a.k.a. “Rip Van Winkle”

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Geezus Frog! Is it 2011 already? I seem to have overslept a bit… 🙂

For those of you wondering where the heck I’ve been for the last month or so, or those who were worrying whether I had gotten too big for my britches and abandoned this blog in favor of fame and fortune in the world of commerce: I thank y’all for caring so much, for the many private e-mails, for your patience and forgiveness, and assure you that my feet are still squarely planted on the ground (or at least metaphorically as they are actually at a right angle to the ground and hiding beneath several layers of quilts and blankets).

As the subtitle of this blog declares, the theme here is “The Art of Survival”, and that is what I’ve been doing: Just trying to survive. If you’ve ever been pregnant or observed it from afar, there is an odd phenomenon where a few days before the babe makes his grand entrance, Mom2Be gets a splurge of energy and accomplishes incredible feats of creative and physical effort. It could be anything from chopping enough firewood to keep the kid warm through kindergarten, wallpapering the entire house as well as the neighbor’s, or stripping and finishing an ancient grand piano. Well, my body, for some weird reason, adopts that routine whenever I’m just about to suffer a relapse, and that’s just what happened this time after enjoying a flurry of creative activity from Sept.-Nov. I’m still having a hard time of it and really have no way to predict how often I’ll be able to post but I’m hoping to get back here at least once a week for as long as I can.

In any case, while I’ve been “away”, if I hadn’t known before, I was reminded once again of the riches I’ve been blessed with in friends. Janie, Mi’chele, Art & Enid, Steve & Sue, Barry & Sharon, and Michelle B. too, are each the jewels I shall always cherish. In goodtimes or bad, in silence or song, these are friends who linger long, whether close or far away. What I’ve done to deserve you I have no idea but pray I can live up to your example.

“But friendship is the breathing rose, with sweets in every fold.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

”There is nothing worth the wear of winning, but laughter and the love of friends.” Hillaire Belloc

”Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.“ C. S. Lewis

”If you think that the world means nothing, think again. You might mean the world to someone else.“ Unknown (fun link but I doubt this quote was his)

“One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives.” Euripides (408 B.C.)

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Black Friday Alert!

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Before anything else, I want to give a tip of the hat to my good friend, Michelle a.k.a. Dogkisses. I met her through a comment she wrote to my blog almost a year ago. She’s an incredibly brave, strong, and loving woman who’s got a lot on her shoulders yet still finds the time to help keep my spirits up. She’s also a very moving authoress who’s words paint pictures and move your heart. If you haven’t discovered her blog DOGKISSES yet, I highly recommend it. While you’re there, in addition to her regular posts, check out the other tabs where she hides some of her very best stuff.

I’ve been extra busy the past few weeks, creating a bunch of new designs for greeting cards, postage, postcards, stamps, and gift labels so they’d be ready for the holidays. With Black Friday coming in a couple of days, you might want to make a note to check out my online shop – as well as other artist’s Zazzle Shops – as we’re all going to be running some really great sales which will change every hour. So you’ll want to check there often. Depending on when you get there (online) you’ll find savings as much as 75% on all kinds of great gifts, clothing, cards, and more. Share the news with your friends and if you all use this link you’ll get a coupon with your purchase worth at least 10% off of your next purchase from ANY Zazzle store! How cool is that?

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Sort of Art Deco

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As you can tell, I’ve been busy. And if it’s not too crass to admit, I’m particularly pleased with how my new calendar came out. Lots of new artwork for this one that I’ve never released. At first I was concerned about pricing (being notoriously frugal when it comes to buying things for myself) but then Mi’chele, my home-health aid (and truly great friend) pointed out that you get a lot of value for your dollars when purchasing a calendar since the artwork can be framed when the month or year is over and enjoy for years to come at far less cost than purchasing separate prints. I hadn’t really thought of that before. Mi’chele’s got such great common sense and is terrific as a “Reality Check” for me on all kinds of subjects, from the seemingly frivolous to the most significant life-altering decisions. Although 20 years my junior, I really cherish her wisdom and raw honesty. Those are traits that many falsely lay claim to, many more oblivious to the incomparable value of, and which few and far between have. Thanks, my friend!

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‘Nuevo Deco’ Toolbar

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Just got off the phone with my friend Jane after, as usual with her, having had a very interesting, thought-provoking conversation. Never know where discussions with her will lead to but know they will never be boring. Janie flits from one topic to another but her segues always seem natural, her enthusiasm infectious, her wide-range of interests and knowledge mind-blowing, and she always leaves me feeling appreciated, wanted, valuable, loved, and even understood. What more can anyone else want from a friend? Only the ability to impart the same and know it has made a positive difference in the life of my friend that lasts longer than the length of our calls or visits. But life just doesn’t work that way and we rarely, if ever, get to know whether we had any affect at all on others, on the world, much less whether we had the affect we intended. I guess that’s why they say “Character is what you do when you think no one is looking”. You’ve just got to do what you believe is right or at least what you honestly and objectively believe is best under the given situation and have faith that it will all add up in the end to being a life both worthy and worthwhile.

Apropos, if you haven’t yet read (or at least seen the movie) of Mitch Albom‘s book “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, it’s a gem that deserves your time. It is nothing what you might expect, even if you’re already familiar with any of Albom’s other books (“Tuesdays with Morrie”, “For One More Day”, “With a Little Faith”). Through very simple language and ordinary characters, Albom elicits the most profound observations about people, life, and what really matters after all has been said and done. Remarkably, he never resorts to preaching any particular philosophy or religion, never hits you over the head, never gives in to using common metaphors or over-used phrases that could lessen the emotional impact of his story. Enough said.

So now, from the tools of life to the toolbar of your Finder or other application windows. (How’s that for a transition? 😉 ) This afternoon I’m issuing Part 2 of my 10-part ‘Nuevo Deco’ icon series. Enjoy!

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