Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Thoughts of Floyd Brandt

In wanting to share an image today of a man with his mule/mules and plow, I went over to Google.  The best image I found, which figuratively leapt off the screen at me and grabbed my attention, came from a blog that I would have never otherwise discovered. - the memoirs and ramblings of Floyd Brandt - has captured my heart and my attention.   He shares his memories of our country going way, way back - it seems he is recording them for his children and grandchildren, and really - for all of us. 

Floyd talks about the harvest season.  He talks about coal-and-wood-burning stoves.  Floyd shares memories the days of segregation - and the process of de-segregation.

lunch counter - Smithsonian
 "On that day in 1960, the students first bought some school supplies to prove that the store would sell to them and then sat down at the Woolworth lunch counter and tried to order a hamburger which was against the law. If they bought a hamburger to eat in the store, they were required to stand in the back of the store to eat it. That day Stan, you were not quite eleven months old and Mary, you were just 35 months old, We were living in Arlington Heights, Massachusetts busy completing a doctoral dissertation and four years at Harvard and preparing to depart in four months for a stint on the faculty of Northwestern University. What follows is a mix of a little history and some family memoirs which normally produces both second rate history and family memoirs."   (from LETTERS FROM A PILGRIM, a blog by Floyd Brandt)

And another excerpt from LETTERS FROM A PILGRIM:

"Dear Gail,

My memories of holidays and summers at the farm encompass about eight or ten years from approximately 1934 to 1944, the ages five to fifteen for me and nine to nineteen for Fred ending when he enlisted in the Air Force during WW II. But before I begin describing the holidays, a few words about how we traveled to “the farm.”

I hope you will pay a visit to Mr. Brandt's site.   I am bookmarking him today, and hope to visit him regularly from now on.   Thank you, Floyd, for your memories, your thoughts, and for the gift of prose that you share with us all via this site. 

I wish we were family ...--  Davielle

Friday, October 8, 2010

keep plodding along ...

Sometimes it is all we can manage to do ... to just keep plodding along.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.  Let me hold you while I mayu, for it may not always be so.  One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."
-- Mary Jean Iron

God bless this - and every single - day.

-- Davielle

Saturday, July 17, 2010


So many bloggers have the comments left on their posts set to "moderate".   I didn't, in the beginning - until I had a comment post that was inappropriate.   Ever since then, I've opted to moderate comments to this blog.

Here's my 'beef' ... when someone leaves a comment IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE, how on earth will I know what it says, IF it says anything at all, etc etc etc.   It's very frustrating for me.

If the person leaving the comment can READ my blog / blog posts, then I could assume / presume that they read and write English ... right?   So why leave a comment that I cannot read?   I find it very frustrating.

For months now, I have received "comments to be moderated" from someone who leaves them in what looks to be Japanese or Chinese ... I can't tell ... I just reject them all.    Could they be "spam" comments?  They could be.   I'll never know, will I ???  It's all Greek to me, as they say.

Okay, for the sake of putting this one to bed, I copied & pasted a recent comment into Google translater - it 'detected' Chinese, and it translated it thus:

We're too old too fast, but smart too late

So was this the commenters 'original' thought, did it have any relativity to the post I had created?   I'll have to go back to check.

And for curiosity's sake, I pulled up another recent comment they left ... it translated to this:

Water is always the same, but they are new every moment

These random "comments" are seem to be nothing more than Chinese sayings or proverbs.  I find it discouraging that someone is choosing to comment with a non-comment to my posts, or that my blog has been chosen to be spammed.   What a poop of a discovery!

So that's my BLOGGER BEEF of the day. the week. the month.   I guess.

Thanks for listening.

-- Davielle

If you should find yourself in need of a good translation now and then, here's the link:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Sketchbook Project: 2011 ... will you join me?

I've joined up to be a part of THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT: 2011 ... will you join me?

For details, the scoop, the 4-1-1 -- hop over to my other blog, to find out more.

I hope you'll sign on with me for this incredible journey.

Together we can have fun, and make the project a wild success. 

--  Davielle

Saturday, July 3, 2010

le Tour de Disgrace ???

Advance Warning:  you might not like what I have to say when it comes to this particular blog post.  If that's the case, DO leave a comment.  If you happen to agree with me, DO leave a comment.  If you have questions regarding WHY I feel like this ... please, please, please ... LEAVE A COMMENT.

So yesterday over on FaceBook I posted a comment about my "status".  I said "doping be damned, I'm watching this year's Tour de France".   

That's right.   You heard me.  {although in retrospect it may sound flippant, given today's WSJ story outlining more & more details about the accusations against Lance Armstrong, et al.}

I am so tired of the hypocrisy in sports when it comes to doping.  And so, YES, I am going to watch this year's edition of the Tour de France.  Between the DVR and, I'll get my Tour "fix" (ooh, pardon that pun) as usual this year.  

Friends - there are many, many athletes that dope.  Accept the fact, then make your choice accordingly. 

Will you stop going to baseball games, America's Favorite Pasttime, because of stories like this one:

I rather doubt it.

Will you stop watching the NFL - on TV or in person - because of stuff like this:

How about basketball:

So let's look at CYCLING.  There's not a baseball or football or basketball game in the world that can touch the stamina, endurance, fitness level, and energy needed for a 2,000 (sometimes plus) mile bike race thru hill and dale and mountain pass - over a 3-week period - with just two (yes, 2) rest days.   If you know nothing about the sport of cycling, then look into this one, friends.  It's for real.  It's grueling and gnarly.  It's not your Sunday afternoon ride in the park.  Hardly.

Take a look at the map of the 2006 Tour de France course ... how could anyone compete well and strong in an event like this ... without doping?   I'm just asking out of curiosity.   Does that make doping-in-cycling "right"?  No way.  But the race organizers, if they truly want the sport CLEAN, must stop creating these monstrous races and be reasonable.  It just can't be humanly possible, not in my humble opinion, to race a course like this one - clean.

