Sketch Dirty

This was my attempt to “sketch dirty” Ha! I know what you’re thinking & you’re being naughty! 😉

Back in my days of elementary school we actually were graded on our art work! I always got really high marks until the devastating day in 6th grade when Mrs. Krebs brought in an art student from some fancy smancy college to teach us about “art” by sketching our sneakers. I went straight to work meticulously drawing every line of my K-Mart wannabe Addias knockoffs! I even used a ruler and that weird thing that you were suppose to use to draw perfect circles but ending up stabbing the kid in leg that you sat next to for eating your glue… But I digress… When I was done I presented a very pristine pair of my kid sweaty grubby sneakers, with perfectly tied laces and a very articulate shadow to show dimension, the hippy dippy artsy farsty student art teacher, GASPED! At first I thought it be one of shear delight from the glory of my art work! OH! But No! No! No!

“That’s Not right!” She exclaimed! “That’s not what your sneakers look like!”

My nostrils started to flair, not in rage, but in attempts to hold back gushing tears of utter confusion! Of course it looked like my sneakers! I sketched MY sneakers! How can MY sketch of MY sneakers look like anything other than MY SNEAKERS!

In her own desperation to keep this racially ambiguous girl from self distruction, she scrambled off into another classroom and came back with a sketch of 2 fried eggs and some spaghetti. I don’t think I was ever more confused.

“You want it to look more like this…” She said trying to be consoling. “Your’s is to ‘clean’. You want to ‘sketch dirty’…”

I had not a clue of what she was talking about. I was to busy wallowing in self pitty & doubt. She gave me a “D” and Mrs. Krebs still hung it on the wall with the others as a constant reminder of my failed career as a 6th grade artist.

It wasn’t until I was in college when my AWESOME friend Erin was taking an art history class as an elective that I kinda sorta understood what sketching dirty meant… Yeah I looked through her books… Still, I don’t think I’ve even remotely grasped the concept… Yet! 😉

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Yeah, I “Do” Lent

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It’s the day before St. Patrick’s Day in Cork City Ireland and people are concerned about whether they will honour their Lent “resolution”. I was told a while back when I first move here, that “They” usually allow you to “cheat” on St. Patrick’s Day. But that’s not what I’m wanting to write about here. In this conversation that I had with a friend who was trying to justify eating meat (AKA a  West Cork Burger Company juicy blue cheese lamb burger) I told them that I was giving up buying ready made meals for my lunches and dinners at work. That I was going to make all my lunches and dinners at home and .bring them to work. The look of confusion and surprise on their face was astounding! They knew that I wasn’t Christian/Catholic, or any religion in particular so their confusion was justified.

“WTF! Why are doing Lent!?” They exclaimed “Your not Christian!”

No, I’m not, but do I have to of that religion to believe that something is simply a good practice?

Before Christianity people gave up eating meat during this time of the year because their live stock were pregnant and giving birth to more livestock. It was good practice to ensure that they didn’t deplete their herd so that it can multiply and grow. Pancake Tuesday was a way of getting rid of the old eggs, so they can distinguish the new eggs that were laid.  You let these eggs hatch so again you can have more chickens! When Christianity was incorporated into this tradition or vis versa, the old hen that doesn’t lay eggs anymore would have 40 days of pampering  and fattening for it’s final destination as one of the main courses for Easter dinner.

Religion aside, I felt that these are good practices, for cleansing, to go without so you don’t become indulgent. It is a good practice for saving and planning so that you are not caught out. It is a good practice to develop good habits. Making my own meals to bring to work will save me money. I make my own food that is better for me, so I’m healthier. Having more money and being healthier, I’m generally happier! So yeah I “do” Lent because it makes me happy!

 

Caught A Mouse

No, no. It’s not a euphemism. I actually did catch a mouse.  I used a glass and captured it, then took it outside to the compost. I released and it seemed quiet content to stay and naw on some carrot scraps.

