making life beautiful

Guest Blog by tim

the blog for my day will have to do with the arts. this group more than the norm seems to have an appreciation for the arts or at least an acknowledgeable acceptance of it.
the photographers the drawings the painting the discussions are something that remind me I am not living in a vacuum.

art is the difference between the walls of the walker art center and the walls of super 8 motel. the difference between seeing a sunset and adjusting the rear view mirror to get that annoying bright spot out of your eyes. the difference between walking seeing listening to the poetry of the forest and the mindless preoccupied walk with to do lists and the agenda of the day clogging up the brain arteries.

art is what makes life beautiful. years ago i was in italy buying tile with a colleague who taught me to the ropes. he is a great business mind, a multi millionaire, the guy who taught me that it is not the age or experience that allows great things to happen but the mind, the vision and the ability to recognize how to make the opportunity of the day happen. a remarkable man with a heart the size of all outdoors but with an artistic set of blinders on that allow him to enjoy beauty and the world around him only in the rarest of moments. he prefers mcdonalds and kfc to fine dining in world venues because they are familiar . he prefers ramada and holiday inn to world venues because they cater to americans. we were in line to see the last supper as it was being restored in milan , and he wanted to leave because the line was 30 minutes long.i said are we going back to the hotel for a beer 30 minutes earlier than otherwise? art for him and many others is a nice thing and i am glad they have an appreciation of art but the understanding and appreciation of the world of the arts is not something they get.

this group gets that the artistic side of life is a very vital part of life. the poetry, the drawing, painting, the music, the photography is what makes the world go round. It used to drive me crazy to go to china because they had such bad music. the mtv equivalent was on tv everywhere over there but the music was horrible. It was like chinese people trying to be madonna with cutesy little tunes that were bubble gum and bouncy or toooo dramatic. today when I go i can stream the music of my choice of just hit the shuffle button on my itunes and listen to my music. I feel like my friend eating at macdonalds in one sense but I feel like I am doing it to make my world better, more beautiful.

What do you do to make the world beautiful?

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110 thoughts on “making life beautiful”

  1. very nice tim! As an arranger of travel (& traveler), I see lots of folks like your friend, who have enough appreciation to go to other places, but then insist on the same stores, restaurants and hotels as they have in their own home towns. I understand their need for comfort and stability, but it always seems a shame. Some of my fondest memories are of getting off the beaten path.

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  2. Rise and Shine Babooners:

    Nice question. And of course in any discussion of beauty, art, and expression Italy must arise because beauty is what Italy does. I used to be a musician — I played classical and “band” clarinet until 10 years ago when TMJ ended that (I was “supposed” to be a music teacher, but I could not commit myself to a career of teaching 10 years olds to play which is what women music teachers got to do in 1975). When the music ended I started taking art and sculpture lessons from an artist in Jordan who works with Polymer Clay. I sculpt people — mostly the younger set in my family, but I’ve done friends who have retired also. I also make our grandchildren Christmas Angels every year. The last two years I have not been able to do much art while we transitioned my mother to a different life post Alzheimers, and my business partner had a crisis. This website showcases polymer clay: http://www.polymerclaydaily.com.

    I grew up with a mother who had no appreciation for anything but the practical, pragmatic part of life. As a child of the depression growing up on the farm she could not find any meaning in activities which simply provided beauty to world. Life was hard and you face it with work! I begged and begged to take art in High School, but she would not sign off on that because “it doesn’t have anything to do with making a living.” And the weird part about that is that she was a quilter which she did not consider art. Quilts she could appreciate because on the frontier they were a necessity. Because of that, I have a great collection of quilts–American Folk Art.

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    1. polymer clay is a very cool media. i will look into that one.
      the reality that the depression sucked the beauty out of life for a generation has me concerned about this time in history also. the 24/7 punk tv, rap, text and video world of the millenium vidiots is a new phenomina that does not bode well for artistic appreciation. we can only hope.

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      1. We are too limited in what we regard as “art.” Cooking and gardening are obviously as inherently artistic as painting, just not as permanent. I wonder, too, if those forms of creativity lack prestige because they are forms of art most traditionally associated with women. One of my pet theories is that women are more drawn to creativity that involves sharing and constant replacement of the beauty being created. Men are a little more egotistically artistic and less patient about constantly re-creating beautiful things.

