A Garden of Delights

Author Archive

Actually, none of these photos were taken on the first of any month (I actually took them last September).  But I’d been going through and trying to sort some of the stuff I’d finally uploaded from my camera to the server and saw these shots from our trip England last fall.  We were staying at a farmhouse in the Yorkshire Moors (and if you’re ever heading there, msg me and I’ll tell you the place, because we had a great time) and we took a daytrip toward Helmsley because I’d wanted to see the town we’d only breezed past during our prior trip.

I got some time in the town as a trade-off with my son, on the condition that we go back to Rievaulx Abbey.   The Boodle had loved the ruins during our last visit and was quite insistent that we would go.  So we headed out…

On our way out we found this great marker in the moors where some hikers were heading off:

Then we had lunch.  The Boodle had his usual gamon steak while I went for the Ploughman’s.  It was too much food and so easy to overdo on.

After that, we checked out All Saint Church, Helmsley and Helmsley Castle, plus enjoyed tea in the Helmsley Walled Garden and made some friends with a few local horses. But a promise was a promise, so we headed out the abbey.

We were in for a treat.

English Heritage was holding a three-day event at the abbey, called Illuminating Rievaulx.  Colored lights and sounds set up throughout the ruins set off details that normally didn’t show.  We couldn’t actually stay for the show (the day we’d come, a storm was due—it actually started as we drove out of the valley—and we had to get to our farmhouse before 8pm when the gate got locked… not that I really wanted to drive through the moors in the dark during a storm anyway).  We still got some amazing shots of the setup and some great discussion with the performers.

Heading into the Abbey

Storm Approaching

Perspective… those doorways up there? I COULD walk through them, that’s how big those columns are

Lights before dark….

In all, an amazing full day of discoveries…

All of these photos, save for the one of our meal, were taken on a Canon G5.  The meal was taken on a Samsung Note5 phone camera.

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Just a drawing of a mouse, under a mushroom

What did Burns say about the best laid plans of mice and men?

Nah, doesn’t quite apply…  Truth is, I wasn’t as ready for this Round of Words in 80 Days as I’d hoped I would be when it started last Monday.   I had a vague direction in mind, and some things I wanted to achieve, but really…  I only knew what my “one goal” was:

To live a creative, interested and inspired life full of friends, loved ones, and shared passions

The rest was pretty much up in the air.  And some of it still is. Some wise fellow RoWers reminded me that I don’t need to plan my whole year in advance, and that even if I do have a plan, plans can (and should) change to suit what I need to achieve that one main goal.

So, here is my revised set of goals…  most are the same as I posted last week.  The changes are in pink or struck out.

Writing

The ROW80 is a writing challenge, so… I will:

  • continue to write, explore and develop the Fanqtia-verse (the conglomeration of worlds and histories that envelop the stories I write)
  • finish a the first draft of one book in the Swan Song Series (yea…ah, I haven’t actually decided which one yet, but I have narrowed the choice down to two: Courting or Singer)
    I realized that with the upcoming move, this was too ambitious. I will simply work on these stories as I can, at least one day a week
  • blog WIPpet Wednesday posts
  • bi-weekly check-in posts to the ROW80 blog

Blogging/Social Media

  • visit and comment on the blogs of fellow ROWers once a week
  • participate in activities or discussions once a week on FB, Twitter or some social outlet
  • have the ROW80 website fully updated for 2019 by the close of Round 1

Heart and Hearth

Where the living really happens…

  • finish packing for our move in March
  • daily “us time” with hubby and kidlet
  • make time to connect with distant family at least once a month
  • daily physical activity wherever I am and a once-a-week workout at the gym

Developed Inspirations

  • weekly art — I’d originally thought to work on a drawing a day, but the truth is, doing this I’ve created a bunch of unfinished pieces that I’m not happy with; this way exploring details and techniques will be easier to do, and I should be able to finish a few. I may even continue working on a piece longer than a week, focusing on a new section, if it is a larger piece. I revised this to include other forms of artistic expression including “adult coloring” (Mom gave me six books for my birthday); the goal as always been artistic exploration, after all.
  • photography — go through my accumulated photos, edit and post a few online (various places)
  • MOOCS and other classes — one per round (this round’s goal is to finish my class on Life and Times of Richard the III)
  • read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book a month

I think this combination will allow me a fair amount of time for growth and exploration while allowing time for the extras that not only make life worth living, but those extras that aren’t exactly asked for.

For check-ins, I’ll post a note in my Wednesday WIPpet post with a link here saying whether I made progress or not, only noting details if they involve a completed goal or a change of focus. For the Sunday check-ins, I’ll be commenting on the ROW80 blog.

And since it is check-in time, how did I do this week in general?  Pretty good, I’d say.  No new drawing, but I did color and explore some new photo-editing techniques in Photoshop.  I need to log back in and refresh myself on my Richard the III class.  The rest…  making strides.

