Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

Memorial Day – in the Words of Howard Zinn

No one can really express these thoughts I have better than Howard Zinn. So I defer to him, a reprint of an earlier editorial of his that still rings true.

Published on June 2, 1976 in the Boston Globe (from the Zinn Reader)
Whom Will We Honor Memorial Day?
by Howard Zinn
Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication. To peace, to defiance of governments. In 1974, I was invited by Tom Winship, the editor of the Boston Globe, who had been bold enough in 1971 to print part of the top secret Pentagon Papers on the history of the Vietnam War, to write a bi-weekly column for the op-ed page of the newspaper. I did that for about a year and a half. The column below appeared June 2, 1976, in connection with that year’s Memorial Day. After it appeared, my column was canceled.

* * * * *

Memorial Day will be celebrated as usual, by high-speed collisions of automobiles and bodies strewn on highways and the sound of ambulance sirens throughout the land.

It will also be celebrated by the display of flags, the sound of bugles and drums, by parades and speeches and unthinking applause.

It will be celebrated by giant corporations, which make guns, bombs, fighter planes, aircraft carriers and an endless assortment of military junk and which await the $100 billion in contracts to be approved soon by Congress and the President.

There was a young woman in New Hampshire who refused to allow her husband, killed in Vietnam, to be given a military burial. She rejected the hollow ceremony ordered by those who sent him and 50,000 others to their deaths. Her courage should be cherished on Memorial Day. There were the B52 pilots who refused to fly those last vicious raids of Nixon’s and Kissinger’s war. Have any of the great universities, so quick to give honorary degrees to God-knows-whom, thought to honor those men at this Commencement time, on this Memorial Day?

No politician who voted funds for war, no business contractor for the military, no general who ordered young men into battle, no FBI man who spied on anti-war activities, should be invited to public ceremonies on this sacred day. Let the dead of past wars he honored. Let those who live pledge themselves never to embark on mass slaughter again.

“The shell had his number on it. The blood ran into the ground…Where his chest ought to have been they pinned the Congressional Medal, the DSC, the Medaille Militaire, the Belgian Croix de Guerre, the Italian gold medal, The Vitutea Militara sent by Queen Marie of Rumania. All the Washingtonians brought flowers .. Woodrow Wilson brought a bouquet of poppies.”

Those are the concluding lines of John Dos Passos angry novel 1919. Let us honor him on Memorial Day.

And also Thoreau, who went to jail to protest the Mexican War.

And Mark Twain, who denounced our war against the Filipinos at the turn of the century.

And I.F. Stone, who virtually alone among newspaper editors exposed the fraud and brutality of the Korean War.

Let us honor Martin Luther King, who refused the enticements of the White House, and the cautions of associates, and thundered against the war in Vietnam.

Memorial Day should be a day for putting flowers on graves and planting trees. Also, for destroying the weapons of death that endanger us more than they protect us, that waste our resources and threaten our children and grandchildren.

On Memorial Day we should take note that, in the name of “defense,” our taxes have been used to spend a quarter of a billion dollars on a helicopter assault ship called “the biggest floating lemon,” which was accepted by the Navy although it had over 2,000 major defects at the time of its trial cruise.

Meanwhile, there is such a shortage of housing that millions live in dilapidated sections of our cities and millions more are forced to pay high rents or high interest rates on their mortgages. There’s 90 billion for the B1 bomber, but people don’t have money to pay hospital bills.

We must be practical, say those whose practicality has consisted of a war every generation. We mustn’t deplete our defenses. Say those who have depleted our youth, stolen our resources. In the end, it is living people, not corpses, creative energy, not destructive rage, which are our only real defense, not just against other governments trying to kill us, but against our own, also trying to kill us.

Let us not set out, this Memorial Day, on the same old drunken ride to death.


Top Ten Tuesday

DSCN5078    Another Tuesday, and I still keep finding lots of new ideas and posts to add for Tuesdays, and I still have a lot bookmarked! I also find myself going off on little research jaunts for my novel, with some interesting – and downright scary – disgusting articles. It is amazing what one can find on the net these days, and I chuckle when I remember the one cartoon making its rounds: a true friend is someone who will clear out your history cache on the internet when you die. I have really been reading some very strange stuff. But all of that is bookmarked in a separate place. What follows is the good, light-hearted stuff!

