Just Saying, Own It!

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Nerd, Own it

Whoops! I went missing a few days! Actually, Dad and I had a little technical difficulties. One of our computers kept bombing, and after applying a number of Band-aids to it, we finally broke down and completely rebuilt it. The Motherboard was still good and it is a Pentium 4 so we did not want to get rid of that, but we took the rest of the computer apart, and we upgraded from a 200 GB hard drive to a 2 tera byte hard drive. It was actually kind of funny because it seems that there is a shortage of hard drive availability due to flooding in Taiwan. We had no intention of going to that big of a hard drive, but we needed a new hard drive and that was what we could get. Awe what the heck, we are tech geeks anyways, so we did so enjoy the process, and especially buying that huge hard drive. It was fun, but of course re-installing all our software onto the old/new computer was and is a long process. We are still downloading Dreamweaver who knows how long that will take us.

I had given up on building my own computers several years ago, when I went to laptops, but I have decided to go back to building my own. I am very excited because my budding little nerd N. who is 12 is all excited about building a desktop for him with my help. I get to pass on my inherited nerdiness. Isn’t that fun!

His old her sister wants him to go out for football to de-nerdify him, but I am not sure I see that happening. He had some kids at school bullying him because he was a nerd, and I told him to tell them, “Yeah! Ain’t it great! Someday you are all going to work for me!” It worked, the bullying has stopped! If you own whatever they are hassling you about then there is nothing to hassle you about. His older sister I. in 5th grade was having trouble with some kids calling her 4 eyes. That particular year, I had bought her glasses with the magnetic snap on sunglasses. She was out on the playground on this one particular bully called her 4 eyes in front of everyone. She asked the girl, “Can’t you count? I have one, two, three, four, five, six eyes!” As she pointed to her own eyes, the basic glasses, and then the shades. No one ever called her four eyes again. I hear all this debate about combating bullying, and all I say is you have to teach your kids to own who they are, and face off with the bullies. My sister taught me if someone was picking on me and wanted to fight, to look them straight in the eye, and tell them “go ahead beat me up, but I won’t throw a single punch” She told me to say it really loud! Then to add “will it make you feel tough?” I have to say I used it several times and it worked amazingly well. It made my bully look and feel like a fool. Come on what is a one-sided fight?

I was reading on another Blog titled “10 things I learned from Living with a Nerd”,  and found it humorous as to how it is cool to be a nerd these days. I don’t think it has anything to do with as much times changing as nerds coming into their own and owning who they are. They are being okay with the fact that they are smart. We all need to do that, own who we are. When I was growing up it wasn’t cool to be in band, but musicians are now considered cool. When I was growing up being the artist kid was not cool, but now people look at my art and my talent with such awe. When I was growing up being smart was NOT cool, and I was not able to own that part of myself, so I played the dumb blond. I never turned in homework, I never studied for tests, and I barely graduated from High School. A few years later I went to college and graduated top of my class in three years with a four-year degree. I took ownership of who I was!

I always laugh at men who try to cover up their balding thinning hair by combing it over and wearing hats or worse to cover it up. I say “Own It!” It doesn’t matter what you look like if you own it, you will be naturally attractive. My daughter I. who is quite popular in school decided at a particular point that she was in charge of deciding what popular was. One day she came home from school (She had started to date a football player), and announced that the only difference between nerds and football players was the uniform! Whoa! I thought, “What a genius conclusion to draw!”

Well, now that I have pretty much worn out my soap box, I will step down now!

Peace and Harmony,

Sallyjane

Do you love to write? We are having a Murder Mystery contest on our blog, and the books proceeds will be given to charity. Contestants write the chapters, and readers vote. Come join in the fun!  http://www.the777man.com

Also check out http://hdbruner777.com to find all the links to our different books we have written like: Zugspitze Sawtooth Peril (A Novel) by Harold D. Bruner, You want to be a Published Writer , and Home is where you park it.

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Tick Tock Tick Tock,

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We’ve contacted the Literary Agents, Publishers, and the list goes on, so, “Where are you on writing your first chapter entry for the Mystery Contest? It is due this Friday at Midnight the 27th of January 2012. Here is the setting, let the rest roll off your pen or keyboard. If Mystery isn’t your genre, give it a try anyways, it will broaden your horizons, and sharpen your pen. Tick Tock Tick Tock

 

“Here on the wharf in November, 9th 1929, which is located on a coastal inlet. This bay is protected by a man-made rock and boulder jetty which jets out into the ocean, perhaps two-thousand feet from the shoreline. This man-made jetty protects the bay from the pounding
and thundering forces of the Ocean. To my right are a Sawmill and the owner’s mansion up on the hill. I can see the local tugboat, chugging along, out on the bay, taking passengers across the bay to their jobs at another Sawmill. Down the wharf from me, on my left, I see three kids which each look to be eleven or twelve years old. They are fishing for sharks, just for sport and excitement of that activity. I wonder what will happen if they catch a four-foot tiger shark and have to lift it fourteen or fifteen feet, up from the water below, while it is twisting, jerking and jumping in an  attempted escape?

