Friday, February 28, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End...

...and so it is with the fabulous, February of Fridays with the Great ReMe Blog Hop.  Today is the day!  But we will not go quietly into that good night *nay, NAY!* -- we are going out with a BANG!

Throughout the month, the organizers of ReMe Retreats have reveled in sharing with you how we incorporate the central message of Rest-Relax-Renew in our day-to-day lives as well as what our Motto means to us with regard to the ReMe Experience.  As much fun as that has been, we didn't want the sharing to end just because the month is over...  We are happy to introduce an all new 'nook on the net' where we can share more ReMe goodness:  our shiny, new, inspiration-packed Pinterest Board!

Follow us for more fun & inspiration!
We are celebrating the latest outlet for ReMe goodness by wrapping up this month of hopping and sharing with one last round of incredible giveaways.  So...  let's get hoppin'!

Upcycled, Handmade Ol' school Journals
Unique, Handy Organizational storage
Here at Thoughts Askance, I have one of my fun, Note & Sketch UH*Os (aka Upcycled, Handmade Ol'school Journals).  These retro-inspired notebooks feature covers constructed from actual 5.25 in. floppy disks (front) and diskette mailers (back) -- providing instant pockets to keep up with the bits and pieces one is bound to encounter on any good creative romp.  The pages are designed *and printed and lovingly cut* by yours truly (based on feedback from actual users), with the front sides mimicking wide ruled legal paper and the back sides blank -- wide open for sketching or free-form note-taking.  Heavy-weight, 24 pound paper makes for the ideal work surface:  thick enough to take broad strokes from your favorite writing implement (be that a dainty ball point, a free-flowing fountain pen, or the big fat marker that was the closest thing to hand when inspiration found you)!

The giving doesn't stop here, tho'...  *not by a long shot!*  Be sure you take your hopping to heart, today -- there are treasures to be found (and WON) at every stop. The Grand Prize over at the ReMe Blog is a marvel to behold!  We are pulling out all the stops, and offering a TRIO of original works to one lucky winner. That's right, gentle reader!  Not one, not two, but THREE lovely, hand wrought creations from the ReMe Founders/Hosts/Instructors!  The winner of this weeks Grande Finale Drawing will receive a Rest-Relax-Renew, stamped copper necklace from Jean Skipper, AND an original painting from Jodi Ohl, AND canvas-cover journal from me!  Hop over to the Blog for photos and additional information.

Visit the ReMe Blog for the details of the Grande Finale Giveaway!
Entering is easy:
   (1)  Leave a comment.  Tell us your favorite discovery from the Blog Hop, or your favorite thing about Pinterest.
   (2)  For a bonus entry, share this blog post with your friends through any social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.) and leave another comment here -- just let us know that you shared, and where you did it.

Easy enough, right?  ...but we're not through, yet!  *what? WHAT?*  Follow the handy links provided below to see what my creative cohorts have in store for the 4th Friday fun.
Enter anytime this weekend (by midnight Sunday, March 2nd).  All of the winners will be announced on Monday, March 3rd.  Be sure to visit with us again then for the Big News!  Here's another nifty-cool thing you can do to make sure you don't miss out on any of the happenings with ReMe:  sign up for our Newsletter.  Our subscribers get all the juicy details of new offerings and additions to the ReMe roster before anyone else!  *in Literature, they call this "foreshadowing" -- we just call it a big ol' hint, because we have even more creative collaborations in the works!*

Thanks for visiting, and hopping, and sharing!

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"For pleasure has no relish
unless we share it."

                                         - Virginia Woolf

Photo Notes:
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly
  Pinterest Logo  - from Pinterest
   UH*Os  - taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
Jean, Penny, and Jodi - from Facebook profile photos (effects applied in PaintShop Pro X2)

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Monday, February 17, 2014

We have a WINNER!

My hearty thanks to all who visited with me this weekend during The Great ReMe Blog Hop - Week 2:  Relax!  A recurring theme in your responses was that finding time to Relax seems a daunting task.  I say we all make a concerted effort to make more time for it!  It's good for us -- reason enough, eh?

Now, onto the business at hand!  Drum Roll, please...

Congratulations, Lynn!  You are the winner of an Arrowood Paper Arts FolioBook!  Please contact me at: with your mailing address, and your prize will be on its way to you! 