I thought this was quite cute. The site is in its infancy, but I like the premise. I will be following along to see just what they offer. Click on the pic to see more. I think the class offerings could be kind of interesting……

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The Eat Pray Love lady, Elizabeth Gilbert, recommends these books as ones that helped her become a writer. How many have you read?

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Useful websites you never knew existed – a lot to check out here.

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…and in my ongoing quest to eat healthy, the 15 grossest foods……yup, it’ll do the same thing Supersize Me did….

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Also available as a free download – 27 foods you should never eat.

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The 60 Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken – how many do you remember? The one I remember the most…..

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Limitations in a wheelchair? I don’t think so……

Molten aluminum in an ant hill? Look at this art…..

For Nelson Mandela – a flash mob…..

An Hour of Code – a way to help our youngsters learn computer coding – very cool!

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If you find cool stuff on line, send it along!

More Random Ramblings…..

KathyNida Yes! One of my favorite art quilters actually does exist beyond a blog!!! Kathy NIda (long i, as I have been pronouncing it wrong all these many years) is an artist I have been following for well over a decade, and it’s not just because she uses our marbled fabrics in her art quilts. She is one seriously cool lady – and amazing teacher to boot. We finally were able to get together on our last trip to San Diego, as she was also on school break. What a fun two hours! Laughing, lamenting, giggling, telling stories, talking shop – a fabulous time was had by all. Even better, I got to see one of her works at Visions Art Museum, and by far the best in the exhibit, which I didn’t really care for, especially after having seen the exhibit of fiber at the Mingei (yes, Kathy, everyone is right – you MUST go see this show!). But it was so cool to see the actual art quilt up close and personal, as I am in awe of her technique. Here are a couple of photos shamelessly borrowed from her blog (

Here’s the quilt being dried after a washing (something about pet hair….) – our fabric is the pavement. Second one is a closeup. I so loved seeing an actual quilt of hers, because her process is so intricate, and seeing in person how it all came together is fabulous.

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Now, about the exhibit at the Mingei at Balboa Park in San Diego – one of my favorite museums – the emphasis is on “every day objects,” and this time the exhibit was two brothers, William and Steven Ladd, who work with beads, fabric and boxes in developing labor intensive, meticulous and abstract work that expresses their shared memories of family life in Missouri. )from the website) While some of the work I didn’t “get,” I was in awe of their use of unusual materials. This is from their website, explaining their “towers.”

A Tower is a stack of approximately 24 hand sewn boxes placed into a specific configuration.  Towers are often constructed of fabric, found materials, and board.  Each box in the stack measures approximately 9” square and can be closed or open.  When all of the boxes are open, they are  laid out into a specific grid-like configuration.  Textiles and found objects are meticulously sewn into the boxes and often resemble organic structures such as trees.  The Tower originated as a convenient way to stack and store boxes of the brothers meticulously constructed objects.
Each Tower has a story attached to it that is rooted in Steven and William’s shared memories.  Volcano, 2008, explores memories of extreme exercise while sharing a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Explosive muscle building and marathon running evolved into forms that resemble volcanic structures.
Volcano, 2008
Archival board, fiber, beads, metal
Closed 13.25 x 19.875 x 18.875 in.
Open 39.75 x 19.875 x 8.5 in.
These are examples, and the top is a detail – needles, pins, metal ants, rolls tapes and biases….a feast for the eyes!

Random Ramblings


The temps have dropped and Northern Arizona is under storm warnings with snow possible. It’s windy here in Tucson, and it’s a thoughtful, kind of sleepy, kind of depressing Saturday. I still wonder about the lack of interest in things, like the business, that used to be a driving force.

I can’t really say it’s all because I feel like I am getting older and running out of time. There are still a lot of things I want to do. One of the biggies is traveling. An article on Facebook this morning made me realize that I need to start soon, before the body betrays me even  more. 25 top cities to see. I’ve been to Shanghai and Beijing, way before the massive high-rise development. There’s a real stark contrast between old and new in the two cities. New York City, but not in several decades, and the same for San Francisco several decades ago. Briefly Chicago for a conference, and then Europe – ah, Europe. I do want to get there.

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I am facing some medical tests in the next month, and I figure, since my energy level is so low, and all I want to do is sleep, that there is probably something more going on with the thyroid. But now we’re looking at boobs and intestines and ovaries, so I may be giving up a body part down the road.