Can you picture in your mind’s eye, this dreary setting, the texture, the grey-brown colors of the worn wharf-planking and the deteriorating cannery building’s ancient boards and bat structures which line the docks? In the foreground there are fishing trawlers tethered to the ladders which are anchored to the wooden pilings upon which the boardwalk of the dock is constructed. The murky water is rising in gentle swells from the incoming tide. Across the bay on the sandy peninsula I can barely see the makeshift outline of the sawmill buildings. Below the buildings I can see the men who are ridding the logs on the bay and guiding them with long poles into the chain-rigging which will carry the logs up to the blades of the huge circular saws which cut the redwood logs into rough lumber ready for re-manufacturing.”

This is a perfect chance to put yourself out there. To expand your horizons beyond the blog, which is by the way was a great starting point for every writer. Now take the next step, even if you have never entered a writing contest, there is no time like the present.

You can read about it on http://www.the777man.com. You can submit your entries at submit@youbetheauthor.com If you need a little help with getting started, you can visit our site http://www.Youbetheauthor.com and check our book “You Want To Be A Published Author”. Remember this contest is raising money for charity! Invite your friends and loyal followers to come and vote on the chapters. Let the fun begin!

Peace and Harmpony,

Sallyjane

Don’t think “Purple Tigers”

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Don't What?

Don't What?

Wow, that is a great way to start off on a blog post with a big huge Don’t. Probably that image in and of itself is a bit confusing, and I made that way on purpose. The artist in me could not help itself, but first of all we have the traditional “Don’t” symbol, but underneath it we have a the word “Don’t written in green which is traditionally the symbol for go, growth, money, and so forth. Beyond that though is it tell you to or not to? Because lets face it a double negative equals a positive.

Actually I want to talk to you about the way we phrase things. Have you ever told a child “Don’t touch that”? What did they do? They waited till they thought you were not looking and they touched it. I have a teenager who is 18 and another child who will be turning into one officially in July. I ask you again what happens when you tell a teenager “Don’t do That”? They turn around and do what ever you told them not to do right in front of you face just to show you.  My 18-year-old has been telling both me and her father that she could make her own decisions for the last year and a half (she just turned 18 in November) because she was “basically” an adult for all purposes. We would just laugh. She posted the other day on Facebook that she is NOT allowed to touch her brother’s hamster when he is gone, so “shuuuush! The hamster is asleep in my sweatshirt sleeve. Don’t tell the brother Please”. Yes she posted this on Facebook for the whole world to see.

I laugh at my kids, because if they have like a favorite candy bar, or something that they “Don’t” want anyone to touch they will tell me, “Mom, don’t touch into my candy bar!” Okay, so the thought had never even crossed my mind till they told me “Don’t”! Now all I can think about is touching their candy bar. Now I would never eat it, but just telling me that gets me so focused on touching the candy bar, that I can not help myself, but to move it to a new place out of sight from my child.

Why? I ask. There is something about the way our subconscious minds are wired that causes us to focus on what ever the words are following the “Don’t”. It is like the image above it is a mixed message, conscious brain knows that we shouldn’t, but subconscious just hears the words following the word “Don’t”. By the way, what have you been thinking about through this whole post? I am guessing that you have had images of purple tigers running through the jungles of your brain. As a matter of fact you are trying to figure out how purple tigers fit into this post. Actually the whole post has nothing to do with purple tigers, but that I asked you, “DON”T think about purple tigers” in the title. This whole post is about what the brain does with the word “Don’t” or any of its negative type words.

Here is the deal, we are told that we can create our whole world around us by simply focusing on what we want. The thing is that most of us know more about what we “Don’t” want than what we do want. We go through our days focusing on “Oh, I don’t want that!” Ooh, that would be bad, I “don’t’ want that either!” The problem with these thoughts is that our subconscious which is in charge of creating our worlds is unable to process the word “Don’t”, and it goes to work immediately on the “That!” This is why so many people create all the things that they “Don’t” want in their world. Then they turn around and tell everyone they meet that the Law of Attraction, “Don’t” work for them or anyone in their minds, because their subconscious mind only got the images of the “That” and could not process the “Don’t”.