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  3. I enjoyed your blog Tim. My thoughts are still percolating.

    Came back to my office to hear “Prairie Sun” on RH at 7:00 AM. What a treat! Thanks Mike! So nostalgic.

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    1. ah a blast form the past. mike keeps us fondly remembering a time when things were different. we don’t appreciate them til they are gone. thoughts to live by.

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  4. Greetings! Wonderful article, Tim. As a youngster, I used to do a lot of sketching, but I stopped because I thought I wasn’t very good. I have an appreciation for all arts, but I don’t know if I have the discrimination to tell good art from bad art.

    I don’t know if I add beauty to the world or even my home. I’m notorious for NOT decorating or changing around furniture. Once a room is set up ideally, it just stays that way forever — although I know gals who change around furniture almost on a monthly basis. My contribution is to keep the world beautiful — don’t litter, be environmentally conscious and support the arts.

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    1. Makes me laugh Joanne. I would re-arrange furniture that often if my husband would agree to it, which he will NOT. He once accused me of “whirling the furniture around the room!”

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    2. once a place in the world is set up ideally its ok to sit and enjoy its perfection. get on with your life and do something that matter to you. i have a daughter who needs to get her room right. she has it come over her and then she can’t shake it until she fixes the fixation. its a kick. once she gets it she is so at peace its worth the transition angst.
      i’v e mentioned before that my art training taught me not to be to concerned about making stuff look the way it looks but with the way it feels (abstract expressionist mode u of m early 70′s was a wonderful place) try drawing if you enjoy it and don’t worry about the details. it always surprises me when i look at a painting and study the technique. every artist has a different way of putting out a style. check out hands and leaves and different stuff in a painting and you will be amazed at level of reality (or lack thereof). it makes it kind of fun to be released from that part of the equation. go forth and draw.
      and leave that couch right where it is

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      1. Jacque and tim — When I studied old blues guitar players from the South, I learned that they displayed two distinctly different types of creativity. Some of them–Mississippi John Hurt comes to mind–worked to master a piece in their own style, and from that point on they would not change a single note. Others were more passionate and improvisational, and they never played the same song the same way twice.

        The same distinction can be found in most forms of artistic expression. Neither is more “right” or “wrong” than the other.

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      2. I am all”eye” and little technique due to lack of training and time :( . And that couch would look so much better over there at least I wanna try it and if it doesnotworki’llmoveitbackipromise.

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      3. I can’t resist a couch-moving story here. My parents used to play cards with friends named Ken and Dorothy. Ken was a small man with a quick temper.

        He also had a silly little game. When you turned off a 1950s TV the bright part of the screen would shrink to a pea-sized dot that went on glowing for several seconds after the power was off. When Ken turned off his TV each evening he would race into his bedroom, jump in bed, pull up the covers and spin around to see if he could still see that little glowing eye. He had to be very quick to make this work, which of course was the challenge. And because this was a foolish little game, Ken would have died before admitting to anyone that he did this. Dorothy only figured it out by seeing him dive into bed and staring back at the boob tube.

        Bored with her living room, one day Dorothy changed things around, and that involved moving the couch.

        Ken forgot that. That night he snapped off the TV and sprinted across the living room. He hit the couch at full speed, which caused him to flip up over it in a 360-degree spin that ended when he crashed down on his butt.

        Dad told me that Ken refused to speak to Dorothy even once for two weeks. I honestly don’t know if that was exaggerated, but Ken was quite the banty rooster and he did bear grudges.

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      4. Jacque, snorting wine (after all, it is evening) re: “if it doesnotworki’llmoveitbackipromise” .

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  5. off topic
    hey dale now that you are back from pounding down the scotch on the rocks with robert bly all weekend, i hope you fill us in on the writers conference. i would have loved to be there. what wer some if the writing techniques or exercises you picked up?

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  6. What a thoughtful article, Tim! My problem is finding a way to limit what I’d like to say.

    My home background did not encourage an appreciation of art, an odd fact in view of the fact my father was an artist and my mother was a passionate home decorator. But the culture of my family and the community where I grew up was suspicious of elitism and secretly hostile to the very concept of excellence. Folks where I grew up were solidly middlebrow and proud of it.

