topiary cats

topiary cats

Friday, July 31, 2015

Get Ready for Pigeon Risk Time (PRT)!

July is over after today.
We made it through July.
One day at a time.
We made it.
That includes you, dear reader, so CONGRATS!
It was not easy.

July is usually pretty awful, but August.... well, I simply do not do August. August is too awful to even contemplate.  The transition to Pigeon Risk Time (PRT) starts at midnight across all time zones.

I am very, very serious about PRT. It is not a joke.  It is a buffer from Bad August Things.  It works.

This year is the ninth annual Pigeon Risk Time (PRT).
PRT is non-exclusive.  Anyone is welcome to join the alternate-reality-time frame.
Time is an illusion; one everyone just assumes without thinking that we all agree on.

I fundamentally disagree with August.

May your month of Pigeon Risk Time be safe, boring and uneventful.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Woods

One of the few nice memories I have from childhood was being in the woods in my father's backyard. As long as my sister and I stayed on (or near) the property (how were we really supposed to know?) we could roam where we liked.  I had different names for different places in the woods.  We built a bridge across a swampy creek, and it is probably still there. That was some solid construction. We had special boots we wore when we went in the woods, and of course we came home covered in mud.

I used to wander off on my own, to enjoy the solitude, quiet, and connection in those woods.  I felt so deeply connected to all the life around me. It was so deeply peaceful.  I liked the smell of the old fallen wood, the moss, the leaves, the little streams, and the ferns. I still love being in the woods, though no woods are ever quite the same as my woods in Connecticut.

Our clubhouse, as of a few years ago that I know for sure, is still there. My father built it for us, and we drove it on his tractor into a little path in the woods.  It was painted brown, and if you look very closely, in just the right spot, you can see it from the street.

It had a door and windows.  We were going to make it very nice inside but then my mother moved me and my sister to Georgia from Connecticut that same summer, just because she wanted to. The clubhouse still sits alone in the woods today, never used, empty, overgrown.  A shell of what was supposed to be. Something nice ending in a bunch of nothing.

I was nine years old; Daya's age right now.

Woods on Long Island

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The night before last, I woke up in the middle of the night to a cat growling. Repeatedly.

Pebbles was fast asleep near my head, and I guess she was having a bad dream because she was growling at something.  It was definitely NOT snoring (Pebbz doesn't snore anyhow). this was real-deal growling. It went on for a few minutes then stopped.  I guess she scared whatever it was away.

I have never, ever heard her growl like that!

Poor kitty having a bad dream.

Poor Pebbz

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Hermit

A few years ago I got this book on tarot that a friend recommended. In it is an exercise to find your card which represents your life path. I did the exercise and added up the numbers and looked up the corresponding information...and it came as absolutely no surprise that The Hermit is my card. It makes absolute perfect sense.

It is something I fight against and embrace at the same time.
I hate it, but I can see it for the gift that it is.

Sometimes it is such a very heavy crushing burden.
Sometimes it is the most liberating and wonderful thing in the universe.


In the last five years alone I have found myself at the end of broken connections that are very permanently final. My mother, my sister, my stepmother, three best friends. I am not close with my father; he has other priorities in his life. We are cordially distant. It is what it is. I have no other family. My friends are dropping away one by one. New connections are not taking hold.

How to explain it? How to see the reasoning? How to make sense of it?
I could internalize it- which I admit, I have done, who wouldn't?- what is wrong with me, why does this keep happening etc etc? This is a normal human reaction.

But alongside the human reaction I can look for a spiritual answer, which is where I know the Truth really lies. It is the only thing which brings a measure of comfort. Carey mentioned a devotional which made her think of me. I had the same thing repeating itself in the back of my mind, so when she mentioned it there was no real surprise.

It is spiritual endurance. And it is ^&%$&;$*^&$$%;ing difficult!!! 
But I'll do it, though sometimes ungraciously.  I might get there protesting, but I get there. I will always choose a spiritual path above all else. When something is so.... abnormal- there has to be a spiritual reason.

