a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Friday, March 30, 2012

breathin easy

i stayed up way past my bedtime last night, and enjoyed some time chatting with handsome husband...diva is at Camp Grandma's, and it allowed us relaxed time without diva & bulimia cat growling & grepsing, and no major Imminent Situations to deal with. so we wandered around idle chatter. it was like when we first met. this morning, he got up before me (amazing - i slept till 7!) and had coffee brewed & waiting for me. This. Is. So. Nice.
so how's the smoking/not smoking, you ask? well, normally I need to light up within seconds of getting up in the morning. this morning, i got up at 7am, hung out with hubby & had coffee, felt so good that i went for a power walk which made me feel better so i retraced my steps and took some pics with my camera phone. came home and had a bowl of whole grain cereal and am now typing this, making plans for a Smash entry, AND have not smoked yet and am not tearing my own eyes out. so, to answer your question: good right now. yesterday - only smoked 5, as opposed to 25. so here are my walk highlights:
it all starts with the 1st step (and every good blogger has a foot picture in there somewhere, right?)

Still needed these in the morning...

the sun was glorious as it began to light the trees...

bath time...

the Fairy Chair...amazing in the summer when wild daffodils and trillium surround it...and in the fall *groan* ...

going now to look up a new yoga studio between my house and the wildlife rehabber...a nice in between state of mind. but first, get pics printing and SMASH!
wishing you a day of beautiful filtered light and smashing successes....

Thursday, March 29, 2012


ok - am i the last one to the Smashbook party? is it so 49 seconds ago?

am loving me some smashbook! i am not a journaler - unless you count this blog. i try. but just don't find myself fascinating enough to engage my own time on paper. but this smashbook...it makes this fun. and easy. and there are ACCESSORIES! yes! little stickie things and drawing/gluing things. and cheap-e-ola. so yeah, i'm diggin the red one. apparently each color book has a theme. so much fun. please don't tell me it's old stuff.

ah ha

ok the answer is revealed! the question was why am i such a slack-assed wench lately? surprise! sick again - radical stomach flu of the don't-move-or-i'll-barf variety. 2 days full flat out...no food, no liquid, no medicine will stay down. mom took diva. kitten saw a compatriot in the bulimia. today - shaky but standing. and wondering what the heck happened to my immune system that i am constantly sick. ok - in the shower, at least, to wash off germies, then a new toothbrush and sheets. at least it will smell april fresh!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

the thing of it is this...i'm exhausted and sleep like it's my job, and i don't feel like i have a direction...a new direction, anyway...and i feel like it's shifting toward a new direction, but i'm not sure where that is or where i'm headed. when i was little, i remember a cartoon i saw on our old scratchy black-and-white tv...the cartoon character was sleepwalking and got up on some girders in a high-rise construction site. just as he was about to step off a girder into the great void, another girder would come swinging by and he'd miraculously step onto that. it continued like that for a bit. that's how i feel, kind of. except i'm not sure where the next girder is coming from, and don't know which way to step. i am sleepwalking though! there are some really cool opportunities i'm involved in - my show in May, Squam necklaces, necklaces in-store at Rockywold-Deephaven, website workshops, etc etc, and i'm grateful for all of it every single second. but it feels like a shifting of direction is not in any of those directions. oy. we'll see what happens.
Meanwhile...I've spent a few Amish days...barely checking email on my phone, not logging on to the computer at all, no tv, and with the exception of a web workshop yesterday i've just kept to myself and quiet. it's been nice. i actually finished reading Arcadia, which will find it's way to Sue this week sometime. The author is from this area-ish, and mentions my city a few times. kinda cool.
diva dog is in full howl, so i will wish you an excellent evening filled with shooting stars against an indigo sky....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

sorry it's been a while...busy with getting ready for the show, teaching website building, and trying Just Trying to keep up with it all. yesterday, i woke up at 6am, went back to sleep till 10 TEN! then lay on the couch till noon. sloth-like wench. we went to visit Aunt Romayne in the hospital, went to late lunch/early dinner, then i hit the couch again and slept til 10pm, when i went up to bed for the night. what the heck? blame it on the return of cold, damp weather? all i wanted to do is papoose up. today has been more enthusiastic, with the Becky Home-ec-y thing in full swing. ah well. Time is running out, by the way, on this year's Squam necklaces...visit me www.lindaesterleydesigns.com to get you some goodness!
ok - back to the paints. wishing you an hearth-warm day with hot chocolate & marshmallows....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

