January 31, 2010

* Progressing plus a Trip and Fall

Can you see progress?  I've been working and working on this one.  It's coming.  No class until Tuesday, so I have a couple of days.  It's actually turned out to be quite complicated.  (At some level I knew that when I drew it) ..... however, did I stop .... Oh No!  I am having fun though and that's the main point isn't it.

I've finally done it.  I've gotten it over with.  It's behind me now.  It shall not happen again.  Today, I fully understand why SMA is called 'the city of fallen women'.  Yes, indeed, I became one of them.  Almost home, tripped on a cobblestone, plummeted forth with great force into the stream of traffic, tried desperately to save myself ... faster and faster.... AH YES ... I'm going to be OK .... I'm going to make it .... OH NO ..... can't do it, can't save myself, faster and faster..... YES.....NO......... I give up - I'm goin' down!!!  I landed just before I hit a cement wall, butting it with my head.  My inner wisdom saved me.  It was not a pretty site.  I started the fall on one side of the street - finished it on the other!  People got out of their cars, pedestrians came running, the policeman on the corner came to investigate.  I had my shopping bag with me full of groceries.  They landed here there and everywhere, strewn a little at a time .... nothing nice and neat about it.  My shins took the worst of it ... I'm sure they will be black and blue.  HOWEVER, I am fine ... no broken bones ... no strained muscles ... no sprains or torn ligaments!  How luck am I?!  So, I've been there, done that, didn't particularly care for it and shall not do it again!  I came straight home and opened a bottle of wine.  Yes, I've got my priorities right.

The photo of the cobblestones I have added are 'good' cobblestones.  They are pretty even, well laid, no holes and gullies, hills and dales.  One day I will take my camera out and do a survey of cobblestone complications ... places where they are not so even ... in fact ... places which are indescribable.  It's going to be an adventure, because I will probably have to lie flat on the ground to get a good shot.  Hope nobody drives over me.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for January 31, 2010

Jan 31

Partly CloudyPartly Cloudy
Hi: 70° Lo: 50°
Day: Partly cloudy skies. High 70F, humidity 30%. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 8
Night: Mostly clear skies. Low 50F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

"Success is falling nine times and getting up ten."  ~Jon Bon Jovi 
 If we are taking this quote absolutely literally, once is enough for me.  lol

January 29, 2010

* Ivy blooms, a walk, and a little history

I had no idea Ivy's bloomed.  Is anyone familiar with this.  I guess they do in warmer climes ... because look at this little lady on my balcony.  She is bursting out all over.  I was surprised.  Told her she was doing a great job.  We should all bloom like this!

A little walk down the street where my art teacher lives.  A very very Mexican neighbourhood.  Not many gringos.  Very close to centro - so I can walk to Nina's from where I live.

Stairway to the stars
This made me smile, because the clothes on the line look exactly like the Mexican flag.  They are hung in the correct order.  It amused me.
Peoples roof gardens.  I am so curious as to what they all look like!

A little more history, and then I'm done, I promise!

For three centuries, Mexico was colonized by Spain, during which time the majority of its indigenous population were killed or died from foreign disease.  Formal independence from Spain was recognized in 1821, after the Mexican War of Independence which began in 1910.  A war with the United States (The Mexican American War) ended with Mexico losing almost half of its territory in 1848. France then invaded Mexico in 1861 and ruled briefly until 1867. The Mexican Revolution (which is a totally different ball game from the War of Independence) would later result in the death of 10% of the nation's population. Since then, Mexico as a nation-state has struggled with reconciling its deeply-entrenched indigenous heritage with the demands of the modern Western (European) cultural model imposed in 1519.  (Note on the Mexican Revolution:  too complicated for me to explain here ... however the War for Independence gradually turned into a multifaceted civil war which tore this country apart and finally in 1917 produced the first Mexican Constitution.  The conflict and growing pains of this country did not end there.)

I feel the above little summary above (courtesy of wikipedia) says it very nicely and succinctly.  When you see the land mass Mexico occupied before the US stepped in, it's amazing.  Mexico lost an incredible amount.

