Monday, September 28, 2015

The Chaos Continues

If my life were a television series this would be the theme song. The video is amazing too. It's basically "Paradise Lost" the animated version which was done by Trunk Animation. Chaos, or the gap created when heaven and earth separated, is basically where we all are. Even if you're not a religious minded person, we're all in one place trying to get to another which, of course, leaves a gap in between. Really gives new meaning to the "Mind the Gap". To me it's like saying, I'm here but want to be over there and be mindful of what goes on in between. Say you want to be a doctor, be mindful of the things you do in between here and seeing your first patient. Will you cheat on your tests? Will you alienate your friends and family to get to where you want to be? This is all so heavy for a Monday, isn't it? Well here's something to lighten the mood, Wish You Were Here is free on Google Play right now. Thanks to my G+ pal, Al, I am now able to listen to this album via computer and all my devices. I have this one on CD and vinyl but haven't taken the time to digitize it so I was excited to get it. I was also excited to see that Google Music has stations. I'm probably the last to know, but just in case I'm not there you go. 
So where have I been lately? Everywhere. I've been working hard, entering in juried shows and going to plein air competitions. This year I've won awards in all of the juried shows I've entered and won big at a competition in Amana, IA. I should be more proud/excited about these accolades but it's hard to be when I'm surrounded by such inspiring and supportive people. Yea, make sure you read that last sentence with a load of snark. When you start doing good you really find out who your friends are, which is good and bad. After my first place win I heard it all. One person, who often says nasty things to me so I shouldn't have been surprised, told me what I did was easy. EASY!? It stung at first but then I had to consider the source. I could cure cancer and that person would probably have something negative to say about it. The point I'm trying to make about all of this can be better said by this story about growing corn.

"There once was a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon. 

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?" the reporter asked.

"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

He is very much aware of the connectedness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.

So it is with our lives. Those who choose to live in peace must help their neighbors to live in peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: if we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn."  -author unknown

 What I took away from this is that I should surround myself with people who are interested in doing better and helping others along the way, not tearing me or other people down. If you surround yourself with people who enjoy tearing others down then think what they're doing behind your back.  I remember back in middle school these two girls just bought the new Megadeth album. I was excited for them because it was (is) a REALLY good album and I was glad someone else enjoyed the same type of music. After they told me they got it they immediately told me not to let this other girl borrow mine. They said this girl was just trying to copy them and they didn't want her to have the album. That was absolutely the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. Funny though, it wouldn't be the last time I'd hear something like that. In my mind it's better to share good music with other people, then we'll all be listening to good music. Why lock it up and keep it a secret?  I didn't stay friends with these girls for very long. If they were holding good music hostage from one girl, what were they doing to me when I wasn't looking? Of course this applies to everyone, not just corn growers, artists and girls with good taste in music. If you have a talent, passion or interest in something, surround yourself with other people who have the same interests and are willing to learn and grow together. 
OK, off of the soapbox, for now. You know I always share a recipe and unfortunately this one isn't edible. I haven't been home much to test out new recipes but things are winding down so I'll do better next time. This recipe is for cleaning. A few years ago I finally traded in the poopy brown 1965 Frigidaire Range and got new black appliances. I like the appliances but they're really hard to make them look clean. Every commercial cleaner I've purchased left streaks. I knew they were clean but they looked horrible. I finally took the internet because what better place to find a group of people who have also tried everything under the sun? I found this blog Sustaining The Powers, that had a recipe for cleaner. I chose this one solely based on the fact that I had all of the ingredients on hand. I mixed it up, used it right away and was pleasantly surprised at the results. They recommend using a microfiber cloth, I just used a paper towel and it worked well. 
Here's the recipe, but check it out on their blog as well, there are lots of helpful tips on there. 
  1. 1 cup water
  2. 1 cup white vinegar
  3. 1 cup rubbing/Isopropyl alcohol (The stuff you'd find in the pharmacy for first aid, not the drinkable kind.)
  4. 2-3 drops liquid dish soap (Dawn, Joy, Castile, etc.)
  5. 3-4 drops of your favorite essential oil (or extract your own from orange peels - see notes)
Other Materials Needed
  1. 1 24oz plastic spray bottle (found in the cleaning aisle)
  2. 1 microfiber cloth (found in the cleaning aisle)
  1. Add all ingredients to a 24 oz misting spray bottle and shake to combine.
  2. Spray cleaner onto your appliances in a small area.
  3. Wipe up with a microfiber cloth (microfiber is the key to no streaks).
  4. Repeat until cleaned.
  5. Enjoy your streak-free finish!
Hopefully I didn't scare you away with all of this heavy stuff because next time I'll have a recipe for bread pudding and a fun new/old book I found. Until then, keep your fridge clean and grow good corn.