So don’t you go about the rest of your day thinking about purple tigers running through blue fields of sunshine. Because come on everyone knows that there is no such thing as purple tigers, and fields are green. Besides it is the middle of winter here in America, and the sun “Don’t” shine.

Peace and Harmony,

SallyJane

Do you love to write? We are having a Murder Mystery contest on our blog, and the books proceeds will be given to charity. Contestants write the chapters, and readers vote. Come join in the fun!  http://www.the777man.com

Also check out http://hdbruner777.com to find all the links to our different books we have written like: Zugspitze Sawtooth Peril (A Novel) by Harold D. Bruner, You want to be a Published Writer , and Home is where you park it.

Wrong? Right? Bad? Good?

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Good morning everyone! How was your dark internet Wednesday? I really tried to just not even go on the internet yesterday, and that task was made easier by my body displaying some unspeakable symptoms of what others might call a cold. I took it as my body demanding some rest time, and today there I am feeling so much better.

So today I thought I would share some thoughts on “Judgment”. This is an area where I work very hard to avoid judging not only people but everything in general. I find it interesting that in most of the major religions judgment is described as a sin or the equivalent of. Yet in everyday life it is so hard to not judge everything we come into contact. I believe we are our own worst enemies much of the time. We seem to criticize our own work harder than anyone else. Many people go through life with our worst fear being that someday somebody will find out who we really are, and tell the world. The fact is most of the time the world sees us through clearer spectacles than we see ourselves. How often do we look through a filter of an inferiority complex, when we are actually respected by those around us as being good enough and generally better than good enough.

Judging my work, throwing away dreams

Have you thrown away dreams through judging your work?

Then there is how we judge others, and I find that we judge others by the degree that we judge ourselves. So if we have compassion for ourselves then we will have compassion for others. Actually, whenever someone offends or hurts me or even worse I feel the compulsion to judge someone, I take a deep breath and look long and hard in the mirror. “What is it in me that I am seeing reflected in this person?” Generally speaking the people who will upset us the most are the ones that we see something in ourselves that we don’t like in that person. Wow! that might be a hard one to swallow, but it is so true.

Sure there are those times when we meet someone who is just pure ugly with what they say and do, and act, and generally it is someone who has been hurt to the point that they are just lashing out at everyone. That said if we just look behind the acting out to the reason they are acting the way they are then we can often just give them that space to vent, grow, heal.

Who have you passed judgment on? Yourself? Others?

So often we look through eyes that have been tinted with emotion, and pass judgement on ourselves and others. That emotion is often more than not fear. Through this judgement we can say or do things that will harm others, and ourselves. How often have you looked through those fear based glasses at one of your writings, and judged it not good enough and thrown it away or stuffed in the back of a dark closet for no light to see it. What if that piece of work was good enough? What if it was what a certain publisher was looking for at that time. What if what you had written had come from the heart filled with love, and the power to heal another human. Judgment is such a dangerous place to stand, and cast a shadow of darkness so dark that neither you or the other can see their way out from under it.

I often wonder what the world would be like if we did not judge others? What the world would look like if we did not judge ourselves? How much more would we achieve? How much time would we save ourselves from? Then I wonder what the world would look like if we did not judge others? What if no one ever judged another person by their weight, the color of their skin, their sexual preference, their religion, the color of their hair or eyes, or the way the did things? I remember being in high school and there were some kids who had severe disabilities, and the other kids loved to harass them. I would often try to protect them by telling the other kids to stop, and then get harassed also. I just want you to think of what a world without judgment would look like internally and externally.

Peace and Harmony,

Sallyjane

Do you love to write? We are having a Murder Mystery contest on our blog, and the books proceeds will be given to charity. Contestants write the chapters, and readers vote. Come join in the fun!  http://www.the777man.com

Also check out http://hdbruner777.com to find all the links to our different books we have written like: Zugspitze Sawtooth Peril (A Novel) by Harold D. Bruner, You want to be a Published Writer , and Home is where you park it.

Trolls, Vampires, Werewolf’s and Big Foot?