yes - i know...spotty posting. seems to be a disease in blogland recently, as the sun begins melting the fatigue and chill in people's bones...exuberant outsideness...our usual temps are in the high 40's for this time of year, and yesterday was just a hair shy of 80. today, i'm headed outside with beeswax and torches and brushes to work some encaustic madness. i've been waiting forever for this, as proper ventilation was a problem in my studio. working madly to finish up pieces for my May 1st solo show. i'll try to drop in and tease you with pictures, but it promises to be a busy time.
wishing you sweet spring scented breezes to stir your soul today...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tshirt my husband brought back from the Spy Museum in DC.
ack! so much going on, and lingering crud still nipping at my heels. plus, the quit-smoking thing, plus a solo show to finish work for (1 month away), plus the cemetery project, plus applying for grants, plus....oy vey. but it's all good. just a lot of it at once. well, mostly all good. the crud part i can live without. sometimes it's easier said than done to "put something behind you" and get on with it. sometimes you need to be heard. and sometimes you have to balance the need to be heard against potentially hurting someone who may have deeply hurt you unintentionally. sometimes i just ramble when i get tired - like now. so time to add another coat of gesso to cover the World's Ugliest Painting, and get some sleep.
if only there was a gesso made for life.

never ceases to amaze me

I have kept a magazine around for 10 years...Art Doll Quarterly. a specific issue. because a picture of a fantastic creation brought tears to my eyes, and i had a certainty in my heart that one day I would meet the creator. Not only did i get to meet her, but a number of years ago, i took a semi-private workshop with her...Wendy Ellertson. you know how sometimes you meet the person who's been inspiring you for a while, and that person is not who you'd hoped they be? not the case here. i remained slack-jawed and in awe for the entire 4 days. she is kind, smart, funny, generous, no nonsense, creative, talented, and to say she thinks outside the box - honey, she kicked the box to the curb eons ago.
just a quick inspirational moment.
now back to gesso.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


it's a beautiful spring day...the robin's and cardinals and crows are busy outside my window...the sweet air is drifting through my studio...the sun is bringing a smile to my face...i'm still processing everything that re-opened yesterday...sudden inklings of the truths that are being revealed to me - not filtered through another's remembrance, but through fact and love...and on one hand it makes me sad to think of all the fallow time that has gone by, but on the other, i am so very grateful to have had this glimpse before it got later...before it was too late. fences that seemed impossibly high seem like a mere step-over. i am more determined to get my project off the ground, though last night i admit i was ready to walk away from it. a good night's sleep and some good breakfast provided clear perspective. now to take diva for a walk, then take myself on a walk alone with my thoughts and plans.
wishing you clear skies and clear vision....

Monday, March 12, 2012

let me back up...yesterday morning was this:

then in the afternoon, boating with Perfect Patty the wrap wench at Pirate's Cove. some freaky times, i tell you.
wonderful, relaxing time...much needed.

ok - today. It was the best day, and one one of the most emotional ones I've had in some time.

i found my father's gravesite. you may know I'm trying to put together funding/sponsorship for a mapping project for the cemetery. this has become a passionate hope of mine to be able to do this. I haven't visited my father's grave in over 30 years because I couldn't find it. records were stolen, maps were mislabeled...all manner of confusion exists. But at the heart of my intention is that I am not the only person with this problem. and even if you do know where your loved one is buried, it is not always possible to visit the gravesite. my hope is to be able to map the cemeteries and create an interactive website that is searchable by name, and will have a picture of the headstone. being able to see that on a screen right in front of you is a comfort if you aren't able to get there in person.
But I'm sidetracked.
The most important and remarkable part of my day was reconnecting with my Uncle. It's late & I'm tired, and afraid I won't do the topic justice, so I'll wait till tomorrow. but i will say it was difficult not to spend the entire visit bawling. i think i did an okay job of "casual," but my emotions were so close to the surface...looking back as an adult, I've come to realize the incredible generosity of my aunt & uncle...they opened their home to my father, mother, brother & I, and we lived there for quite some time - maybe a year or more? Two families...my cousins doubling up so we had room. how in the world did it all work without world war three? but the love between my father and his sister was so strong that it did work. I cannot imagine being asked to take in my in-laws, complete with a kindergartener, and a baby, and a mom who felt insecure and like an outsider...i know my limits, and a weekend of it maybe...but a year? I don't think my generosity would stretch that far, I'm afraid. maybe. maybe not. but it was the way it was, and the gratitude i feel for them allowing this cannot be put into words. and seeing my uncle today - still handsome as i remember - just brought it all back. so - more
tomorrow. time for bed.
hug the ones you love...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

a plan

(a pre-apology for the wacky fonts and bolds and spacing - i'm not sure what blogger has up it's sleeve, but after 30 minutes, i can't fix it, so be prepared)