Now, I admit - I used to be offended or disgusted or disappointed if a rider / team was caught doping.  Remember the Festina affair back in 1998?  here's a link:     I might not have been a Richard Virenque fan - but hey, it made me sad for him and his team - that they would "resort to doping".   I was that naive - back then.

I will also say that having a grandson heavily into sports - mostly baseball, with some football and basketball thrown in for good measure - the topic of  DOPING IN SPORTS - frightens me.  For personal reasons, of course.  Doping - the products and the methods - can ruin a person, even kill them.   I am NOT in support of doping. 

I am, however, not in DENIAL about the reality of it.  What I really, really, really object to is the BLATANT HYPOCRISY of it all.  The "oh my goodness, he's a cheater.  how could he?!" comments.

When a cyclist goes around blabbing that he's "against doping and will never dope", I now listen with a jaded ear.  Eventually, it could - and probably will - come out that they, too - those vocally vociferous anti-doping guys - were, in fact, doping.  It does seem to be the reality of the game.  Methinks they protesteth ... overly much.

I'm really on a rant this morning, and I'm just getting started - so grab your coffee & muffin, then settle back into this.  

{Or like they say at the bottom of a forwarded-a-gazillion-times e-mail: IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT HAVING BAD LUCK FOR THE NEXT 382 YEARS, HIT 'DELETE'.}

So the big story in the WALL STREET JOURNAL went like this:

In all fairness to Mr. Lance Armstrong, here's the link to his reaction to the accusations that continue to be lobbed at him by Mr. Floyd Landis:

I am all about giving both sides a chance to speak their mind, their version of their truth.  

Landis's credibility has been under fire since the news of his email revelations broke. Until now, he had categorically denied the use of performance enhancing drugs and penned a book entitled "Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France". The book described the cycling world as "a place where athletes are subject to the antiquated science, flawed interpretive protocols, and draconian legal processes of the anti-doping agencies".

Armstrong fired back before the start of yesterday's Tour of California stage saying, "With regards to the specific allegations, the specific claims, they're not even worth getting into it. I'm not going to waste my time or your time".

"We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from. It's our word against his word," Armstrong said . "I like our word. We like our credibility."

Hincapie also commented on the matter in a statement yesterday that said, "I have been a professional on the circuit for 17 years – which is one of the longest careers in the peloton. During that time, I have earned the respect of my peers and a reputation for working hard, honestly and honorably. I'm really disappointed to hear these accusations."

Ah, George.  Really?  You're disappointed to "hear these accusations"?  What? Because you've never heard them ... before?  Is this the first time for you?  Give me a break. 

"Landis is part of a long list of former Armstrong teammates and former U.S. Postal Service riders who have either acknowledged or been caught doping.

Frankie Andreu has said he used EPO while preparing for the Tour de France on Armstrong’s team in the late 1990s. Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton tested positive after the 2004 Athens Games, kept his medal on what amounted to a technicality, then retired last year after telling the AP he knowingly took a banned steroid. Roberto Heras was stripped of his win at the Spanish Vuelta in 2005 and Spanish rider Manuel Beltran was kicked out of the Tour de France, both found to have used EPO." {excerpt from article by By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press, updated 8:02 p.m. PT, Thurs., May 20, 2010}

And if anyone believes that George Hincapie hasn't heard this kind of allegation before, well then, I offer up this link:   Granted, Wikipedia wouldn't be my first choice for having all the facts quite right.  So I'll include a link to an interview done on NPR that addresses this same situation concerning previous doping habits of Mr. Lance Armstrong:

If George Hincapie was "disappointed", then I'd have to dub him "out of touch" ... it's nothing new to the sport, George, these accusations and allegations.  If George is any kind of professional athlete, then I'd bet my last nickel he stays in close touch with ALL these stories.  Disappointed?  Maybe because all those years of hard work could be tarnished if there's something true about the Lance story accusations.I find it interesting that an esteemed publication like the WALL STREET JOURNAL chose to run with this story - talk about credibility! My money's on the WSJ when it comes to "credibility", Mr. Armstrong. Way way back when Floyd was charged with using testosterone in the 2006 TdF, and ultimately had the title of TdF Champion stripped from him - the Journal was taking the hard road - they were (then) questioning Floyd's credibility.

Interesting, then, that the WSJ is not questioning his credibility now?  Rather, they're now questioning Lance Armstrong's credibility? 

I will, at this point, remind you all that I posted to this blog earlier this year - a daily reading published in Living Faith (a Catholic magazine that Mark and I read each morning) - written by Mr. Lance Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin.  

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Kristin Armstrong.  If you didn't read that blog post I created - here's the link:

Maybe I read too much into Kristin's writing.  Maybe she wasn't trying to purge herself of the deceitful life her ex-husband was (now allegedly) leading "back in the days" of their marriage.   Maybe those of us who love cycling would be the only ones that would make a connection between what she wrote - and the news that's hitting the world's newstands this morning.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  {read: blah, blah, blah}

Personally, for all you naysayers out there, I have this to say - in my opinion, the powers that be in cycling and in sport will have a tough decision to make:  do we take Armstrong down if it can be proven he's been doping?  or do sweep this under the rug, because Armstrong has done such a good job promoting the "cancer recovery is possible for anyone - if I can do it, so can you" message ???  Hmmm?  

Think about it:  what is going to be "better" for the world's cancer patients - just diagnosed, in treatment, in remission, cured - to have the "hope and inspiration" of a Lance Armstrong dangling out there for them to believe in?  Or the truth about doping in cycling coming to light?  
{back when I was a believer in the possibility of 'clean cycling'.  Floyd's first season with USPS and Lance ... that's us with Floyd AND Lance.  do you think I want all this to be true? to be happening?  just because I am now a believer that many cyclists dope, doesn't make me happy about it.  au contraire.}

My money's on this:   It's going to come down to a bit of a moral dilemma, don't you think?  A "we should consider the greater good / we should do damage control on this for the good of all the cancer patients out there in the world, who look to Lance for the answer they all want".