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I was reading several other blogs today and this last week, and throughout this time I have read about Trolls (as in Blog Trolls on Kristen Lambs Blog), then there were some wonderful tales of Vampires on two different blogs, both left me wanting more (Lindsey Clarke). I wish I could find the other person, but as soon as I do, I will let you know who he is.  Then today reading the comments of Kristen Lambs post on Trolls, I stumbled across a women who writes about werewolves. She is very interesting because she use to train wild wolves for a living (along with sea lions, and other wild animals). You can find her here on Serena Dracis’ Blog. She also works with spirits to help them cross over. Well as I have been reading all kinds of things have been going through my head, but something that was stated at the top of Ms. Lambs blog was “I know you guys think we are in the 21st century and that we are far too sophisticated to believe in mythical creatures, but I am here to share a real threat. Lurking beneath the digital highway?

All of this got me thinking, and mulling it over and over. I know people who believe in faeries, and pixies, and lots of paranormal stuff. More people will admit to believing in ghosts, than will typically admit to believing in faeries. More people will admit to believing in faeries, than will ever admit to believing Vampires are real. Then there is the whole debate of Big Foot. I use to live up in Walla Walla WA. Walla Walla is right at the base of the blue mountains. Much of the blue mountains is fairly untouched thick forest. The residents that I would routinely meet who lived up on that mountain all claimed to have had encounters with a Big Foot. Now I personally have encountered ghosts, so I can say yeah, but when people started telling me there was a huge creature up in the hills above my house I really didn’t want to believe it. The problem was that the locals had very convincing stories of this creature. Well I now am back in my home of California, living on the ranch, and I personally can not say whether I believe in Big Foot or not. I am left with a lot of questions. Then there are a number of friends of mine who are Witches, or Wickens/Pagans. They have a firm belief in the existence of Fae or Faeries. They believe them to be somewhere between Angels and People and to be more Spirit than people are, but less than Angels are. It is said that they take care of the Earth. Now I have to say I am not here to say if these things exist or not, but my question became are they real in your opinion? Are Faeries, Elves, Trolls, Werewolves, and Big Foots real in your opinion? Do you believe in Ghosts? I think you have an idea about my belief as far as Ghosts or Spirits go, but I want to hear your opinion. I want to hear your take on whether these are Mythical or Magical Creatures?

I love to write about such things, well I don’t generally wander into the world of Vampires, but I do love Creatures of fantasy. I love to delve into worlds unknown, and to tell tales of things that come from deep within me. Instead of writing a story about a single mom making it on her own in this realm we live in (which is who I am doing and know well) I write about that same woman living in a land or realm far from this life or this time. I describe creatures that I don’t even know if they exist in any other stories, some do, but most come straight out of my creativity. I guess that is why I was wondering what everyone else believes. I have only two requests, and the first one is that you reply with a comment however long, and two that you respect others comments and beliefs. If you are acting as a troll, I will simply delete your comment before anyone even sees it.

Have fun, and I want to remind you that we are hosting a Writing Contest on another Blog of ours at the The 4 Leaf Clover Blog at www.the777man.com. You can also check out our Main Site There you will find the books we have written and my father’s and mine biography, and some fun free stuff.

Peace and Harmony,

Sallyjane

Eeek! I’m Sugar-Coated!

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So as I posted before I am stuck on four names that I need for my book, so I have been thinking it was a research block, but I have come to realize this morning that it is not a research block. It is a block of much more intense roots. You see, all of my life I have been raised to look only for the good in everything. You know the bright side, the silver lining, the rainbow in the storm, and all of the sugar-coated other sayings you could possibly think of. This is great till you start writing that story, you know the “Novel”. Yes that one.  Awe I can write anything that is encouraging and beautiful, but I am stuck when it comes to finding the darkness. Somewhere I have been so sugar-coated, that I cannot even access that deep darkness that must be lurking inside me. It simply has to be there, I know it is, but for some reason I am stuffing it down.

I keep thinking that if only I could dig down deep enough I could find my dark characters lurking deep within me. Why can’t I? Is there something so dark and deep within me that I am afraid of unleashing it? What is it? Have I been focused so long on the good, that I don’t even know how to see the bad? Am I subconsciously afraid of my own monsters? Ooh! that could be it, I play this computer game where you mine for resources, and then you have to build or create a safe place for your avatar, and at night the monsters come out to try to destroy you. I generally play the game in peaceful mode with the monsters turned off. Why, because they freak me out! Why, I have not come to terms with, but I am thinking I may have to go play online where I am not allowed to turn off the monsters, and am forced to fight them even if they kill me routinely.

