Rainbow of Random Smarts

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is the word RANDOM. In response I’ve put together an odd number, and an odd assortment, of quick quotes:

A good word never broke a tooth.

You begin to appreciate you elders as you become one.

An ounce of don’t say it is worth a pound of didn’t mean it. – L McBoyd

An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding.

If the sea were always calm, it would poison the universe.

Whatever your lot in life, build something on it.

Habit is a person’s best friend or worst enemy.

Love will find a way. Indifference will find an excuse.

We’re only young once; that’s all society can stand. – Abner W Smith

You don’t get the breaks unless you play with the team instead of against it. – Lou Gehrig

There is no mistake so great as that of always being right. –Samuel Butler

Painting Pizzazz

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PIZZAZZ, and I will add my little contribution to the collection.

“Paint with PIZZAZZ,” the book instructor encouraged. “Be BOLD and BOHEMIAN! Don’t let yourself be bound by the need to render realistically.”

So I slashed, swirled and daubed bold colors on the canvas — and it was so much fun! I whipped up a sea of wild waves and whitecaps, then swizzled in a sky full of menacing clouds. Lastly I added a small sailing ship in the distance, plowing its way through this terrible fury.

I proudly showed my painting to my first art critic.
“Are those white things supposed to be fish?” he asked.
“Fish? Those are whitecaps.”
“They look like white fish trying to jump into the boat.”
Back at the easel, I tried to make the waves more realistic.

I proudly showed my stormy scene to the next art critic.
“Your ship is too level. The bow should be dipping into the trough of that wave.”
“Maybe,” I replied.

Concluding I don’t possess enough pizzazz, my next effort was a vase that looked like a vase and flowers that looked like flowers. Someday I’ll try doing the boat-on-stormy-sea again – with proper whitecaps – and dip its bow down into the trough of a big wave.

Curiously enough, that painting is one of my favorites. Maybe because it looks WILD — and was FUN. I may just do wild and fun again sometime. 🙂

Spring Fever?

What is so rare as a day in March,
when sunshine knocks out stiff winter’s starch
when the blanket of snow spills into a trickle
and bloggers once faithful to post become fickle?
Eschewing my blog I now lounge in the light
and – making things worse – have been painting at night.

Spring came to our land last week. In a few days the temp went from -30 to +3. The citizens went from parkas to light jackets. We love the sunny skies and seeing more and more of our lawns appearing!

Looking out the back window yesterday, I noticed a black dot like a stone, lying in the deep snow behind the house and realized that it was the tip of the fence post, buried for months under six feet of snow, now poking through. Two days ago I walked through the back yard, picking the spot where the bank was lowest. It was pretty hard-packed, but where my feet sank in, the snow was knee-deep, so we have a ways to go yet before the back lawn appears.

I’m not sure what’s with me these days, that I’ve abandoned writing and posting for a week. Is this spring fever? The utter abandonment of responsibilities? Too many irons in the fire? But I want to peek in today and say “Hi. Yes, I am alive and reasonably healthy.” To my newest followers, “Thanks for following. I hope you’re finding stuff to read in my archives.”

And I’ve gone from blogging every morning to cleaning house, getting rid of excess stuff, and spending a few hours splashing paint on canvas. Mediocre scenes maybe, but I’m just a beginner. After watching a few demonstrations I tried doing an impressionist style – which didn’t impress friends or hubby – but I think I’ll keep on splashing and dabbing. It looks so easy when I watch the pros do it!

OCD I have: everywhere I turn now, I see something I want to paint! So I reach for a new canvas, then my perfectionism kicks in and I’m afraid to start because I may make a mess of it. I spend too much time looking for a picture I think I could manage, but still have to tell myself often, “It’s okay to make an unrecognizable mess. That’s how you’ll learn.” Do any of you readers have these inner battles that keep you from starting some bold adventure?

Anyway, I hope you’re all enjoying life, in fairly good health, seeing lots of sunshine and blue skies wherever you are.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: BLANKET
Yesterday’s Prompt: CLEAR SKIES

The Wallpaper

Terry was measuring off the first strip of wallpaper when he heard the doorbell. He dashed down the stairs to answer. Glancing through the diamond porthole in the door he saw his friend Gavin standing on the step.

“Hi Gav. Sorry you had to wait but I was upstairs. Come on in.”

“Thanks. Just thought I’d see what you’re up to this morning.” Gavin glanced around. “Sasha not home?”

“Nah. We’re getting the nursery ready, got the wallpaper yesterday, so she went shopping for some accessories. Don’t know why the baby needs accessories, but you know how women are. I said I’d make a start at hanging the wallpaper. You maybe can help me– I’ve never done this before.”

“Oh, I don’t know… How fussy is she?”

“I think it should be easy enough to hang. All balloons. Come on up.” Terry led the way to the nursery.

Gavin looked at the wallpaper strip partly unrolled on the floor. “No kidding, all balloons! Are you sure you’re going to be happy with that when it’s on the wall? It’d make me dizzy.”

“Sasha thinks it’s perfect, so who am I to argue? My job is just to slap it on.”

Gavin eyed the repeating shapes with a frown. “Might be tricky to get it cut right.”

“No sweat. Just have to match these half-balloons at the edges.”