    My college years were four years of an attack on that. I was confused and frightened at first because my professors were challenging an attitude toward art that was deeply ingrained in me. Slowly I began to see that art could touch me in ways vastly more profound than I had known. Art, rather than being a “nice” addition to my life, became an exciting realm of experience that could take me places I’d never been.

    As one example, my mother was an anxious woman who used music as a comforting background noise. For her, music was a bit like a tranquilizing pill. I came to love music that rocked me to the very bottom of my soul with turbulent emotions that would have sent my mother running away. We could hardly have been more different.

    In time I came to learn that I could put words together in ways people found artful. I fell in love with writing. Writing became a sort of mistress for me. We have spent countless joyful hours together. In spite of that, after publishing hundreds of articles and quite a few books, the sentences I’m truly proud of would only fill a few sheets of paper.

    Having been involved romantically with two women who were highly creative in visual arts, I’ve learned how inept I am at that kind of art. This amuses me. Now I enjoy playing at being visually artistic, mostly through photography, because it is so challenging and pleasant to struggle against my great limitations there. I know enough about the artistic eye to know I don’t have one, and yet it is fun to try.

    I continue to treasure the pleasures of writing. And yet sometimes I have more fun messing around with visual beauty because I have to work so hard to accomplish so little there.

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    1. modesty is an art also, the writing is wonderful. no one ever wonders i f shakespear could draw. interesting on the middlebrow perspective. my mom was an art teacher after she got all her kids raised and back to school. i didn’t realize until then that i had a more artsy perspective on the world than most. my dad loved carvings and it went unnoticed until he started collecting them one day, just because…
      your photography is a great outlet. i love photography and you do it well. as for artisitc eye, i don’t know what it is but i know i have got it. i used to be in a band with a couple of artsy guys who went on the major in art. one of them became hot stuff in the art world and while he was going to grad school he would show his portfolio to his teachers who all agreed on what his strongest pieces wer and i almost alway owned them. he asked how i always picked the best pieces and it seemed obvious to me. not a method of describing how to determine which is best just a case of being in touch with what i like best. don;’t ask why just trust that your brain is on the right track.

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  7. I have absolutely no capacity in the visual arts and I envy from the green bottom of my heart those do. I love art, I appreciate art, but I can’t draw or paint at all. Perhaps I’m too impatient. If I contribute any beauty to the world it would be with music and gardening. We aim for continuous bloom from Spring to fall and have succeeded this year. I sing and play in the bell choir. I also think that good cooking makes the world more beautiful, and I cook a lot.

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    1. renee, i love art and have never taken the time to learn to draw. my inclination is toward pollack, franz kline, willem de kooning, renault, picasso, van gogh, cezanne, calder, modigliani, giacometti, and the list goes on and on, if you look these guys up none of them could draw but boy could they create art.
      picasso draw? look at his stuff. that is where the comments that my kids can paint like that came from. the truth is that your kids can paint like that and if you can learn to paint like your kids you accomplished great things.

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      1. I remember seeing the Calder exhibit at the MIA – I loved the spoons he made for his kids when they were babies.

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  8. Good morning arty people,

    I liked drawing when I was young. Otherwise, I haven’t done any thing artistic myself. There is now a member of our family who is a studio artist who does drawings, paintings and some other studio art. I am suprised and very pleased to have an artist in the family.

    My parent’s taste in art was not very highly developed. While in high school I became aware of jazz and started buying jazz records and reading about jazz. I eventually learned to like and appreciate jazz of all kinds including the experimental “new jazz”. Thus, I learned I had the ability to develop an interest in and appreciation of art.

    My interest in music has expanded to include all kinds of music, although I have never become a big fan of clasical music. I have approached other art in the same way I learned to like jazz by checking out other forms of art and learning about them. With litterature I can remember when I graduated from the boyhood adventure stories I loved to reading and understanding great authors.

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  9. Morning–

    Nice topic tim, thanks for being the host today!