Everything is spiritual practice.

Carey sent me this note:
Here is that devotional, by Oswald Chambers.  It's a short one, maybe even the shortest one in my whole book, but I think that may be because the message is so very powerful and direct.  It's a reliance on God and God only that we all need the most in life.

The Price of the Vision

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord..." (Isaiah 6:1)

Our soul's personal history with God is often an account of the death of our heroes.  Over and over again God has to remove our friends to put Himself in their place, and that is when we falter, fail, and become discouraged.  Let me think about this personally--when the person died who represented for me all that God was, did I give up on everything in life?  Did I become ill or disheartened?  Or did I do as Isaiah did and see the Lord?

What  need is God's surgical procedure--His use of external circumstances to bring about internal purification.

Your priorities must be God first, God second, and God third, until your life is continually face to face with God and no one else is taken into account whatsoever.  Your prayer will then be, "In all the world there is no one but You, dear God; there is no one but You.

Since I have prayed about recent events, I have to acknowledge the hand of god in this stripping away. It is the only thing that makes any sense whatsoever. It is the only comfort. It is the only way forward.

Where I am heading: More and more, I am coming into an awareness of walking through this life journey softly. Gently. Having a gentle spirit. Living a gentle life. Compassion. Endurance. Life is fleeting; the soul is eternal. Divine order vs human order.

My new mantra, for real:  "Ok, God."
It is not easy. Actually it is really, really difficult but what else is there?
It is an ongoing practice.

I cannot help hoping that in this lifetime, this theme will become unnecessary, or will end, but no matter what- this is where I end up and it really seems completely out of my hands.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Letter from the FBI- UPDATE!!

Check THIS out!

The FBI is personally following up from the first letter!
I'm so lucky!

This must be really serious and important.


Federal Bureau of Investigation
Counter-terrorism Division and Cyber Crime Division
J. Edgar. Hoover Building Washington DC

Attention Beneficiary,

I LOVE being a beneficiary!

Records show that you are among one of the individuals and organizations who are yet to receive their overdue payment from overseas which includes those of Lottery/Gambling,Contract and Inheritance. Through our Fraud Monitory Unit we have noticed that you have been transacting with some impostors and fraudsters who have been impersonating the likes of Prof. Soludo/Mr.Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank Of Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Aziza, Bode Williams, Frank, Anderson, none officials of Oceanic Bank, Zenith Banks, Kelvin Young of HSBC, Ben of FedEx, Ibrahim Sule, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen and some impostors claiming to be The Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The Fraud Monitoring Unit!
This is serious!

Ben of FedEx,

I KNEW it was Ben of FedEx!!!

The Cyber Crime Division of the FBI gathered information from the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) on how some people have lost outrageous sums of money to these impostors. As a result of this, we hereby advise you to stop communication with any one not referred to you by us.

Thank you for being soooo trustworthy!!

We have negotiated with the Federal Ministry of Finance that your payment totaling $5,900,000.00(Five Million Nine Hundred Thousand Dollars). will be released to you via a custom pin based ATM card with a maximum withdrawal limit of $5,000 a day which is powered by Visa Card and can be used anywhere in the world where you see a Visa Card Logo on the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM).

I could totally use that 5 million.

We guarantee receipt of your payment.


This is as a result of the mandate from USA Government to make sure all debts owed to citizens of American and also Asia and Europe which includes Inheritance, Contract, Gambling/Lottery etc are been cleared.

The USA Government is soooo amazing! What a great mandate!

To redeem your funds, you are hereby advised to contact the ATM Card Center via email for their requirement to proceed and procure your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order on your behalf which will cost you $350 Usd only and nothing more as everything else has been taken care of by the Federal Government including taxes, custom paper and clearance duty so all you will ever need to pay is $350.00 only.

I know this is for reals because all those extra zeros are missing.  