He knelt on the floor and rolled out a second strip next to the first, lined up the balloon and was ready to cut when Gavin said, “Wait a minute!”

Terry looked up. “Problem?”

“If you put those strips together that way every side balloon will be mismatched. See here, this balloon will be half red and half blue. I think the idea is to match the colors, not just the balloons. Blue with blue; red with red. Like this.” He took the roll from Terry and demonstrated.

Terry eyed the two strips. “What a waste of paper! This kiddie design stuff costs big time – and I’m sure Junior won’t care. But yeah. Sasha might not be too happy if they don’t match. Good thing you came along.”

With Gavin’s help Terry got the papering done quickly, then the two of them stood back to survey the overall effect. Gavin winced at the brightness of all those balloons.

Terry shrugged. “Wouldn’t have been my pick. But this is what she wanted and I won’t be spending much time in here. Come on, let’s grab a coffee.”

As soon as Sasha returned from her shopping trip Terry led her upstairs. “The job’s all done, sweetheart. Hope you like it.”

Gavin trailed after them, curious to see her reaction.

Sasha walked into the nursery and looked around. They observed that her face didn’t light up with joy as she studied the wallpaper.

“Something wrong,” Terry asked.

“I…uh.. I guess… I never thought… I mean, it looked great in the sample book but I didn’t get the picture of how a whole room would look with this on all four walls. It’s really pretty, but…uh…”

“A bit overwhelming,” Gavin suggested.

“Yeah. A bit.” Maybe we could paint two of the walls something plain.”

Terry huffed. “You mean paint over this new, expensive wallpaper?”

“Or take some of it down? Maybe we could reglue it and hang it… Maybe in the office?”

“No way!”

Gavin decided this would be a good time for him to disappear.

🙂

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning that inspired my little tale is REPEATING SHAPES
The image I’ve used is from Pixabay, created by AnnaliseArt

The Brevity of a Dash

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is BREVITY

And I suppose a person’s thoughts automatically go to “the brevity of life.” At least mine did, so here’s my response:

“Pleasant View” – what an upbeat name for a cemetery! Definitely a “Rest in Peace” note to that. I suspect half the cemeteries in this country are named Pleasant View, Rest Haven, or some slight variation.

I stroll through the cemetery searching familiar names and came across two identical tombstones, side by side. Small flat marble slabs, the first bearing the name:
James A Thorlakson
1933 – 1956

I pondered for a moment how much living is represented by that brief dash:
The baby in his mother’s arms, lovingly welcomed into the family
The small boy growing up in Aunt Sadie’s large family
The rough and tumble of childhood antics with three brothers
Sitting in school day after day, learning the three R’s –or daydreaming?
The teen years with their whirl of picnics, socials, weddings
His marriage to Margaret; the joys of setting up a home
Finding work in the oil fields, moving to southern Saskatchewan
Then the fatal car accident that etched the final date on his tombstone

The dates and the dash do tell me about the brevity of his life. Likewise with the next marble slab:
Walter F Thorlakson
1933 – 1956

I know that this single young man was killed in the same fiery car crash, together with their brother-in-law. Thank God cars have a better electrical system nowadays that they don’t burst into flames after a crash!

The dates don’t tell you how the three young men, all employed in the oil field, jumped in the car one Sunday afternoon – headed to a store? – and died on the highway near Weyburn. A family tragedy.

Their father couldn’t bear his loss. Depressed, he took his life in 1958. Another life abbreviated by this tragedy. His tombstone rests here in Pleasant View Cemetery as well.

Aunt Sadie carried on, bearing her losses and raising her other children as best she could. Sadie lived to be 92; her dash represents many years lived before and after these heartaches and others. For all her suffering, in her older years when I knew her, she was the sweetest, kindest person.

A Writer’s Cloud Nine

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is OSCILLATE

Seeing this word piqued my curiosity. What’s the difference between OSCILLATE and VACILLATE?

Pursuing this inkblot of thought has put me on a cloud nine a-puff with a plethora of delectable VERBS!

Over at one of my favorite hangouts, Merriam-Webster, I’ve learned that
Oscillate means to swing back and forth,
or move back and forth between two points
For example: an oscillating electric fan.
You can oscillate between opposing beliefs, feelings, or theories
For example, the way people’s moods and views on whatever tend to do.
Oscillate can mean a variation from a fixed or given point
For example: Stats, interest rates, test results that vary from the norm.
Or how clean your laundry actually get compared to those in the ads for new Blastout laundry detergent.

All the lovely & useful words explained for comparison sake:
swing, sway, vibrate, fluctuate, waver, undulate

When I hear the word OSCILLATE my mind automatically goes to a fan, because it carries the sense of a regular or timed back & forth.

Vacillate means:
– to waver in mind, will, or feeling, hesitate between choices
– prolonged hesitation from inability to reach a firm decision.
Pondering, “Should I or shouldn’t I?” is vacillating if you do it for long.

Or to sway through lack of equilibrium, to fluctuate, oscillate. When I think of VACILLATE, I automatically think of indecision.

More lovely and useful synonyms:
Hesitate, waver, dither, teeter

Word lover that I am, this is like a trip through the chocolate factory, inhaling the aromas. I hesitate to promise I’ll put all these useful verbs to use –and I may vacillate at times as to which one to choose – but it’s always good to understand the nuances.