I had a dream & I heard music & there were children standing around, but no one was dancing. I asked a little girl, why not? & she said they didn't know how, or maybe they used to but they forgot & so I started to hop up & down & the children asked me, Is that dancing? & I laughed & said, no, that's hopping, but at least it's a start & soon everyone was hopping & laughing & it didn't matter any more that no one was dancing.
-Brian Andreas StoryPeople

I'm halfway through the book The Power Of Habit, and I think I may have a plan for my smoking.  I'm not going to quit.  Correct.  But,  one of my fears about quitting has always been the weight gain (went from size 6 to 12 in a month last time).  That got me thinking about joining a gym first, or figuring out a way to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine.  Standing or sitting in one place all day while i work, has made me sluggish and chunky.  and it isn't the shape of my exterior that has me all stressed - fabulous people come in all sizes, as do hateful people.  it's the fact that getting heavier means buying new clothes to fit, and i just restocked the local Goodwill in my recent closet purge.  and i'd much rather spend money on other things.  so the two things will work together...i will continue to smoke BUT - only after I've taken a brisk 30 minute walk and drink a glass of water.  the walk/water rule will allot me 2 cigarettes.  whenever i want them...two in a row, or spaced over an hour, two hours, etc.  but after those two are smoked, another walk/water break must be started.  this could work.  i believe it can.  and i am asking for all good thoughts and prayers.
why walking? well, first of all, i live in the woods, basically, and am surrounded by beautiful smells and sights and nature and all good things, which includes trails through those woods. if i have to get in my car to go to a gym or yoga studio every time i want to exercise, it won't happen. history has proven that to me. but walking the trails - instant. open the door an start putting one foot in front of the other. and then there's Sam & Mary. when I was growing up, we lived in an apartment complex for a time. not just any apartment complex...this one was still being built, and was one of the nicest ones around...an address to be proud of in it's time. and there seemed to be an unwritten qualifier to the application that you needed to be Jewish. I know, but it was a different time. we nicknamed the place Hanukkah Heights. but there was an older couple that lived there, Sam & Mary, that I've always remembered. not because Sam guarded the gate to the pool, and not for their heavy German accent, or the number tattoos on their arms, or because Mary would turn the garden hose on us when we were misbehaving & in range. They were old & sedentary. and Sam was told he would die soon, due to his inactivity and heart problems. this was waaay before Plavix and pills to control just about anything that befell you. "walk," his doctor told him. so every morning, Sam would walk. a few yards at first, then the loop around the apartment complex, then up and down the road and around the apartment complex. every single day. and soon Mary joined him. Their walk was their life. they walked incessantly. and years went by, and Sam & Mary were still walking...not laid to rest, as their doctor had forewarned. but healthy and with as much speed and stamina as us kids. (almost). this was also long before organized commercial gyms and fitness centers and spas. just one foot in front of the other. every single day. Sam would be around for many years to torment us at the pool, "Sign in your name!" he'd gruffly yell at us when we approached the gate. He took his job, and his walk, very seriously. so i think walking will be the thing.
the cool thing about this book is that it shows the relationship between the cue, the action, and the reward. i'm hoping that the healthier walking habit will replace the smoking habit for a relaxation payoff. i've identified my cues - when i'm more apt to smoke a lot - and if i can respect myself enough to stay with the plan, then this could just work. i have a tendency to give myself permission to cheat. but the additional reward of saving for a Paris trip in 1 year will be added incentive. i'm going to dust off my high school French, and sign up for a French class at the local adult ed, in order to make it more real. (did you know i wanted to be a french teacher when i was in high school? thank you, Madam Whorrall for making it seem so possible). I've calculated the cost of each cigarette, and will put the amount i've saved each day into a special account to watch it grow. my husband did that when he quit tobacco, and is saving for a boat.
so that's my plan. nothing else has worked. this will. i just know it. Plus, diva will get her daily walk earlier in the day so i don't feel guilty about walking without her. this is to be a brisk walk, and there's nothing brisk about her daily walk anymore.
wish me belief ....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