    I probably can’t come up with the words as eloquently as the rest of you have, and as you stated, ‘Art’ comes in so many forms. A field of corn is beautiful in different ways between the sprouts just coming up and a waving field of green and a dry brown field full of waiting harvest…
    One of my weakness’ are books of ‘Time Life’ photographs and the like. I am a decent technical photographer; have the fancy equipment and know how to use it (mostly) and so I can call myself a ‘photographer’. But I can’t capture an image like my wife or other people can… I’m missing that thing you can’t train. I’ll go take 150 shots and delete 120. My wife will take 50 shots and 40 of them are perfect… but she doesn’t know the technical side of the camera as well.
    Just recently looked through a book of ‘Curtains and Draperies; History, Design and Inspiration’.
    The world is a beautiful place in so many ways…. yes, we just have to be open to seeing it and that’s something I struggle with everyday. How about I *don’t* eat at McDonalds today just because ‘It’s there’.
    I take a different road back than there because I enjoy the scenic route.
    I guess to make the world Beautiful we need to start with ourselves, eh?

    Have a great day all!

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    1. exctly ben,
      i have a cousin in fargo who studied and is a great technical artist, his nudes from the models are unbelievable, his scenes of people and studies of light are inspriational, dan jones in fargo if you want to look him up.
      well he went into painting outdoor scenes about 10 or 15 years ago and it is so natural you melyt into the scene.
      his take on the subject is the artistic eye we are all talking about. he said his mission is just to show us all that the stuff around us everyday is the beauty we need to see.
      the different rout back and the realazation that corn in different stages offers different beauty is exactly what i try to aim at. i find myself taking the different route but then missing the scenery because i am doing my checklist as i am zipping down the back roads. may as well be on the freeway.
      i do need to start with myself but i wish sometimes i had an easier cross to bear.

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    2. Ben, I love this: “The world is a beautiful place in so many ways…. yes, we just have to be open to seeing it… I take a different road back than there because I enjoy the scenic route.” I do the same with the backroad routes.

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  10. Thought of a couple other things. Music. I love music. I don’t always pay attention to the words– and I realize if I did the music would go to a whole other level– but the rhythms, the arrangements, the flow if it… beautiful!

    And, it’s annoying to me, how some people will only equate ‘what you do for a living’ with ‘money’. I know we’ve talked about that before but it’s coming up again as my son and his friends are looking at colleges. A friends parents are questioning her choice by saying she can’t ‘make a living’ doing that! ARRGH!!
    My Dad did the same to me when I sold the cows and started the college job. He always asked ‘Are you making more money?’ Well… Gross or Net?? Maybe, but that’s not the point!
    Whew– got that off my chest…
    Thanks everybody!

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      1. Thanks tim (sarcasm).
        Tried that for a while. Milked three times / day so I could do theater in between. If I had no other life it would work!

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  11. This is fun… I’m home today so get to read as the day goes by!

    When I was younger, I was the obnoxious older sister who played the piano and got great grades and tried lots of things, usually successfully. My poor younger sister didn’t care for any musical instruments and didn’t do well in school (luckily we moved around a lot so she was spared having to have any of my teachers) and the comparisons were not always pretty. So when she decided she liked art, my parents really poured it on. She got drawing lessons, painting lessons and boatloads of art supplies. It was completely understood that SHE was the arty one and I was the smart one. It was such a fact of life that I never touched a paintbrush or colored pencil or anything even remotely art-related until I was an adult and out of the house. And it turns out I have a lot of artistic bent. I do rubber stamping, scrapbooking, glass etching, candle making, sewing, beading and I make Ukrainian eggs (no, not a drop of Ukrainian blood in me). I’d love to learn how to quilt but not sure when I’d have the time!

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    1. We have quite a few people with Ukrainian ancestory out here, and some of them make the most beautiful eggs. One of our family jokes is that our basement must have been decorated by drunken pysanky artists given the wild colors, carpets, and flooring that the previous owners installed well before we moved in. I replaced my old sewing machine last year and one of these days, I am going to start quilting!

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      1. I don’t think so, but i suppose there are machines touted just for the purpose. My new machine just a regular machine with nothing fancy to it.

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      2. You don’t need a special machine to quilt, just a special 1/4″ foot, which is cheap and easy to obtain. A friend has been sporadically teaching me to quilt, when we both have time and it’s not too hot in her unairconditioned sewing room. She claims I’m better than she is at cutting and piecing because I’m more detail-oriented, but she’s better at freehand quilting (she calls it “scribbling”) and has a much better eye for color than I do.

