According to her adoption papers, Stella will be five years old on Saint Valentines Day. In lieu of a birthday cake, she’ll enjoy a fresh homemade, squirrel shaped dog biscuit. Or two. Certainly no more than three.
This recipe makes 2 dozen treats:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup melted bacon fat
1 large egg
1/2 cup cold water
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix by hand to form dough. More flour can be added if the dough is too sticky; add more bacon fat or water if the dough is too stiff.
Roll out onto a floured surface, about 1/2-inch thick. A little less if your hairy kids like a crisper biscuit. Cut into shapes or bars and transfer to a cookie sheet. I like to perforate them with a toothpick and then bake them for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly browned. After baking, turn the oven off, flip the biscuits over, and place them back in the oven to cool to crisp them. Treats can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
It’s well known that he who returns never left… (an excerpt from the Pablo Neruda poem Goodbyes)
After 37 days of self-imposed exile, I sit down at my desk in the day’s fading light to write these few lines,
taking pleasure in knowing that my quiet return has not disturbed your slumber.
I’ve been drifting on a river full of memories and dreams while casting off regrets and wonder,
If my absence went unnoticed, why is it that I care?
In colorful silence on a nameless boathouse wall, flightless birds of the Livermore Yacht Club artfully display their tempered rigid wings. Meanwhile, The Sparrows of Redhook, New York dream of flight in an endless sky, saving their voices for a reverberated cry of freedom.
I hesitated to post my ten minute doodle today for fear that the haphazard painting event was not “good enough” to share. Then I realized that the fear of criticism or rejection of the work wasn’t the obstacle; it is my sensitivity about being compared to other artists who have had more formal training, or who are making their living full time from their creative endeavors that most often stifles me. Then I remembered a piece of advice that Seth Godin once offered: “The act itself is more important than the output…When you keep the commitment to complete the act, the muse returns.” And she is always welcomed here.
In response to her comment, I decided that I would do a customized rendition of the piece on a larger scale and when finished, will ship the framed piece to her for her upcoming birthday. I started sketching the gift today, and contemplate its true value.
My inspiration to spend time in my studio has waned in the past two weeks which was beginning to make me feel anxious, frustrated, and less than awesome. I know I’m not alone in the struggle; there are many creatives out there that find themselves in this situation. My need to create tends to get squelched by an over-scheduled work day and the negative conversations that rumble around in my head. The former is temporary and can be modified to ensure that I’m spending at least 90 minutes each day in practice; the latter requires a bit more attention and determination to quell the noise.
I had forgotten about the cartoon drawing of Archie Nemesis that I created during a telephone consultation with my mentor and Co-Active Coach, Susan Walker. She advised that I acknowledge the negative thought when it happens, allow myself to feel the temporary self-doubt that the thought creates, and then continue working. It is sensible and good advice, but sometimes more difficult to overcome depending on the frequency of the internal conversations. Those are the times that I reach for my sketch pad to doodle that doo out. I also doodle the positive outcomes that I want to see happen in my life and it works. Every time. Now back to the drawing board!
Sacramento’s Farm-to-Fork Festival is scheduled for September 26th, and I just realized that I will be unable to make it. I had hoped to spend the day tasting my way through the annual festival and establishing connections with the farmers from my region whose lifestyle is the focal point of my artwork. I’m like a modern day Grandma Moses but instead of painting on fire boards, some of my work is done on paper plates.