Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Year Fun

Daughter Julie making mono prints in my studio

So today is that extra day we get every four years…it is Leap Year again.  We take the calendar so for granted that it's quite a jolt to remember now and then that "marking" time has a history of ups and downs just like lots of other things that you take for granted (see history of leap year below).

My daughter Julie is here from WI where the winter winds still swirl around making everyone have spring fever.  We've had a whirlwind week trying to STOP time for awhile as we stuff everything we can think of into the 7 days she's here.  

Today we are off to canoe on Lake Griffin with a docent so that we hope to see tons of birds!  Hoping you all have a great "extra" day today.  

Today is Leap Year Day, when the month of February has 29 days instead of 28. This happens every four years and only in years that are divisible by four, such as 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016.
The length of time it takes the Earth to completely orbit the sun is 365 days and six hours. Most calendars only list 365 days. An extra 24 hours accumulates every four years, requiring an extra calendar day. If we didn't account for this extra day, eventually, we'd have Christmas in July.
The Egyptians were the first to calculate the need for this type of regulation, but it wasn't put into practice until Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator, consulted with the top astronomers of the day and in 46 B.C. began adding one day (known as an intercalary day, or "leap" day) every four years to make up for the discrepancy. At the time, the ancient Roman calendar system was based on a total of 355 days, a full 10 ¼ days shorter than a solar year. Not one to waste an opportunity, he also decided to rename "Quintilis," the fifth month of the year (counting from March), which is how we got the month named "July."
Unfortunately, Caesar's new calendar system wasn't strictly enforced, and by the 16th century, it was almost 10 days off track, so in 1582, Pope Gregory reformed the Julian calendar. The calendar system we now use is called the Gregorian calendar.
According to British historical tradition, a leap day is the only day of the year a woman can propose marriage to a man.
A person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling." If you are born on February 29, you're eligible to join the Honor Society of Leap Year Day Babies.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Journal Prompt: Less is More

Our journal prompt this week was to limit ourselves to 1-3 words to express an idea.  And to keep the idea of less-is-more as a theme.
It was so open-ended that the group is getting a huge variety of responses here.  That is always fun.  

I chose to combine my love of gelli plate printing and a word my daughter Julie has shared with me as one of her favorites.  It surely fits with just about anything you want to discuss.  Whether Zentangle or any other creative endeavor or just life in general.  

This pattern was made with a kind of "comb" in wet acrylic paint on the plate and then when the print was dry I cut it out and shaded it with graphite and white charcoal pencil.

One gal commented it made her think that creative ideas are floating around in the air trying to find a host.  I like that thought. 
So if you remain open to them…one may float right to you!

Excited that Julie is coming to visit us (from cold WI) arriving in Orlando around noon on Tuesday.   

I am off to watch Downton Abby.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Rate of Change: Zentangle for help….

And it was on this day (February 16)  in 1978 that social networking got its start when the first public, dial-up Computerized Bulletin Board System (CBBS) went online in Chicago, Illinois. In those days, the Internet was in its infancy, not available to most computer users. Two computer hobbyists, Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss, got the idea to create a virtual message board where CBBS members could dial into the system using a telephone modem and post notes to each other in the same way a family might communicate by sticking messages to a corkboard using pushpins. It was the beginning of social networking.

When I read about this above I thought first of 1978.
Where was I then?
I had just finished my master's degree (1977) and I had 3 kids…the oldest was 16.  
I was 39 years old and teaching school in WI.
And there was no social networking then.  Something current generations (including myself) somewhat take for granted now.  Social networking then would have meant having a group of friends over for coffee or a beer.    
It reminds me of the whirlwind of change and how young people (and by that anyone under 50) never really "know" the generation their parents knew, let alone grandparents.  For instance, I was born into a world without credit cards. (I got my first one after I graduated from college and I think it was a Sears card.  In those days cards were issued for specific stores so we all had 5 or 6 of them for awhile until some bank figured out a better way to cash in.)  
My grandparents were born into a world without cars or planes!  But I digress.

The reason that this date of 1978 and the amazing "beginning" of something that has changed the world since then fascinated me is that I was a functioning adult at the time.  So my amazement is not at change but at the "rate" of change.  And everyone else over 50.  We all have known great change in our lives but now the rate of change is so fast that it leaves us breathless.  I barely begin to understand a new computer or smart phone when a new one has come out.  It's dizzying and distressing actually.  

Really young people (like under 30) expect that rate of change. They were born into the communication and change age.   They know that everything they learn with a few basic exceptions is changing while they are learning it.  (I would maintain that there are some constant basic elements in our development that remain constant…some basic math concepts, some basic classic literature, some history, basic science) but the way that we learn about these have changed when encyclopedia companies have gone out of business and information is at our fingertips in an instant.  