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    2. Maybe we should have an Arts and Crafts day at your house, Sherrilee! I have a bunch of scrapbooking stuff and have done maybe 7 pages in the last 10 years. I enjoy it when I do it, but it’s not a priority for me. I usually draw a blank or get overwhelmed by options when I try it or want to get creative.

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  12. It seems that most or all of you developed an interest in art on your own as I did. You would think that schools would be an important place to learn about art. I think it is the top down approach of forcing us to learn what is suppose to be good for us that is usually found in our schools that prevents us from learning much about art in school. I did have a history of art teacher who gently led us through the history of art, taking his time and only getting part way though the history of art by the end of the class. I enjoyed this class. In my other classes that touched on art we were required to memorize facts and spent very little time trying to understand what art was all about.

    Thanks, Tim, for filling in for Dale and for the good topic and discussion.

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    1. One of the fun things I got to do last year for Daughter’s class, and will be doing again this year, is be a “picture person” in her class. You get some basic information and rough curriculum from the Institute of Arts along with a series of reproductions, all based on a central theme (e.g., How People Lived). Bless the MIA for stressing in their information and training that the kids will learn better and more if you let them make their own observations and discoveries about what they see. It’s my job to direct traffic and throw in a few nuggets as I can, but it’s not about who painted or sculpted (or whatever) the piece, but about connecting the pieces and what they are trying to convey. Let the kids talk about what they see, they’ll remember it better and it will “stick” in a different way. There is a similar thing for music from Schmitt Music (BRAVO music) – you can teach it top-down with the materials you get, but better to let the kids listen and observe and then talk some about what they might be hearing than to start with “this is what we’ll be listening to.” It was very gratifying at this year’s kick-off school open house to have kids wave to me in the halls and ask if I was going to be talking about music and art again this year…guess I did something right (but maybe it was just the tutu and cowboy hat I wore when I was talking about Copland’s “Rodeo).

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      1. Very good, Anna. I think we need more of the student centered approach that you describe. My teachers mostly did the top down and bottom down approach where my bottom was expected to stay in my seat for long hours every day of school and I could not keep myself from falling asleep.

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      2. loved doing art masterpiece and my kids loved me in their classrooms talking art stuff to the kids. perspective, balance, negative space, depth, sculpture, fabric making, beading, so many things to talk about and what a cool reception from those little smiles.

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  13. Will have to check back more thoroughly later in the day when I have time to read and appreciate fully – hard to do on a Monday with too many things on the “to do” list and not enough time to do them in…

    I grew up in a house where music was as essential as water, food and air. We had some original and some (good) reproduction art on the walls. Creativity and the various arts were just “there” – not something that needed to be pushed or emphasized, just a natural part of daily life. While I haven’t been able to maintain the level of music in the house that I had growing up (I don’t have a piano…yet…and miss playing), Daughter has already come develop her own world where art and creating things are an essential part of any day. Writing, drawing, creating are as much a part of her day as her daily need for broccoli and milk (really, the kid would eat broccoli at every meal if she could). Give her a pile of stuff and she’ll make something from it, and not really think about whether or not it’s “art” – it’s just what happens when you have materials to work with (an example from yesterday: raked leaves and a pile of trimmed branches and volunteer tree saplings became a tee-pee style fort, decorated with dried hydrangeas…last week it was using sticks and twigs and other yard detritus to create a fairy village in the divit that will become a rain garden next hear).

    Happy Monday all – and thanks for the thought-provoking post tim!

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      1. I frequently sit back and think about how lucky I was to grow up with the family I had. Good parents, good family. I remember once I was out of college asking my mom’s opinion on whether or not I should use some of my newly earned money to buy opera tickets. Her reply was that opera was an “essential” (like food or shelter) and should be part of any budget. Shoes can be reheeled if need be, but music and theater cannot be replaced.

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  14. Much of my life has involved an expansion of the concept of art. Rather than being just painting and sculpting, art could take the form of an African mask, quilt, dish of creme brulee, an a capella folk song or a lovingly designed living room.