Also a video from Facebook this morning on bullying. I’ve said for a number of years that part of the bullying epidemic – actually a majority of it – I think is due to the way adults act on reality TV shows, as well as on news programs. Adults are the grown-up bullies. And that leads to even less attempts at compromise, because we have become so used to shouting to get what we want – or resort to violence.

On the good front this morning, the fourth chakra that I just completed as part of the commission is GORGEOUS.



Gotta go put a sweater on – temp is about 20 degrees cooler than yesterday!

Top Ten Tuesday

DSCN4597 Spring in the desert! In fact, it is almost summer – 91 today, and I think we will break down and put the air conditioner on for a bit this afternoon. Went through Saguaro National Park on Sunday tosee the cactus in bloom – always a treat this time of year. I still have lots in the bookmarks for cool stuff on line. So sit back and enjoy!

Hubby and I have always been a fan of Roy Orbison, and he especially of k.d. lang, so here’s the two combined.

I loved this next site, especially since we are planning to move back to Vermont in about a year. New England towns – they sure are gorgeous!

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I am not a tattoo person – never have been, but I certainly can recognize art when I see it – even if it is a little creepy……

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Swinging hits new heights (sorry, couldn’t resist), but an interesting take on cooperativeness.

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Subway art in Sweden – makes transportation into an art experience.

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Water sheets in space – – an experiment on the space station.

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Some untold stories of World War II:

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Seriously LOVE the Fibonacci numbers…..check this out!


Incredible pics of icebergs – they’re actually paintings….. Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 2.18.13 PM

And finally, the utmost in recycling – twist-tie toys!

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Remembrance – Every Year

Every year this time I am reminded during Holocaust Remembrance of the loss of millions of lives throughout history because of people’s hate. I’ve got previous posts you can check out about some lesser known facts and people about this time period, specifically the Holocaust of World War II. The mantra is “Never Forget,” but we are, slowly, as survivors pass on and others come into power with hate in their hearts.

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Other blog posts:

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Thursday Thoughts

Top Ten Tuesday

Getting Back into the Swing of Things


It’s been nearly a year since blogging, business, and all things related to blogging suddenly lost their interest. Not really quite sure why, but I know I did miss the blogging. I guess it’s just one of those “life got in the way” kind of situations. But I have been doing things.

Recently I’ve been a math consultant, and I have learned a great deal. One, I’m not 50 anymore, and this back to part-time – although full-time days – has really taken its toll physically and mentally. Once again there was no time for any serious art. Even the commission I had been working on took a back seat, and I expect to get back to that in the next few days. In no way would I want to be a math teacher these days, regardless of the level. The amount of stress on teachers has grown to absurd proportions, what with mandatory state tests…and now field testing new tests – and of course spending an obscene amount of money in the process, because heaven forbid we should believe the teachers when they tell us how well students are doing. (Insert deep breath to end rant….) The major test/book publisher/supposed guru of all things education is really evil incarnate. Yes, Pearson, I’m talking about you. These guys have so much control over textbooks, types of testing for teachers, student testing, access to materials that it is ridiculous.

So, about my commission. Thread work on the seven chakras for my yoga instructor. I have three done, and they will become patterns. The ones I am doing are all 24 x 24 inches, and they will surround the walls of her yoga studio. Here’s a peek:


First Chakra


Second Chakra


Third Chakra

Managed our first trip to the Botanical Gardens this year, and I focused in on texture. Then I used this great app for the iPad called Photogrid, and I made a few collages. Love the app!




More coming as I get back in the swing of life!

Top Ten Tuesday


Surprise! It’s me….I don’t know for how long, as I am sorting out a lot of personal things, but I do have a huge backlog of things I’ve found on the internet. Mostly I am trying to settle back into a retirement routine after three-plus intensive months as a math consultant. We’ll see how I manage to make my life work again! But now, here’s some great stuff.

Free art books from the Getty Museum – yes, you heard that right! Lots of eye candy here, and hours of enjoyment. Plus free lectures, free movies….lots of free stuff on the site.

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What if…nothing is impossible? Great inspirational video. If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen.

Street art from interesting objects, like legos and yarn, and nothing is photoshopped!

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Guys in kilts….does it get any better?

The absolute power of a photograph – iconic photos that tell moving stories.

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Fiber art and Game of Thrones….but of course……

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I want this log cabin….right now, somewhere green and quiet……

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Stills from I Love Lucy – several episodes are still some classic favorites.

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Cave homes in Australia –

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A retirement community in Germany recreated some famous movie scenes for a calendar – definitely worth a look!