It's common for mature people (most everyone over 70) to bemoan change.  THAT is what every generation has done forever and with good reason. Not all changes have proved to be very helpful and have come to cause great distress (texting while driving or even walking, for instance, have proved fatal).  And social media has driven the terrorists networks.  So we don't have much time to adapt as a society when the change rate is so high.  Example: churches are closing at a stunning rate because they cannot keep up with the moving river of societal changes.  (An over simplification but still mostly true.)  

We no longer have enough time really to assimilate the changes.  To think through the moral and physical implications.
It's always been that way but the change rate was not always this high.  

I suppose that fact that 1978 is NOT the olden days (to me) and yet in the article above it implies that it IS the olden days in many ways is what started all of this rant.  I dare say that I am fulfilling my obligation as an old timer now in bemoaning the good ole days…when schools still taught cursive writing and had recess, when children had some respect for older people, and for their president.  When we still said the pledge of allegiance every day in schools and just visiting face to face with someone was an basic element of being human. 

Should I conclude with an admonition to slow down?  Smell the roses?  Practice Zentangle®?  Find a yoga group? 
Should I admire and point out those people who can flow with change and still find deep purpose in their lives?  Who have learned to pick and chose what they can cope with and learned to let go of what they cannot?  Should I be proud of sharing  some of the best practices of the past generations of which I am now the bearer of the stories?  
I somehow feel that it's part of every generation to pull the plug on frenetic change that wears down the soul.  
And here's to 1978 that was just yesterday to me.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Journal prompt: Hearts

Wishing everyone a Happy Valentines Day

Journal prompt today was simple "hearts" and of course that is totally appropriate!  I wanted to try a new tangle just out called "Natti" and that is the tangle around the inside of the heart. I think you can see it better if you click on the image.  

The paper was lightly brayered with red acrylic paint and the circle printed paper is Gelli print paper with a heart cut out.  
The photo of the little painting at the top was on Facebook awhile ago and I fell in love with it.  Wish I could read the painter's name and give him/her credit.  The two little gals under the table are JUST the right spirit of fun.  

I remember so many Valentine's days when I was teaching 4, 5 and 6 years olds.  They got SO excited about that day.  No presents involved…just the exchange of little cards with silly sayings. 

 The joy of making the Valentine box containers…they loved the anticipation.  I'd have some mother's join me that morning to help read the cards as most of my kids were still non-readers.  The excitement was electric and kids would run across the room to hug the giver of the valentine!  Spontaneous appreciation!  Usually valentine cookies or cupcakes and milk would follow.  You'd think they were at the king's banquet!  

It's hard to replicate that mood and feeling as you get older and more jaded I guess.  Everyone should get to visit a kindergarten room at Valentine's Day so you can see what real genuine happiness looks like.  

A holiday revolving around love is really something special.  Sort of like Thanksgiving which revolves around gratefulness and harvest bounty.  Perhaps we need more of these kinds of celebrations.  

Listening to the democratic debate last night the words "it's so complicated" came up so many times in reference to economic disparity, world chaos, and problem solving locally, nationally and internationally.  By the end of which you begin to wonder how we will ever find any solutions.  And you begin to wonder why anyone would take on the presidency.  

Really it's overwhelming to most of us.  I read in one column recently that part of the reason people feel so angry is that they have lost their "narrative".  An interesting way to look at it.  Meaning we grow up with the "story" of how we can be what we want to be in this world and that problems can be solved and that we will do better than our parents did (although that definition is shaky) and that life will improve if we work hard.  
It's not happening for so many people.  They feel cheated.  

As both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton pointed out…"it's complicated".  No easy solutions.  People want easy solutions, easy fixes, someone who will say "I can fix it for you".  Rather than live with the uneasy questions.  But "living with the questions" is what we will have to do.  There are no easy fix it answers.  So this takes bravery and intelligence and faith to re-write the narrative so that it fits with current life BUT still gives us hope for a better tomorrow.  

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Journal Prompt 5: Fruit

Journal prompt this week is "fruit"…what ever we want to do with fruit.  I looked up fruit.  Ya know that if it is something that starts as a flower and has seeds in it…it is a fruit.  Pumpkins are fruit.  
WHO knew.  Semantics.  :-)

I had fun with this little watercolor slicing it up and enjoying the abstraction.  

We are having a very coolish week in central FL.  
I know my northern friend and relatives are not sympathetic!
Last week we were eating lunch out on the lawn.  
Today I wore jeans and a sweater and had the heat on.  
What's the deal?
Way below normal for February.  
AND our huge art fair in Mt Dora got totally rained out this afternoon…a deluge all afternoon!  What a shame…thousands of people were expected!  
Hopefully they can still get a day tomorrow.