Winner:  Lynn

For all the rest of my 'commenters' -- if you send me an e-mail with your mailing address TODAY (before midnight, 02/17, EST), I'll send you a little somethin' somethin' by way of thanks for playing along.

Hop on over to the ReMe blog for the announcement of the Winner for that giveaway! a bonus, you'll get to see Wito in action one more time.

Visit the ReMe Blog to see the Winner of my 2nd giveaway
(Click the Banner)
There's more fun, sharing, and giveaways in store!  Be sure to join us for Week 3:  Renew next Friday (02/21) for an inside look at what the third portion of our Motto means to Jodi Ohl.
Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"Stop a minute, right where you are.
Relax your shoulders,
shake your head and spine
like a dog shaking off cold water.
Tell that imperious voice in
your head to be still.

                                      - Barbara Kingsolver

Photo Notes:
   Wito (video) taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   FolioBook taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Big Thaw

Regular readers to this blog know that weather is one of the few topics never given voice here...  However, if you live anywhere along the eastern seaboard, the past week has been chock full o' weather that spawned multiple *many expletive-laden* discussions across the country!  Sadly, some of our far-flung nor'eastern friends are battening down for even more of this treachery.  *bless their hearts!*

We here in the "Sweet Sunny South" are ne'er prepared for weather the likes of which we saw this past week.  With good reason:  we have not experienced accumulation the likes of thess since 1999*!? 

On a typical afternoon/evening in February, this is what the view from the front porch looks like around here (02/16/14); temperatures ranged from a low of 37 overnight to a high of 55 today:

Early Afternoon                    Late Afternoon/Early Evening
(approx 12:30)                                                                         (approx 5:30)

Two weeks ago, we had what I thought would be our "big winter" weather.  Nestled as we are, along the meteorological mystery land known as The I-95 Corridor, we rarely get any of the forecasted nastiness.  My winter weather anxiety is usually reserved for friends and family further afield who actually do have serious concerns when bad winter weather visits the region.

...just two weeks agoI figured that would be it for 'winter'

This past week, however, we were on the receiving end of the brunt of the bizarre Winter Weather Marathon.  We ran the gamut:  from snow, to sleet, to freezing rain, to micro-hale-like ice pellets, to more snow, aaand a dash more sleet and freezing rain to top it all off.  It made for quite the anxiety-laden week, to say the least! 

It all started on Tuesday, with swirling snow beginning in the morning and continuing for over 8 hours!?  *yes, gentle reader, this freaked me right out!*  By the end of the day (photographically speaking), we had about 4.5 inches of snow -- and that's a whole bunch for this part of the country, not to mention this part of NC!

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 1 - February 11

Wednesday morning, it started snowing again just before 10:30.  When it stopped just over two hours later, we had another 3 inches of snow.  I watched from my post at the front door as the sidewalk and driveway disappeared under the snow.  Within an hour, it started sleeting; this hellish accumulation continued until just after five o'clock.  By the end of the day, the snow and ice had gathered up to the lip of the 2nd step -- just over 8 inches total...

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 2 - February 12

Things fell into 'wait and see' territory after dark, and we really didn't see anything else until the early hours of Thursday morning.  We awoke to a fine, steady misting of rain that had already glazed the bushes and tree limbs with a coat of ice.  There was also evidence of a shower of micro-hale *quite bizarre!* that had fallen before the freezing rain began, now encapsulated in the ice covering that increased throughout the day into the late afternoon.  The biggest worry, as we entered day 3 was whether or not we would maintain power if the freezing rain lasted too long (?)  We were very fortunate in that regard, as our power never wavered throughout the three day Event.

The Great 2014 White Out
Day 3 - February 13

Never ones to stand on ceremony, we celebrated the end of the storm by enjoying a St. Valentine' s Day Eve dinner fit for Royalty:  grilled rib eye steaks flanked by stuffed, bacon wrapped baked potatoes.  It was divine!  ...and had we not fallen upon the repast like hunger-ravaged beasts, I would share a photo with you *oops!*

Here's to the end of Winter's scorn.
Here's to the coming of Spring!

What was the meteorological highlight of your week?  *inquiring minds want to know!*  I hope that whatever it was, it afforded you the opportunity to feel fortunate in spite of any discomfort or inconvenience.  I know that we were lucky to have the comforts of hearth and home *and a well stocked larder,* throughout the nasty weather that found so many not so well-prepared.