Note this that you are the person who will pay the $350 before your ATM Card can be delivered to you so if you know that you will not pay for the delivery of your ATM Card do not reply back

Well, who wouldn't reply and send cash?  This is obviously legit.

Mr.Wayne Collins (ATM Card Center Director)
ATM locations at Plot 84, Ajose Adeogun street, Victoria Island,
Zenith Heights, Lagos, Nigeria.

ATM Card Center Director Mr.Wayne Collins
Email: ( mrwayne_c at  )
Phone : +2348100388929

Do contact Mr.Wayne Collins of the ATM Card Center via his contact detail above and furnish him with your details as listed below and also ask him for the payment information you need to send the $350 Payment Warrant and Endorsement fee :

FULL NAMES: __________________________________


SEX: _______________

Um..... no thanks?

DATE OF BIRTH: __________________
OCCUPATION: __________________
TELEPHONE NUMBER: _____________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: _____________________

On contacting him with your details your file would be updated and he will be sending you the payment information in which you will use in making payment of $350.00 via MoneyGram or Western Union Money Transfer for the procurement of your Approval of Payment Warrant and Endorsement of your ATM Release Order, after which the delivery of your ATM card will be effected to your designated home address without any further delay, extra fee.

Cool!  I'm such a fan of the no extra fee.


Note: Disregard any email you get from any impostors or offices claiming to be in possession of your ATM card,

I will disregard impostors!

you are hereby advice only to be in contact with Mr.Wayne Collins of the ATM card center who is the rightful person to deal with in regards to your payment and forward any emails you get from impostors to this office so we could act upon it immediately.


Help stop cyber crime

YES., we must stop cyber crime!!!!!


I'm starting to feel like my intelligence is being insulted.
Is anyone really this stupid?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Drum Circle

Last night Daya and I went to a drum circle in the West Village where I do yoga.  It was so wonderful.  It has been many years since I was in a drum circle.

Drum circles are absolutely amazing. If you have never been in one, do it!

Daya got to play with many different kinds of percussion instruments from all over the world.

Small percussion from all over the world
Larger ones were in the back

I brought Star out to play.  Star is my drum. 

Star hasn't been to a drum circle since... when I was back there in seminary school.

I got her about 15 years ago in the West Village.  She was handmade in Morocco.  Star is made of porcelain and animal skin...I forget what kind.  Goat maybe. Anyhow she has absolutely superb sound, despite having been broken when I took her on a seminary retreat. I glued her back together and all is well.

She LOVED being out again and we had a great time.


It was really special to be able to bring Daya, too. I love taking her places and exposing her to cool things. She is at that age where we can do these things- she has great kid energy but she is mature enough to handle some events that aren't necessarily catered to kids.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Special Edition

I'm having a hard time understanding something.

Collectible soda cans and bottles.

Special limited-edition soda cans and bottles.


1. Soda is really horrible for you.
2. Empty bottles and cans are not for saving and keeping, they are for recycling.

I can *maybe* understand super-vintage ones, like from the 1960s or before, if you are into mid-century nostalgia memorabilia.

Self-worth tied into..... things.

Soda bottles and cans. It's not even art.

I don't get it.

It's just a can.

Friday, July 24, 2015

In Which I Answer a Burning Question

In this blog post, I will endeavor to answer a burning question that I know has been on everyone's mind for a very long time.

Q: What is the difference between black gesso and black colorfix primer?


Since it just so happens that both live in my studio (surprise!), I can probably answer this question pretty fairly. Despite my extreme love for colorfix primer, and acrylic gesso* being, well, gesso- a basic substance on par with water, I will even try and be objective. Maybe.

*Acrylic gesso as compared to traditional gesso made of gypsum and rabbit skin glue. It is very brittle; must be used on rigid panels. I do not have any traditional gesso.

I have black and white, here they are. :)

Obviously, gesso and colorfix are both primers.  Colorfix, however, is way more expensive and hard to find than regular old gesso. So why bother?