Awe, I wonder if it has to do with my being a bit of a goody two shoes? I have this thing where I need to follow all the rules, all the time. Sometimes I think it would feel good to break the rules, but I don’t like the consequences of doing that. It is like getting a speeding ticket. Many years ago, I got a speeding ticket and it cost me over 300 US dollars. I didn’t like that and I have pretty much been driving the speed limit ever since (much to the demise of those who are behind me). I also don’t drink, and I don’t go out and get drunk, although I will go out with friends from time to time to drinking establishments and just have a non-alcoholic drink. We laugh and have fun and they stagger home or I drive them, and then I go home by myself. Not that there is anything wrong in how I live my life, but where do I find those unsavory characters in my so clean life?

I have been reading many other stories which writers have so well dug into that dark place to find that character, but I still find myself stuck in the mire of sugar-coated uck. My villains just are not dark enough, and I have been aware of this for sometime. I need to take them deeper and much darker for them to work at all for me.

So where do I find them? I always suggest to people that they free write for twenty minutes a day as a practice to make their writing better, and to keep them free of blocks. I think I need to spend that time each day digging into the darkness, the ugly, the horrific, and un-sugar coat my world a bit.

Any suggestions on how to get to that dark place where I have those characters true selves stored would be greatly appreciated. I would love to post an image for you of some piece of artwork I have done that was really dark, but my paintings are always light and airy too. UGH!

Peace and Harmony,

Sallyjane

Do you love to write? We are having a Murder Mystery contest on our blog, and the books proceeds will be given to charity. Contestants write the chapters, and readers vote. Come join in the fun!  http://www.the777man.com

Also check out http://hdbruner777.com to find all the links to our different books we have written like: Zugspitze Sawtooth Peril (A Novel) by Harold D. Bruner, You want to be a Published Writer , and Home is where you park it.

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Blue Heron

Blue Heron Drawn by Sallyjane Woods In Adobe Illustrator

How about just some Sunday morning musings from the Ranch today? Let’s keep it light!

I was awoken this morning by the sound of bam… bam… bam… I opened my eyes and slowly started to move towards the edge of the bed thinking someone must be at my door. Then again, Bam Bam Bam…BamBam the sound rang through my very sleepy head. That is when I realized it was not my door, but that was the sound of gunshots going off outside my door. Some of you who don’t live where I live may be thinking now, “OH Crap!” Yes, If I lived in the city I would be thinking that too, but I don’t, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep knowing that that was the sound of hunters. They were shooting at ducks or geese, I have no idea exactly what they were shooting at, but this is a regular sound here on the ranch.  I am not sure why people want to get up that early on their days off, and go out into the cold morning air, and wander through cold, wet, muddy fields and shoot at birds. Some mornings I wonder how they can even see the birds let alone shoot them, but in my life I try to live with absolute non judgement. So I just roll over and go back to sleep.

One of my favorite things about living here on the ranch is watching the birds. Right now I have a whole flock of mud hens  who are enjoying a huge mud pond that was a rice field a few months ago. Now it is filled with water and the stubble of the rice is scrunched down under the water to deteriorate. They use to burn the fields, but now they fill them with water, and the cool thing about that is that there is a lot more wild life. Many a morning I awake and look out my window to find a white egret  sitting right outside my window. On other days there are Blue herons, and many other types of birds. I do love that part of where I live.

Red Eyed Frogs

Okay Red Eyed Frog don't live on the Ranch, but I drew these three. Can you find the third one?

Then there are other times like late at night when as I am getting ready for bed, and I notice a frog halfway up my bedroom wall just hanging out. You should see me chasing the frog out of my room. It is quite a hilarious picture! He jumps! I jump! I make a high-pitched squeal. He jumps again! I jump, and it goes on and on until I finally get him out of my room. So you might be asking, “Out of your room? How about out of the house?” I really don’t worry about them being out of my house, but I do not want them coming down off my ceiling in the middle of the night onto my bed. That is why I remove them from my bedroom.  About a week ago or so, I woke up to rat droppings all over my bathroom floor, and I must say, “At least this critter chose the right room of the house to leave his droppings!” I cleaned them up, and so far he has not been back. Living here you really can not worry about critters too  much because they are everywhere. The water snakes are constantly in my pathway to my car. The lizards live on my front porch, well actually it is my back porch, but lets not get too technical it is the porch that I use on a regular basis. They are the most awesome little critter family I have here. They love to be hosed down with a garden hose, and will just sit there as you spray them. I just wish the babies would not take shade under my tires of my car. I just feel horrible when I run over one.

Photo of a White Egret like the one that hangs out outside my bedroom window.

I have also come home to a family of skunks sitting on the back porch of my house (that was not at this house, but when I lived in a neighboring house about 5 miles down the road years ago). Then there are the sounds of coyotes at night. It is all quite amazing. But what I think I love the most about living out like this is the peace and quiet. Sure there is the Highway that can be heard as trucks and cars whiz by, but I tune those out completely. I only hear the sounds that I focus on and that is the birds and other critters.