And who in their right mind would take all that away from a cancer patient ???  Lance has done a magnificent job of building his empire, my friends. 

I COULD GO ON AND ON FOR DAYS, here.  I'll leave it at this, though:

Before I hear you all railing against Floyd Landis for deceiving the public about any doping he might have done during his career as a pro cyclist, let me suggest to you:  there probably isn't a person in this world that hasn't lied at one time or another.  To save a relationship, to save a job, to save their reputation, to protect someone or something so dear and precious to them that they "just had to".   Admit it.   So please don't get all high and mighty and overly-moral over this one.  Just because Floyd's deceit was on an international level, doesn't make it any worse than what you and I have probably done, day in and day out, sooner or later, somewhere along our life's path. 

It's no secret:  my heart and support go to Floyd on this one, friends.  How could it not?  {This photo of Mark and I, Floyd and Amber, was taken on the Champs Elysees in Paris - at the conclusion of Floyd's very first Tour de France: 2002.}  

Some will say that I am 'biased'.   Believe me, I am not.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I consider all angles before taking a stand.  Some will even say that I "knew" something all along.  Again, not true.  Really, doesn't knowledge of an action come down to the person - and their God?  They either know what they've done, or others might also know because they witnessed it.   Without having witnessed anything relative to this doping matter, what could I have possibly 'known' ???

And my heart and support goes out to any and all cancer patients in the world who looked up to Lance for their inspiration, for their "kick some ass, Lance, kick it good and hard for US, Lance" attitude.  They were lifted up by that hope.

Now that the 'Emperor' might have just stepped naked out of the team bus into the world - I pray that anyone who looked up to Armstrong will put their faith in something a little more 'not of this world' - after all, we are ALL only human.

And let me add this to my say-so on the topic.   I don't want ANY of these athletes to be guilty of doping.  But if it IS the reality, then let's shed the light, for everyone's sake, and do what we can to support CLEAN SPORTS going forward.  And let's not have one set of rules for most athletes, and an edited version of those rules for the more 'powerful' athletes.  That's all I want.

Whether or not Lance is found guilty of doping, I want those patients to find their hope, their inspiration in something less 'human'.   Get my meaning? 

--  Davielle

and if anyone's got a rebuttal, please, let's start the conversation.  I am, after all, about hearing all sides and opinions ...

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Friends, I am not about to let my dream for MAGPIE'S ART NEST be put on the back burner, as they say, and so I have (a week late) signed up for Kelly Rae Robert's online class, FLYING LESSONS: Tips + Tricks to Help Your Creative Business Soar ...

{above, Kelly Rae teaching us at An Artful Journey - February 2010}

In case you don't know what Magpie's Art Nest is all about, you can visit my other blog at for further details.

I think e-courses are truly the way to go when you want content that you can really ponder.  It's online, you can re-visit the information, and if the instructor has made it accessible for printing, you'll have that hard copy that so many of us appreciate months down the road when we need a refresher.

Kelly Rae and her friend Mati Rose (McDonough) were co-instructors for the workshop I took earlier this year with my friend, Ann Deakers ... we made our own FUNKY CHUNKY COFFEE TABLE BOOK and what a keepsake it is!   Cynthia organized the most amazing Art Retreat (An Artful Journey) I can imagine, and Los Gatos was a beautiful setting.  Just far enough away from home that we could really feel we got away, and driveable, too.

But back to FLYING LESSONS.   I've never had a desire to fly an airplane, but these are the kind of flying lessons I can really aspire to.

If you are so inclined, I invite you to join me on this journey.

Visit Kelly Rae's website by clicking on the title of this blog post - it will take you there in a flash!  (or just click on the FLYING LESSONS button on my sidebar ...)

-- Davielle

Friday, May 21, 2010


Last month, I came across a daily reading in our LIVING FAITH (Daily Catholic Devotions) that struck me as ... very heartfelt.  As if it were written by someone with ... experience on the topic.

It was written by Kristin Armstrong, "mother of three, a writer and a runner.  Her fourth book is WORK IN PROGRESS: An Unfinished Woman's Guide to Grace."   Click here to see what her other books are ... and to read a short bio on Kristin.

I think you'll find it (somewhat) interesting to learn that she is the former wife of cyclist Lance Armstrong.

So when I read this Living Faith "post", I bookmarked it ... and here it is, in its entirety:

Monday April 19
'Remove from me the way of falsehood, and favor me with your law.'  Psalm 119:29

We don't make a conscious decision to turn towards the dark path of deceit.  We don't wake up one day and decide that being a person of good character is overrated.  We don't suddenly develop a penchant for dwelling in a pit.

No, departure from integrity is more subtle and insidious than that, more like taking a wrong turn and ending up lost -- in a bad neighborhood.  It's allowing for a small deviation from the truth, rationalizing it and downplaying it, so the next indiscretion seems like no big deal -- and likewise the next and the next, until one can no longer remember how it felt to be clean.  It isn't enough to try to avoid deceit; we have to actively pursue truth.  We have to be intentional and diligent about seeking God's teaching and living in the light.

Lord, help me become so attuned to your teaching that a subtle tug of your Spirit is enough to turn me around.
-- Kristin Armstrong

Read what you will here, and take from it what you will.  That's all I ask.

-- Davielle

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Giro d' Italia 2010 - Underway

Or should I say ... underwear

On day 2 / Stage 2 of this year's Giro d' Italia (tour of Italy - first of the year's three Grand Tours - Italy, France, Spain), Mark and I were horrified (although not surprised) at the number of (rather spectacular) crashes.  What a day in the saddle for these guys.