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Enjoy your week!

Get Organized – Day 6

Maelstrom 6

Maelstrom 6

This is exactly how my brain feels today….more than overwhelmed, as I just started a new part-time job that is full-time for the first three months…….so it means wardrobe changes and a bunch of other things, and the usual work isn’t getting done….and I am surrounded by loose ends….which is how many of us feel a lot of the time.

I do have a solution I have used….it was going to be Day 6 in the series….it’s just that Day 6 took a while getting here….

Anyway, welcome to The Brain Dump .

My middle grade students would say I could bring any topic at all back to dinosaur poop and pee. But the Brain Dump is different, and it’s highly useful. I’ve been doing this at least once a month (sometimes more) for the last year, and it has really helped me organize myself. I find that as I start planning for this coming year, before I can do my backplanning (last post), I’ve had to do a serious brain dump and keep the paper close at hand for other loose ends that float to the top.

The idea of a brain dump is to sit with a blank sheet of paper and list everything – and I mean EVERYTHING – that you need to do, whether it is urgent or not. Don’t worry about order, don’t worry about whether things go together, don’t whether about if it’s several weeks away. JUST WRITE IT DOWN.

The advantage to this is to give your brain a break and a rest. Once you take everything that you are trying to keep straight in your brain OUT of it, you don’t have to worry about remembering it all. Now it’s down on paper, and you don’t have to keep thinking about that particular task, and the next one, and three more after that. It’s incredibly freeing and sets you up to be able to make sense of what needs to be done to accomplish goals.

Here are two examples of a couple of sheets I started with on January 1, as I plan out my month and my first quarter, as well as some longer-term objectives. I collected past sheets that still had items listed, and I started a new sheet with some of the newer items arising as a result of the new year.



Nothing is in any order. There are things on here I still haven’t gotten to from the previous year. But that’s okay. My main goal is to free up my mind from worry. I want to have everything laid out so I can use these lists to organize.  I realized yesterday as I was working on one particular area, that I really couldn’t just go into the backplanning process without doing this. Now, keep in mind this might not work for you, but I urge you to try it and see if you can relax a bit about getting things done without forgetting them. I keep my page handy for about a week, so that if something new comes to mind – like renewing the trade name this year – I can easily add it to the list.

Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t a daily or weekly list….this is strictly a list of everything floating in your brain. You want to free up that space without having to worry about the detritus – important or not – floating there. What I end up doing is looking at the master list and choosing what’s critical for the coming week. Your  mileage may vary.

I would love for you to share your thoughts – and lists – if you try this activity. Any suggestions for improving the process?




Get Organized – Day 5

GC13 Sometimes life gets in the way……actually, a lot of times daily life intrudes on our best of intentions. It has happened to me in designing this series, and probably many of you right now are having life get in the way of your organization. I chose the picture on the left because life certainly got in the way of the creature fossils 1200 million years ago – and still today there is a remarkable work of beauty as you walk along the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Just go with it. Just. Go. With. It. It’s okay. Life happens along the way. When I was writing the backplanning blog, I sketched out the plan to complete my marbling book. Once I got hired for a new part-time job that is ten days a month, I realized I would have to change some of my plans. Again, It’s. Okay.

What’s happening with your planning and organizing is that you are becoming very aware  of what you would like to do and the time restraints on you. Most of the time we just make lists of what we want to get done, but we really don’t understand just what the actual time allotment is. So I want to introduce you to the 80-20 rule, as it can apply to organization.

I think most of us are familiar with 80-20. Think about the 80% of things that are really important to you. Then think about the 20% of things that are not so important…..and now think about how much time you spend…….do you spend 80% of your time on the things that are most important to you, that will move your business ahead, that will increase your creativity? Or… you get stuck doing a lot of the 20% things because you feel you should?

Stephen Covey (2004) said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” The 80-20 rule can guide us in determining how to use the very limited and precious resources we have of time, energy, and money.

When you look at what you will do backplanning on, on what you will spend your time and effort on this year, think about the benefits…..will you be able to spend 80% of your time, energy, and money on the things that matter most to you. Backplanning for me on the marbling book is a place where I want to spend my time and energy. The book will be a potential source of passive income, once it is finished. I have decided to go with a different publishing platform, because I simply don’t have the time to learn a new coding system, even though the publisher is fabulous, and I don’t have the money to pay for them to code. So I will work (probably) with Create Space so the book is available on all epub platforms, and not just iBook – even though I know that platform now. This is a worthwhile priority for us, so I will spend the time. Taking an online class in science fiction will no longer be a priority beyond skimming through the basic notes and making a list of what I would like to read in the future. I do not want to give up my time to read several thousand pages in six weeks. Not worth my time – although it would be interesting – but it will have to wait till a later date.