    Lately I’ve been playing with the idea of trying to make life itself a work of art. Typically, I’m starting this too late to expect a good result, and I’m struggling to define what an “artistic life” would look like. What I think would be true is this: an artful life would have far more joy than dreck. And since we can’t control everything that happens to us, that mostly means taking a positive, life-affirming approach to the challenges of day-to-day living. An artistic life for me would involve making my contacts with people as positive (for them) as possible. Just as it is possible to serve people a creative and memorable omelet, it should be possible to “serve” people conversation that they will smile to remember. An artistic life would have less hankering for things and more appreciation of life as it is. It would have a beautiful balance of past, present and future.

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    1. Lovely, Steve. “A beautiful balance of past, present and future”. I think that may be a very fitting description of our Trail.

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  15. Fascinating, everyone! My upbringing had music — singing and piano — but no visual arts, or dance, or even crafts or handwork. I feel so lucky to have hit adulthood in that cultural opening of the late 60s and 70s, when we were told we could do anything – some of you will remember the “hippie” magazines like Whole Earth Review, etc. that convinced you you could build that cabin, grow all your vegetables, make your own candles… It was a huge revelation to me how many things we could make and do. Now I still will try to reupholster my couch (at least the parts that will be visible) and cook my own version of a Greek Pastitsio. If my creative energy is going into it, it feels like art. Many things I like to do have been mentioned, but some of my favorites are dancing and singing.

    When I was on my month long train journey for 50th birthday, I had brought along a satchel of books to read. In Berkeley (a week long stop at my sister’s), I shipped them home, and bought colored pencils, because I had begun to sketch things I was seeing from the train window when we were stopped. VERY primitive stuff, because I like some of you was given no drawing skills along the way. But I saw that if I really looked at what I was drawing, I could get something that at least I recognized. I came home with an illustrated journal, and the things I drew bring back the most vivid memories! So I will now at least let myself say that I can draw a little. Would love to take some lessons… in due time.

    Thanks for a fun topic, tim, and have a great day, Babooners!

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  16. Good lovely morning all!

    The Flathead Cats played a four-hour Beatles gig at the Wine Cafe in Mankato last Saturday night in honor of John Lennon’s 70th birthday. My friend Gordon is a huge Beatles fan. I enjoy their music but much prefer the thoughtful eclectic variety and folk music from the Morning Show… Anyway, the gig went well. One bright spot was banjo player Eli Hoehn joined us for several songs in our second set. (Didn’t you know the banjo layer was obscured in all of the Beatles recordings?) The other bright spot was the colorful MN State University Mankato students who reveled in their Homecoming. Wild, drunk college students kept coming in and dancing in front of us, the young ladies wearing very short skirts and skimpy tops! They were having a great time dancing and yelling at us to play another Beatles song. They kept calling my friend Riff’s upright bass a cello and calling “Cello! Cello!” What a hoot!

    I enjoy playing music with my friends. I love it when we actually sound good. I love vocal harmonies. When I was young, the harmonies of Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Paul and Artie really compelled me. I learned how to sing harmony from these strong influences. Later, I sang in high school choir and chamber singers, as well as an all-girl a capella group.

    My family and upbringing were the pragmatic kind. As I’ve said before, my family was (and still is) very conservative. My dad offered to help with college ONLY if I went to school to be a dental hygienist. I didn’t want to be a dental hygienist. So I floundered because what I really wanted to be was a singer, or a philosopher, or just a student of beauty (what is that, exactly? and what kind of career will you have?) They didn’t know what to do with me. I couldn’t understand why.

    All of this confused me. All I knew was that I wasn’t like other people. I had a vague sense of shame about myself because I just couldn’t do or be what was asked of me. It took a long time, years, before I was able to understand myself: that I see all of life through the rose-colored glasses of a romantic poet.

    I see sunsets the way tim described. I’ve sat on the rocks at Palisade Head for hours just to watch the way light changes over the lake and the landscape. That is what’s important to me. It’s really not art because I can’t reproduce it. But it’s what made me a strong environmentalist in the late ’80s and ’90s and what continues to influence the choices I make on a daily basis now.

    I try to live with as little impact as possible on the natural world. I garden and raise some of my own food, I live less than two miles from my job, I consume locally grown produce and recycle everything I can. I’ve attempted to restore large sections of my lawn to native plants and grasses and I mow infrequently. The native smooth blue asters are like a lavender cloud now on the hillside below. They’re wild and I’m sure the neighbors think they’re weedy, but they look like a lavender cloud to me. The variegated tones in the pagoda dogwood leaves look like different varieties of wine.

