Tag Archives: Journal

Insomnia’s Daughters

Insomnia's Daughters by Karen Gadient, 2014

The other morning, I was watching Antiques Roadshow and someone had brought in a poster by Andy Warhol. I hadn’t thought about Warhol since the last Men in Black movie—where Andy Warhol turns out to really be an undercover MIB Agent (not much of a spoiler, I promise). So…

After coffee, I went upstairs and made changes to the portrait experiment I was working on. And the image with this post is what I did.

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. I kinda look like this in the mirror every morning, coffee or no. Fatigue is like a bad trip. Now that I’ve exorcised the sleepless eyes onto the canvas, maybe I can get forty decent winks.

Not being able to sleep is terrible. You have the misery of having partied all night… without the satisfaction. — Lynn Johnston

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Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Portrait, Poster

Shrine to Coffee and Friends

Shrine to Coffee and Friends - Pied Cow Portland : Karen Gadient, 2014

Another one of my cell phone photos. This is a fantastic shrine-like element within the Pied Cow Coffeehouse in Portland, Oregon. Right next to a table, so you can drink your brew and ponder the spirits likely sharing it with you.

We went there to kill some late-night time while awaiting our dear friend Sunnie, who was driving down from Seattle to see us. Although it was pretty darn dark when I took this picture, it came out clearly enough to share.

I’ve been to some wonderful coffeehouses in New York City and Los Angeles, but this place had really smooth coffee and a lovely funky vibe that encourages discussion and triggers writing ideas. Would totally go there again.

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after. — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

21 Comments

Filed under Coffee, Food, Friendship, Inspiration, Oregon, Photography, Quotes

Weird and Wonderful Portland

Portland PDX 2014 by Karen Gadient, 2014

We spent the last week in Portland, Oregon. Truly one of my favorite places. While there, we had the fortune to spend time with many good friends and explore some fun Oregonian locations.

David takes the best photos; I only snap cell phone shots. I’ll post some of his photos soon, once he’s organized them. For now, some of mine:

[ Clockwise from top left ]
Pied CowReally Good StuffVoodoo DonutCape Meares

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Filed under Food, Friendship, Holiday, Inspiration, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Oregon, Photography, Sea, Travel

Trippy Trees

Trippy Trees by Karen Gadient

Yet more trees. Hey, I love trees. This time, I present the psychedelic little brother of a previous post. Created with Corel Painter and Photoshop.

I really need to start thinking about NaNoWriMo, although my heart isn’t in it this year. I’ll do it anyway. Somehow. Haven’t written much since my mother passed. She always loved my artwork best (my mother was the artist and my father was the writer) and so I’ve been focusing more on art for the last two months. I have no idea how to get in the mood to write again. So far, the plan is to drink a lot of coffee and sit down at the keyboard and hope words happen.

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Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Journal, Life, NaNoWriMo, Nature, Painting, Writing

Crayon Mountains

Crayon Mountains by Karen Gadient

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons. — Al Hirschfeld

Okay… not actually done with crayons, but digital watercolor and gouache. The design is inspired by a box of crayons recently sent to me by a friend—along with a coloring book! My inner child loved it. You’re never too old. :)

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Imagination, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Painting, Quotes

Recognizing Dream Lucidity

Recognition by Karen Gadient

The last few nights, I’ve noticed when I was dreaming. I mean, I dream every night and can usually remember parts of the dreams (and I try to write them down)—but lately, I’ve been aware I’m in a dream while in the dream.

Only I have yet to do anything fun with that fact. Sure, I’ve seen Inception and suspect there are levels of play within our dreams, but I don’t feel I’m in the right mental space to handle and control a lucid dream.

Still, the other night found me in a wondrous place: a city of colorful light. I was in a building where there were no floors—well, the floors were made of neon light that you could see through, level after level below, and continue to walk on. I was in a towering building. I went from room to room and finally found a window of polished glass. When I looked into it, I could see myself—drawn as light.

And I knew it was a dream. I woke up. If I get there again, I might do something crazy: jump through the window, fly across the skyline, or shatter the whole darn thing and discover another world entirely. Probably the latter.