 

People are always surprised how I do this. “Why aren’t you using traps?” “I have some extra traps you can have!” “They have these ‘human’ traps now!”…

I’ve seen 1st hand what those so called “humane” traps are like. Back in the early 2000s I was living in a basement walk out in the Nyland Co Housing Community back in Layfayette Colorado. I had told the people that were renting the house upstairs that there mice. See back then I didn’t have a phone, or wifi, or any sort of internet. The landlords of the place where living in Italy and the people upstairs were the connection to them if anything was needed. Well, they ignored me, because the mice didn’t make it up the stairs to their place … yet… They eventually did. Maybe they moved upstairs because I was so dirt poor that that my cupboards were bare and my little basement walk out was colder inside than it was outside. So when the mice nested in their oven, they finally called in the exterminators. They laid down gel traps… ugh…

They did their job. The mice ran across them and got stuck. But they didn’t die. They were stuck and they screamed. Shrill, haunting screams. I had to look. There were 2 mice in one tray. One had it’s nose stuck into the gel and couldn’t breath. You could see it’s little body heave for air that wasn’t there. The other one had all 4 legs stuck in it. I heard it’s little bones snap as it struggle to get free. I couldn’t take it, I grab a sharp kitchen knife and stabbed it through their heads to put them out of their misery. From that day forward I swore I would never use gel traps again. And if at all possible never use any sort of death trap at all.

So what do I do? When I notice that there is a mouse. I ignore it. It seems to get use to me quite quickly. It might take a day or two. But eventually it gets comfortable enough to come out into the open. Even then I would ignore it for a bit longer. And then about the 3rd time that it comes out, I simple put a glass over it, slide a bit of cardboard under it, and take the whole thing out into the compost and set it free. They never run and hide when I release them out there. They just start munching on the nearest food scrap.

That’s it… It’s a better way… At least for me… I can go to sleep at night without the sounds of a screaming mouse in agony after their bones snapped trying to get out of a trap.

Speaking of sleep… There’s another mouse upstairs in the bed room. Different mouse, bigger and brownish. Maybe a baby rat. I don’t know. But in a couple of days I’ll capture it in my way and bring it out to the compost…

School Strike 4 Climate Cork Ireland 14 March 2019

I don’t have much to say… I was there. I wanted to support the kids and the Cork Environmental Forum. I marched with them from the Cork Opera House down St. Patricks Street, Grand Parade, over Parnell Bridge to City Hall! All us “Old Timers” felt out of place. This was their march, their protest. But being there with the kids and the young adults, was so every energizing and inspiring! Their creativity and enthusiasm was AWESOME!

The Youth of this world are AMAZING! They let us see into the future while reminding us of our past. This strike, this march show us that our future is in good hands!

A Memory Of Lent

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Growing up in a Catholic community in Colorado Springs Colorado, all the neighbourhood kids would brace themselves for 40 days with no candy or chocolate. But not my Brother & me. Nope. We reveled in the “offering” to “share” our Kit Kat, Snicker, or Hershy bars full well knowing that they gave them up for Lent.  We were the perfect tag team of temptation & damnation. So when the other kids with their inflated sense of superiority would get up on their high horses so that they could look down on us when they declined our offer with a snobby  “No Thanks! I’m giving up candy for Lent!”  We would then shrug & proceeded to eat and savour every sweet lushious morsel right in from them. It was even sweeter if adults were around to witness.

My Brother had the dicipline and controle not to eat the whole candy bar. At 3/4 of the way through he’d stop and say “Are you sure you don’t want this last bit?” When the other kid answered with more biting snobbery; “I can’t! I told you! I gave it up for Lent!” He’ll then say “I don’t want any more, so I guess I’ll throw it away.” At which point the other kid would figit & drool. Oh the thought of this perfectly good piece of candy bar going to waste… Their eyes would dart side to side, scanning to see if anyone of importance is watching.  The breeze stood still. …

Just as my Brother began to pull the candy bar back, their resolve would instantly disinergrate like a delicate snowflake on a hot Summer day. They’d snatch it from my Brother and smash it into their face with very little accuracy, I might add… When their face was covered in chocolate,  and their eyes rolled back into their eyelids fluttering from the ecstasy of such delectable sin, I would say quietly in their ear; “You’re going to burn in Hell for that!”

My Brother and I would stand in reverant silence as they trembled  in their Biblical fear…

Never again were they ever so high & mighty… Well, at least not until the next Lent.

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Another Irish EuroMillion…

The other day another Irish citizen won I think €175 million!? I was told once some time ago about the luck of the Irish – It’s not always good luck…

Well just like last month when the Irish couple won their EuroMillions, I can’t help but to think what I would do with all that cash! So like last time here is my amended list to my last post about this…

1) All the things in my last post “I Won The Lottery” including spending  a whole day at a comfy coffee cafe with a few of  some kind of hot drink and a window seat to watch the world hussle by.