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"Winter is the time for comfort,
for good food and warmth,
for the touch of a friendly hand and
for a talk beside the fire:
it is the time for home. "

                                      - Edith Sitwell

* {ack!} I can NOT find a link to that iconic song, as performed by Prince (?) *you can just hum it to yourself, m'kay?
Photo Notes:
   All photos taken with Samsung Galaxy S4
   Edited with Pic Monkey
and PhotoGrid; color adjustment in IrfanView
   Winters Wine taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1 - edited in PaintShop Pro X2

  *All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Friday, February 14, 2014

ReMe Blog Hop pt. Deux! - OR – Destination Relaxation

Hi!  Thanks for visiting with me as The Great ReMe Blog Hop continues.  If you missed last weeks posts, do take time to read Jean’s approach to the first prong of The ReMe Way *Rest-Relax-Renew,* Rest.  This week, I’ll share with you what it means for me to Relax.

All Aboard!
What does it mean to you to Relax?

I have to open by saying that, as a quasi-typical Type A, this whole “relax” thing is not my natural state!  *a running joke around here is that I have two speeds:  Stop and GO!*  Rather, it has been a learned trait for me; one that I appreciate having learned, and continue to fine-tune.  As an artist with full time dreams on a part time reality, I often find relaxation in ways that may look a whole lot like ‘work’ to other people.

Day to day, for me, involves working alongside my husband and our business partner as we run a small company dedicated to providing affordable technological solutions for county agencies throughout NC.  Kevin (aka Resident Genius) designs access control and video monitoring systems that are used by County Jails, Courthouses, and Sheriff’s Offices.  He and Bob are the hands-on, front line fellas – performing installations and service calls hither and yon.  I am the ‘behind the scenes’/Girl Friday of this outfit, manning the office, ordering equipment, billing and paying bills, and assorted and sundry other tasks that keep the wheels of commerce turning smoothly.

In my off hours, I enjoy the company of fellow creatives in both a regional mixed media art guild (of which it is my privilege to serve as a member of the Board), and a local art marketing discussion group.  When not learning/growing/socializing with these dynamic crowds, there are family and friends near and far with which to correspond and connect.

Add to all of that my own artistic business venture (Arrowood Paper Arts), and the newly established joint endeavor with fellow artists JeanSkipper and Jodi Ohl (ReMe Retreats); it becomes easier to see where the notion of only having two speeds comes from, eh?  Fortunately, being actively involved in creative pursuits is its own form of Zen for me!  Quite often, the easiest way to settle my rather active mind is to immerse myself in some sort of creative activity:  sketching out one of the myriad ideas from the mind-tumbler, designing a new class/project, puzzling out a new way to use an old thing, or romping around in colorful a painting/printing session.  Allowing myself to step away from my various To-Dos and indulge in serious play is a fabulous way to recharge my batteries!

Print, Cut & Fold, Print, Print
Serious Play begets Beautiful Work

Another, and perhaps the most long-held, means of relaxation is to find a comfy spot and dive into a good book.  For as long as I can remember, I have been an avid reader.  I thought the notion of a ‘limit’ on how many books one was allowed to check out of the library in school was preposterous (!)  From my teen years all the way up to the present moment, the most totally indulgent thing I can think of is to curl up with a book and read until falling asleep, only to rise in the morning and return to reading, while still nestled snugly among the covers *preferably with grand mug of good coffee.*  This scenario can only be improved upon if the weather is either (a) wickedly, frosty cold, or (b) dreary grey and rainy – making such slothful behavior fully justifiable *unless the laundry is calling too loudly (?)*  In the spirit of Full Disclosure, I will confess that the former happens with a great deal more regularity than the latter!

Before you head over to “the rest of the story” on the ReMeBlog, take a moment to tell me what ways are your favorite to embody “Relax” in your day-to-day existence.  Leave a comment here, and you will be entered to win one of my handmade FolioBooks.  They make handy little project workbooks, allowing you to keep track of all the details with pockets on the front and back covers for notes/receipts/ideas-scribbled-on-cocktail-napkins/etc.  Winner to be chosen *in the tried and true manner* by Wito the Wonderdog on Monday, February 17th (with video verification provided).   Good luck!

FolioBook by PLA
Enter a comment, here on the blog, for your chance to win!