Perhaps, after reading these little 'blips' of the past few posts, you may begin to see the layers and layers of history I speak of.  All the Mexico's indigenous peoples  planted the first seeds which established this society as it exists today.  This is where the roots of Mexico lie.  The cultural configuration, the first socio/economic structure, the manner of dress, the colours, the languages, the food, the agriculture, the architecture.  Then the Spanish arrived.  They did the same.  They were here for a long time, so much of there heritage rubbed off on the peoples and was absorbed into every part of the culture.  The Moors (The Ottoman Empire - Turkey, the Sultans and all that good stuff) had a tremendous influence on Spain. The Morrish flavour becomes a huge influence here.  Look at all the arches in the architecture for instance.  The Moors left the architecture in Spain.  Spain left it here.  Then, of course the French.  You see that as well in the layers.  Sometimes here, I feel like I am in Paris.  A Gothic cathedral built in the main square .... where did that come from?  I'm told the architect copied the design from a French postcard.  It's all so intertwined with Europe and it's left its mark in the fabric of the people. You see it in the food culture.  The food is good here, they love to cook, it's tasty and healthy.  They adore food. I'm sure the history of food development is fascinating. When you move further south into middle America you loose the food culture.  Food is not nearly as well prepared or as tasty.  There hasn't been the same kind of influences historically.

Mexico has been through sooooo much!  Her people are very resilient.  The have Spirit and it shows. I guess when we look at the trials and tribulations of the world, one gift we all share is that of resiliency.

I'm not going to carry on with the more recent history since 1917.  Just as a note, I believe the Mexican Revolution was not considered officially over until 1920.  As you probably know, happenings in this country are fairly since 1920 have been complicated as well.  Mexico is making her way.  She is learning her lessons.  Just like the rest of us.  So ..... here endeth the lesson on what I have learned about the history of Mexico.  I hope you have enjoyed it.  I have.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for Saturday, January 31, 2010

Jan 29

PM CloudsPM Clouds
Hi: 70° 
Lo: 54°
Day: Cloudy skies. High 70F, humidity 30%. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 7
Night: Cloudy skies. Low 54F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."  ~Henry David Thoreau, 1854 

January 28, 2010

* Art Class and a little History

Now!  Can you see anything is this?  Well, I am beginning to figure it out.  As I said before (I think) I threw maligros, drew intuitive lines around them, painted in the colours.  The shapes reminded me of the hills of San Miguel and how the houses sort of fit into those hills.  I went to my terrace and began to draw what I could see.  It got complicated and I freaked, became overwhelmed and stopped dead in my tracks.  I took it to Nina today, expecting her to say, "It's a good try, however, perhaps we should start over."  Instead she raved about it, said I was on the right track and told me the piece was going to be fabulous.  I was stunned.  I told her I was overwhelmed and had to stop from the shear lack of not knowing what to do next.  She got out a book.  Showed me the progression of the 'artists process'.  You begin with an idea.  You are pumped.  You play and play and are in the flow.  Suddenly, you don't have a clue what you are doing.  This is called the incubation period.  It's a time, when you may stop for awhile, play and see what happens for awhile, or various other options.  When the incubation period is over, you have a 'light bulb' moment, when all becomes clear about what you should be doing next.  At that time, you are able to get back into 'process', or into the 'flow' and complete what you are doing.  Naturally, I was standing with my mouth open unable to speak.  No one had ever explained this to me before.  It happens to me all the time.  I thought it was because I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  Suddenly I realized .... I am not alone in this situation ... every artist goes through the same process.  I can handle this!

"I think this is a great beginning ... you are absolutely on the right path here ... we can continue."  Once again, I was stunned.  We painted some additional shapes over my drawings.  Especially at the top, where the shapes got smaller, which will give the painting perspective and the feel that the houses are farther away.  That made sense.  We finished that, now I am working on the original drawings of the houses underneath the shapes.  You can see I have begun on the bottom right hand side of the painting to give the building more definition.  My homework is to continue - go out on my terrace and have another look if necessary, and simply carry on.  I'm enthused now.  I thought this piece was going in the garbage.  It has given me hope.  I will continue to work on it until Tuesday, and see what happens.  I am having fun.  Nina is a very good teacher!