I’m sure there are heaps of metaphors there. I’ll need more coffee to sort it out.

28 Comments

Filed under Art, Digital Artwork, Dream Stories, Graphic Design, Imagination, Journal, Psychology, The Unknown

Find Good in Everything

The Trees by Karen Gadient

And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.

— William Shakespeare [As You Like It: Act II, Scene 1.]

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Filed under Art, Beliefs, Color, Digital Artwork, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Nature, Painting, Quotes

Slithery Harvest

Slithery Harvest by Karen Gadient

I suspect there’s no blog post out there with a title like that. Unless it’s about the birth of snakes or something. But I created a strange artwork while playing around in Photoshop. I do these things where I meditate over color and see what happens. Well, this is what happened! Quite a trip. It’s happy (the objects represented are actually fruit) and creepy all at the same time.

Hope you’re all having a good week.

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Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Imagination, Journal, Nature

Deep Orbit

Deep Orbit - Painting by Karen Gadient

I’ve been spending more time painting since my mother passed away. Because it gives me comfort, much of my artwork—now, more than ever—focuses on sea or space. This one is an abstract meant to be from a window of a starship… although it could also just as easily be from the view of an underwater craft.

Although I often tend to splash around heaps of kaleidoscopic color, this one is heavy on blue. Blue was my mother’s favorite color, never one of my own—but that’s changing, just like so many things in my world.

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Filed under Art, Art Portfolio, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Family, Imagination, Nature, Painting, Sea, Space

Chromatic Sea

Colorful and paint-splattered digital artwork I made today to settle my mind. Created with Corel Painter, with the encouragement of much Irish Breakfast tea.

Chromatic Sea by Karen Gadient

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Graphic Design, Imagination, Journal, Sea

Shawarma and Synchronicity

[The following (upbeat) post was written the day before my mother had the emergency that put her in the hospital and eventually took her life. However, I felt I should post it now instead of deleting it, as we revisited the restaurant last night and the memory brought me comfort.]

Waves of Sound - Orange and Yellow

We were in a restaurant that we hadn’t been to in a while, inspired by the the post-credit scene from The Avengers. Yeah, we knew a shawarma joint about two blocks from here. Okay, more like two towns from here.

Only the place we go is trendy, unlike the one in the movie scene. Has a bar, but no dance floor. Open kitchen. Really just a family restaurant with exotic atmosphere. Plays my favorite kind of music: progressive house. Oh, sure. You didn’t know? I’m one of those graying old skool kids. Surprise. So…

We’re sitting there near the kitchen, finishing off our tasty shawarmas and people-watching. Then a song from my current repeat-playlist starts to fill the room. It’s one that speaks to me during this strange time in my life.

David knows it. He holds my hand. We listen.

But then something unusual happens: I notice an older woman nodding her head to the music. Then another woman, much younger than me, dancing by the hallway near the bar. I see a man at the bar whose lips are moving to the words. And another woman near the window tapping her hand in time with the bass line. One of the servers at the soft drink station briefly sways to the beat.

I mention it to David.

He sees another guy, sitting somewhere behind me, thrumming to the music.

“Six people.”

“Yeah. And to think when we walked in, they were strangers.”

I was struck by the idea that a song that moves me also moves others. That, for a brief time, we were all connected by one song. In a restaurant—not at a rave.

I loved it. It was a fascinating part of an already-good day.

Oh, and: no, I’m not sharing which song. ;) Maybe I’ll catch you in a restaurant one day and we’ll see what happens next. Shawarma, anyone?

22 Comments

Filed under Arizona, Food, Journal, Life, Music, Phoenix

Love is the Essence of Life

Family of Flowers 3

I know I have to say this here before resuming “normal” blog posts:

My mother has passed away.

My life is not the same. She was a huge part of my world. She was a brave and exceptional individual. Much of who I am was established by who she was.

We were by her side when she passed. It was a death without pain and she was surrounded by love. Yet she left us far too suddenly and there are times I don’t believe she’s gone. I have days I fall apart and days I’m clear again.

Life is precious. Go hug your loved ones. Make the moments count.

I’ll catch up with my reading (and posting) as I’m able. Many thanks to those of you who reached out to me. I’m lucky to have such wonderful friends.