    I could go on and on about this subject. Thinking about beauty and what is beautiful and why it’s important is perhaps the touchstone of my very existence. I appreciate the topic, tim, but I need to go out for a walk now….

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    1. I have a bunch of those smooth asters, too. You have to wait a long time for the bloom, but the payoff can be spectacular.

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  17. The MoMa in NYC was incredible. To think those were all originals! Picasso’s She-Goat in the sculpture garden made me think of Alba.
    I had a window seat on each flight. The fields, roads, hills, lakes and rivers, the sky, the clouds – all wondrous.

    Great entry, Tim. Did you manage to convince your colleague to stick around for the viewing in Milan?
    What do I do to make the world beautiful? I’ll get back to you after I ask my 8-ball.

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      1. Aww – that’s so nice you guys.

        Yesterday my daughter gave me a very touching birthday card in which she wrote, “You deserve limitless presents for how wonderful, fun, supportive and loving a mother you are.” Then she gave me my present – The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex. Guess it runs in the family.

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    1. yep he stayed and enjopyed it too. it just didn’t occur to him that 1/2 hr to see the last supper was a good trade off. i have children like that too. the same trip we were 15 minutes form venice on a train that took a couple hours to get there form our hotel in milan . we finished our meeting and wento to get back on the train and i just assumed we would go to venice for a beer and then back to milan. never occured to anyone else. i hear venice is kind of dirty they said. you are kidding me i said. we got back to the hotel in milan with time for 6 beers during happy hour instead of 4 and it took me 10 more years to see venice. it is kind of dirty but so is atlanta and they live there. i loved venice and i like atlanta but it is all a matter of the way you are prepared to look at the world isn’t it

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  18. I contribute artistically through music and photography. I don’t think I would survive without music. Even at work, all day, I have music playing. My tastes are varied (thank you Morning Show and Dale!), so it can change throughout the day. Some days, it’s Indie rock, some times Musicals, other times classic rock. Whatever I’m feeling like :) I play clarinet in the city band and have since I moved here. Since the summer before 5th grade, I haven’t put my clarinet down for more than a month. I’m proud of that fact. During high school, I was in everything musically related that I could possibly be in. In college, I was in the orchestra and the band. Now I only have one outlet for my love of music, but that’s okay. I enjoy playing.

    As for photography, I love taking pictures. People, places, whatever. I’m not that great, but I like it. I would love to take a photography course that teaches how to use the manual aspect of the camera. I’ve tried learning on my own, but I haven’t gotten very far. Someday, I’ll do it.

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    1. Keep the reeds moist for me Alanna! I sold my 1971 LeBlanc Double L Clarinet (meaning the grenadine wood it was made of was mature and gave a fabulous tone) to a guy in a polka band for twice what I paid for it.

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    2. Alanna I enjoyed your post. If we could work out the logistics of communications, I could teach you how to shoot with your camera set on manual controls. The best way to talk would be through Skype, if you are on that system. But we could do it other ways. I’d need to know which camera you are using. I’d be delighted to try to explain things.

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      1. Hey Steve, that would be great! I don’t have a camera for my computer, so I don’t think I can Skype. I have a Canon Digital Rebel SLR. Mostly, when I try it on manual, I can never get the lighting right. And it usually ends up fuzzy, haha. Any kind of help would be wonderful :) Thanks!

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  19. I award tim the Daily Banana for a fabulous topic, truly and magnificently creative spelling and typing, and for instigating a killer discussion. I enjoyed this topic all day. Actually I enjoyed the entire week of guest bloggers.

    Really, I guess I just love the entire blog. It was a lot more fun than our family discussion today about how to change our Christmas celebration to accommodate the schedules and budgets of all involved. The obligatory lecture about the True Meaning of Christmas from my sister-in-law was especially objectionable.

    Maybe on Christmas, I’ll just re-read today’s entries and do sculpture all day.

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  20. Wow, ‘Booners, just …. wow — this has been an amazing day. Almost everything I believe about the world has come out in all your posts. Once again, what can I say but: “glad to know y’all”.

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    1. I totally agree. It’s been inspiring to read how each of you takes time to make your world a little more beautiful in all sorts of ways and to appreciate the beauty in what you find, create, happen upon… You all rock!