Of particular "interest" to both of us were the two NAKED RIDERS that got back on their bikes after one crash in particular -- both were from Team FOOTON-SERVETTO-FUJI, and we couldn't believe how their "kits" just blew apart in the crash.  What a downer, right? 

If you want to know what I'm talkng about, click on the link to a YouTube clip of Stage Two's CRASHES (in the title of this post) ... it's in Italian, so enjoy the language, first of all.   Next, watch closely at about 2:56 into the clip -- that's where the crash happens, and although the TV coverage was better - you will get a glimpse of these two poor riders.  (what's left of their kit is black ...)

{and by the way, in this same clip, a rather heartbreaking crash - three guys off the side of the road - never let it be believed that crashing in grass is any better than on the asphalt - this happens at 7:07 in the video}

Back to naked guys on bikes.   Right?  Isn't that what we're here for, after all ???

So back up a bit, to 5:13 - 5:40 in this clip ... this is the crash that Mark and I just couldn't believe.  Okay, so in THIS clip, the close-ups reveal ... somewhat LESS than we could see from a helicopter overhead view, thereby leading us to believe that this guy was HALF NAKED.  {Imagine my delight !!!}  What you're looking for here is rider # 101 ...

All right, so after another day of watching the Giro action, we discovered that this team has a "kit" that LOOKS like the guys are half-naked.  Honestly.  I'm not kidding.  It's like the sponsors wanted them to show off ... all their "goods", and I'm not talking about the names of the sponsors.

Last night, watching Stage 4 of the Giro, I finally caught the name of the team in the unusual uniforms.

Footon-Servetto-Fuji.  This morning, I Googled them.  Lo and behold, I found photographs of the Team "unveiling" the 2010 kits, and just have to share with you all:

the approach to the unveiling ... notice the one poor guy, with his head hung in ... I don't know, what do YOU think is going through his mind just about now?

and here they are - unveiled for all the world to see.  See what, you might ask?  Gee ... you tell me.

Call me juvenile, but when I see a guy in a revealing pair of bike shorts, I can't help but ... stare.   There, I've admitted it.   Our cycling friends (well, the women anyway ) well recall the early days, when I was a newbie to all this ... I had a particular favorite (and I'm serious, here):  Jaan Kirsipuu, the Estonian sprinter.   The highlight of my very first Tour de France (2002, after his stage 5 win in Rouen) was standing up close to Jaan himself.  And I have the photos to prove it.  Those, and his autograph.

If you'd like to see the mighty Kirsipuu for yourself, I'm including some of my fave images here ...

 his winning style ...


 and his winning smile ...

his humility ... when he took a second instead of a win ...

oh, and lest we forget, the overall Jaan .. it's his podium shots I love the best !!!

But back to this year's Giro d'Italia ... if you, too, would like to follow the 2010 race, it's being covered daily on Universal Sports (television), and the km by km coverage I like the best is still at

If you'd like to know more about Footon-Servetto-Fuji's 2010 cycling team, click here

-- Davielle

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ornithology 101

So Rule No. 1 of bird-watching is this:  ONE MUST BE PATIENT.

Rule No. 2:  One should always have binoculars and/or their camera AT HAND.

Rule No. 3:  One should always proceed S.L.O.W.L.Y. in areas where they usually see ... BIRDS.

So I'm following all the rules today.  I hit the big-time score.  First, I followed Rule No. 3 ... when I got home this afternoon from running all kinds of errands, I drove up our drive ... slowly.  I usually do.  There's either birds in the birdbath or bunnies in the open spaces, or at the very least, I can delay putting things away for just that much longer.

Second, I spy a ****load of birds splashing in our Misty Birdbath.  I slow the car even more.  I realize that I am now able to say that I followed Rule No. 2 -- my camera was right next to me ('cause I took Kristi and her friend Jen out to breakfast this morning, and wanted to take photos of them). 

And next:  Rule No. 1.  PATIENCE.  It's a virtue, you know. 

So.  I sit in the car, radio off and a/c turned way down, foot on the brake.  I put the camera on "sport" setting and I zoom in as much as I can, still unaware of what a goldmine I've just struck.   Still, I'm thinking to myself, "hmm, those birds look rather ... large ..." ???

Lo and behold -- it was a FLOCK of Cedar Waxwings.  OMG, I just scored big-time!  I begin very calmly freaking out.

I quickly called Mark on his cell to tell him to fly (get it? fly?!) down the driveway, but no answer.  Meanwhile, I'm snapping away and once I realized what I had, there wasn't any way I was taking time to call anyone else to come see.   

So look up Cedar Waxwing if you don't know what they are ... Bombycilla cedorum is their Latin name.  WAY cool birds.

you'll be re-directed to a site for Sibley's bird guides.

So while I'm snap snap snapping away -- click, click, click -- I try to inch the car a little closer.  They're SO on to me, though, that they flitter up into the nearby trees.  Trying to blend in.  Right, guys.   So I keep snapping.   I turn the car off.  {you can see how Rule No. 1 is really key here ...}

But wait.  It gets better.  OMG, a small crew of ... oh, they're just house finches.  Anyway, too cute, they fly in and bathe and the Waxwings - whether they didn't want to cross-pollinate with the other "lowly" birds, or if I was making them cautious -- the Waxwings just sat up above, PATIENTly waiting for an empty bath OR for me to leave.  You see, patience works both ways.

At left, a House Finch, a White-Crowned Sparrow, a lone Waxwing (all in the lower bath) and up above, one of these cute podgy baby birds and ... hmmm ... something rather brightly colored.

So as I sit there, super-duper PATIENTLY waiting for some more Waxwing action ... HOLY COW, some flash of brilliant color flits into view.  OMG, it's the first Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) of the season.  RIGHT into the bath.  "Nobody's gonna believe this", I thought to myself.

PATIENCE pays off, my ornithological friends.  Get this:

The next flash of color that flies in ... a Hooded Oriole (Icterus cucullatus).  Yup, you got it ... the first sighting of them for the season, too. 

