Thursday, October 20, 2016

Not Decluttering

Orchids in the sun in my studio

I took a break yesterday from an extensive pantry clean out to chat with a friend on the phone. She was decluttering her life too she said. I do not like the term. As an artist I find a certain about of clutter to be inspirational. And obviously so did Miro. Though frankly he was the painter of the most uncluttered canvases I can name.

Miro's studio

So, no, I was not decluttering my pantry and kitchen yesterday. I was repurposing them. I do like that term better. 

Since late December of last year I have taken a long look at my eating and cooking habits and slowly re-aligned my diet to my body and its health. This has meant finding space for new things both in the nutrient area and in the tools for preparation. Clearly the toaster oven (used once in last month) had to go to allow space for the new Ninja food processing tool. Cabinet space had to be freed up for the salad spinner, etc.

And in trying to find storage area for the raw cashews,pine nuts, dates and crasins the emergency canned goods had to give way. Much in the same way adding oil sticks to the studio supplies meant tossing out the old acrylics I once used for mask making. I confess to no longer eating canned vegetables and soups. I make my own soups and freeze them so in the not too distant future I will require a small chest freezer. But for the moment I just had to box up the canned goods I no longer use and take them to an organization which redistributes them to those who not only still eat them but need them.

There probably is still a lot of clutter, by Oprah standards, on my counter and in my pantry but it is usable clutter which supports my lifestyle now. I still have all the copper cookie cutters hanging on the walls of the kitchen even though it has been years since I baked cookies (most recently dog biscuits with the bone cookie cutter). Removing them would be pure decluttering. It would be removing the richness of my environment for no reason. They are not in my way. The cans of Campbell's soup were.  

Now the goal is to remember where I moved everything.

This re-alignment of my kitchen to meet my needs means I have a new life style and not just a new diet.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Painful Week for Women

Denial, a refrigerator magnet I own, states is a Goddess-given survival tool. And women have used that survival tool for centuries. It isn't easy to stay in denial about the verbal and physical abuse women have put up with to keep the peace or keep their jobs or stay in a relationship.

But there is a cost to keeping the peace. It steals our confidence and our freedom and our aliveness. We stay married to avoid being single or we find living single works best because the men we pick are wrong. We learn to pal up with other women to do things men get to do alone like long walks in the woods. Some of us quit our jobs we sacrificed so much to get and keep. I could not live with the compromise of keeping my mouth shut to keep my job.

Mother said I was stubborn and had not learned the lesson of keeping silent. I would be happier, she maintained, if I was not so prideful and intelligent. I even toyed with becoming a nun. My aunt told me I could become a boy if I could kiss my elbow. OMG, I tried. You were safe if you were a man or boy.

These days I am self-employed and avoid large parties and lonely walks in the woods without a gun. I tell myself it is because of the bears. Bears don't scare me. Men do.

This week the news broke about Donald Trump and his abusive conduct and degrading language in relation to women. And the walls of denial came cascading down not just for me but for a lot of women I know on the internet or personally. I had to admit the world had not gotten better. Women are still third class citizens without equal rights to even our own bodies. But the truly hurtful part was when men I know excused Trumps shameful behavior. My cousin maintains Donald apologized. And said it was just words. Locker room chatter.

This man who would be president believes women are to use and abuse and demean and be graded on boob size. And a whole political party seems to agree with him. The nation seems to be putting down the women who reported the behavior. One, who lives in the deep south, is even moving to a foreign country to be safe. Fine example we are for the world. I am more thrilled than ever I chose to not bring children into it.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

I Love Being Alone

When I was very young I was told repeatedly I was shy. I was always at the edge of play and when given a choice would go to my room and draw or to the fork of the cottonwood in the backyard and read. In school I always got the "does not play well with others" in the notations on the back of the card.

My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hill, was the first to comprehend I did better on my own. When we had school plays or concerts to prepare for I did the scenery or was sent to the office to redecorate all the bulletin boards in the lobby of the school.

In high school I never went to dances or decorated for them. My participation in school electives was designing the cover for the literary magazine. In physical education I liked gymnastics or modern dance. As an adult I hike with a couple friends with our dogs but not the Trekkers. I liked skiing because I competed with myself. Photography was always there in my life because it was something I could do from the edge of a crowd or all by myself or with another photographer. I like my crowds small. Very small. Two is company and three is a crowd could have been coined by me.

I do have friends but I prefer limits on numbers and exposure. And most of my closest friends are of the same mind.