Also: don’t feel you have to comment; I would have turned off comments if WordPress had let me. Virtual hugs are better than words right now.

Update: I was able to turn off comments. But I do appreciate those already left.

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

The Unexpected Expected

Family of Flowers 2

We’ve had some life changes here. Without going into the details, I’ll just say that we need to focus on taking care of my mother right now. I might not have time to read blogs or write posts (although I will try, as it can be therapeutic).

I will be back when time and events allow. The blogging community means a lot to me and I’ve made many friends here. If you want to reach me while I’m away, please feel free to email via the info on my ‘about me‘ page.

Take care and see you soon.

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom

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Filed under Blogging, Caregiving, Family, Friendship, Journal, Life

Shiny Dose of Retail Therapy

Orange and Purple Shoes

I’ve never been much of a “girly” girl. At least not on the outside; I wear tees and jeans and like to do “guy” things like watch teams sports, obsess over cars and boats, and enjoy a pub atmosphere. True, I have a few “girly” collections: I collect nail polish… but then, I also like to build models, and enamel is enamel, after all (yes, I have used nail polish on a model car).

But lately, with increased stress in my life, I’ve found myself seeking classic “girly” obsessions to ease my emotions.

Namely: shoes and makeup. Yep, the old standbys.

Not that I’ll necessarily buy the stuff. But I went out alone (OMG ALONE) yesterday for the first time in three weeks. And what did I do?

I tried on piles of fancy shoes.
I let the makeup store ladies put eyeshadow on me.

I didn’t buy any shoes (because I don’t need any, as Natania got me a Zappos gift certificate for my birthday). But I did buy the eyeshadow.

Now, to go watch some shark wrestling and shake off the lace.

Image from stock by jdurham.

26 Comments

Filed under Family, Journal, Life, Psychology

Multigenerational Household

Family of Flowers

I’ve been slow to update here lately, so I wanted tell you why: my mother has moved in. Without going into the details, I’ll just say this is likely the last place she’ll be living. But she’ll be with us, her family. And I believe the experience will be good for us all, for good days and bad.

So. There you go. Now to try and put a more cheerful spin on on the topic. And there is one, house-wise. If you have aging parents or are getting older or have kids who have left college but the real world hasn’t been all that kind…

Turns out homebuilders are aware of the challenges faced by multigenerational households. David and I recently toured a new neighborhood near where we live, and we got to explore our first multigenerational home design.

We were seriously impressed.

Mini-home within a home. Pretty cool.

If my mother could still take of herself, she’d love to have a separate kitchen and laundry. I could see adult kids moving back home eager to ‘rent’ out such a space too—because it’s certainly an improvement over living in the attic or basement. Some of these designs were sweet. It might not be where we’re at right now, but it’s a brilliant idea and we loved it.

So, any of you have your parents or adult kids living with you? Or are you living with them? It’s not so bad, actually. It’s definitely not lonely and that’s a win.

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Filed under Caregiving, Family, Journal, Life

Surrounded by Ideas

Great Space of Creative Ideas. Digital artwork by Karen Gadient, 2013.

I had a dream last night where I saw the embodiment of ideas. My ideas, your ideas, or maybe all the ideas of Earth or the universe. Not really sure. But I got the vibe that ALL THE IDEAS was what I was looking at. And so, here goes:

It started out like a spirit guide, only a spark that I followed in darkness. It didn’t speak to me. Instead, it circled like a firefly—tiny and glowing. It had no true form and was made up of the elements. Fire, water, air, and even scattering bits of earth. It soon grew so that I could see its details better. Like a tiny galaxy, floating around the blackness where I stood.

Quickly—BAM—it expanded and surrounded me. Then it took me inside it and enveloped me so that I became part of it. I couldn’t see my hands or be sure that I still had a body. All I had was an intense warmth and the sensation of water washing over me, air I knew I was consciously breathing, and the view of what looked like a million little worlds before me.

Very super cool. I mean, I was a speck among specks, but it was awesome.

Now that I’m awake and back to reality, I’m left with a sense that we’re all so small and yet so powerful. Dreams like that drive me to not waste a moment of life.