2) Nurses… They deserve so much more! … So there’s a hospital just off the Western Road here in Cork City. Maybe it considered to be on the Mardyk Road? I heard that it had closed down. I would like to reopen it and have the nurses run it. A nurses hospital if you will. Doctors will be hired in on a case by case basis. Also, part of the hospital will be designated for those doctors & nurses that also have proper degrees and liscenses to practice Eastern medicines like Acupuncture. Not the strip mall accupuncturist, but proper Doctors of Chinese Medicine and so on. AND lers not forget the dulas & midwives! Let’s have another ofbthe hospital for babies to be born…

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3) I’d like to give a cool millon to the Barrack Street Band. Being a recent member, I come ro know how much more they do than performing at Lord Mayor concerts & St. Patricks’ Day Parades. They provide opportunities to learn an instument, play in a band, competitions, etc… to disadvantaged families. They are terribly  underfunded or not funded at all. I really don’t know. But I know they desperately need new unifoms and a copier machine. General band equipment & instuments for people to play.

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3) I’d like to set up a series of science fairs & competions where each team will have to have one 5-7 yr old, one 8-12yr old one teenager, one 20 something & one 30+ year old.  Each team would be given a problem/topic that  all 5 members will have to work on with equal participation. Then when possible the invention, products, processes that come from it will be put into production. I hear about all these amazing inventions & processes that are being created that will save the planet and what not. I’ve been hearing about them for the last 20 years. Such things like chipping  plastic waste, adding them to cement to create a light weight durable bricks for houses. Edible cutlery & plastic bags. But I have not seen any of them for use to the general public.

4) I want to set up a trade school of sorts. A place where people can learn how to be self sufficent. Like how to cook a meal from actual food and not a packaged product that you just add water and heat in the microwave. Or build a shelf or even a shed. Or change a light fixture. Or make your own clothes. Or basic car maintenance.

5) I’d like to fund or set up something or have a campaign to have dogs & cat spayed or nuetured. Let’s say for the next year I’ll pay for all the spay and nueturing. So just bring your cat and or your dogs in to any available vet and have it done for free!

6) OK. Last one for now… I guess Ixd lime to help out the boyfriend’s family.  Let’s say a million to his parents. Then a million to each of his siblings. Of course he gets a million too. Also, I’d like to give a million to my best buddy Laurie as well. She deserves it. Plus I still owe her $500 from when bailed me out of a really tough financial situation. She would never ask for it back. But this would be a great excuse to pay it back with a mollion dollars in interest!

Well, it looks like I’ll go out and by myself a Euro Millions lottery ticket… a quick pick… Maybe a National Lottery one too… anf a Daily Million…

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A Cabbage Deserves More

Remember this? The crazy chunk of cabbage I threw out into the compost that took root?

See Left Over Garden” & “Bragging About My Left Over Garden

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The beast is now producing little heads of cabbage not just on the ground but in it’s branches!

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And would you believe it! I think one of the seed pods dropped and took root as well!

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I am still flabbergasted at this! And rather embarrassed. Embarrassed because I am so AMAZED at a cabbage growing willy nilly in my Leftover Garden.  I guess it says something about the world I live in. I tout myself for being a reasonable environmentalist, a do it yourself type,  somewhat knowledgeable on the ways of nature & for the most part in tune or in sync with my surroundings … But I’ve never seen this before. I never even thought about how this would work, or look like.  I’m embarrassed that I took all of this for granted, and it deserves so much more than that,even if it is just a cabbage…

The Cú Faoil Named “Woad”

A bit of a troubled teenager… No, I was a troubled teenager. But not troubled in a way that “They” felt needed addressing. So I spend many of my nights out and about. I wasn’t anti social, I would go do things like sneak into the Penrose Stadium and watch the rodeos and such. When I was 17 or so, on St. Patrick’s Day there was a big festival in the Penrose Stadium. Of course I had to go. Did my usual and went around back, jumped fence, through the stables and out onto the grounds. Security wasn’t big back then.

There was food, music, stands, whiskey, beer, more food, more music, and a big stage where people danced. I know now it’s called a Ceili. All the different styles, even set dances that were almost identical to the American country square dancing. This was late in the day, I had not eaten or drank anything. I was a poor disgruntled teenager, what do you expect? I was tired but fascinated with all that was around me.