As if it could get any better ... in pops a hummingbird to the bath.  Yeah, sitting right there.  I'm going to guess that this was a Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), although I am not certain.  We have LOTS of hummingbirds on the property, and I know this is one of our year-round varieties, but I'm not so good at ID'ing the hummers. 

Whew.  What a day.

OH, but wait.  One of the most darling bathers this afternoon were these podgy baby birds - and I have no idea what they are, although I might guess they are baby House Sparrows (?) - if someone can enlighten me, I can go to sleep easily tonight.

Ah, now where are our elusive Western Bluebirds?  I ask you.  Is it too much to ask for them to come back and nest on our property this year?  We had them here, one year.  Too lovely for words.  Oh, and of course, that was the same year that a flock of Indigo Buntings flew on through for a weekend. 

Bliss for Birders, 101.

Yours in Ornithological Ecstasy ...

(oh, and by the way ... all photos in this post -
by Moi.  Yup, all my own shots.  Sigh.)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reader's Digest Version {or, Davi needs to create shorter blog posts!}

I just went through some of my recent blog posts and WOW, I am embarassed to admit ... I tend to write

I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again, right here and right now.

I will do my utmost to condense, refine, and shorten - said posts.  Going forward, anyway.

Yours in brevity,


Monday, April 5, 2010

Jane LaFazio - interviewed on RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO's blog

You've all heard me rave about local   {San Diego County} mixed media artist, Jane LaFazio.  I've been fortunate to be able to have taken three of her multi-session workshops, MIXED MEDIA WITH PAPER AND CLOTH - the beauty of them is that she never repeats a lesson / technique {unless by special request}.   I've enjoyed the most incredible 16 months of mixed media "arting", and it's mostly due to the fabulous Jane ...
Graffiti Kimono - Jane La Fazio

I just discovered that Jane has been interviewed on a blog called RUNNING WITH SCISSORS STUDIO {isn't that a great name?!} and I invite you all to visit it -- the interview is terrific, and they've posted many images of Jane's work for you to enjoy.

Happy Easter Monday !!!

-- Davielle

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Avoiding the Speed Bumps and Good Key Karma

My friend and blogging mentor {and a frequent "you won't believe how amazing she is!" topic on this blog and my other blog}, Ann Deakers, gave me some advice this morning that I found quite good:  "You can avoid the speed bumps ..."

Let me tell you the context:  we were leaving our morning workout at the YMCA and as we got into our cars, Ann said "you know, if you go out the north exit of the parking lot, you can avoid the speed bumps."

It was that simple.

But as I got in the car, I was struck with the wisdom of her simple advice. 

"you can avoid the speed bumps."

Wouldn't we all like to avoid the speed bumps?  Literally and figuratively?  Life is beautiful, yes, but it can be a challenge, we can endure plenty of pain and suffering, there will always be hiccups along the way.  SPEED BUMPS, if you will.

I know that I am not the first person {and I'd venture to say, I won't be the last} to compare actual speed bumps with figurative / life-occurences-related speed bumps.  But I just had to share that with you all today.

Listen to your friends.  ALWAYS listen to your friends.  For the most part, our friendships survive and thrive precisely because ... they help us work through or avoid ... life's speed bumps.

There.  I've got that out of my system for today! 

Oh, and speaking of cars and bumps ... I want to say that I had the most excellent key karma lately ... not just once, but twice.  In one month.  Here's how that went for me: 

The first incident was that I parked outside a Michael's (arts and crafts supplies) a few weeks ago, on a drizzly morning, and as I got out of the car, I noticed I had parked next to a storm drain.  You know the kind with the stencilled dolphin that says "I live downstream" ???  As I shut the car door, my keys fell to the ground.  One single inch away from that drain.  On a slanted surface.  I bent down very carefully, very slowly ... and got the keys.  What a relief!

The second incident was even more unbelievable.  Last week, my daughter came over to run an errand with me.  We parked both our cars (at home, in the driveway) at the same time and ran into the house to do a couple of things (like, say, going to the bathroom!).   When we went back outside, I couldn't find my car keys, and I was driving.  I quick grabbed the spare keys and off we went.  40 miles and 40 minutes later, we pulled back into my driveway.  She got out, went inside ... as I got out of the car, something caught my eye.  Yes, I had driven all that way, for all that time, up hill and down dale ... with those keys ON THE TOP OF MY VOLVO.  Thank God, there is a slender channel that runs the length of the top of the car.  One key had wedged itself into that; otherwise, they would have been oh-so-long-gone.   If you don't believe me, I think I took a picture of it.   

so looking at it again, I see that it wasn't really a key that held them all in place ...
rather, it was the little bone-shaped Harrod's "charm" on the keychain, a memento from our 2008 trip to London ... that saved my bacon !!!

And that's all I have to say today about SPEED BUMPS and GREAT KEY KARMA ...

--- Davi

Worthiness: Part Deux

I shouldn't have been surprised when I happened into another serendipitous moment last week ... they just keep coming.

My delightful mother-in-law Marion called to invite me to a women's spiritual retreat April 30 - May 2 here in the hills of East San Diego county, at Whispering Winds { } ... the same retreat that Mark and I will attend {separately} in October when we make our Cursillo  { } retreat/s.

 {photo of Sycamore tree, Leo Carrillo State Park, CA - by me - December 2009}

I was really interested when she told me who the Retreat speaker / leader will be:  Sister Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B. who I read quite often in our daily "Living Faith" book ... { } which is a "daily Catholic devotional".   And get this:  Sr. Macrina has a BLOG.  How could I not want to attend a Retreat with a Sister who blogs?  Really !!!   { }

You may have read my last blog post, HUSTLING FOR WORTHINESS.  I hope you did, anyway.