Some links on the 80/20 Rule:

Pareto’s Principle

Why will this change your life?

The 80/20 Rule of Time Management

So what do you think? Thoughts? Insights? Share! I’m interested in how you are organizing yourself.

Getting Organized – Day 3


Sculpture at the Denver Art Museum, photo by Linda Moran, c. 2013

  I was looking through pictures to see about something appropriate for this third day of the series, and I stumbled upon one of my favorite sculptures from our trip east in July – the Broom and Dustpan at the Denver Art Museum. What a perfect way to look at a clean sweep of the least year and a new start for this coming year! Remember that you can start this series ANY TIME you want to. So…on to day 3!

  Dreaming the New Year

Now it’s time to think about this coming new year, regardless of when you consider your year to begin. When I was teaching, September was always the beginning of the year, not January. With retirement, my new year is the end of May. So you can do this at any time of the year, for however long a time period you want. Start with a month or two, or go for the whole year. If the process works for you, then consider doing a five-year plan. I promise you that this whole process really works!

First, though, you need to DREAM. If you need help in dreaming your goals, check out Dale Anne Potter’s website. She offers a lot of positive ideas for getting goals accomplished, and she has great resources. So does Alyson Stanfield, author of “I’d Rather Be in the Studio!”

I’m asking you to do away with limits on your thinking. No worrying about how much money you need, whether you think it’s actually possible to accomplish, or any other roadblocks you might place in your path. This is dream time. A year from now, what would you like to have accomplished? Just DREAM. Don’t limit yourself! And…don’t make it just about your business.

Here’s what I came up with in my brainstorming for last year:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork; publication of the book with my art quilts in it; a line of stencils for mixed media; two ebooks on marketing; an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics ; finish the ebook for a friend ; licensing some of my digital designs; at least four new patterns developed and available; at least three teaching gigs around the country; visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City; a trip to Kauai in the fall; visiting the Maritimes this summer; entry into at least two fiber/art shows; increase by 25% each the income from Ebay, the website, Etsy, and Cafe Press; another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article; additional writing and work done on my website; a visit with my foster son; visiting the old homestead in New Jersey; seeing my college buddy again; staying healthy; blog posts at least four times a week; articles in two art/quilt-related magazines; monthly lunches with my second mom; weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend; at least once a month something art/music-related to see; outdoor cactus garden established; and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend.

Here’s how I did:

a second online gallery carrying my artwork (done); publication of the book with my art quilts in it (coming in June 2014); a line of stencils for mixed media (nope); two ebooks on marketing (got one, second in the works); an ebook on quilting marbled fabrics (just a tutorial); finish the ebook for a friend (done); licensing some of my digital designs (in the works); at least four new patterns developed and available (developed, not completed for sale); at least three teaching gigs around the country (did two, got one already booked for this coming year); visiting Paducah to tour Quilt City (done); a trip to Kauai in the fall (nope); visiting the Maritimes this summer (nope); entry into at least two fiber/art shows (nope, but not a priority any longer); increase by 25% each the income from Ebay (done), the website (nope), Etsy (done), and Cafe Press (nope); another connection to the Martha Stewart folks for another article (first article was a bust, not very cooperative, never got print sheets, not worth the time and effort); additional writing and work done on my website (nope); a visit with my foster son (YAY); visiting the old homestead in New Jersey (done – and in New York); seeing my college buddy again (nope); staying healthy (pretty much); blog posts at least four times a week (nope); articles in two art/quilt-related magazines (nope); monthly lunches with my second mom (done); weekly Friday night dinners with my sister-friend (done); at least once a month something art/music-related to see (done); outdoor cactus garden established (nope); and….a trip to Vienna to visit a friend (nope).

In retrospect, a lot accomplished, and some of the “nope’s” are not priorities any longer. The math person in me looks at 17 out of 30, a percentage of 57%. OVerall I’m pleased, because some other things got accomplished that I wasn’t anticipating, so a good year!

