In celebration of people and words…

ee cummings quote

Rebranding at will

Imagine you are walking down the streets of New York City and you have not been branded yet. There is no story tagged to you, like a piece of tobacco rolled up in thin white paper without a name, you no longer have a label or a story. Gone is your award for class clown, bully, or friend, along with your tag lines: the family hero, writer, artist, black sheep, and on and on.

You, like the pieces of tobacco rolled in thin white paper have no brand. You are free to create your own brand. You can shake off what defined you and write your own story. Like the Virginia Slim, you can ‘go a long way baby.’ The projections of you can be wiped out like your fb account. This is what happened when I rebranded my dog Mu.

Mu was our first puppy. I fell in love with her from the beginning; failing to tell my husband she was not a pure bred til we were half way home. Five months into our relationship, things went bad. Mu grew powerful and started yanking at my shirt sleeve at the end of our walk. The louder I yelled, the more she tugged.

We went for walks or rather she did, with me almost achieving lift off as she dragged me down the path. What to do with this mutt, we should have bought a pure bred?

I told so many stories about my bad, bad dog, that people who knew me then, often ask now, “what ever happened with your crazy dog?”

Then one day, I picked Mu up from an overnight at the vet. I could hardly believe my eyes; there she stood, straight and still with the vet. I asked how she behaved: “Great, she is a sweetheart.”

On my way home I realized Mu was not crazy after all. I needed owner training. With the help of a kind friend, Cathy, I took control of the leash.

I then changed the story. Mu truly was a sweet dog and I started telling people that. In a few short conversations, my little Mu, became branded as the best little boxer this side of the Atlantic.

Now, back in New York City, as you walk through those streets smelling the car fumes and seeing the lights of possibility, you can take that energy and mold yourself into the creature you want to be ~ the one that lives on your own terms and sits like The Thinker, real or metaphorical, its own divine creation, living just once in a burst of beautiful light.

Like Don Draper of Mad Men, you can write your soul, for better or for worse. And as Don did, and I did for Mu you can take a story that condemns you, rewrite it, start spreading it, and change it.

©claireaperez

reading a lot of Buddhism lately

When we try to pick out anything...quote
When we try to pick out anything
I read this quote in a Buddhist magazine, Tricycle, and started drawing. Then I started photoshopping.
Life is so complex that the more we try to understand it, sometimes we just make it more difficult. So many connections and so many ways to interpret everything. I think that the Beatles had it right…”Mother Mary comes to me, whispers words of wisdom, let it be, let it be.”
©claireaperez

Poetry Month

Oprah has dedicated her current issue to poetry http://www.oprah.com/packages/the-power-ofpoetry.html

and so I am posting the poem Trees by Joyce Kilmer.  This remains my favorite poem and Mrs. Jordan made me memorize it and recite it to our fifth grade class at Hendy Avenue School.  I never looked at trees or poems the same again.  Go Mrs. Jordan wherever you are.



Tree tops in summer
Tree tops in summer

bu Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear, A next of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.

author:  Joyce Kilmer

It remains a mystery…

It remains a mystery…

I am not really sure when it happened, it is still a mystery.  I closed and locked the office door, took a gulp of my soda, put it in my bag and proceeded to my car.  Same old routine, just another day.   I walked past a colleague and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  My coat was still red and I was feeling like I wished I was wearing my black pea coat.

Nothing unusual seemed to happen in the elevator or on the walk past the customer service center, out the door, and past the pedestrians waiting for the bus.  I did not receive any funny looks and nothing felt any different.  I was thinking more about the red coat and how I just do not like it…it makes me feel like I put on bubble wrap.  I was sure that if it was not for the bubbles, I could almost past muster for an In Style check. 

I walked a couple of rows in the parking lot and still no clues.  The sun was shining, my car was clear of snow.  I looked forward to getting into the warm, sun-baked front seat on this cold winter day. 

 I unlocked the door and that is when I saw it.  The dribbles…brown dribbles, down my coat, streaming out of control.  ‘Oh my god, it is my soda and its leaking out of my black bag.’ I thought about the 12 ounces in my bag with all the work materials I had shoved in there and OMG (oh my God), my iPhone and $80 book.

I looked in the bag, sure enough, the stupid soda bottle turned upside down and the cap, loosened from my last gulp, was not able to hold back gravity.  Worse yet, on its way out of my black carry tote, the brown sugary soda pooled in the bottom, giving everything a good soak as it dripped out.

 Just so my friends can rest easy, the iPhone was safe.  I immediately fished it out of a bag inside the bag.  Everything else, however, needed a lot of remediation…drying in front of the wood stove and wiping down the sugar coating various parts of my car and person.

But the mystery remains…at what point did everything go bad…I thought I had sealed the bottle, even if I had not, why did it tip upside down, or had I been multi-tasking and placed it upside down?  and when and why did it take me so long to figure it out; that while I sat on the elevator, walked through the building and to my car, a disaster of my own making brewed silently along side me. 

 The tipping point…we must stay alert to prevent it, be vigilant to watch for it, and hope that we can mitigate its impact once it is in full tilt.  My electronic data was saved but damage wrought to a few things, which took time to fix, and cannot be completely repaired.

Artfulblogging…pass the cranyons please.