Now for a little more history of Mexico.

The Spanish Conquest

From the time of Hernando Cortez's conquest in 1519 until 1821, Mexico was a colony of Spain. With fewer than 200 soldiers and a few horses, the initial conquest of the Aztecs was possible only with the assistance of the large Indian armies Cortez assembled from among the Aztecs' enemies. After a brief initial success at Tenochtitlan,(now Mexico City) the Spanish were driven from the city but returned in 1521 to destroy the city and to overwhelm the Aztecs. Within a short time the rest of central and southern Mexico and much of Central America were conquered from Mexico City.

The Spanish usurped the Indian lands and redistributed them among themselves, first as encomiendas, a system of tribute grants, and later as haciendas, or land grants. During the early contact with Indians, millions died from such European diseases as measles and smallpox, for which the natives had no immunity. Central Mexico did not regain its pre-Columbian population numbers until perhaps 1900.

Meanwhile, the Peninsular War (The Iberian peninsula) was going on in Europe. (This was basically part of the Napoleonic wars, involving Spain, France, Britain and Portugal)   The "guerrilla" warfare carried out by irregular Spanish forces added a new term to the military vocabulary and served as a model for future insurgencies. Because of this war, Spain was in desperate need of money.  The coffers of Mexico were drained (including the rich pockets of the Catholic Church) to support the military efforts in Europe.  Mexico became poor, desperate, hungry and even more oppressed under Spanish rule.  This was a huge instigator for the War of Independence which began in 1810.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for Friday, March 29, 2010

Jan 29

Hi: 71° 
Lo: 52°
Day: Cloudy skies. High 71F, humidity 25%. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 7
Night: Cloudy skies. Low 52F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
"The painting leads the painter, and it becomes an intuitive experience."  ~ Ardith Davies

January 27, 2010

* Flowers and the Women of San Miguel

I have to say, bringing these big bouquets home from the market is one of my biggest thrills!!  This is the second arm full of flowers I have bought.  They are so fresh when I get them, they seem to last forever.  They make me smile constantly!

Last night I joined the 'Sisterhood' at the restaurant.  I thought it was for dinner.  I had not eaten since breakfast.  It was Happy Hour - 2 for 1 and only nibblies ... popcorn, chips, and some Mexican  "hot stuff".  So hot infact when I tried a small drop on a nacho I ended up at the counter chocking out the word agua (water), and when they handed me a glass, I escaped into the street and literally coughed til I gagged.  This went on for 10 minutes!  Embarased?  No, what the hell, I'm a crone now, I can do anything I want ... lol.  Won't be having more of that any time soon.  At least until my pallet adjusts.

There were women from all over the world.   I met three ladies from Canada, one lady from Germany, who has bought land here and is building a house.  I didn't meet everyone, because it was a large group.  I think most of the rest were from America.  I sat beside an artist who had moved here about 7 years ago.  She tried out the gringo community in SMA.  She liked it, loved the vibrancy of the city, but somehow missed the authenticity of old Mexico.  Gail ended up buying an old colonial house in an old Colonial town named Pozos.

Pozos is nestled between the hills and clouds at 7,500 ft. above sea level (I would be puffing more there than here!), about 25 miles from SMA.  In earlier glory days, Pozos was an opulent colonial city which lived through several gold bonanzas from 1556 through the Mexican Revolution of 1910.  It was declared an Historical National Monument by the Mexican Government in 1982.  Currently the town has a couple of hotels, a couple of restaurants, and about 50 artists making their home there.

Each year there is a huge mariachi festival there, with the best mariachi bands from all over Mexico attending.  I would love to go.  Mariachi music makes my jaws hurt.  I can't stop smiling.

So, as I was saying.  Gail is an artist who lives in Pozos. A group there puts on a huge art show every year.  She does altered art and asemblage. After some time living in Pozos, Gail felt she needed a little more balance between the small town life and SMA.  She now keeps an apartment here.   She entertains madly when she's in town, and has discovered a wonderful balance between her two homes. Gail is seventy four.