I will eventually leaving here and returning to the City for another five years till my little guy graduates high school, but when he has flown the coop, I have decided that I will settle somewhere in the country on some land. Where I can enjoy this peaceful life.

Peace and Harmony

Sallyjane (Sj)

PS… Please make sure you check out our other blog at http://www.the777man.com We are sponsoring a Writing contest for Charity.  This is fun, so make sure you check it out!

PSS… Please also check out our main website at http://www.hdbruner777.com where we have  our books we have written with links to them.  Check back Regularly because we publish our works and others. You will find “So You Want To Be A Published Writer” and “Zugspitze  Sawtooth Peril” a Novel. Plus a book on living the RVer’s life. My parents have been full-time RVer’s for the past 15 years or more. Thank you!

Bam… Bam… Bam!

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Blue Heron

Blue Heron Drawn by Sallyjane Woods In Adobe Illustrator

How about just some Sunday morning musings from the Ranch today? Let’s keep it light!

I was awoken this morning by the sound of bam… bam… bam… I opened my eyes and slowly started to move towards the edge of the bed thinking someone must be at my door. Then again, Bam Bam Bam…BamBam the sound rang through my very sleepy head. That is when I realized it was not my door, but that was the sound of gunshots going off outside my door. Some of you who don’t live where I live may be thinking now, “OH Crap!” Yes, If I lived in the city I would be thinking that too, but I don’t, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep knowing that that was the sound of hunters. They were shooting at ducks or geese, I have no idea exactly what they were shooting at, but this is a regular sound here on the ranch.  I am not sure why people want to get up that early on their days off, and go out into the cold morning air, and wander through cold, wet, muddy fields and shoot at birds. Some mornings I wonder how they can even see the birds let alone shoot them, but in my life I try to live with absolute non judgement. So I just roll over and go back to sleep.

One of my favorite things about living here on the ranch is watching the birds. Right now I have a whole flock of mud hens  who are enjoying a huge mud pond that was a rice field a few months ago. Now it is filled with water and the stubble of the rice is scrunched down under the water to deteriorate. They use to burn the fields, but now they fill them with water, and the cool thing about that is that there is a lot more wild life. Many a morning I awake and look out my window to find a white egret  sitting right outside my window. On other days there are Blue herons, and many other types of birds. I do love that part of where I live.

Red Eyed Frogs

Okay Red Eyed Frog don't live on the Ranch, but I drew these three. Can you find the third one?

Then there are other times like late at night when as I am getting ready for bed, and I notice a frog halfway up my bedroom wall just hanging out. You should see me chasing the frog out of my room. It is quite a hilarious picture! He jumps! I jump! I make a high-pitched squeal. He jumps again! I jump, and it goes on and on until I finally get him out of my room. So you might be asking, “Out of your room? How about out of the house?” I really don’t worry about them being out of my house, but I do not want them coming down off my ceiling in the middle of the night onto my bed. That is why I remove them from my bedroom.  About a week ago or so, I woke up to rat droppings all over my bathroom floor, and I must say, “At least this critter chose the right room of the house to leave his droppings!” I cleaned them up, and so far he has not been back. Living here you really can not worry about critters too  much because they are everywhere. The water snakes are constantly in my pathway to my car. The lizards live on my front porch, well actually it is my back porch, but lets not get too technical it is the porch that I use on a regular basis. They are the most awesome little critter family I have here. They love to be hosed down with a garden hose, and will just sit there as you spray them. I just wish the babies would not take shade under my tires of my car. I just feel horrible when I run over one.

Photo of a White Egret like the one that hangs out outside my bedroom window.

I have also come home to a family of skunks sitting on the back porch of my house (that was not at this house, but when I lived in a neighboring house about 5 miles down the road years ago). Then there are the sounds of coyotes at night. It is all quite amazing. But what I think I love the most about living out like this is the peace and quiet. Sure there is the Highway that can be heard as trucks and cars whiz by, but I tune those out completely. I only hear the sounds that I focus on and that is the birds and other critters.

I will eventually leaving here and returning to the City for another five years till my little guy graduates high school, but when he has flown the coop, I have decided that I will settle somewhere in the country on some land. Where I can enjoy this peaceful life.

Peace and Harmony

Sallyjane (Sj)

PS… Please make sure you check out our other blog at http://www.the777man.com We are sponsoring a Writing contest for Charity.  This is fun, so make sure you check it out!

