lift up and encourage others around me. One such avenue is writing where I can capture the moments that then, in turn, motivate me in my creative pursuits as well. So here I am, ready to give this blogging another go, ready to rise up and live a more radiant life, connecting with others along the way.