Your list can be as long or as short as you wish. Please do not try and limit yourself, even subconsciously. I have found the key in planning is to shoot for the moon. You’ll get a lot farther into the atmosphere than if you try to keep yourself grounded on earth.

Also, DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED with this list! In the next installment, I’ll be sharing the idea of backplanning – something that I have used throughout teaching, especially when I was doing theater. Backplanning makes everything seem absolutely do-able – I promise.

Feel free to share your dreaming with us. Some of us might get inspired by something you mention and decide to include it on our list. Let a comment and tell us what you’re dreaming about. You’ll head in to the New Year feeling very positive about what you’d like to accomplish! When I introduce you to Backplanning, you’ll realize you can accomplish what’s on your list. Now go and DREAM!

Get Organized – Day 2!

Balboa Park

Balboa Park – c. Linda Moran

Here we are at Day 2 of Getting Organized. Did you congratulate yourself on what you accomplished this past year? I always do, because even though we may think we haven’t done much, and then we are amazed at what we actually did do. Here’s a link to my year-end review from last year – which happens in May for me, because it marks the start of what I accomplished during my retirement year. Here’s a sample of one from Celestine Chua, who runs the Personal Excellence blog – she’s got some cool things she does.

Now for Day 2.

Step 2 is identifying what you DIDN’T get done. This is hard, and sometimes it can leave us with a sense of failure. Not so. Get it out on paper, have the pity party, get over it, and you don’t have to think about it as much. There were reasons why these didn’t get done: not a priority, not enough time, too much money, family and/or job commitments. Identify them and let them go. It’s okay if you are working full time and don’t have a lot of creative time or space. Part of what will follow in later steps will be adding realistic planning into your goals. WE’LL LOOK AT THIS SHORTLY. Recognize what you didn’t get accomplished for the year – I never did get my seasons patterns finished, and that is such a big loose end. Think about them, and then LET IT GO!!!! A perfect activity for letting go is New Year’s Eve!

One key piece here is to not beat yourself up about what didn’t get accomplished. Even though I slowed down this year, I still made deadlines I set for myself. There just weren’t as many of them. What was a priority for me DID get done, so you are on your way to prioritizing tasks, even if you didn’t realize it.

Step 3 is starting a list of all that you actually accomplish this year. Add to it throughout the year. Then when you reflect next year, you’ve already got your list. Get a blank sheet of paper, title it “Accomplishments of 2014,” and keep it where you work – desk, studio, whatever is easy access for you. Then as you finish something, WRITE IT ON THE LIST! A small thing to do, but oh, will you feel good about yourself this time next year!! If you look at the blog post I linked to here, all of those were taken from the list I kept. Real easy to write about it when the time comes.

That naturally leads us to Step 4.

Step 4 is sharing what you accomplished , on a blog, your website, a newsletter….or in the comments here. Let us celebrate with you. Working in isolation is tough, and since we have a cyber community, let’s take advantage of it! Leave a comment about what you’ve done, send me a link to your blog of accomplishments, and let’s celebrate in the next couple of days what we’ve done. I’ll share responses on this blog.

PS – this series is going to become part of my new marketing book, a large expansion on the one I’ve just published, Niche Marketing – Planning, Marketing, and Selling Your Unique Items. The new book will be on a platform for all ebooks, not just iPads. This is your chance to get into print bu the end of next year (a great marketing credit, by the way). I’ll be looking for individual stories and ideas to illustrate the various points I make, so you have a chance just by making comments on the organizing posts. So write to me!!

Get Organized!


Two days left in the year – a perfect time to think about what has passed and what is to come. Here is part 1 in a series on organizing yourself and your business.

Get Organized!

Part 1: Reflecting on What Has Come Before

It’s the end of the year: fiscal, calendar, it doesn’t really matter. Most of us are already thinking ahead. Lots of ideas, plans, and probably a sense of “how can I ever make this all happen?” We can get bogged down in so many little spots, and ultimately we think we haven’t done anything. Or…we have so many ideas and no sense of where to begin to actually make this all happen.

If that’s your mind frame right now, then this series is for you. Step by step, let’s help you plan out the coming year so that it seems both manageable and practical. The best part? You can do this planning whenever you want; you don’t have to wait for an official beginning. You just start, whether it be an individual project, a month, or the whole calendar year.