They don’t HAVE to be new photos….  not really.

I’m starting up the First Friday Photo Blog again.  There’s something about art: drawing, painting, even photography…  like writing, it’s an attempt to capture and create a new life from an expired moment.  A glimpse into the past or a dream…  the world through another person’s perspective.

Like my piece for today….

It doesn’t look like much, I know.  A kind of dirty old wall from what looks to be a ruin of an old church…  maybe?

Actually it’s one of the walls of Westminster Abbey’s Chapter House, and compared with some of the other walls, it looked very plain.  The original paintings and murals throughout the Chapter House had been plastered over for a time (anyone who studies old buildings knows that fads go in and out, and one of these was whether to have brightly painted murals on the walls or clean white surfaces… a lot of historic churches have great artwork hiding just under the whitewash).  Most have been somewhat recovered.  Not this wall, however.  This wall just looked forgotten, like maybe it had never held the brilliant artwork that decorated some of the walls.  Like this image from the English Heritage site or the image below I took while there this fall:

Images of Heaven and Hell

Thing is, when I got a bit closer to the wall (nudged by the crowd), I realized what had looked like blank stone held so very much more…

Don’t be afraid to make this image larger!

And then, zooming in closer….

How is your ecclesiastical Latin?

Do you see it now?  Granted, photos saved for the web don’t do justice to the sheer niftiness of this “blank slate”, but hopefully you see the writing on the wall.  Literally….  It was amazing.  Standing there, seeing all that text on the ashlar blocks.  Everyone else was looking at the gilded murals of the angels and admiring the bright colors, but once the crowd started to drift out, I gathered a peaceful moment with the docent and found the Abbey has been working with extra care to preserve this wall, because the slightest chip could change a meaning in the writing if it lands in the right place.  And there’s so much missing already…

A glimpse of the past…  of many pasts, really.  As well as the present, and hopefully… the future.

Here’s the linky. It will be active all weekend for posting your pictures if you are interested in joining me in this creative journey:

It may seem weird for me to be posting my ROW80 Goals Post here, when really, I know I won’t be posting on this blog much.  There are things I want to get to here, such as bringing back the First Friday Photo posts because of the fun I had posting them (though the hassle lately of getting photos off my Canon onto the computer hasn’t made things that much fun) and trying out the new thing Shan Jeniah has planned (Try It Tuesdays).

Those things I will be posting here when I get to them…  hopefully by March since our move to New Jersey should be finished by then.  As well as my goals posts at the beginnings of each ROW80 round.  The writings, the WIPpets and snippets…  until I figure out how I want to arrange a real “writer’s website 😉 , I’ll continue to post those at my other blog Many Worlds From Many Minds.  It’s a homelike space for me, my first blog, yadda yadda.  Not really professional, but home.

Anyway, ROW80 Goals…  That’s why I’m here today.

Well, sort of…  Actually, I’m going to follow a bit of advice from Scott Adams here on success:

The language matters…  and yet it doesn’t.  Goals are good things a long as they aren’t the purpose or the end in themselves.  The ROW80 is a writing challenge that “knows you have a life”.  So any  goals I’ve got here are dedicated to supporting that, in the way that the risers on stairs help support the steps I’ll be making.

There is one goal though…  one goal to rule them all (1) (2).

To live a creative, interested and inspired life full of friends, loved ones, and shared passions

To achieve that, I have steps I will follow, not only for this Round of Words, but throughout the year and beyond.

Writing

Since the ROW80 is a writing challenge, I put this first, but all these steps matter.

  • continue to write, explore and develop the Fanqtia-verse (the conglomeration of worlds and histories that envelop the stories I write)
  • finish a the first draft of one book in the Swan Song Series (yea…ah, I haven’t actually decided which one yet, but I have narrowed the choice down to two: Courting or Singer)
  • blog WIPpet Wednesday posts
  • bi-weekly check-in posts to the ROW80 blog

Blogging/Social Media

Putting this here since it follows on the heels of my last two targets

  • visit and comment on the blogs of fellow ROWers once a week
  • participate in activities or discussions once a week on FB, Twitter or some social outlet
  • have the ROW80 website fully updated for 2019 by the close of Round 1

Heart and Hearth

Where the living really happens…

  • finish packing for our move in March
  • daily “us time” with hubby and kidlet
  • make time to connect with distant family at least once a month
  • daily physical activity wherever I am and a once-a-week workout at the gym

Developed Inspirations

  • weekly art — I’d originally thought to work on a drawing a day, but the truth is, doing this I’ve created a bunch of unfinished pieces that I’m not happy with; this way exploring details and techniques will be easier to do, and I should be able to finish a few.  I may even continue working on a piece longer than a week, focusing on a new section, if it is a larger piece.
  • photography  — go through my accumulated photos, edit and post a few online (various places)
  • MOOCS and other classes — one per round (this round’s goal is to finish my class on Life and Times of Richard the III)
  • read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book a month

I think this combination will allow me a fair amount of time for growth and exploration while allowing time for the extras that not only make life worth living, but those extras that aren’t exactly asked for.