So Marion invites me to this Retreat, I tell her I'd love to attend, and then I run upstairs to look at some of Sister's writings ... lo and behold, Sister Macrina's meditation for Sunday, March 14 ... A PARTY FOR THE UNWORTHY ... jumped out at me.   Worthiness?  Unworthy people?    Now that is just plain more than mere coincidence, don't you agree?

I'd like to "lift" that reading in its entirety here for you all to consider:

taken from LIVING FAITH, 2010:

A PARTY FOR THE UNWORTHY / March 14 / Fourth Sunday of Lent
" But now we must celebrate and rejoice ..."   Luke 15:32

Embarassing as it is to acknowledge this, I often feel like the Prodigal Son's older brother.  I completely understand his sentiments.  He was not able to rejoice over another's good fortune because he was focusing on whether the recipient of his father's love was truly deserving.  He was also wallowing in  his own imagined neglect:  I've been faithful all these years, and no one even noticed.  Poor me!   This gospel offers marvelous material for prayer and reflection for each of us.  Are we able to rejoice with another when because of some good gift they've received whether it be a material gift, a promotion or new opportunity, an affirmation or reward?  Or has our fountain of joy dried up because we are foundering in our own misery?  Look deep within your heart to see if there may be a bit of rejoicing you are withholding.  Practice being glad because of another's good fortune.

Oh most merciful One, teach me to throw a party for the unworthy, knowing that I may be the guest of honor.   ~~ Sr. Macrina Weiderkehr, O.S.B.


Do we judge others to be "unworthy"?  Do we judge ourselves as being "unworthy" ??? 

Let's follow Christ's example and find EVERY ONE OF US ... worthy ... of our respect, our kindness, our generosity, our joy in their gifts ... let us be gentle with ourselves and others.

And by the way, when I also discovered that my most favorite art teacher, Chris Cozen, will be in town again on the exact same dates as the Retreat, I had a moment, a twinge, of  "oh, no, this can't be ..."   Until I realized that I most need to be at this women's spiritual retreat at this point in not just my life, but in my art-walk as well.   {but for those interested in taking the spot I would have filled at Chris' classes, you can visit Stamping Details at for class details; with my blessing!}

--  Davielle

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Hustle of Worthiness ... Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough - with Dr. Brene Brown

One of my favorite people in the whole world is the wholehearted DR. BRENE BROWN ... a researcher, writer, and professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. 

Brene has spent the last decade studying a concept she calls Wholeheartedness, posing the question:  "How do we cultivate a life defined by authenticity, love and belonging, joy and gratitude, and a resilient spirit, and what gets in the way?"

Wouldn't we all like to have the answer/s to that question?  I know I would ...

Last year, Brene offered an on-line READ-ALONG with her book,  "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)" , which I blogged about ... and participated in ...

This year, we are waiting with baited breath {what does that mean, really, anyway?!  "baited breath".  hmmm} for the release of  her new book, "The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" .  Due out in April 2010, this promises to be more wonderful work along the lines of  "ITIWJM(bii)". 

  This week, however, we are celebrating the release of a new DVD by Brene, "THE HUSTLE OF WORTHINESS: Exploring the Power of Love, Belonging, and Being Enough".

In the post about the release of her new DVD, author Brown notes: "Our lives are a collection of stories -- truths about who we are, what we believe, what we come from, how we struggle, and how we are strong.  When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness -- the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging."

How powerful is THAT?!

So what is this word, WORTHY, anyway?  Just what does WORTHINESS mean to you? to me?  I turned to Webster's {my trusty 1956, leather-bound edition that my mother Edith used for decades}:

WORTH:  that quality or sum of qualities of a thing rendering it valuable or useful; value; hence, often, value as expressed in a standard, as money; moral or personal excellence, merit; wealth, riches. 

Webster's goes on to add:

Worth:  the quality of being useful, important, excellent, or the like.

and they define WORTHY ... "Having worth; valuable; estimable. Having adequate merit.  'A person of eminent worth.'

And isn't that what each and every single one of us are?  WORTHY?  Having worth.  Of value and importance and useful ???

Being a lover of quotes, I found some very poignant ones that speak to me of the word and the concept of WORTH ...

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

"Do not let your peace depend on the hearts of men; whatever they say about you, good or bad, you are not because of it another man, for as you are, you are." -- Thomas a' Kempis

"The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself." -- Mark Twain

and to bookend the quote from Eleanor ...

"I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do.  That is character!" -- Theodore Roosevelt

But I think that the quote speaking to me loud and clear this morning is this:

"Women's work is always toward wholeness." -- May Sarton

While women do not have the market cornered on issues of worth/unworthiness and being whole vs. being "broken", I do feel that women strive their whole lives, from the cradle to the grave, for that feeling of wholeness, completion, worthiness ... that Brene addresses. 

Do we struggle with body image issues?  education issues?  career or family or community issues?  {if you answered YES to any of those questions, then you are in excellent company ... because who among us has NOT struggled with those issues, and more?}

Do we ever truly feel that we "stack up" well against our family members, our friends, our neighbors?  {if you answered "YES" to the stacking up well question, then YOU need to be writing a blogpost on this topic yourself!}

I personally battle body-image and health-challenge issues all the time.  From the time I could talk and reason, I wondered "what did I do to deserve these headaches?" and I always wanted to know "why did I get the belly-fat gene in the family?!"   I continue struggling with body image / self-worth issues to this day.

My friend Karen Caterson, who I met through the read-along last year and have grown to love because she is such a beautiful person, caring and giving and open-hearted ... she spends a lot of time addressing body-image concerns that we women face.  Her work CHOOSING ME: Finding Comfort, Joy and Beauty in the Me I am NOW is fantastic! { }.

I know that we each have our WORTHINESS issues to face ... I invite you to see what Brene has to say about the subject via her new DVD.  And please, please do leave a comment ON MY BLOG ... your comments do mean so much to me, as they do to all bloggers, and gee, it just might give my FEELING WORTHY quotient the boost it needs to ... take the next step.  Or not!  You see, no pressure.