We are all so different.  I find it very fascinating.  There were other women who come here every year and seem so know each other.  Others lived here on a permanent basis. There are women like me, who are here for the first time.  Everyone is welcomed with open arms.  I walked home with a lady from Flordia who's name is also Donna.  She called tonight to invite me to another evening of socializing at the 'Sunset Bar' ... a rooftop establishment, where from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm it's happy hour, you can visit, meet new people and watch the beautiful sun sets of San Miguel.  I declined.  This cold seems to have knocked a little of the zip out of me.  I had been out all day and I am honestly tired tonight.  Next week, I will attend and see who I meet.

Art class tomorrow! This is going to be a challenge for Nina.  I am totally lost with my homework.  We shall see if she can help me through this one.  If she can help me save this piece I have started, it will be a miracle!  lol

Grumpy Marshall Westher Report for San Miguel de Allende for Thursday January 28th, 2010

Jan 28

Cloudy / PM SunCloudy / PM Sun
Hi: 77°
Lo: 48°
Day: Sunny skies. High 77F, humidity 25%. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 7

Night: Cloudy skies. Low 48F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

"In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between, there are doors."  ~ William Blake

* A Better Chair and a Little History

Detail of Chair top

Detail of Chair Bottom

Can you see the difference?  Today I learned how to add volume and form.  Which I already knew from drawing the body, but had completely forgotten.  I spent another 2 hours on the chair at Art Class with Nina.  She also helped me integrate the collage into the piece which was very helpful.  I added a ton of glitz.  You can't really tell in the photographs.  I'm not sure if I like it or not.  I like the chair .... it's the glitz I question.  When I said to Nina I thought the chair was funky, she said, "No, that chair is Royal."  And so endeth the lesson.  Back on Thursday for another.  My homework for Thursday is to draw an abstract design, perhaps by throwing the stones, then draw a more realistic image on top of that ....... and somehow integrate the two!  Sounds like a challenge to me!!

Now, would you like to know a little more about Mexico?  I love history.  Find it fascinating.  While I'm here, I've decided to learn a little more about this country.  I'm going to share it with you ... a little bit .... then another little bit.  Don't panic!  I won't overwhelm you.  If you don't like to dig into the cultural fabric of a country ... we will see you tomorrow.

The Spanish arrived in Mexico in 1519.

Prior to that, a large number of Indian groups lived in this beautiful country.  They were all very diversified with completely different social and economic systems in place.

Smaller tribes in the arid north were generally hunters and gatherers.  They were nomadic.  You may hear them referred to as Chichimecs.

In the rest of the country, agriculture prevailed.  This allowed large populations to be supported.  Among these were the Maya of the Yucatan penninsula.  Other tribes included Tolonac, Huastec, Otomi, Mixtecx, Zapotecs, Tlaxcalans, Tarascans and Aztecs.  Examples of highly developed civilizations are the Myan city of Chichen Itza, and the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

When the Spanish arrived in central Mexico, the Aztecs controlled most of the Mesa Central. The city of Tenochtitlan was established in the early 1300's where Mexico City is situated today. It became the capital of their empire. They migrated there from the north fulfilling a tribal prophesy to build where an eagle with a snake in its mouth rested on a cactus.  This became Mexico's national symbol.  Today it's on the flag and is the official seal.  Mexico's name comes from the Aztecs war god, Mexitli.

In the photo is the Toltec city of Teotihuacan near Mexico City, established around 1100.  The pyramid of the Sun is situated at one end, facing the smaller pyramid of the moon.  I have been there, years ago.  Super place to prowl around in.  The city would have been highly painted and colourful.  Today, the paint and colour is worn away to the rock face.

So we see well established societies, which warred at times with the tribes around them. (In other words, nothing has changed.)  There were well developed social/economic systems in place.  Who knows what would have happened if, in 1519, Cortez had never arrived. Arrive he did, however.      .... more later

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jan 27

PM CloudsPM Clouds
Hi: 73°
Lo: 50°
Day: Mostly cloudy skies. High 73F, humidity 30%. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Cloudy skies. Low 50F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

To travel alone is to find the answers you’ve been seeking and discover the questions to all your unfounded thoughts.