Continue to ReMe, for some of my favorite ways to Relax in Ocracoke…

One down, one HOP to go...
The Great ReMe Blog Hop continues!

Onward & Upward,

 - p

Words of wisdom for today:

"It is nice finding that place
where you can just go and relax.

                                      - Moises Arias

Photo Notes:
   Destination taken with Samsung Galaxy S4 - edited in Pic Monkey
   Print, Cut...   Samsung Galaxy S4 -
collage created in Pic Monkey
   FolioBook taken with Panasonic LUMIX DMC-ZS1  - collage created in Pic Monkey
   ReMe Banner  - created by yours truly

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Big Day for Little Things

This week, on Thursday (February 6th), exactly five days before the anniversary of the accident that truly changed my life forever, I got my new hearing aids.  It was a “big” day simply for the fact that it was, in so much as others are involved, The End of the ordeal – you might think that the day the law suit ended would have been The End*. However, until this measure of restoration could happen it wasn’t really over.  I suppose one could argue that this particular adventure won’t really be over until I am done & gone…  That seems a labyrinthine argument -- way too big for my meager mind, tho’!

Say "Hello" to my little friends...
NOTE:  "Oto-Ease" = Ear Lube *intended to ease itching/irritation*
The lovely, little black box of grey 'wands' = Wax Traps *let's just leave it at that*

In addition to being a Big Day in the ‘Tying-Up-Loose-Ends’ department, it was even bigger in the ‘Fully-Realizing-What-Was-Lost’ department…  Bear in mind that I was nowhere near ‘deaf’ – the Audiologist’s Report revealed that the inner ear injury had damaged primarily the upper register (high frequency) of my hearing – to the tune of a 40% reduction.  The best analogy I have for this are the coupons, beloved of artists and crafters throughout the land, from Michael’s, AC Moore, and the like.  You know, those 40% off gems with which they lure you into to the store – knowing that even on your most disciplined day(s), you can’t go in and get out with just ONE item.

Unfortunately, 40% off one of the five senses is not such a good deal.  I suppose it serves as a testament to the adaptability of us mere mortals that I did not realize *rather, had NO freakin’ CLUE* how much I was actually missing.  Don’t get me wrong, I knew that I was having a hard time ‘catching’ everything – conversations amidst lots of background noise, watching television and having to ask “What did he say?” (which I had to do quite often, much to the chagrin of my sweetheart), etc.  Every day, I am reminded that there were SO many other things that had just faded away for me.

From the time I left that appointment Thursday morning up to the moment of this writing, I am constantly feeling the big “Wow!” – little things, things that in the overall scheme of Life may seem inconsequential, are being re-introduced to my range.  Examples?  I’ve got buckets!

At the end of my appointment, the Doc handed me my paper and sent me to the check-out counter.  I must have looked The Fool, walking down the hallway marveling at the noises emanating from that magical piece of paper!?  “Wow!” I thought to myself, “This is really LOUD paper.”  When I handed the paper to the young man to settle up before leaving, I recall being amazed that his computer was SO ‘clicky’!?  Upon exiting the office, I actually heard the traffic beyond the office complex – cars whizzing down the road… that rubbery (almost sticky) sound of tires on asphalt.  I had not heard that when I came in to the office (?)  Leaving the parking lot, I was startled by the firm, mechanical ‘snap’ made by engaging my turn signals – which now sounded more ‘blinky’…  With every stop, entrance, and exit that happened on Thursday (and there were many), I noticed a new depth of sound.  *the jangling of my keys, the gritty sibilance of my shoes on the sidewalks, the faint sigh of doors closing, the succulence of wine tumbling into my glass, the clink and clatter of dishes, even the sweet snufflings of Wito, it just goes on and on…*

My favorite re-acquaintance of the day, however, was when I heard the susurrations of the pines with only the slightest breeze.  The whispering of trees is one of my favorite sounds in the world – so calming, so peaceful, like a promise breathed into the neck of your lover, or the heartbreaking sweetness of “I love you” uttered by a child half asleep.  I wept.  I stood in the sunshine, and tears ran down my cheeks as I was serenaded by the soft whispers of the ancients. 