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  21. Hi everyone,
    I spent a great deal of time over the weekend catching up on the guest blogs and just read through today’s great post and comments. You are all so funny and talented and witty! Just by being, you improve my world.
    I played the violin in high school but believe me when I say that my playing did not make the world beautiful! And although I have an older sister who is a superb nature artist, I did not get those genes either. So I join others on the blog who garden and generally try to protect the natural world – my own biggest undertaking to date is restoration of 20+ acres of prairie.
    Steve, if you ever want to conduct a master class on photography, sign me up! I decided to get serious about photography as a hobby earlier this year but am self-taught and could use some pointers.
    Thank you all for a delightful read.

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  22. I’m finally back home after a killer day on my feet and today’s blog has filled my heart and blessed my soul. All your words have made me realize how much beauty, art, grace, love and style are available for us to see, hear, touch, taste, smell and experience. Whether a loving hug from a child, my husband sanding and painting a crappy old used dresser my boys have used for years that I thought would be nice to spruce up in our new residence, my giving heartfelt guidance to customers at work, listening to MPR while I blog, and feeling so grateful for coming out the end of a long, awful year.

    I think we tend to limit art to what we see in museums, galleries, stages, books, etc., or that it’s only done by agreed upon “professionals.” After reading through all the entries today, I see and appreciate so much more. I don’t understand the finer points of modern art, but I know when something resonates with my inner being and brings forth a new perspective and a different understanding — or just lifts my spirits.

    Tim — thanks for encouraging and nurturing the artist in all of us.

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    1. just watching, this is a group of outstanding folks. you’re giving your best to the people that come to the store when the sky is falling is art.
      remember the old peanuts comic strip. lucy says …i love mankind its people i can’t stand…. i feel like that often. bless you joanne and anyone who can work retail.

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  23. Greetings! I’m back from Bismarck with my three musicians. My daughter has suddenly decided that she doesn’t want me around when she practices. I thought it was a way for her to cut corners and time. I was very wrong. She played absolutely great tonight at her lesson, and must have actually challenged herself while she practiced without me this week. That’s art and beauty!

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    1. how old again? its fun to watch them turn into butterflies isn’t it. congrats for being there when it happened. put an x on your calendar.

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    2. it was somewhere right in there when i was reviewing last years christmas card to see what had changed from my last writing to this years offering on the family observations and antidotes for the new year. well i had to laugh . there it was last year i noted that i was my sons best friend and he came to me for everything. how great it is to be a dad. this year he can’t stand to have me in the same room. it is a cycle. that was a couple years ago. its ok for me to be in the room now as long as i’m quiet and don’t offer any suggestions.
      enjoy your daughters current wonderful phase.
      did you look into the simplicity of the satie for the car trip. i love the simplicity and solitude he offers. fun conversation starter.

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  24. I like to go to art fairs – they always make me wish I could make beautiful things. There will be an artist who makes mosaics out of broken teacups, or a guy who makes mobiles out of bent silverware. They make it look as if it would be easy to do.

    My own efforts are usually disappointing. My mother was a quilter, like Jacque’s, but I didn’t inherit her design eye. Nor can I carry a tune, book a scrap, or stop an f. My thumb tends more toward the brown than the green. However, I can make a very pretty pumpkin pie and a serviceable mock mince.

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    1. and fantastic peanut butter fudge, and she saves ducks in front of the capital. if you like mosaics and mobiles you are ok with me. keep trying. i would guess your eye would come with practice. there are not a lot of rules for either. go for it.

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    2. Linda,
      You remind me of my friend Paul… He comes into a place, takes some taffeta, foil, mini-lights and makes it CHRISTMAS! (with a big sweeping arm gesture). I’d look at that same pile of stuff and make a mess with it…
      Or my sister; she takes some rocks and old tool she picked up at an auction and puts it on the wall and it’s beautiful…. I just see an old tool.
      It all reminds me of a line from the movie ‘All That Jazz’ where the main character says:
      “Now, when I see a rose, that’s perfect. I mean, that’s perfect. I want to look up to God and say, “How the hell did you do that? And why the hell can’t I do that?”

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  25. It’s Tuesday morning and I don’t see a new blog yet for the day? Am I missing something somewhere?

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