January 26, 2010

* Ruta 2010

Art Class.  I was given homework.  Asked to draw something of interest to me.  Look at the outline, pick the key spots in the design, place a dot there. Keep doing that until the object was 'dotted'.  Then, connect the dots ... put the energy where it should be, the 'weight' where it should be.  Well, I drew a chair.  When the chair was finished, it turned into a collage.  I tore pictures out of all the local stuff I had, glued them on, threw paint on them.  I called it "Ruta 2010 The Art of Living".  This year in Mexico, their logo for 200 years of Independence is Ruta (Route) 2010.  I feel a little like I'm having some sort of revolution within me these days.  Perhaps even this year.  There's a lot going on.  More to come.  I felt Ruta 2010 was appropriate.

Detail of top of chair

Detail of bottom of chair

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan 26

Hi: 78°
Lo: 48°
Day: Sunny skies. High 78F, humidity 20%. Winds light. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Mostly clear skies. Low 48F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.

 "Life ends when you stop dreaming, hope ends when you stop believing, love ends when you stop caring, friendship ends when you stop sharing."  ~ chintu

January 24, 2010

* Ceramics and Jorge

Today, Wendy, May and I drove about an hour to a small colonial town named Delores Hidalgo. It's very famous because it was one of the main points in the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1810.  This September, Delores Hidalgo will be a hot spot for those interested in Mexican History who are celebrating it's 200 years of independence.

A little Mexican history for those who are interested.  The city was a small town known simply as Delores when Father Miguel Hidalgo uttered his famous cry for the independence of Mexico there in the early hours of September 16, 1810, in front of his parish church. After Mexico achieved independence, the town was renamed Delores Hidalgo in his honor. On September 28, 1810, Hidalgo's forces killed more than 500 Spaniard and Creole loyalist soldiers during the battle for Dolores.  2,000 Indigenous Mexicans died in the fighting.

The town today is very famous for its tile and ceramic factories.  This industry employs over half the population of Delores.

Needless to day, I had to tie my hands behind my back and hide my money from myself.  I really don't want to bring things home, when I am turning around and coming right back.  The ceramics are gorgeous non the less, and I can see myself putting a lovely 'miss matched' dinner set together.  I was a good girl though.  Nothing came home in my shopping bag!

After a couple of hours exploring the ceramic shops it was lunch time.  Between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, Mexicans enjoy their large meal of the day.  At 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm or later, they will eat again.  Much lighter this time.   May and Wendy took me to a lovely restaurant.  An old Colonial building, where we ate in the huge opening amongst the arches.  I would imagine this is where the horses and carriages would have entered the property in the 'old' days.

When we arrived, the place was empty since we were 'early'.  The buffet of Mexican delights was not ready.  We settled down at our table for a lovely chat and a cool Mexican drink.  The waiter came and moved our shopping bags off the floor and onto a hanger by our table.  It is bad luck to leave your bags on the floor.

While we lunched, one of May and Wendy's favorite Mexican singers took the stage.  His name is Jorge - pronounced 'Horhay' .... or horsehair as my girlfriend laughingly insists on calling him!! (She's naughty) Jorge is George in English.  Wendy and May freely admit they are 'groupies' and have all his CD's.  When he began to sing, I could see why.  I sat there mesmerised by his beautiful mellow voice coupled with his skill on the Spanish guitar.  Wendy translated the words in my ear, and I swooned.  We, of the Anglo/Canadian persuasion, have no idea how to write words like that.  I came home with one of Jorge's CD's.