For check-ins, I’ll post a note in my Wednesday WIPpet post with a link here saying whether I made progress or not, only noting details if they involve a completed goal or a change of focus.  For the Sunday check-ins, I’ll be commenting on the ROW80 blog.

The next ROW80 post I’ll make here will be my goals for Round 2, but I’ll see you here before that for a First Friday Photo in January.

  1. One Goal to Rule Them All (jessicaabel.com)
  2. One Goal To Rule Them All (www.jdmoyer.com)

Once, long ago, I ran a brief Tarot segment… but this reaches passions I’ve only recently discovered the depth of my love for.

The Heritage Journal

We are now 1/3 through our Tarot Tuesday journey, and the drawn card this week is card V of the Major Arcana, The Hierophant.

The Hierophant: “Approval, Conformity, Consent, Good advice, Marriage or Union

Interpreting the Tarot can be a very conflicting process. An initial response to the drawing of any card can often be the correct one, but then again meditation upon a card may find other, more subtle meanings.

For this card, we are sticking with our initial reaction and taking the Marriage or Union aspect as the one to follow. In Somerset, the village of Stanton Drew is home to a complex of megalithic sites known collectively as The Weddings, which seems an appropriate match for this card.

Aerial photo copyright JJ Evendon (from the Megalithic Portal)

The complex includes the second largest stone circle in England (after Avebury), two further stone circles, an…

View original post 135 more words

What is it?

Posted on: July 7, 2018

This looks cool… Follow their main page to see how the dig is progressing.

Newgrange Farm Excavations

Only archaeological excavation can establish the nature of this underground feature

SMNewgrangeGeoPhysPOSTER

Neolithic Cursus?

Cursus monuments are Neolithic structures (between 3400 and 3000 BC) consisting of parallel ditches or trenches, ranging in length from 46m to 9.7km). The distance between the earthworks can be up to 91m (the Newgrange Farm example is 29m wide). Over fifty have been identified from aerial photography and geophysical survey in Britain and Ireland. The best known example is the Stonehenge cursus (pictured), within sight of the more famous henge monument. The best known cursus in Ireland is the ‘Banqueting hall’ at Tara that runs up the hill to the passage tomb known as the ‘Mound of the hostages’. Another cursus is located immediately to the east of Newgrange passage tomb. Cursuses usually follow astronomical alignments and served as buffer zones between ceremonial and occupation landscapes. If this site is a cursus, it would have been…

View original post 301 more words

The second shoe dropped…  or something, and while nothing screamed End Of The World, the violent tipping of its axis said serious Change (note the capital C…  big stuff here) was in the works.

:-/ Okay, so nothing really that drastic happened.  But despite all my plans to be more consistent this Round of words with my blogging, and to get a bunch of writing done, my progress on those goals I set out at the beginning of January has been close to nil.  Earlier in the round, while I was writing somewhat, I could clearly sense my head was in a “I need to be refilled” state.  I stepped down my writing and creative output in favor of reading and discovery, and dealing as best I could with the seasonal cloud that hits me each November through January.

This was tiding me over mostly.  I did get a bit lax with my blogging.  A lot of little things started picking at my brain and while I love you all, blogging is always the second thing to fall short (Twitter loses the fastest…  maybe because it always flows the fastest, and I so often feel lost in the deluge of tweets) as far as social media goes.  I’ve slacked off in all my social media though.  Facebook and email…

Too many little bits to deal with.

The newest is a real job search.  I’m terrified.  I haven’t in the job market for years, having spent most of my time of late in volunteer positions with my son’s various schools or homeschooling him.  But things have happened…  and now, not only do I have to homeschool The Boodle again (as much as he’d like to stay in Catholic school, he is not suited to that environment), but we need a second income in the home.

The most recent copy of my résumé I could find was from when I still lived in downtown Albany…  almost 30 years ago.

Yeeeah….

I have my work cut out for me.

So, apologies for being a bit short here, and for having been absent so long.

Stuff happened.


Also, just a small reminder…

Though it’s a bit late to bring this up, especially when I’ve been so very out-of-touch recently, I did want to mention that the linky for the First Friday Photo is open for submissions.  I’d love to hear from you all.

And if you’re interested in lovely photoblogs, have you checked out the grand people at image-in-ing. A lot of wonderful artists there, with so many interesting perspectives on the world to savor.


First Friday Photo

Something to inspire

obligatory “What I Allow”

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