Tuesday, September 24, 2013



This is a partial view of my fireplace mantel. I found this giant distressed ampersand over the summer, and, being a punctuation mark, it kind of spoke to me. Like literally. It said, (this is going to surprise you), it said...


 I know. Right? But seriously, even though my high school English teacher would say that a conjunction cannot be a sentence and a question all by itself, I knew what it was asking me.

Now what?
What's next, Kerri?
Yes, you're pretty happy, but why stop? You know you want more.

So this two-foot ampersand is not just a beautiful big piece of punctuation, it does what punctuation does best. It stops me. It emphasizes. And, more subtle than a question mark, it reminds me that I still have so many questions to answer. So many possible ways to end the sentence.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stuff I wish I liked.

 So enough about my worries and fears... a walk on the whimsical side today...

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she was going apple-picking with her family. I smiled at the thought.

But then another thought occurred to me. I really don't like apple-picking.

I've been apple-picking. I think it's kind of boring, and I don't care much whether I've actually plucked an apple from a tree or not. What I like is the IDEA of apple-picking. I like apples, and apple crisp and apple pie. I like the ride to an orchard, on a crisp, sunny fall day. I love the little country orchard stores, with their jams and jellies and handmade crafts, the aroma of cinnamon in the air.

But I really don't care to pick apples. It tends to be colder under the trees, and the ground is covered with mushy apples that I don't want to step in. I prefer to buy a bushel that has been picked and packed for me back in that cute little country orchard store.

And this made me think about other things that I don't really like but I so desperately WANT to -- because of the ideas and images and rituals attached to them. Here are a few of them:

What's not to love about tea? I love everything about tea, except for, well, drinking it. I love teabags, steeping in hot water, their artsy tags dangling. I love the amazing, exotic array of tea flavors. I love loose tea, and those adorable infusers that actual tea-drinkers get to use. I love tea packaging -- seriously --  those Republic of Tea canisters are irresistible. I love tea-drinkers (Fran). They are consistently hip people. But alas, I really don't like tea.

Major League Baseball.
Young athletes in uniform. Joe Girardi (sigh). Ball caps, baseball stadiums, logos, team colors, competition. What's not to love? Except, for me, the game itself. This actually applies, in my case, to virtually every sport. I could not care less. Big balls. Little balls. No balls. Balls being thrown, kicked, tossed, hit, bounced, volleyed. Lines crossed, nets penetrated. It stirs nothing in me. But I love the IDEA of a ball game. I love a trip to Yankee Stadium! The iconic shape of the stadium itself, the fans all decked out in Yankee t-shirts and ball caps, Joe Girardi (sigh again). But the game itself? The score? I have to remind myself to watch while I am sitting there scanning the crowd in the hopes of seeing a famous person actually watching the game. (PS, Joe Girardi, if you are reading this, I am kidding, of course!! I live for baseball. Go Yankees!! ;o)

It comes in so many shapes and sizes and colors and preparations. Filets, claws, shells, caviar! Whole fancy restaurants are devoted to it. The best vacation places thrive on it. And it's good for you. I love watching Iron Chefs making everything from appetizers to dessert out of it. But yuck. Really. My palate just won't cooperate with my eyes on this one...with the unique exception of fried calamari, dipped in maranara (I know).

There are, of course many others... (classical music, exercise, meditation, yoga...) What about you? I am sure I am not alone in this. Happy Hump Day!!! :o)

No seriously, Joe. I LOVE baseball. xox

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Acknowledging fear...

As I begin to devote my time and energy to the business of art, I am forced to stare my fears in the face.

Up until very recently, I believed I should ignore my fears rather than admit to them. I thought that admitting I was afraid would feed my fears, and give them power. But I've found out that the opposite is true.

So I've been asking myself, "What are you really afraid of?" I had thought that my biggest fear was of failure. Obviously, I don't want to fail at my dream of making a living as an artist. I want enough success to sustain me, my artistic soul, my home, and my life.

But what I found as I listened to myself (those voices in my head) is that even bigger than my fear of failure was a fear of success. I am taking an e-class by Kelly Rae Roberts, called Flying Lessons, and I am keeping a journal as I follow this amazing e-book, and this is what poured out one night, while working on Part I...

"My biggest fear is that I will outgrow my current life -- that my dreams will grow too big for this little, safe, comfortable place that I inhabit in the world. And my other biggest fear is that because of that fear, I won't try hard enough. I will squash my dreams and silence them until they die. Until I die."

And now that I've acknowledged these fears, it's not nearly as scary. I still have moments of doubt, but now that have owned up to it, I see it coming. And I am dealing with it, rather than letting it crush me.

(PS - Thank you for your friendship and supportive comments - particularly lately - I have needed it more than I may show. I am so fortunate and grateful to know you all.)

You see, I love this little space I occupy in the world. (Front porch, September 2013).

Sunday, September 15, 2013

New beginnings...

I know that fall in upstate New York is the precursor to a very long, cold winter, but September still always represents a rebirth to me. The fresh, cold air makes me feel alive. Watching the little ones go off to their first days of school with new backpacks and new shoes makes me nostalgic for all of those firsts so many years ago. Although I generally did not love school, I was always so hopeful on those first few days that THIS would be a great year.

It's also my birth month. I have found, as I near the last year of my fourth decade, that most people my age do not enjoy acknowledging and celebrating their birthdays much, but I am that exception. I like to celebrate as much and as many times as possible for the whole month of September, and I justify every treat I allow myself during this month -- from new boots to a trunkload of pumpkins -- by saying "it's my birthday!" In fact, I have started referring to September 1 as opening day for my birthday festivities, which I gladly accept and celebrate through midnight, September 30.

This year, however, I've been in a bit of a funk during my favorite month, with worries about my current joblessness, and with that, questions about what I want to do when I grow up.

I know at least some of the answers. And they involve some big (scary) risks and some big (exciting) changes, to live the life that feeds my soul, as well as my body. I will be sharing more very soon...

Meanwhile,  a glimpse at a perfect day...  the trunk of my car, filled with the festive colors of fall...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nine Eleven

The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace. -- Carlos Santana

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fun with fungus

Some photoshop fun with a picture of some 'shrooms growing on a tree stump at Albany Rural. The top left image is the original. The others are the result of playing around with hue, saturation and an artistic cutout filter...

Monday, September 09, 2013

Albany Rural Cemetery...

Of all the beautiful sights at my favorite cemetery, (and there are many), I love the Celtic cross headstones most of all. The strong, straight lines and symmetrical patterns stand in start contrast to the haphazard beauty of nature that surrounds them.

Here's a photo I snapped yesterday, along with a Photoshop-altered version...