We drove back to SMA, happy, content and in a calm reflective mood after listening to all that incredibly romantic Spanish music.  Before Wendy dropped me off, I was taken on a tour of an old colonial home in the centre of SMA where Wendy was dog/house sitting.  I'm sorry to tell you, it is indescribable, so I can't even give you a proper verbal vision.  I would estimate 20,000 sq. ft. (maybe more) including courtyards and gardens.  Outside spaces, inside spaces, spaces which don't connect.  Art, funky art, modern art, crazy art, wonderful art.  I tripped over it, I bumped into it, I was visually overwhelmed by the shear amount of it.  Fruit trees were abundant with harvest in the courtyards.  Oranges, lemons, limes, and fruit I was not familiar with.  Fountains, birds, hidden surprises along the paths.  Everywhere I looked, something visually stimulating.  Upstairs, downstairs, yalapas, open decks, covered decks, water gardens, coi and lily ponds.  Formal areas, casual areas. A guest house. A forty foot long kitchen.  More drawers than I could ever imagine.  Looking for the potatoe peeler?  Go buy one ... it would be quicker .. lol.  A music room.  A library.  Huge trees, palm trees, a tremendous variety of plant material, all native to Mexico.  Viewing this home was an experience, a treat.  Thank you.

So, that was my day.  Wendy dropped me off at the Jardine.  I bought a few groceries at my little shop on the way home, and slowly, slowly, walked up the shallow but consistent slope to my little casa.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende, for Monday, January 25, 2010.

Jan 25

Hi: 79°
Lo: 47°
Day: Sunny skies. High 79F, humidity 20%. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Clear skies. Low 47F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

"When I stand before the Divine Mother at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, "I used everything you gave me."  ~ Erma Bombeck

* Bring on the Celebrations!

200 years of Independence!  It's a lot to celebrate.  The Mexicans are doing it up royally!  One of the biggest assets they have here, in my opinion, is enthusiasm.  Now that's a gift for any culture to be endowed with.  I have observed they have no difficulty having fun.  The family unit and sense of community is still very strong here.  My belief is ... strong family, strong community helps just about everything.  On my way to art class a couple of days ago now,  I was confronted by a parade.  I wasn't particularly interested .... I just wanted to get to art class.  There were dignitaries, beauty queens, movie stars, bands, floats, and more bands.  BUT .... how do you get around a parade!?  I walked blocks and blocks to avoid it.  Finally, however, I was forced to stop and enjoy it ... there was simply no going any further.

By the time the Universe stepped in, the horses were approaching.  Now, that got my attention.  Spanish horses, and Spanish men ..... hmmmm!  I can tell you from personal experience, those Mexican men know how to sit a horse.  They are alive, vibrant, spirited, virile .... and YES ..... very SEXY!!  There is nothing like the combination of a good looking man who knows how to ride a good looking horse, in my opinion, of course!

It was the luck of the draw to try and get photos.  So many people.  I simply allowed my camera to click away and I managed to get a few reasonable shots.  Notice the stencil on the rump of the horses .... I just love it when they do that!  Here we go ...

Eye contact at 40 paces!  Cute, but a little young!  (Where's your Daddy!)
Stay out of these boys' way!  They've got the big guns!

This shot was a real fluke.  Aren't they gorgeous?

This is the photo I did 'sepia' on the last post.  Look like they're riding into town in 1900!
"Mi Amigo"
The Children of San Miguel ..... beautiful!


Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allande for Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan 24

Hi: 81°
Lo: 48°
Day: Sunny skies. High 81F, humidity 20%. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Mostly clear skies. Low 48F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.

"No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to flee and fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams." ~ Jesse Jackson

January 23, 2010

8 Principles for Having More FUN!

As you know, it's the celebration of 200 years of Mexican Independence.  "The Revolution".  What do you think of this photo I shot the other day.  Perhaps it captures some of that spirit?  The need to be free!  Speaking of Fun ... I am having a lot of that with my camera.

A male friend of mine and I joke about the "F" word.  To us, in our silly little code, it stands for FUN.  I am always into having more of the "F" word!

Having just finished reading "Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life",  I have been tuning into Laruen Macklers' blog from time to time.  I really enjoyed this.  So let's get on with it!  Time's a'waistin'...

For me these principles of having FUN, fit right in with my word for the year.    "AUTHENTICITY"

Stop hiding who you really are. Although it feels like the path of least resistance, it actually takes more energy to live from your Conditioned Self than to live authentically—the person you were born to be.