As Brene says, "join me and some of my favorite bloggers this week as we take to the streets to celebrate our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives!"

Visit Brene at to read more about her incredible studies.

--  Davielle

Still gathering AN ARTFUL JOURNEY post-Retreat thoughts ...

there WILL be more, including photos ... I promise!

I've been caught up in Google/E-Blogger world for a few days now, trying to create a NEW blog -- an offshoot to "I Am Princess Magpie", and in so doing, I made a little mess of which e-mail address goes with which blog log-in !!!


Hoping that Ann, my blogging mentor, can help me straighten it all out ...


Sunday, February 28, 2010

I'm still in RETREAT mode ... and that's a good thing

I have had a handful of friends asking me ... "when are you going to blog about An Artful Journey?"  and ... "when can we see the pictures from An Artful Journey?" ... and "what did you think of An Artful Journey?" ...  I mean, really, I could hear Kelly drumming her fingertips next to her keyboard, just jonesing for my first words.  :-)  {thanks, Kelly - I'm glad you want to read what I thought of AAJ.}

Well, to be honest, I've been hoarding the experience ... the memories, the newfound friendships, the sights and scents and sounds, The Presentation Center, and for said hoarding, I do apologize.  I need to - no, I want to share it all, with you all.  Really, I do.  But you have to remember:  Magpies are Hoarders Extraordinaire, and so in this instance, I'm going to really take on the magpie's persona and say "that is what I was doing ..."  Forgive me.

So.  I cannot possibly put into words just how it went for me.  I have a feeling there are plenty of other AAJ participants that are still processing just what happened, just what we all experienced {and while it was unique to us all as individuals, there must be some commonalities to what happened for us all - am I right, ladies?}.  I will TRY, though, to give it a shot {putting it into words, that is}.  It may take several blog posts to get it all out, and to try and get it just right.

Here goes:

It was amazing.  It was eye-opening.  It was warm, and welcoming, and beyond my wildest expectations.  That's saying a lot, 'cause I have a most vivid imagination, and I often have great expectations.  AAJ organizer and "mother" Cindy O'Leary did a spectacular job putting all this together ... from the location (The Presentation Center) ... to the instructors - which read like a "who's who" in Mixed Media:
Albie Smith ,
DJ Pettit ,
Leslie Riley ,
Nina Bagley ,
and of course, Kelly Rae Roberts  
& Mati Rose McDonough )

... to the beautifully quilted and embellished and filled with ephemera "Welcome" packets ... to the activities ... and between Cindy and Stephanie, we all felt well cared for and well managed.
"Managed?" you might ask.  Imagine if you can:  100+ women (and a few brave-soul husbands!) gathered all together.  At times, it had to feel like herding cats .. and yet, Cindy could get our rapt attention with a quick "ladies ???" and a little "ahem".  Worked like magic, every time.

It was magical.  It was perfect.  It was a new concept in Art Retreating, far as I know .. we each registered to spend the ENTIRE workshop (starting Friday night to breakfast Monday morning) in ONE workshop, with ONE instructor (except for those of us with the Dynamic Duo of Kelly Rae and Mati Rose) ... which meant that we had to fill just ONE supply list, and UNLOAD our supplies into just ONE classroom - for the duration of our stay.  Can you imagine that?   It SOOOO worked, I don't know why this concept hasn't been tried before.  I loved it!

AN ARTFUL JOURNEY was my very first art retreat experience -- and I'm thinking I just might be spoiled by it.  Guess we'll just have to rally 'round Cindy to make that FIRST ANNUAL REUNION happen in February 2011 - same place, same time, same participants.  Wouldn't THAT be magical, ladies?

So I don't know how much more I can say tonight.  Mark just returned from a three-day bike race in Vegas; I am coming off a three-classes-in-a-row Chris Cozen "high" {at the gracious-as-always Stamping Details in Poway, CA}, and I'm looking forward to my Monday morning class with Jane LaFazio and all my friends in there. 

I've got so much art on the brain, I even woke up at 4:20 am on Saturday - and could NOT go back to sleep.  And again, it was an early Sunday morning for me - I had to wake Rocky up, if you can believe that !!!

I am so tired, I can't even post a few random photos to whet your appetite for more blog posts about MY experience of AN ARTFUL JOURNEY.    Well, okay. Here is ONE:

this is how my work space looked Friday morning, right after we finished our GROUP SWAP - we each made little swap goodie bags for everyone in the group.  And COOL TREASURES we all received!  Our workshop had the distinct pleasure of including the 2 AAJ ladies who traveled the furthest to join us:  Beth from the UK, and Cathy all the way from Australia.  Can you believe that?!

And let me just end it like this for now:   what AN ARTFUL JOURNEY opened up for me is such an exciting place inside, I'm guarding it like a newborn.  The dream I have long held to actually "work" in the art field is blossoming, and I am hatching (there's that magpie reference again!) a plan.  And there has been a virtual flock of ideas flowing today that just can't be stopped.  It's so fun!  Wait - did I just use another magpie (bird) reference?  Oh my!

Speaking of winged creatures ... one of my guardian angels, my mother Edith, passed away six years ago today.  It was a Sunday then, too (Leap Year). 

I am ever grateful for a couple of things about her journey to her better place: 

One - she died the day before our daughter Kristina had a horrific car accident - and yet, Kristi walked away with only a few (large and severe) hematomas to her torso.  She had just left work, it was late and dark, and she was thinking of her Grandma Edie and praying that Grandma was at peace ... when it happened.  The policeman who first arrived on the scene told her he could not believe his eyes when he found out SHE was the driver of THAT vehicle.  THAT, my friends, was my mother, protecting her grandchild from harm.