Every once in a while I dip a toe in social waters and come away chilled to the bone. You think at my age I would know better. I really I do. I just get stupid now and then and commit to something I know will leave me bruised and exhausted and full of self-loathing.

Remind me the next time I agree to be on a committee or board or accept an invitation to a party.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Table Rules

Dad taught me to play poker. And the rule book was Hoyle. We were a game playing family and we wore out several rule books. And with board games we constantly referred to the official rules which came with the game. They were generally printed on the inside of the top of the box.

I learned quickly when playing any game at a friend's house to find out the house or table rules before agreeing to play because not everyone played according to Hoyle. And if the "dealer" (usually the house we played at or the owner of the game) was not willing to state the table rules and stick to them I didn't play. I have always been a stickler about the rules.

As a citizen of the United States I consider the rules to be the Constitution with its amendments. Political parties should follow the rules. But they haven't this year. They haven't for a while.

Watergate was a wake up call for me. Nixon calling out the National Guard to quell peaceful peace marches in Washington, DC, had shaken my faith so I left the Republican party. And ultimately I left the groups trying to make a difference in the United States. I always stayed interested and informed, I always voted regardless of where I lived. But I saw more and more evidence of the disease of the system. This year the primaries made me leave the Democratic Party.

I truly believe neither party has the good of the people or our nation as a driving force. It is all about the Party. Sort of why I left organized religion. But I digress. There is no place in the rule book (the Constitution) which mandates a two party system. Actually our current primary system isn't in there either. The Republicans have their house rules and the Democrats have a separate set of house rules. But this year neither party followed even their own rules. Even those they made up as they went. So I choose to not play.

I will vote my conscious, but it will not be for either of the two major parties. I do not vote for cheaters. I fully believe if the Democrats and Republicans had the good of the United States and its citizens as its core value they would not have chosen the two candidates they picked by hook and crook. And if either of those two candidates had the good of the United States and its citizens as their core objective they would step down from being the banner carrier for their party.

And if congress had the good of the citizens and the United States as their prime directive they would step down or at the very least postpone this election. But they would also have long ago listened to their constituents about money in politics and term limits and compromise as well as infrastructure and job bills and making women full and equal citizens under the law and approving another Justice of the Supreme Court.

NOBODY in government or politics is playing by the rules. Nor are they considering us when they make up new table rules even in the middle of the game. Time for all of us to stand up and leave the table.

Did you get that Fox, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, BBC, etc.? You are not following the rules either. It is Freedom Speech not news per the highest bidder.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

If Given a Choice

If given a choice
on how
we see things
choose beauty
over evil
over dark.

If given a choice
on what
we hear
chose kindness
over rudeness
over screams.

If given a choice
Speak of beauty
Sing in tune
Focus on
the positive
and give all
the same choice.

J. Binford-Bell
September 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

We Have Choices

the rabbit hole
the sucker hole
Or neither.

to make you large
to make you small
or high.

to bring you low
to take you up
so you can ignore it all.

to make you angry
to make you right
to insure you are wrong.

Left or right
red or blue
right or wrong
of the above.

share that
or not
Say Goodnight, Gracie.

Jacqui Binford-Bell
September 2016

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thinking Upon Fall

I wrote a poem this morning on Creative Journey about fall creeping into the valley. It seems early but I only have to look at my photo files and garden journal to know it is about time. The grass is not as gold as in the photo above but that may be because of the extended monsoon season. But there and there is a branch on an aspen which is already gold or a Virginia Creeper vine turning red.

There are just so many images you can put in a poem unless it is the Iliad. But as one is writing it so many images spring to mind. And I found myself thinking long about the signs of fall.

The hummingbird feeders are down to two which I fill only every other day. That is down from three filled three times a day.

There are now more seed pods than bulbs on the holly hocks. I shall miss them.

Under house heat does not go on until the end of October but I plugged in the heated door mat on the deck outside the studio. It was gift. I would never have bought myself one. But when it fails I will purchase another. Nothing is quite like standing on a hot mat with bare feet taking a photograph of the dawn.

And dawn is later. I notice that more than sunset being earlier.

I have had one fire in the wood stove on a cloudy and damp day. Always end the firewood season with enough logs to toss in on those rare cold early fall days.

Time to order firewood. And schedule the chimney sweep.

I bought apples and made an apple crisp. I seldom do that except in fall.

The number of hawks in the skies around my house seems to have tripled. I can only assume some migrants are passing through and celebrating with the locals.

There is a who list of todos beyond the firewood and chimney sweep but there is still time. For now it is just great to sit on the deck and breathe. Fall smells so good.