A: TOOTH.  Colorfix has the perfect amount of tooth for pastels! It is intended for pastels and multimedia, and is the same stuff used to coat the ever-amazing colorfix pastel paper. You can use it under oil or acrylic but it will eat your brushes.

Gesso is gesso. It won't eat your brushes, and that is a good thing. 

Think of it like this: Colorfix is like a cat's tongue.  Gesso is like a dog's tongue.

I guess you could add marble dust or pumice to your gesso...but would have to make the effort to add the marble dust or pumice in, and worry about proportions and that kind of thing. 

And just because...... fyi I built this collection over years. That's the great thing about many art supplies...with few exceptions, they last forever or until used up, whichever comes first.

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Unfortunately, I have quite a lot of experience with abusive relationships.  Family, friends, men. Throughout my whole life.  It can be very difficult to sort yourself out when it (hopefully) ends. But there are things you learn. And there are things you get really sensitive to, and things you learn to spot as major red flags.

There is only one thing I would like to say on this matter right now:

When someone mistreats you, knowing full well they are hurting you, and they insert some form of "I love you" or "I care" into it, to "soften" it, "justify" it, or just to make themselves look good and turn the tables on you, or to keep you hooked in, and you are getting hurt- physically or verbally, or emotionally- and they are disregarding how you feel, and they will not stop-


And it is NOT OK.
The end.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Color Shapers

Color Shapers?  Huh? What the heck is that?

Ohhh, let me tell you.  They are WONDERFUL. They come in all shapes and sizes, and two (2) degrees of hardness.  The grey ones are hard and the white ones are soft.  I only have white ones, because they are for pastels and that's what I use them with.

Color Shapers

So what the heck does one do with a...brush-looking-thingy-that-isn't-really-a-brush?

You blend with them. You can cut in color with them. They give more control and flexibility than fingers, though fingers are still very valid. You can do broad and detail work with them. They give a lot of control. They wipe clean very nicely.

And you can use them with oil and acrylic, if you wanted to.

Everything about Color Shapers is good except for one thing: they are expensive.  Though in the grand scheme of things, they cost what brushes tend to cost.

My favorite ones are the flat chisels and the taper points.

Here are some oil pastel topiary cats that live in my sketchbook.


Carey also loves Color Shapers. 
I hope she shows her favorite worn-down stubby one in her post.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I'm Done.

Lately I have been struggling with a heavy sense of feeling disheartened when it comes to people.
And maybe faith, too.

But maybe that needs a question for clarification: faith in what? What was the illusion?

Faith that things change for the better. Faith that this very strange path I have been walking has been worth it, faith that it means something, That there is some kind of positive benefit from it. Faith that signs actually mean something. Faith that positive experiences and outcomes with people on a long-term, deeply connected level are even possible for my life. Faith that friends really are friends. Faith in new energy.

Here is something I think about: there are so many people in this world who consistently behave really poorly- in their treatment of others close to them, in the things they do, the nasty drama -- and yet, many of them still have people who care, who love them and stick by them, and help them. What a treasure, a gift that is--and in my observations, it is something that is rarely appreciated, if ever.

Friendship is very, very important to me. I take it very seriously. And I do have a couple of true friends still (I think?). Well I hope they are. Until they change their minds. But I have learned over and over that it is more important to me than it is to those who I thought, who said, they were true friends.

People who just change their minds.

Year after year, I keep having negative and hurtful experiences with significant people. Over and over. People who are (were) important and/or close. Friends and family.This year alone I have lost three very significant long-term relationships.

In case one and case two there was no disagreement, conflict, or fighting, or anything like that.  I don't fight with people. I don't take things personally and I don't get angry easily.

Millie told me that's why people take their stuff out on me. Because I don't get upset with them.  I don't react. Because I'm safe. I blow it off because I know it is about them, not me. I don't get into fights because I don't take things personally. And because I only fight as a last recourse.

But I REFUSE to be anyone's punching bag, emotional or otherwise. It is NOT ok to mistreat someone because you are experiencing life difficulties.  We ALL are dealing with life's difficulties.

This third one....well, when I went to Utah I asked one of my best friends to check in on the cats and scoop litter.  I told her I was behind in cleaning and I apologized, I truly wasn't home much at all in May or the beginning of June, and with everything I had to take care of, I fell behind in keeping up with my apartment. When I was home, I was just completely zonked. I am one person doing everything- and I do mean everything- alone. No help whatsoever with anything, ever. Something had to give, and what gave was the damn housework.

She said no worries.

But she thought my apartment was way too messy so she took it upon herself to clean --- but it came with a massively heavy hand of judgement and condemnation.  She said some awful hurtful things to me. Had she just cleaned a little to help out, and said "Hey Jess, I know you have been busy and overwhelmed, I wanted to help you out," I would have said, "Wow thanks!  Can I take you out to dinner?"

But no. Searing condemnation and harsh judgement is not loving, caring, or helpful.  Never mind that I have been close friends with this person for NINE YEARS and she has been to my apartment many, many times with no issue whatsoever. And I did not ask her to do anything but scoop some cat litter. Before I went away, we were absolutely fine. No fighting, conflict, nothing.  To my knowledge I did nothing to her to upset her. And I said so. I said everything I needed to say, it meant nothing. Hurting me like that meant nothing--in fact it is apparently my fault for feeling attacked and taking things personally.

I have a pretty high tolerance threshold, and many things I choose to just let go.  This pushed me past my limit of just letting it slide,

Well, yesterday brought the final closure; she officially dumped me. From my perspective, on a fact-based level, is that my friend checked in on my cats, didn't like the state of my apartment, so she cleaned and went through MY space, that has nothing to do with her, without my knowledge or consent, she judged and condemned me, and based on the state of my apartment and my reaction to her words and actions she doesn't like me anymore.

It is hitting me so hard because I was feeling so good, so positive at the beginning of the year. So hopeful; I felt like this was a year to bring in new positive energy. Instead I have more losses, and nothing new comes in to fill in the spaces.

And it isn't like I'm sequestered; I am most definitely out and about in NYC.

To me, my friends are my family, and just like my biological family, it all ends up shattered.
I just can't do it any more. I'm done.

I look to myself, to see my fault or shortcoming in it. I'm not perfect, I know that, but I'm not finding anything significant. I talk to others about it and they can't answer it, either. But still, there must be something wrong with me.

I think I need to just stay away from people from now on. It hurts too much, it isn't worth it. I officially give up.

If I'm really that awful, I will refrain from inflicting myself on others.
If I'm ok and it's others that are awful, I will refrain from inflicting them on myself.

Either way, I AM DONE.

When, consistently throughout life from childhood on, you really have no one, you turn to yourself and your inner world. I'm absolutely fine and comfortable being alone, being with myself. What I would like is some balance to that. I'll always be an internal person; that is my nature.  I will always be my own person. But I would really, really like to bring in some balance externally, with other people. I think there is a lot to learn. I have a lot to give. I am very loyal. But it doesn't seem to matter at all, or have any worth.

Part of just being human is to seek connection.  But at this point I truly just think it is not possible for my life.  I don't know why. But it is just the most impossible thing.

I'm tired of hurting.  I'm tired of being knocked down, getting myself up, just to get knocked down again.  Over and over. So why bother getting up.  It's not worth it. I do not have the positive experiences and relationships which balance out all the negative ones.

I'm sorry if that sounds like negative self-sorry drivel but I HAVE REALLY HAD ENOUGH.  I am absolutely completely long-term exhausted.  I don't have the energy anymore.

Jackie says she still loves me, and Dru still does too.  So that's something to be thankful for.  They are very nice good people, for sure.

No tarot because I am just too scrambled and messed up inside.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Camping with Paint

We went camping this weekend!  I LOVE camping!  Of course I took my plein air gear. The best part of traveling is painting on location!  All my plein air paintings have stories and memories attached to them.

Here is a painting in the woods, Saturday morning.  We were waiting out a little rainstorm. It was a good time to paint.

6x8 oil on panel

Near the camp site, there is a little rocky bluff/beach.  It was overcast at first, then the sun came out. There was so much color, and so many pretty rocks.

another 6x8 oil on panel

And finally, I had to paint at night when we were sitting around the fire.  I got an LED music stand light for my box, and it worked out perfectly! The sparks the camp fire made were so pretty.

Unfortunately this is a tough painting to photograph because of all the subtle dark value colors, and the glare was impossible to eliminate.  It should be scanned but of course it is still wet.

Again, 6x8 oil on panel

King of Wands (upright)

Fire energy, leadership, executing an idea, visionary, goal-oriented person.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Whole Lot of Utah Landscape 6

I took a ridiculous amount of landscape pictures in Utah.
This is the last batch!
Click any image to enlarge.  :)

No tarot today either!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Whole Lot of Utah Landscape 5

I took a ridiculous amount of landscape pictures in Utah.
It is too much for one post so I am breaking it up.
Click any image to enlarge.  :)

No tarot today!

Friday, July 17, 2015

French Easel NIGHTMARE

I had a horrible nightmare about my French easel!

It's no secret that I don't like French easels for plein air. I have one, an old Julian I got almost 20 years ago. I also have a half-box French easel someone gave me a few years ago. But I'm a pochade box-tripod kind of girl all the way.

My old Julian

Wednesday night I had a dream I was out painting, and for some reason I had my French easel instead of a pochade box. (I wondered why in the dream, too) So, I was painting and the ^%#^%(@#^(% easel kept changing height on me by itself! While I was in the middle of painting!

It looks so un-assuming

It would suddenly go about 10 feet higher, and the legs were constantly uneven no matter what I did.

Julian can be difficult

When I adjusted the legs, it would get too low. It tipped over. I would adjust one leg and another one (that I had just tightened) would change height.

Then, a big splintery chunk of the bottom where the painting sits just fell off!

My painting fell on the ground paint-side down.

My brushes fell and scattered.

I was so freaking mad at that stupid easel.

I gave up. I just couldn't paint anymore with that horrible evil thing.

Evil Easel

When I woke up, I was still mad at the damn thing.


French easels are such a pain to set up and break down.  And they blow over very easily in the wind, especially being so top-heavy. And they are very heavy.

I'm hating on my Julian right now because it gave me a bad nightmare, but it probably deserves much more love.  For many, many years it was my only easel, and I used it as a tabletop easel which sat on my drawing table. Lots of paintings were made on it.

None of them were plein air.

Two of Swords (upright)

Having to make a difficult decision and trying to avoid it. Could be avoidance, or lack of all the information you need in order to decide. Might also be a stalemate.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Superficial Compassion

There is a video circulating around on Facebook, with the usual Facebook-style-melodramatic-hype.

It is about homeless people going around asking for food and sharing it. The video is extremely contrived but is supposed to have a "powerful message". (synopsis below) I have a few thoughts.

Video Synopsis: 

1. Youngish nice-looking white man walks into food court whining to people to give him food. No one does. So they are heartless people who obviously lack compassion. The man does not look homeless or in need***, and "Is there any way I can have some food" is a strange way to ask. Seriously, it's weird. And the guy is annoying. I would say no too.

(Also, almost every single person asking for food on the trains says "please". Just saying.)

*** Just because someone doesn't look like (or sound like) they are in need doesn't necessarily mean they aren't- yes I know that. All I'm saying is that it is a factor in the response people get.

2. The video shows some guys giving food to a random homeless person, who is camped out in a pretty nice grassy field by a fence. There's nice pretty music too. They approached him and woke him up from a nice nap! WHAT? Also, they assumed he was homeless and in need, and not dangerous. He didn't ask them for anything.  I'm just saying, as far as personal safety goes, this is not smart.

They "bought some food to give to someone" and were wondering if the guy was hungry. HUH? WHAT? There was no one specific in mind when they bought the food?

Oh, but they are such nice and caring and compassionate people. Now they can feel good about themselves forever and all the uncaring people in the food court are heartless shits. This is very "easy" and superficial compassion.  It is too easy, obvious, too black-and-white.

How about showing some non-judgement and compassion to the next stranger who treats you rudely? Or towards someone you philosophically or ideologically disagree with?

The ways to be compassionate aren't always obvious, or "easy". But the opportunities are everywhere. You don't even have to "do" anything; it starts in your thoughts towards others.

People don't have to be in obviously dire straights to need compassion. We are all getting through life as best as we can, with whatever knowledge we have.

3. The Annoying Food Court Guy shows up and does his line: "Is there any way I could have some food?" and food is shared. Oh, and remember from the title, Nobody else would do this. Judgy.

4. Another person joins them and they have a nice little picnic in the grass by the fence. Awwww isn't that nice?

One meal does not change the situation of being homeless.  What happens in a few hours when they are hungry again?

Moral: Sometimes those who have less give more. That actually can be true very often but I have many, many issues with this video. It is a poor example. 

Get some tea, let's go.

1. If someone comes up to me in a restaurant saying "Can I have some food" I am most likely going to say no.  That's right, I will most likely say no.  And that does not make me a heartless uncaring person. It means I can't help, for whatever reason- or maybe I just don't want to get involved, and that is OK too. Especially as a woman. Safety. Because I don't know that person isn't going to sit down with me, or stick around, or follow me, etc.

2. Here in NYC, the sad truth is that there is a good-sized homeless population. People sometimes do ask for food. Usually they want money. In my experience this happens mostly on the trains, or people just sit on the street with signs. It has never, ever happened to me in the scenario this video opens with. Some panhandlers are genuine and I strongly suspect (and sometimes know for a fact**) some of them are not.

** When the same person is panhandling for money to get a bus home to New Jersey because their wallet was stolen and they are stranded- for 6 months straight- it's probably a scam. When you have your schedule and ride the same train at the same time, you see a lot of the same people over and over, panhandlers and musicians included. Many of them run on schedule. (I like some of the musicians.)

3. I see just as many homeless outreach people on the trains loaded with food for anyone who wants it as I see homeless people.

4. I very, VERY strongly disagree with using guilt to manipulate others into giving.  And this is a primary tactic. People have some real tear-jerker sob stories. But my choice to not give does not mean I don't care. Actually, I do. Very much. But reality is that I have to take care of my own life and my child. I really don't have a lot of extra to hand out. My capacity to help everyone else in need is limited- my time, energy, and money is limited.  And that should never be judged. I am not obligated to give, they are not entitled to receive from me. And that does NOT make me a bad person, lacking in compassion. It means that I just don't have the capacity to assist. 
Here is a site with more information and statistics on homelessness (here in NYC), and ways to help. Mostly, according to this site, people in NYC are homeless because of a lack of affordable housing (80%), which is a HUGE problem (and one of the many reasons I detest hipsters so much). A lot of apartments have become de-regulated over the last 20 years, and, well, basically "the rent is just too damn high". Really, what needs to happen is re-regulation and incentives to landlords to keep the rents low. If you are not in a regulated apartment, the landlord can do whatever they want.  And they do.

About two-thirds of people sleeping on the streets (not in a shelter) are drug addicts or have severe mental health issues. 

The Star (upright)
One of my favorites!

The Star is transformation after a hard journey.  It is also a wait-and-see card and a wish for a brighter future.  Motivation to keep going. Have faith, believe in yourself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Whole Lot of Utah Landscape 4

I took a ridiculous amount of landscape pictures in Utah.
It is too much for one post so I am breaking it up.
Click any image to enlarge.  :)

Queen of Cups (upright)

Cups = water = emotions. Thinking with heart instead of your head, someone who is fair, nurturing, compassionate. A mature female. Intuition, dreams, imagination.