handsome husband and Perfect Stepdaughter are taking a father/daughter trip to DC. they left this morning, after husband did a quick turnaround/change luggage/sleep a few hours breeze through the house...he'd just gotten back from a weeklong biz trip. i cooked an awesome dinner for myself, instead of the usual chips in front of the TV...watched a few movies...am reading The Power Of Habit now, and have decided that i may be able to quit smoking if my goal is to take all that saved money & go to Paris in a year. it's ridiculous that my attempts to quit have not yet been successful, and i hate that something that nasty controls my life. it really does. i remember being offered a job, and one of my first thoughts: how far to the front door? can i make it outside for a smoke, then back to my desk within the allotted break time? and going to a movie is like a ticking timebomb...after the movie ends, it's a race to the door, through a mall and outside to smoke. then catch up with friends and being the stinky one. i really hate it. by the way - smokers are aware that their clothes smell, that their habit is inconvenient, that their breath smells, that they are wasting tons of money and their health. and don't even get me going about the stinky car...how many times have i felt the need to warn people that, although i'm happy to drive somewhere, the car is stinky. i suppose it's the least i can do so you aren't trapped in it unawares. most smokers would give anything to have the habit just Be Gone...but according to a Dr friend of mine, the nicotine habit is harder to break than heroin. so, not to be rude here, but disdainful looks and comments are not a help. we know you mean well, but if paying $10.50 a pack isn't stopping us, then the evil eye is not going to cut it. thank you for caring, though. i have tried chantix, wellbutrin, hypnosis, acupuncture, inhaler thingies, lozenges, patches, drops, cold turkey, deprivation, smoking only outside, smoking only on even number hours...pretty much everything. i've smoked in the hospital bathroom when i was a patient, i smoked when i had pneumonia, bronchitis, root canals (and if dry socket doesn't cure you, i dare say nothing will)...it's been a battle. and yes, i feel badly about it. but the fact remains that i smoke, and right now, it is a part of the package. hopefully i can be done with this mess Very Soon. i want to be able to hug my friends without wondering if i'm grossing them out. i'm hypersensitive about that. and i DO care about it. it just has not been easy to master this habit yet. but soon.... so what was i talking about before i took that left turn? oh, right...house to myself. and suddenly i felt older...remember the days when being home on a saturday night was the Worst Possible Social Fate? funny, now i crave it! any day of the week. but not a lot of them in a row. maybe i'll take a friend to the movies tomorrow. just make sure it's a short one...

Friday, March 09, 2012

i stole this from Stephanie Lee's blog...she's right - look what can happen without video game distraction...

Thursday, March 08, 2012

this will get your heart pumping!

got tix! yeah, i know...i probably already told you....

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

from Brian Andreas: I still fly a lot in my dreams, she told us, but I try to stay close to the ground. At my age, a fall can be pretty serious. It's funny, but as we get older, we're supposed to get wiser, right? sometimes we get more careful instead...nothing like a mortgage and a family to support and car payments and car pools and laundry - all that "real life" stuff - becomes the new reality...and stepping to the side to remember our dreams and hopes and plans for our life that we wished upon stars for when we were younger, well, they seem like a selfish luxury...who are you to want to (fill in the blank) when your kids need new cleats for football, or what if it doesn't work out? what if the dreams i held as a child / teenager / young adult - what if those dreams were just pie in the sky? how will the credit cards get paid and they'll ruin my credit and the mortgage will be late and we'll be homeless living in a van down by the river and my kids will hate me and my husband/wife will blame it all on me and i.will.be.a.failure. a big dripping stinky failure. there are thousands of variations on that theme. thousands of reasons big & small, real & imagined, that stop us. or waiting for the perfect time - after the kids are gone, after the mortgage is paid, after i save X number of dollars as a cushion (which never seems to happen. see above "cleats.") so we dream smaller. and safer. and maybe a huge art career with paintings in a prestigious gallery, or a lucrative licensing contract becomes a dedicated area in the house (with a real door) for us to paint or sew or doodle and dream or write that novel that's been perking inside. and maybe that is just perfect. our goals and dreams change, morph, become candy coated or end up found in an old winter coat pocket covered in fluff and old kleenex. but you see, they are still our dreams - our spark...the piece of us that make us US. and in some way they need to be honored...given sunlight...i watched a documentary recently about a woman who is a well-noted art collector. she really wanted to be a sculptor, but never felt she had the gift. so she worked and worked and spent every cent she could on other people's art. and that was good enough for her. her home was filled with incredible art. (actually FILLED - she would easily be termed a hoarder unless you looked carefully). i guess my point is to never give up on your dreams. even if they need to be modified to your adult life. it's crazy/fun to screw up your courage and say, "i'm going to dive in head first, and trust the net will be there." and it may be. but do you have the nerve for it? can you face down the fear and the family commentary when things are slow? and maybe they won't be slow - maybe you'll have to run to catch up with everything...all i can tell you from my seat here is that your dreams never give up on you...somehow, sometime, and usually with regularity, you'll find yourself wondering "what if i had..." Make time for whatever conversation you need to have with your dreams...make time to let that spark out, however it may be configured in the life you chose...it isn't necessary to heave the table over and start a new meal just because the salad isn't crisp enough...am i saying "lessen your dream" on one hand and "grab the ring and ride" on the other? no. just know what your deepest gut feeling is telling you...know your comfort level...you are no more or no less the person of your dreams by living them the best you can in the life you have.