PSS… Please also check out our main website at http://www.hdbruner777.com where we have  our books we have written with links to them.  Check back Regularly because we publish our works and others. You will find “So You Want To Be A Published Writer” and “Zugspitze  Sawtooth Peril” a Novel. Plus a book on living the RVer’s life. My parents have been full-time RVer’s for the past 15 years or more. Thank you!

Stick Drawings to Block Heads

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I was trying to think of what I could write about today for this blog. I had turned off my alarm this morning thinking “Awe, it is Saturday! I can sleep in!” Well that only lasted a short time, as I am so used to getting up early. After my quiet time, I started checking in on comments, and had a request for some help with drawing cartoons.  That is when it hit me that today’s post could be an exploration into the fundamentals of proportion. Most people who don’t think they can draw think that because no one ever bothered to teach them about proportion and how to see things.

Like did you know that the body is 8 heads tall? Did you know that eyes belong on the halfway mark vertically on the face? When a body bends over to touch it’s toes, it bends at the halfway mark of the eight heads? Did you know that there is a formula for where to place the nose, eyes, mouth, and ears? Did you know that when you draw the hair you are actually looking at some of the top of the head, so the bangs are not at the top of the circle most people draw. Did you know that in Fashion design school they taught us to draw people with block heads? Did you know the everything in the world is made with circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles, and a few other shapes with lines connecting them?

Did you know that drawing is more a way of seeing than of talent? You can learn to see, but you have to learn what to look for.  When I draw a face I have practiced these principles for a long time, and  now they are just ingrained in my head, but you can learn them too. When I was in Graphic Design College there were some people who did not have the art background that I had, and some of their first drawings looked like a small child had drawn them. I remember shooting of an email to one of these friends with the proportions lined out for him, and the next day he showed up to school having made an amazing transformation in his drawing skills. It really is really not that hard.

So some basics outlined in graphics for you:

These are the basics and you can get a lot of help from just doing a google search, as the proportions stay the same, but different people have slightly different approaches to them and one graphic may work better than others.  After you get a basic sketch done you can then go through with line and add skin, features, and clothing (clothing part seems to be optional among artists, but I like my figures to be able to be viewed by everyone, so I clothe them.)

I have posted some of my illustrations of faces throughout this post. You can see that I use the basic proportions, but I really don’t see people as having circles exactly for heads. I think I am more akin to the block head for humans and then take off some corners. I have been drawing faces for too many years though and I have learned to just free hand them. I start with the eyes, nose and mouth and then at the face around it, but that is actually supposedly the hard way to do it. Hey it works for me, but I suggest you start with a shape of either an oval or rectangle and then remove areas to make it look right. Then add your division lines. If you are drawing say a cartoon that will be the same size all the time, then you can make some underlays (I can not place my finger on the name of them right now) which are the figures sketched out in different poses and then just draw them on your final paper laying over them to see them use a light box to draw on. That is how I do fashion drawings. Here is a full human drawing. I did this one on the computer in Adobe Illustrator.

Below is what I call Two Faced, another example of a face or faces.

My Personal Logo is also a face. If you look at it carefully you will find in it my initials Sj. The blond hair is my S and the blue eye dots my j and the jaw line is my j.

The only thing in common these faces have is that they all have the same proportions. You will notice though that I exaggerate eyes and mouths when I am not doing realistic faces. Now here is a “Cup of Joy” for you, so enjoy it!

And just one last image… This is a poodle that I drew on the computer in Adobe Illustrator only using shapes. It is an example of the Cubism Movement in art and what you can do just playing with shapes.

All images are copyrighted by Sallyjane Woods. For more information you can email her at sj@essiejai.com.

Hope you enjoyed this little art lesson on this Saturday, and remember Shush, Don’t say it, because everyone can learn to draw if they have the desire to.

Peace and Harmony

Sallyjane

Fun-Da-Mentals – Tipping over the Organ Bench

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Blue Faerie

Okay, so I think my title really came from a tween movie, but it fits here so well. I am often asked how I can have so much talent and creativity. The answer is always the same and it comes down to the Fundamentals.