Down the Road I Go
There have been a few disarming moments, as well...  I sound different now – which was to be expected, having these wee ‘helpers’ inside my head all my waking hours.  I was not prepared for my husband to sound so different to me, though – the voice that I spend more time with than any other.  It was not a ‘bad’ thing, just different.  Perhaps the tiniest bit sad, in a way:  that the voice of one so beloved had been diminished for nearly three years without my knowing it, until it came back to its fullness.

...I love you, too!

The coming weeks and months will be studded with appointments as we fine tune the return of this newly-fascinating sense.  There will be more differences, more discoveries as I return to the world renewed of hearing – really hearing.  I am excited for all that lies ahead, even though at present it is a bit overwhelming. 

Now that I can hear more clearly, let’s have a chat!  What sound is most precious to you?  What activity that involves listening is your favorite? 

Onward & Upward,

 - p

*not trying to confuse you, dear reader – as noted earlier this week, I have some catching up to do – sorry to leave you hanging, with just the beginning and the end – the middle of this saga is yet to come ;)

Words of wisdom for today:
"We have two ears and one tongue
so that we would listen more and talk less.
                                      - Diogenes
Photo Notes:
   Hello taken with my trusty Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 - edited in Irfan View
   The Road -  Samsung Galaxy S4 -
edited in PhotoShop Pro X2, too!  - Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS1 - edited in PhotoShop Pro X2

*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*

P.S. - I’ll share with you a little treat I gave myself to revel in my heightened auditory powers.  I started a new audio book on Thursday; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, read by Stephen Fry!  A long-time lover of good storytelling, this match was made in Heaven!  Utter joy – a performer who clearly loves what he does, Fry’s delivery is impeccable.  It having been years since I read this book, I can think of no one better to refresh my memory of the tale.

P.P.S. -- Don't forget that the Great ReMe Blog Hop has begun!  Jean's 1st Friday entries are up on her blog, and continued at ReMe's blog.  I do hope you'll join us, and share how our Motto "Rest - Relax - Renew" resonates in your story.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Love Is In the Air!

It's that time of year again...  One can not venture into any retail establishment without being bombarded by glittering hearts, a menagerie of pastel-hued stuffed critters, and chocolate piled to the rafters.  Yes, Valentine's Day is right around the corner!  My creative cohorts at ReMe Retreats and I have another idea for spreading love in this season of Cupid, though.  We are hosting a HOP!  No, we haven't confused the order of our holidays  --  We're staging a Blog Hop :-)  

Let's go to the hop...

 Won't you join us on Fridays in February?  We'll be sharing with you how we embrace the simple philosophy of the ReMe Way -- both in our day-to-day lives, and in the special ways that Ocracoke embodies each notion for all of us.  It promises to be most illuminating -- and, you may just win an original piece of art from us!  It's the perfect win/win scenario:  we win by sharing our passions with you, you win by learning more about the dynamic artists/instructors behind ReMe Retreats, and you might well win an original work of art in the process!

I am super excited to be on this creative journey with two amazing artists who also happen to be dear friends.  As I shared with you last year, our inaugural event is fast approaching (May, 2014)!  Due to the tremendous response to our initial offering, plans were put in place to offer a 2nd ReMe Retreat in Ocracoke in October of this year, as well *registration is now open*!  We thought that the Season of Love was the perfect time to share more of our love for this undertaking.  To do just that, we are expounding on our motto:  Rest - Relax - Renew.

                          Jean Skipper                                               Penny Arrowood                                               Jodi Ohl
                           February 7                                                      February 14                                               February 21
                                Rest                                                                   Relax                                                           Renew

The details:
Visit with each of us on Fridays in February -- follow the link to "the rest of the story" on the ReMe Blog -- leave a comment on the presenter's blog post -- giveaway winners will be announced the following Monday.  *easy peasy!*

What's that, you say?  There is a Friday unaccounted for?  Why, yes -- yes, there is, my astute reader!  Don't you worry tho' -- we have BIG plans for that last Friday!  I hope you'll hop to it, and join us on this whirlwind tour of exactly what it is that ReMe means to each of us, as well as how special we want ReMe to be for you!

Onward & Upward!
 - p

Words of wisdom for today:
"We must always change, renew,
rejuvenate ourselves;
otherwise we harden.
                                                           - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Photo Notes:
   ReMe Banner:  designed by yours truly
   Jean, Penny, and Jodi:  from Facebook profile photos (effects applied in PaintShop Pro X2)
*All photos can be seen in a larger size by clicking on them*