Start being intensely selfish. Many people believe that making themselves the key person in their lives is a bad thing. It’s simply good common sense. After all, you’re the only person who’s with you 24/7 until you draw your last breath. (And ... if I could add a thought of my own here ..... If we don't take good care of ourselves and insure our own happiness, what good are we to those around us.  Burnt out, sick, depressed and grumpy does not make for a happy, peaceful, joyful, fun life!  Therefore, if we don't find things that allow our hearts to sing .... who will??  So, I think, personally, it's all about moving forward, growing, putting ourselves 'out there', trying whatever we want to try and scaring the wits out of ourselves in the process.  That might even be fun ... who knows!)

 Stop following the rules. While some rules are necessary and good for us, living a life based on others’ rules, needs, and expectations can stifle your self-expression and creativity, and keep a lid on your potential.  (One of my fears is that I will die with my music in me!  I don't want that to happen.  Therefore, I find, I am really pushing myself lately.  My baby steps are getting more like a 2 year olds!  More steps, quicker.  Interesting process.  I'm still terrified, however, the thought of dieing before I have expressed my true creative self scares me even more!)

 Start scaring yourself. People avoid expanding their comfort zones out of fear, missing out on people and experiences that can enrich their lives. Know that fear is a normal reaction to taking risks and learn how to override them.

 Stop taking it all so damn seriously. Our time on earth is short, and as someone once said, “No one gets out of this alive.” Instead of ruminating about how bad things are, bring laughter into your world and focus on what’s good about your self and your life.

Start getting rid of the crap. Being bogged down by possessions you don’t need can be an energy-drain. Many people go into debt because they buy things to fill the voids in their lives. Clear out clutter that distracts you, and you’ll free up energy to create a life you enjoy.  (I can vouch for this one!)

Stop being busy. Being busy and being productive are not necessarily the same. Many people keep busy to avoid taking action on things they’re afraid to pursue. Identify your priorities and allocate your time and energy to achieving the goals to which you aspire.

Start something. Procrastination is a common reaction to feeling overwhelmed or fear of failure. Instead of taking on too much at once and overwhelming yourself, break things down and take one small action step at a time.  (Baby steps!)

© 2010 Lauren Mackler

Lauren Mackler is a coach, psychotherapist, and host of the Life Keys radio show on hayhouseradio.com. She’s the author of the international bestseller, Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. Sign up for her Live Boldly newsletter at www.laurenmackler.com.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende for Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jan 23

Hi: 79°
Lo: 48°
Day: Sunny skies. High 79F, humidity 10%. Winds WSW at 15 to 20 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Mostly clear skies. Low 48F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

"The more fun you have, the greater your value to yourself and to your society. The more fun you share with others, the more fun you have." 

January 21, 2010

* My Lady of San Miguel

Surprise!  Art class was not anything I could have anticipated.  The above drawing emerged.  She's done in oil pastels.  I am calling her "My Lady of San Miguel"!  I'm amazed!  I'm astounded!  I had no idea she was inside, in the depths, hidden away in some corner of my consciousness or my unconsciousness!  An unknown entity.  An unknown idea.  Where did she some from?  Don't ask me .... I didn't do it.  I certainly was not in charge.  She definitely came 'through' me.  In two hours, she simply paid me a visit ... slowly emerging from the throw of some stones.  My critic has been non existent.  I think she is in stunned mode as well.  I actually adore My Lady of San Miguel.  I think she's lovely.  If I saw her in a shop, I would buy her.  As I said,  I'm absolutely dum founded!

That's all I know today.  Walking to art class I got caught up in a parade.  It took me an hour to try and get through the crowds.   More about that tomorrow.

Here's who was waiting to greet me by my door when I came home. They had worked hard all day delivering loads of wood for fireplaces.  They were resting before their master took them home.

Grumpy Marshall Weather Report for San Miguel de Allende, for Friday, January 22, 2010.

Jan 22

Hi: 78°
Lo: 45°
Day: Sunny skies. High 78F, humidity 15%. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Air Quality: NA, UV Index: 9

Night: Clear skies. Low 45F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

"The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself. ~ Alan Alda