Two - I inherited my spirit and my creative talents, if you will, from my mother.  I also inherited these traits from my father's side of the family - every single one of my auntie's had such great taste & style - truly, they did.  But it is to my mother that I owe the most - she encouraged my artistic tendencies, and she always always always believed in me.  When I returned to school to study Interior Design - at the ripe old age of 38, Mom was my biggest supporter.  Thanks, Mom, for that.

And so I believe that all these new ideas, this new DREAM that is forming, is due, in large part, to my mother - who continues to make her presence known to us, the family she left behind six years ago today.  I doubt that this is a coincidence.

I love you, Mom.

-- Davielle  

Living Clutter Free ...

This one isn't going to require much in the way of an intro ... if you know me, you know I tend to clutter.  Anywhere, any time, for any and all excuses (um, Christina is calling them "seemingly logical reasons" ... could she be on to something here?!). 

Let's dive right in, shall we?  {do you see how I'm stalling here? I'm asking for your commitment to join me!}  .  And then, THEN, once I hit "publish post" ... I am heading OUT of my office, AWAY from this computer, and TACKLING some of the clutter I now have major ISSUES with ... LOL.   Awww, come on:  laugh with me here, friends.  {photo shows my desk, 2009 - it does have a much smaller stack now, but still, a stack, nonetheless.}

--  Davielle

SO HERE GOES {with my random comments included, in this color right here ... dark charcoal gray ... am I procrastinating, or what?!} :
9 Seemingly Logical Reasons We Cling to Clutter

by Christine Kane

"Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away."   Antoine de Saint-Exupery

A retired man once told me he loved going camping with his wife because camping showed her how simple life can be "without all that bloomin' stuff she keeps everywhere!"

He's right!

Our lives are meant to be simple. Our intuition and creativity thrive when given freedom and space. Clutter is a disease. {I was afraid of that ...}  Each moment we ignore the reasons we hold on to things we don't want, those things rob us of energy, health, and clarity.

If you're a clutter-clinger, be kind to yourself.  {oh, good, she's giving me permission to cut myself some slack & be kind to me. }Begin with an awareness of your thoughts and excuses. For starters, read over this list to see if you can find YOUR excuse!

Clutter Excuse #1: "I'd be a bad mean horrible person if I…"

Guilt is heavy gooey energy that convinces us we're bad people if we let go of heirlooms, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, or unwanted gifts.

These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place. And conveniently, we never have to decide what we actually do want in our environment. We become environmental victims. Often, that spreads out into other parts of our lives too!

Clutter Excuse #2 - "I spent so much on it!"

Do you punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around? Or convince yourself that you're going to get your money's worth – even if it drains the hell out of you?

You won't. And it will.

We've all done stupid things. And we've all had to let them go. Now it's your turn.

Clutter Excuse #3 - "I might need this someday."

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Way in the back of old desk drawers. Stuffed on closet shelves. They can't be gotten rid of.


Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day - in spite of technological progress - you're going to need that particular grey phone cord that came in the box with a phone you bought in 1989. {I know, but ... oh, okay. point well taken!}

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: The broken fax machine, switch plates from your first house, and every glass flower vase that came with deliveries. {uh, oh, guilty as charged here.}

Clutter Excuse #4 - "I might do this someday."

I know. I know.  {see, she knows me - she really really knows me.}

Someday you'll take those broken pieces of china you've collected and create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. {Oh my goodness, Christine knows about my broken pieces of china box - the one I "intend" to have Karyl help me make into a beautiful mosaic birdbath someday?!   And you think I'm kidding here, right?  NOT. }  And you'll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister's 30th birthday party. (She's 51 now.)

Now – I don't mean to deny you your plans and dreams. However, I urge you to consider experiencing the infinite relief that appears when you let old project ideas go.  {consider the possibilities !!!}

Call your sister and tell her the collage ain't gonna happen. Buy a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, make space for what you want to do. Don't fill your space with what you should do.

Clutter Excuse #5 - "I gotta look good to my guests."

CD's. Books. DVD's. Are these items treasured? Or are they simply a prop so your guests will be impressed by your intelligence and diverse tastes? {and here I thought I wanted them because I wanted to impress MYSELF with my eclectic music and movie taste ... dang, Christine's good at calling our bluff, huh?}

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

Clutter Excuse #6 - "I Don't Know Where It Goes."

When items don't have a home, it's harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter - like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer - but they're not clutter.

They're homeless.

Once you start defining spaces for items, then it's easier to see when something doesn't fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

Clutter Excuse #7 - "My thoughts don't have any power. Do they?"

Everything has energy. The thoughts you have about the things in your home CREATE energy. If you are surrounded by stuff you keep out of guilt, then your environment holds guilt. If you hang on to stuff given to you by your ex, and you still feel bitter – then there is bitterness in your home.

Get it?  {getting it, getting it, getting it ...}

It's either fueling you, or draining you. Some things might be neutral, of course. But if anything triggers you, then that is your barometer. Let it go.

Clutter Excuse #8 - "But I never wore it!"

See Clutter Excuse #2.

Clutter Excuse #9 - "There's too much stuff!" 
{isn't that the whole point here ???}

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. {I once learned, in a Wendy Freer workshop called CLUTTER CLEARING, that "perfectionist" usually means one who is often overwhelmed by the task ahead simply because they SO want to "get it done right."  Fear of doing it "imperfectly" or "incompletely" can stop us - yes, I said US - cold.  And all this time, I thought that being a perfectionist meant one who always does things perfectly!  NOT.}  If this article makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life you don't like, then go slow. Schedule small chunks of time each day. It takes time to be clutter-free! But the newfound clarity and lightness are worth it!


Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 11,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to LiveCreative at .


See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at .

Thank you, Christine. I needed this more today than any other day this week. 
To learn more about WENNDI FREER, with whom I once took a 2-day CLUTTER CLEARING workshop right here in Encinitas, California, you can find it here: