Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Garden peeks out its blooms.
The Maiden never minds the rain.
It gives her comfort visiting with the open blossoms.
A shared intimacy, they are coaxed out in mist and raindrops.
I know she gives them comfort,
they in turn, share what's been on their mind over the winter.
It's been too long!
-Robin Becic '12

Spring Transitions, Patience, Focus.

More Patience, and Timing.

Now Summer!

What a difference a month makes.  I have finally made progress (ok, small steps) towards my search for information regarding my mother's side of the family.

Studying the Lyme Regis Natural History Museum website I found a department to contact titled Family Histories.  What a thrill to at least be able to share my story with someone over there!
Sending off an inquiry was one step, but actually hearing back from someone helped me turn a page, and to rethink there might be hope in learning more.

So, vague as I was, there were enough clues to make it an interesting challenge.  Further research is required, but they will get back to me in a few days..... Wow!

Meanwhile, there is plenty of earth to move, weeds to pull, and preparation for planting around our home.
Practicing patience, I'll share a few pictures of the progress while waiting to learn more about my grandfather.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Growing An Idea
If we wait for the perfect moment we cause ourselves to metaphorically hold our breath while waiting for the right moment.  How smart is that? No one wants to faint, then wake to find they miss their moment....... loosely translated from a quote by the Buddha

In "my second act" phase of my life, I seem to be experimenting with my creative, inventive, entrepreneurial nature of my personality.  I have been looking for an opportunity to grow with an idea.
I admire women in this world economy that stride forward boldly with a new idea.  Fast forward.........

How do you make the leap from making art, to starting a direct sales business?  Let me explain:  I love making art, and being in my studio, but I also love the marketing aspect of direct sales.  I see it as analogous: creativity and the correlation between self-direction in the studio (nobody's gonna make this art for you...) and the independent sales representative (nobody's going to make the sale for you).  Each path, in their own way, holds the primary commitment of working independently as necessary to achieve one's goals.  Artist and Sales person, betcha never thought you'd see those in the same sentence.....

So, Gigi Hill Bags has been a wonderful new direction for me.  (Let me preface) I tend to be the type of creative personality that could stay in her studio working, without interaction with others.... a kind of recluse.  So, joining Gigi Hill Bags as a direct sales professional may not seem a stretch to many, but for this introvert, it certainly seems like I am over my skis.  In essence I am saying 'yes' to one of the most challenging businesses anyone could get into - simply because it is so easy to enjoy, AND hard at the same time....
There's a phrase we use in direct marketing: "Failing Forward to Success".  (I'm just sure The Buddha was the first Direct Sales King) There are 7 ways to Fail Forward.  To begin with, there are a lot of "no's" in our business, so that means we are challenged daily to work smarter. I'm not saying this is completely convincing, but evidence shows that Direct Sales is known as one of the only areas of business that is recession proof  So who know's what the future holds.  Our only sense of certainty we can experience in life is the results of our own efforts (yes, another loose trans. from Buddha).  So if you don't get out of the studio, break your routine, or think out of the bag, you won't know you've found your moment, until it's too late.  What the heck....  Are you still holding your breath?


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I created these collages in 2008.  During that time I was concerned with "mysterious" die-offs of hives, or Colony Collapse.  The work is a study in 3 small collage, using words and imagery about Bees.
the title of the series is "What about Bees"

 2008 copyright, Robin Becic

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved.  The real milestones are less prepossessing.  They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave.  Our lives are measured by them.
-- Susan  B. Anthony

Sunday, May 13, 2012

copyright 2009 - Robin Becic


May you find the balance between
what people need from you, and
what you need for yourself
-Jessye Norman

Saturday, May 12, 2012

In a Holding Pattern
What if you found out you had a twin?  After many many years of never knowing, never even considering it?
What would that feel like when you first learned the news?
How would you react?
Visiting my mother for Mother's Day will have many shades of emotions.  I will feel fortunate the first few hours that I have her all to myself.  Well, I mean to say, without the interactions of my sisters........
My youngest son and I will be with her and my father in the morning......
I intend to enjoy the time, and to find out more names and more dates of importance in my Family Tree search.
More tidbits from my maternal grandfather's life:  While living in San Carlos, CA., he had a women's sportwear manufacturing business:  Patsy Ann Sportwear.  His competitors were Pendleton, Jantzen, .............
My mother will have more memories tomorrow.

Friday, May 11, 2012

1908 Chicago vs. Detroit Pennant Race
A sidebar:
Before I get to carried away in Lyme Regis with my maternal grandfather's family...Here's another weird twist to my family story:
Kid Durban was married to my maternal grandmother's mother, as her 2nd husband.  Baseball is somewhere deep in my family history.  Blaine Alphonsus Durbin, aka: Kid, was a pitcher & fielder for the Chicago Cubs during the 1908 pennant win against the Detroit Tigers.
Family lore shares a description of a Pennant Pin with the face of a bear cub holding a diamond in it's mouth as a team trophy - or individual keepsake from the victory.  Similar to a victory ring?  I do recall seeing a diamond of my mother's that had a story behind it.  But back then, I am a young girl, so long ago.  And I thought I recalled seeing the golden bear cub too......

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Reinventing Oneself
The more you try to be interested in other people, the more you find out about yourself.
-Thea Astley
This whole idea about a life spent tracing the roots of one's family has always nagged at me.
I married into a family that published a book about their immigrant grandmother coming to the US and creating the classic American Story:  Sacrificing & working hard for her family's future - Wanting a better way of life for her children.  Almost a cliche in modern terms, the fable about the american success story and upward mobility was true in their family.  My roots ran in a different way, a different direction.  Of course, my family members in my past wanted a better life for their children too.  It's just a different path.  One of a million immigrant paths taken, risked, lost, succeeded, or deadended...... each path with an original story.
While I wait for more information regarding my maternal grandfather, let me share a fascinating story from the NYTimes, about a man who reinvented himself, and created a world quite different from where he came from.
Sometimes I wonder.  I wonder about the choices my grandfather made, and what compelled him to make a new life, in a new world.
The Secret Life of a Society Maven

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Remember in my last installment: There are many families that love to pass down stories about their ancestors.
My mother, not so much.  Her siblings have stories, she just can't recall them.
(Note to self, contact my aunties)
Here's the problem: (I'll say this up front - maybe save you from the tedium of reading)
My maternal grandfather was a rebel.  From, oh, say, 1910 or sooo, he chose another life.  He chose to emigrate from England to Canada. (I can't be sure of the exact time frame, it may be later - was he dodging the call to fight in WWI?)  I'm speculating.  But to the point, he really wanted nothing to do with his former life, or family.  He's not found on record in the Mormon Church Records of Ancestry.... this is a total drag!
So what do I know so far: William Thomas Emery was born with 5 other siblings.  (I'll get the birth order right when I reach my aunt)
His mother's father owned a rock quarry - This makes some sense, since Lyme Regis is recognized the world over as a place of Jurassic period fossils, along a very rocky coast line.  The Dorset and East Devon coast are a near continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous rock exposures..  In short it's a World Heritage site.
Now here's the really fascinating add-on to his family:  His mother's father was also (as it was told to us when we were young) Lord Mayor of Lyme Regis.
You would think it would be useful to get the maiden name of his mother correct, right?  I'm working on it, but, eh, no, not at this point.  Memory fades with my mother.  So I hope to hear from my aunt to vet more of the story AND to recover his mother's maiden name.
The point of all this is he chose to walk away from his family, and never to contact them again.
Never, ever.
What happened?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Downton Abby -...yeah, doubt that's in my past.........

When I was a young girl, my mother and her siblings shared fascinating stories about my grandfather.
You know how it goes:  When families tell stories and shared histories of their ancestors, unless you've done a thorough geneology search, the (lack-of) fact-checking, fiction, lore and fairy tales, can all run together.
And if your family wasn't one of those that kept every letter, every yellowed photo, (you know) the painstakingly embroidered Family Tree, (much less an ancient Bible with the 'Tree' carefully preserved between the onion skin pages), it's even more difficult to sort through what's real and what is a patina'd embellishment of the past.
Truth is a whole other subject for a blog.  Especially the "truth" as seen through the eyes of each family member. Because, as we all know, one sibling's reality is an entirely different one from the other(s) in a family.
Thus, at a dinner table, ritual story telling of family history helps us travel back in time, tracing a connection with generations before us.  Sitting and listening with the others, each one casts an imaginable crew of family members we would hardly recognize today.
Finding Our Roots, a PBS series that runs Sunday nights, introduces us to a man so curious about his family's origins, that he turned his passion into series for television. On this weekly show,
 Henry Louis Gates invites 3 guests to have their geneology traced as far back as possible.  Using sophisticated technology experts, and the top geneology hounds in the country at his disposal, the program dissects the remarkable family trees of his guests.
Starting with the "paper trail" which eventually dead ends, he then turns to experts in genetic testing to locate their ancestors.
What I would give for a paper trail of my own history.  From what I've learned, the story of my mother's family begins in Lyme Regis, identified as the Pearl of Dorset, England. A World Heritage Site, Lyme Regis is the center of the Jurassic Coast, renowned for it's fossil collections.
Think Jane Austin where her novel Persuasion takes place, or John Fowle's The French Lieutenant's Wife and Lyme Regis' most famous literary location; The Cobb..
It's the setting for my family, the Emery Family, a boy named William is born in 1890...nearing the end of the Victorian era.  The new century dawns the Edwardian Period.  The rise of the middle class begins to creep into and dislodge the fragile and embedded lines drawn between of the classes.
So How do I get to my Blog Title....?
Downton Abby is a story about a family in the context of history -- earrily during the timeframe of the stories in my family's past.  Do I hear ghosts when I watch it?  Maybe....Haven't we all had some type experience like that when something feels familiar.
In tomorrow's blog.... my messy journey to retrace the origins of my own Family Tree.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Looking for a healthy recipe?
The benefits of eating more Kale in our diets can be read here.