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One day I stumbled upon a magazine called Artfulblooging, see it at http://www.stampington.com/artfulblogging/. Rather expensive, $14 dollars, I purchased it because a glance at the colors and images inside inspired me. I have read and reread this magazine but it is only recently that I considered applying it to my blog.

The world these days can be a downer, especially in the Northeast during a very gray winter, catastrophes stream across the bottom of the 5 PM CNN report with Wolf Blitzer and my email headlines read: “See who is likely to spoil the White House state dinner.” So much out there that I can do little to impact. So the pretty blogs depicted in Artfulblogging are an escape from one part of the world into another, a beautiful world. I can actually do something in the world of art.

A few weeks ago I decide dto go to the store and buy some of art supplies. I did not spend much and it has been fun to make a few Valentine’s Day cards and design a few creatures and pictures on little pieces of paper. It a relief for the mind. A little line there, a little color here, and a bit of shading there…before you know it something cheerful.

It is hard to pick up the crayons when you really do not have some grand and glorious purpose in mind and have never considered yourself very artistic. My husband recommends, just doing it for you. I thinks he is right and besides I believe there are all kinds of talents in all of us and that the story line should simply be…I feel like doing something relaxing, pass the crayons and have some fun. http://www.stampington.com/index.html

winterlight from the Lansing Community Library, Jan 2011

winterlightWPVWTB8HMCVW

Today show hosts announce: June 17, 2011 will be the best day of the year.

Today, as they thumbed through a  magazine like The National Enquirer,  Kathy Lee and Hoda, the NBC talk show hosts,  declared that according to  what they were reading,  January 17 will be the worst day of the year and June 17 will  be the best  day of the year, that is the day I turn 5000000000000000.

I just finished Nora Ephron’s book entitled I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections and this is what my parody of her sounds like about the age of Fifty.  Fifty, I’m not suppose to turn 50, 50 is for old people.  Fifty is for my Mother and all the people wearing Alfred Dunner and elastic waist band pants.   Fifty is for people with severe chicken neck and a lot of grey hairs.  Fifty is for church suppers and the Friday night fish fry.  Hey wasn’t it just yesterday that I was 28 and my younger sister taunted me with the words:  “YOU WILL BE THIRTY, THIRTY.”   Nope, fifty is not for me. 

Molly  isn’t  turning 50, a few years younger, she fought a horrible cancer and died in her mid 20s.  Jim, my brother’s  friend and a gentle, fun, outgoing soul, he isn’t turning 50.  Somewhere in his 30s the lottery of life gave him a seizure  condition which caused an early death.  I thought of   these two as I drove to the dentist today.  It’s cold out, my lungs hurt from a recent bronchitis and I’m sure both, with their  enormous zest for life, would wish to be here and have a little lung pain and the gift of being 49.

Nora Ephron also points out in her book that she did not really get it until she was fifty.  “In fact looking back I was clueless until I was about fifty years old.”  The most ironic thing about aging is that as we get  it  more and more with each year, our bodies and minds let go of it.  It would make more sense if we got it when we were young and full of the energy needed to do something with it.    But then again, maybe we tried that and through time, realized certain truths that would have stymied us in our youth.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~here is a poem I wrote on New Year’s Eve, sad things happen but good things do to

140 word stories: a song, a garden and a YouTube video

I snapped photographs of our surroundings and I decided to make the video I promised my husband, Radames.  It gives us a document of the seasons here in the Northeast.

I set this visual story to Claire deLune because my lifelong friend’s father, John A.,  use to greet  me with that nick name as he lifted his head up from his garden beds to say hello.  Between my friend’s home, nestled among trees and flowers and perennials, and my Grandmother’s gardens, I learned to appreciate nature; the smell of the earth after a good rain; and the beauty of color that pops out all year as the light hits the earth.

I visit gorgeous gardens and natural places and my favorite are like these pictures, I walk in and feel the magic, the light, and the love.

©claireaperez

my old cat Tazz

I picked Tazz up in 1993 at an animal shelter, he stood a day away from euthanasia.   I lived alone, several miles from my work and life community and I wanted a cat to keep me company.  Tazz has gone through everything with me. Always present with affection and purrs.  He is so old that before my aunt died in 1995, she made a figurine replica of him, which I still display.

At first, I was not sure our relationship could work.  I put him in time out more than once when he climbed up a fabric wall hanging and was unreachable.  I started reading cat books and the vet said to speak his language. When I needed him to behave , such as, stop clawing at the furniture, I began hissing and soon he began growing out of his kitten phase.

Tazz ruined three rugs, a couch, and annoyed the heck out of our dogs, two of which he outlived.  In the last three years, he spent much of his time sleeping with his wife, Honey Bunny.  I am sad to write I have taken for granted that Tazz would always be here. 

So, last week, when he started a rapid decline with only 1/4 of his kidneys functioning, I wanted to do whatever I could to keep him around longer.  He is on blood pressure medicine, potassium supplements, and periodic subcutaneous fluids.  It sounds ridiculous, how can I do this for an animal that has lived long when people suffer without health care.  I know I am not alone.  According to Jon Markman on moneycentral.msn , “Americans lavish $36 billion a year on pampered pets.” 

The only answer is that this little warm bundle of fur is always happy to see me and he is the only creature that was part of my everyday life in 1993 that is still part of my everyday life.  Perhaps it is nostalgia that is motivating me to fuss and just the need to say a proper goodbye.

 ©claireaperez

interested in communications & the narratives we create

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