Although I did take some time to create what I saw so that you could see it too.

Do you ever have dreams that stay with you and inspire you?

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Filed under Beliefs, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Dream Stories, Graphic Design, Ideas, Imagination, Inspiration, Journal, The Unknown

Today’s fish is…

Cowcod Fish

It’s a cell phone picture—not artwork. Not a bad catch, though.

Behold! The glorious cowcod.

What? You’ve never heard of him? Well, he’s mounted on the wall of our local King’s Fish House. My husband took me there for a delicious dinner.

I’d never heard of cowcod either, but they’ve got conservation areas in California and are an ESA Species of Concern. Overfished. Poor things.

Hence, King’s didn’t offer us any cowcod soup.

Wait. Cowcod soup (click for the wiki) has nothing to do with this fish.
As George Takei might say: Oh my. (YouTube: 0:06)

Check out the real (or at least non-mounted) fish in vivid color. Whoa, huh?

Lastly, because I’ve been throwing Red Dwarf quotes at everything lately:

FISH! (YouTube: 0:29)

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Filed under Arizona, Entertainment, Food, Journal, Nature, Photography, Sea

Stock Photo Vacation Spots

Green Escarpment. Sus vistas. Photo by MiguelAngel.
Photo by MiguelAngel.

I recently downloaded this stock photo. I really want to know where this place is. The information on the file doesn’t tell me and there’s no contact information for the photographer. Fotalia’s keywords got me searching online with no results.

I suspect the location is Spain—but where?

Because I’d love to have some real estate with that view someday.

Update:
Thanks to Andrew Toynbee being so helpful in his usual witty way… I finally know the location is Ronda. It’s in Spain, so I had that right! The reason I missed it on the stock photo file itself was because I read it only as round in Spanish and didn’t realize that was actually the name of the place.

I’ll go there one day. I’m certain of it.

41 Comments

Filed under Journal, Photography, Travel

25 Gems About Me

Gems - Colorful Baubles

My friend Katie tagged me in one of those game-like blog thingees. I don’t usually do that stuff, and she gave me permission not to. No pressure and all that. However, I figured I should honor her by doing something in response to her thinking of me. Because, hey—friends are awesome.

So, I chose the ‘random facts’ part and made it longer.

25 Random Facts About Myself

1. I dictate most of my writing.
2. And a lot of that goes into a micro digital recorder first.
3. I skim magazines backwards.
4. I worked for years as pet groomer.
5. I like fast cars. Shiny fast cars.
6. Yet, I drive a ten-year-old car with over 300,000 miles on it.
7. I collect nail polish. And kooky socks.
8. From my home office, I can hear peacocks calling.
9. I eat salad like people eat potato chips: straight out of the bag.
10. I love to build things out of LEGO bricks.
11. I’m a Gemini. And married to a Gemini. We’re great at parties.
12. I like spiders. And snakes.
13. I have tumbleweeds on the porch to keep away solicitors.
14. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s or Burger King in more than a decade.
15. I’ve lost more than 60 pounds in the last decade.
16. I’ve worked in three Las Vegas casinos. Two of them have since imploded.
18. I would totally go on a vacation to the moon.
19. I have a fondness for Existentialism.
20. Someday, I want to own a sailboat.
21. I support psychedelic research.
22. I love ancient cultures and tribal societies.
23. Yet, I’m just as fascinated with artificial intelligence and future science.
24. I’ve never watched Downton Abbey or Mad Men.
25. I hoard notebooks and sketchbooks.

Am I tagging any of you? Nah, I don’t do that. But if you want to write up a ‘random facts’ list for your own blog: consider yourself tagged and go for it. We’ll all learn a bit more about each other. Cheers!

43 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Friendship, Games, Journal, Life, Writing

Time is a Dressmaker

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. — Faith Baldwin

Life’s been throwing me curve balls lately. It looks like the game is going into extra innings and will just get crazier. However, instead of getting glum about it, I took some art therapy time and ended up with a piece of quote art. Might be doing more of these, in between cups of mojito tea and glasses of fine local wine.

Quote attributed to Faith Baldwin.

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Quotes