Try this recipe which includes a fantastic dressing I used on a
Chopped Kale/Spinach & Carrot Salad.
(Believe it or not, I made it allllllll up outta my head.  Really.)
Asian Plum & Citrus Fusion Dressing (how's that for an imaginative title?)
Citrus Juice from 1/2 orange (squeeze as much as you can from orange into a  small bowl)
1/4 c. Rice Vinegar
2.5 tablespoons of Kikkoman's Plum Sauce
(find in Asian section of grocer's, comes in 9 oz. jar..)
1/4 c. sesame oil
Splash (several squirts) of Tarragon Wine Vinegar
3 tablespoons  olive oil
2 generous tablespoons of finely chopped/small dice FRESH Ginger
Salt & Pepper to taste
Mix all of above together well, at least 1/2 hour before tossing with Salad.  It's nice to let the dressing rest so the ingredients can combine.
At the grocers, I used the bag of pre-chopped Kale, and the small baby spinach in bags.
I had to sort through the Kale and remove the tough stems...and I chopped it a little more into 2 " pieces - Same procedure with the Spinach.  (The Kale is a large quantity in it's bag, so I used maybe 1/2 of the bag, and about  3-4 handfuls of spinach) This depends on how much you need - I think the dressing stretches if you need to make a larger salad...
I used  the pre-cut Carrot Slivers that are in bags in the produce section (love this food item) combine a couple generous handfuls of the carrot slivers along with the kale and spinach into a large salad bowl When you are ready to dress salad  ADD:
1 c. of Oceanspray or similar brand of DRIED CHERRIES.
Small 6 oz. bag of thin-sliced Almonds - and 1/4 c. sunflower seeds (roasted or raw...)
Toss dressing well to coat leaves, carrots, cherries, etc...
Let me know if you have questions, I'd love to hear how it turns out for you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The more passions and desires one has, the more ways one has of being happy.
-Charlotte Cathrine

Love, love, love using my Pinterest boards as a creative outlet.
Lately, I don't have the time or energy to go into the studio and spend time at length, working on ideas.
With my Pinterest account, the simple joy of collect images, and ideas that stimulate my mind, and work help keep my thinking fresh.
Who couldn't use this? Zoom in for a visit, and see if it doesn't capture your imagination.
I just visited one of my favorite sites: fashionologie visit and see the video of Dior Secret Garden Film......

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's been a busy weekend.  I am working the Pet and Companion Tradeshow at the Portland Expo. Center.
We are sponsors for Bark For Life, affiliated with the American Cancer Society's Walk for Life.
Come visit us.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beyond Wearing Purple - Twitter!
"If we don't change, we don't grow.  If we don't grow, we are not living."
Gail Sheehy
The week winds down, and there are always small inspirations that blow in under the door.
I met a gentleman, not retired, not going 'gently into that good night'....
We had a conversation, stepping into what we knew, sharing bits of each other's worlds......
He had twenty years on me, and I am a smidge above the half century mark.
A managing partner in his firm of 40 years strong, he is engaged daily in the world around him.
A gentleman, son, husband, brother, and grandfather.
He loves his iPad.  Loves his iPhone.  They connect him to those he is close to, the people that really matter.
We talked about adding Twitter to his toolbox.
He lit up in delight.  Seems this could be the ticket to connecting more with his granddaughter.
Our world is traveling fast, time begins to slip.  The search continues for ways to remain relevant and current in our younger generation's life.
Give them distance, but then know you are a peep, a tweet, a chirp away, and always ready to lend an ear, or a helpful hand.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending."
-Maria Robinson