So there I am, standing next to the stage, and this black wavy haired Irish guy, with sapphire blue eyes grabs a hold of me and says; “Your not Irish, but I’ll dance with yah anyway!” He pulls me up on stage and we dance, and danced, and danced some more. At the end I was so exhausted that I just slumped on a chair, or was it bench… not sure it might have been a half wall.  Well he, and at the time I assumed was his parents (they were) came up to me and said that they would take me home. I didn’t want to go home. Not a good place. They manage to coax me into their car. ( I know it doesn’t sound good ) I wouldn’t tell them where I lived and told them to just drop me off by Palmer Park. They were having nothing of it. So they took me to their place instead. Probably because I fell asleep in there car.

I half remember the Mom making a bed on the couch and her giving me pillows. I remember them all saying goodnight, and a ginormous blue shadow sitting at attention quietly by the door . It was comforting. I fell asleep.

In the morning I half woke to the smell of bacon and a giant wet nose touching mine. It didn’t move. Still as a cold Winter’s night. I couldn’t even feel the wind in it’s breath. Behind the nose was a pair of bushy eyebrows, one cocked in an inquisitive manor. Off in the distance I hear the Mom; “Nicky! Go wake up your girlfriend!” Then Nick yelled out “WOOOAAD!”.  The body behind the nose doubled, tripled in size! And with one enormous HUUUUFFFFF!, the nose’s  beard pierced my face like a billion paper cuts. With a resounding “AHHH!” I !jump to my feet.

“She’s up!” I hear Nicky exclaim.

“Come to the kitchen and have your breakfast!” the Mother commanded.

I didn’t need to look down. This beautiful and mystical creature, with just a tip up of his chin could nearly meet me eye to eye. He must have been 7ft nose to tail and covered thick in a wiry steely blue coat.  He didn’t pant, or wag his tail. Thank Goodness for that! He’d knock the place down better than a wrecking ball if he did. He was regal and ancient like a Celtic Sage. And for some strange reason, smelled like tarragon. With a light grunt, he turned around and headed into the kitchen. I followed.

On the table there was a plate with a fried egg, what I now know as a “rasher” (bacon) some white and black chunks (black & white pudding), mushrooms, tomato, toast, a bow of creamy oatmeal, and … baked beans? … What the? Apparently this is what the Irish call a “Fry Up” or just a “Fry” … As soon as I sat down, over my left shoulder, like the devil whispering in my ear, Woad rested his head.

“Woad…” the Father said calmly. Woad lifted his head, huffed a defeated grumpy huff and went outside, where he chomp on some greens. Ah! A tarragon bush. That explains it.

“What … uh … what kind of dog is … uh … that… ‘er … him?” I asked.

“A proper Irish Wolfhound.” The Father said looking over the morning paper he was reading.

Nick comes in with wet hair and sits at the plate next to me. “I’m Nicky.””

“I know” I replied

“So who are you?”

We all start laughing hysterically. What a surreal situation! Woad comes barging in tail straight, head up high! Without curling his jowls or showing his teeth he growls. Not a growl that you could hear, but a growl you felt deep down in the pit of your stomach. A growl that would shake the heavens back down to earth. We all froze and held our breath at the impending consequence of our laughter. Ages went by before Woad huffed and went back outside.

“You should hear him when he’s angry.” Said Nicky. We all giggled quietly this time.

Obviously Nicky and I became very close and Woad was always there to make sure we behaved. Strange sort of hound. He never care to sit up on the bed or couch. He would cock and eyebrow and  huff at you when you invited him onto the couch as if to say that a proper hound with a shred of dignity would never disgrace itself by laying on a sofa! A proper hound would lay in a bed of thorns at the foot of the bed always at attention! … Or maybe he just knew he wouldn’t fit… I never heard him bark, and he never panted, even after a run. Maybe because his beard was long and covered his gaping mouth? Oh my, to see him run . ..*sigh*… A well orchestrated symphony of grace and power! It was MESMERIZING!

This was a long time ago, and I’m certain that Woad is in BEAUTIFUL place know keeping everyone in check and watching over you while you slept.

The photo below is not Woad. It’s a Google search stock photo. I posted it just to give you a visual hint to the likes of a Cú Faoil Named “Woad”

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I Won The Lottery!