I often tell the story of learning to play the organ. My grandfather played the organ, piano, guitar, banjo, and the ukulele . I remember when I was just knee-high to a grasshopper (I was a very small child when I was little) going to visit my grandparents up in Eureka California. They lived with my great-grandmother (Granny) in a Victorian home.  My Grandmother passed on at just over a hundred, this last year, sot that tells you a little about my Granny too. She still wore the button up boots and long “Granny” dresses. In the living room sat my Grandfather’s organ. He would sit down at random times and fill the whole house with wonderful gospel and bluegrass music. I personally loved when he played the banjo, but most often it was the organ that he played. I was so awe-struck by the whole thing that I begged him to teach me to play. At first he told me I was too little. I was one of the three little kids of all the cousins, so it seemed to me that I was always too little. I persisted till he finally told me that he would teach me to play if I could get up onto the organ bench all by myself. The organ bench came clear up to my arm pits, and I tell you I worked and worked and worked at get up on that darn bench, as it kept tipping over on me again and again. I did not become discouraged because my desire to learn to play music was stronger than an organ bench tipping over on top of me. I believe it took me like what seemed to 2 hours, but I am sure it was just a little kids idea of what 2 hours felt like.

I finally made it up onto the bench, and do you know what he taught me to play first? Scales! I played scales till my fingers hurt, and when I would ask him when I would get to play music his reply “when you are ready…”

My Granny died a few years later and my Grandparents moved to Tahoe and we all lived together in a multi-generational home. My lessons of my scales continued, and so did my question of when would I get to play a song. The answer stayed the same, and I continued to play my scales everyday religiously. As time went on, I started to get bored with up one octave and down one octave, so I started mixing my scales up. One day as I was playing my mixed up scales very creatively, I asked my grandfather again, “When do I get to play real music?” His answer was simple, “You already are, listen to yourself!” I had stuck with my discipline and now I just sat down and played music. As time went on I started to play the gospel and the blue grass that I so loved, but I never did learn to read sheets of music. I could only play by ear. I went on to play the flute, clarinet, french horn, and guitar. Eventually, lost interest in my music, but that is another post for another day!

I have told you that I am an artist, and I will have to get around to posting some of my artwork on here too, but when I started off drawing again I was knee-high to a grasshopper. I don’t know how old I was, I never remember not drawing. I use to take my coloring books that I never colored in and draw the pictures that were in them. I thought they were just reference books for young artists. My parents found my stack of empty coloring books and my equally big stack of drawings I had done on my mom’s typing paper. Ooh I just dated myself with that statement, it has been a long time since the typewriter was around. They were amazed at my artwork, and explained to me that they would get me my own supply of paper so that I would stop using her more expensive typewriter paper. Turns out she had been wondering where all her typewriter paper was going.

The lessons started. My dad who at one point and time was an army photographer, then a professional photographer and an artist also, started teaching me to draw. Now for those of you who wonder why it is that you don’t even know where to start on a drawing let alone really how to draw, I have to tell my lessons again began with the fundamentals of drawing.  I did not start out painting masterpieces, but I started out practicing how to draw a straight line, how to draw a curved line, then an S curve, how to stipple and cross-hatch, and then how to draw a perfect circle freehand putting one exactly on top of the other leaving only one pencil line. The fundamentals are in fact learning to control your hand eye coordination with a pencil, then a brush, and eventually took me to glass cutting for stained glass, and on to calligraphy, and of course photography. I was 12 years old when I started studying as an adult under a renowned artist in the area where I lived. My freshman year of high school I was accused of cheating on a pastel piece, because “No 14-year-old could do work of that level” After a discussion with my parents the grade went from an F to an A+. Every project after that in high school got A+ on them. Because I spent the hours studying and practicing the art of drawing and painting.

In college an English Professor taught me to write, but this time she taught me first to just put thoughts on paper for 20 minutes a day, and then to write first and edit second. We practiced everyday. I fell in love with a new medium while I was in her class, and a new habit of putting words on paper first and then editing them later. We need to make sure that we have learned the fundamentals of whatever it is we are doing in life. You have heard the phrase that practice makes perfect, well it is true! If you talk to any professional football players or sports athletes you will find that they practiced harder than any one else. You know that incredibly small kid who should not have made the high school football team because he is just so small. He not only made the team, but made it onto the Varsity football team. Well that kid I guarantee you works out harder and practices more than any of the other kids. That is quite frankly the only way you can make it to being the best or at the top of anything is working harder than anyone else. Knowing the fundamentals of what you do, and continuing to practice and learn more no matter where you are or how good you get is an absolute necessity of life.

You need to keep tipping over the organ bench till get up on top of the bench sitting solidly, it gets easier the more times you tip it over!

Peace and Harmony,

Sallyjane
Check out our other sites:
http://www.the777man.come Our blog there we are sponsoring a Murder Mystery Writing contest. Come join us in the fun.

http://www. hdbruner777.com has links on the front page to some of our other books and there is free stuff on that site also.