Step 1 is reflecting on what you FINISHED. What did you get accomplished this past year? Let’s start here. Make a list of what you actually completed this past calendar year (since that’s what most of us work with). Consider everything: sales, new customers, teaching gigs, social media, newsletters, art shows, gallery entries, website development, blog writing, travel, new art work (definitely do not leave out the actual creativity!). WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE YEAR? Now celebrate each and every accomplishment. You made progress. THIS IS YOUR JOB FOR TODAY!! We forget some of the things we’ve done that are sometimes very small, but they lead to much bigger things in the future. And….we never give ourselves enough credit for what we did do, mainly because we think it’s too small and insignificant. Start celebrating now! After all, tomorrow is New Year’s Eve…….

Step 2 is identifying what you DIDN’T get done. This is hard, and sometimes it can leave us with a sense of failure. Not so. Get it out on paper, have the pity party, get over it, and you don’t have to think about it as much. There were reasons why these didn’t get done: not a priority, not enough time, too much money, family and/or job commitments. Identify them and let them go. It’s okay if you are working full time and don’t have a lot of creative time or space. Part of what will follow in later steps will be adding realistic planning into your goals. WE’LL LOOK AT THIS TOMORROW.

Step 3 is starting a list of all that you actually accomplish this year. Add to it throughout the year. Then when you reflect next year, you’ve already got your list. I’ll show you examples of how to actually do this.

Step 4 is sharing what you accomplished , on a blog, your website, a newsletter….or in the comments here. Let us celebrate with you. Working in isolation is tough, and since we have a cyber community, let’s take advantage of it!

YOUR JOB TODAY – Step 1 is reflecting on what you FINISHED. What did you get accomplished this past year? Let’s start here. Make a list of what you actually completed this past calendar year (since that’s what most of us work with). Consider everything: sales, new customers, teaching gigs, social media, newsletters, art shows, gallery entries, website development, blog writing, travel, new art work (definitely do not leave out the actual creativity!). WHAT DID YOU DO FOR THE YEAR? Now celebrate each and every accomplishment. You made progress.

Interested in marketing advice? Check out my new book on iTunes: Niche Marketing – Planning, Marketing, and Selling Your Unique Items.

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Merry Christmas


Enjoy greetings from the US Air Force Band – their Holiday Flash Mob. (Just click the pic….)

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The Best of the Season from Linda and Dean.


Kinda Sorta a Year of Sadness……

Cactus Fountain

Cactus Fountain

One of the most restful places in Tucson for me is the Tucson Botanical Gardens. There is this metal sculptural fountain of various kinds of cacti that is so spectacular. I don’t know how many times I have snapped pictures of it; I never tire of the photos, and it is fun to manipulate them on the computer. Surprisingly I’ve only been there twice this year, both times in the spring when most of the gardens are in bloom. It was also a time of severe depression and sadness. I think the family deaths from last year began to finally catch up with me…anger primarily, and then sadness.

The depression stuck around for a long time, and I realized I needed to get a different kind of medication. I would sit and play solitaire for hours on end, not doing any sewing or anything beyond the basics. One of the side effects – on the good side – was the fact that I completely slowed down. I spent most of the winter and spring in first gear, and sometimes it felt like reverse. Vacation was wonderful, but coming back to a long siege with pneumonia derailed me again. I had a couple weeks before Thanksgiving I felt like I was at least in fourth gear, getting a great amount done, but then the sadness struck again with Thanksgiving, as it always does at this time, commemorating my dad’s sudden death 39 years ago. It was harder to get over things this year, but I am slowly working my way back into fourth gear.

It has also helped to have an endocrinologist who actually felt my thyroid, determined there were problems just from my symptoms, and then had tests and an ultrasound done to confirm everything. It will take a while to get better, but at least, after nearly two decades, I have a doctor who is willing to listen and try alternative approaches.

Overall this year I have not felt productive, not like the last two years of retirement have been. And yet I have made deadlines, the business has had the best year ever, and my own skills continue to improve. So I have to look at that and ignore the fact that some days nothing got accomplished except getting dressed. As is my usual self, I am looking forward to the new year and new projects, finishing some old one, enjoying the 60s (turning out to be a pretty good decade), navigating Medicare and health care, and not feeling guilty when a day passes and all I have done is read a book – or write on the novel.

Last January I only had 200 blog entries to go till I hit 1000, and then I basically stopped writing. I’ve done very few entries this year, and I’ve also read very few blogs this year. Part of me feels guilty, and the other part of me is lashing me with a wet noodle and saying “stop it – no need to feel guilty.” So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it……

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