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I WON THE LOTTERY! … No I didn’t … It was the  Connolly’s in County Down.  €130 Million Euro … So of course, to help me work through my grief of not winning and knowing at this point in my life the fact that I will ever win anything more than €2 on a scratch ticket, I’m going to tell you what I would have done if I won 130 Million Euro.

  1. Well yeah I’m gonna pay all my bills and pay off all my debt… (€129 Million)
  2. I want to give money to the Cork Life Centre ( https://corklifecentre.org/ ) I was, and maybe still one of those kids. I hated school, esp high school with a passion. I even dropped out for a semester, but was forced back. I worked my ass off to graduate on time. All on my own with no help from anyone that you would normally depend on. Cork Life Centre is grossly underfunded and those kids are well worth every effort (€127 Million)
  3. I’m very detached from my family back in the US, as in we don’t interact. After my “Mother” passed away and I gave up my 40% of  the inheritance to my Brother, he would send a Christmas card with a photo of my Nephew every year now. Regardless of all that has happened. He is family, and my Nephew, isn’t part  of all our drama. I would want my Nephew to get along in life. So I would give him in a trust fund of some sort of a million euro. But he can only take out $50K a year for 20 or so years starting on his 25th birthday (€126 Million)
  4. I want to give money to Cork Penny Dinners. ( http://corkpennydinners.ie/new-about )  I’ve been there. Not having my meals there. I mean I’ve been there where I was so strapped for cash for so long, food became a luxury. Where the only morsels I ate for days were the free samples given out at various grocery stores. If only I had a place where I could sit down and have a decent meal with no questions asked. (€124 Million)
  5. I want to buy the buildings down on the corner of Vicars Road and Poulladuff Road here in Cork City. It’s where there was a furniture store, and before that was a carpet store and a Tile King.  I want to turn it in a recycle, upcycle, re purpose, fix it don’t bin it, learning old trades, do it yourself workshop area. The idea is to have trades people, like electricians , carpenters, etc… there to help you fix your own broken stuff or re purpose your unwanted stuff. For example you might have a chair that your dog chewed through the cushions. You can take the chair in and  not only will someone be there to show you how to reupholster it, but you will have to tools and supplies to do it with. There will also be space for you to do it yourself if you already know how. It will be a where you can learn to spin wool into yarn or have cooking lessons! Where craft groups can get together & be creative. Anything goes really. I would put it all in motion and then donate to Cork Environmental Forum to manage if they want. (http://www.cef.ie/ )  (€115 Million)
  6. This is a big big one. I want to start off by buying 20 houses in Cork City. Fix them up so that they can be rented out to homeless families. Here’s the hitch: Each family would have to agree to participate in this community.  These families all have skills and talents that they can contribute. Maybe one was a legal assistant, another a plumber, another a tailor/seamstress. They would all have to volunteer their skills to the other families in this community. Each house would have a garden to grow their own veggies. Each house would have some sort of renewable energy source and water collection. There will be a doctor, accountant, gardener, electrician, plumber, carpenter that would be on retainer to call into the homes when needed. The families will pay for their own utilities. The rent would be calculated per month as such: €30-€50 property tax, €100 to me, €250 for the trades, €100 invested back into the community to expand. So rent for these families would range from €480-€500 per month. Now that’s only a super duper rough outline. But I would have enough money to give it a go… (€100 Million)

OK… After all that, It will leave me approx €100 Million to still do whatever the hell I want. … I think I will go to one of my favourite coffee shop and get a large Americano with a deep kiss of honey. Sit next to a window and just watch the world go by for the whole day!

Bragging About My Leftover Garden

I’m just going to brag about my Leftover Garden. I really shouldn’t because I did nothing but throw out leftover veggies into a compost pile. Earlier this year I posted about how some of my bits and pieces actually sprouted…

 

 

 

I left it alone and I can’t believe what came of the cabbage. It grew so big that I had to stake it. It seeded and now there are cabbage leaves that are grown from it! I can’t help to think that this is what cabbage is like when it grows in the wild… The leaves are tasty by the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You might notice that there are potato plants growing as well! I have not dug them out yet but sure enough they are there along with a load of other veggies and herbs!

There’s cilantro (coriander)

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… And a tomato plant!

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An Avacado Tree?

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Butternut Squash or Pumpkin?

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Snap Peas? … Or maybe some sort of Bean?

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And again, let’s not forget about the Potatoes!

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I cannot wait to see what comes up next season! In a couple of weeks I’ll go and dig up potatoes and have them for dinner!

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