Monday, March 05, 2012

good advice

i love Madea - I channel her when I yell at the kids. this video has a lot of wisdom - Madea style. it's a little long but worth every second...wishing you strong roots....

Saturday, March 03, 2012

this morning, i wrote my hopes, dreams and prayers on the shower wall with a soap crayon...as i shampooed my hair, i looked around me and saw it all there...the handwriting on the wall, as it were...a watery vision board... i think this will be a new practice

Thursday, March 01, 2012

to say the year has started out with a bang and a wobble is probably an understatement...so many core beliefs i held were tested to their breaking point...no surprise, my physical health suffered, with pneumonia & bronchitis lasting months, flattening me and taking away any energy for inspiration or stamina in the studio. just as i was ready to throw away my brushes and gel medium, a spark was lit once again. more like a bonfire. and i've been painting in a style i've never done before, with results that i'm actually pleased about. Necklace orders and re-orders have been coming in steady for the new Squam 2012 designs (keeping it simple) and my studio is humming with enthusiasm once again. now to keep up! I have a few shows coming up, and some artwork to be published! But in the midst of this, a shaking of friendships and connections...ones that i thought were solid, heart attachments showed themselves to be so much sugar that melted with the damp snow...others surprised me - my mistaking their quiet, gentleness for "acquaintance," when the connection was deeper, but less in need of a constant communication...one of those Golden Tethers. Priorities were recalibrated...boundaries reset...a deep look inside to help the sorting...and when i thought every possible stone had been lifted, and the squishy things revealed, another Something would slam into me. there was always one constant in my life that i could depend on for respite, and when that was removed, it set off yet another chain of ugly emotions and reactions that i didn't know existed inside me. and you know, there's no moving forward with those kind of screaming toddlers clinging to your ankles. so it has been a tiring and tense 6 months, as i alternately tried to run from the issues, and stand & clear them. and finally, on this first day of March (already??) i can say that a sense of peace & direction has finally returned...would i wish to go through all that again? no possible way. but the result was worth the mess. much like my studio these days. i have to say, that up until last night, there remained some dangling threads to the tapestry. but last night i received the news that a woman who has been a dear dear light in my life was given a devastating medical diagnosis, followed by the doctors telling her there was "no hope" for treatment. i cannot fathom what her heart and mind and body are going through. i simply cannot wrap my head around it. and my feelings are not even in this bigger equation. she made the announcement to her facebook family last night, after spending the day with the news. she has decided that she will live her life to the fullest with whatever time has been allotted her. we all know there's no such thing as "no hope." and that a no-hope diagnosis is not always what God has intended, so He ignores the doctors. but it shifted reality. for all of those people she's touched. it shifted. in ways that focused on her, and in ways that made us focus on others in our lives. and suddenly it seemed easier to just cut those dangling threads and be done with all the minutiae of emotional scorekeeping and personal development and worries in general...cut them rather then spend eternity sorting out this and that, only to realize 5 years, 10 years have gone by and now there's little time left. those dangling little threads can choke you, for certain. they can wrap around you and keep you in place forever. To quote a very Wise woman, "You'll never figure this shit out, so just move forward." and with my new purple suede boots, that is exactly what i will do.