A dark moment, somewhere in the past.  Whatever happened, at the time, frankly it was not the "better" nature of yourself....
Is there a moment somewhere in your past in which you would like to apologize for your behavior, your actions?
Tom Hallman Jr. of the Oregonian newspaper (Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer) had a story in the Sunday Oregonian that caught my attention.
It's striking to read the story of a person's search for an individual in their past, and their desire to reach out to the person with an apology.  Their actions from the past haunt them over the years, rattling like voices behind a mirror.
If you can read Hallman's story, and not feel something familiar stir in your bones - then you are one cold, old fish.
Let's face it, we would all benefit on so many levels to rewind the tape of our lives to specific moments, places in time in which our behavior towards another human was, well, to be nice about it, less than stellar.  And to be blunt, a cluster F_ _ _ of a bad mark on your character.  But even small transgressions in our past can wear on us, eating away at our subconscious...
OBP's morning talk show, Think Out Loud, Allison Frost interviews Hallman, his intent, the resonance it had/has on readers. Comments, and interviews with guests who shared their own stories of apology & forgiveness can cause even the saints amongst  us to squirm.  Frost shares her own story about her parents, and the inability of one of them to "bury the hatchet".
Is apology hardwired into us?  Afterall, we are humans with free will - so what possesses us to mend old fences?  What is the drive behind it?
How do you forgive yourself?
Who would you apologize to if you had the chance?
My own life has its share of transgressions and injury to those close to me - It's a part of the story of my life.  Your's too, right?  Laying to rest the demons it can stir in us, and making peace (finding peace) includes some form of apology...even if one cannot "rewind and go back"--"recover what was said" "retrieve a stone that's been thrown"...
....there is hope.  "....start today and make a new ending" 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

An Artist's Heart

"You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours.
When you truly possess all you have been and done,
which may take some time, you are fierce with reality."   Florida Scott Maxwell

Reader, come close.  Like many of you, I have always felt I had the heart of an artist.  Even though as a young girl I dreamed of being a famous tennis player.  Chris Everett was my inspiration.  This heart's dream lived in a place in time called the 70's, maybe you recall those times; The war in Vietnam ending, the Gas Shortage, Disco, the Shah of Iran is angrily deposed, then a hostage crisis unfolds....Somehow our experiences then, and place-holders we dream are forced to take on a different form....eventually to resurface later in our lives.

Earning a BFA in painting from the Pacific Northwest College of Art launched me out into the real world.  Making art proved challenging, risky, and scary.  Life is busy at full speed, building a life with my family, my husband and two boys.  Isn't it true our most challenging creative endeavor is child-rearing? (hmmm, another subject to explore).  Carving time away to hone the creative process was meager.  Even as I set aside this dream in my heart, in spite of messes and detours, I always returned to making art.  (Tennis is another conversation - another Blog)

Reader, come close, here is where the widening spin, the pace, the stretching of realities collides with a naked, knife edged instance.  The facade of life gets taller, and larger and more rigid like skyscrapers in a landscape - each holding a dream - a possibility - a locked inspiration - standing at the ready.  Dreams continue, the search for the divine, a language of expression, losing, finding, losing my artist's voice in the world.
And so, in a few instances, September 11, 2001 changed everything.  A sleepy morning rousing children and making breakfast finds me transfixed by the images on the television.  Somewhere deep in my body, I felt the reverberation of the crumbling buildings on the screen.

Reader, what did you do then?  Did you go forward with your day?  Like me;  pack lunches, carefully turn the radio down, turn the TV off. Did you find lost shoes and fill backpacks and fumble off to school?  Numbed and stunned, I returned to the house......In reaction I grab my camera.  I may be without words, experiencing an unspeakable pain, the horror replays over and again, but I am not without action. Delicately, in the manner of a scientist about to load a slide of molecules under a microscope, I began to record portraits of interior spaces in my home.  This photographic "journaling" was an instinctual act to find comfort through the process of making art.  It was my way of bringing order to chaos, choosing life over death.

And So Reader, eventually the dreams we forced into place-holders emerge in a different form.  Unexpectedly our desires resurface later in our lives.  That dream about "doing" art as a young woman was still alive beneath the rubble.

Oddly, I am back to the beginning of my story.  Heart of an artist.  Dreams of a young girl.  We are who we are in crisis, and in the quiet.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Results of My Own Efforts
Day 1, spent morning setting up cell phone to send pics to my blog.  Not so successful.  Tried to get out and exercise, it rained.  Started this post, and accidentally deleted it.  (3 times!!!)
Tried to connect with students at LHS to learn about their lockdown.... I am 5 hours late, and they are sooooo over that!
Tweeted my nephew a musician/vocalist of the Portland Timbre a men's A Capella Group, (ok, that's a plug, weak, out of context,..but still..) -- to be sure he was safe in the neighborhood where he works. Many tweets out there showing skirmishes with "Occupy" groups and cops in the SW 5th & Stark area.  Heard other areas in Portland have reported groups gathering.  Will we learn of peaceful protests?  

Did anyone get anything accomplished, pick up their child, go into work? posts photos of protesters, crowds, police, and bikes (it's Portland).

Who said:  "The only sense of certainty we can experience in life is the results of our own efforts.
How was your May Day?  Anyone? let's see if I can post this without deleting it.....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Prelude:  9:40pm the night before the 2012 WordCount Blogathon.  If I didn't have my son to help reset my password, would I have really gone through with it?  Thanks, Big Nick.  Love Mom