Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bluebird #31!

Well I did it. I made 31 bluebirds, I placed them around town and I wrote about it everyday this month. It feels good to complete something even though I am melancholy that it is done.

Has this project made a difference? I believe that if this project kept me pointed in a positive direction then the people who followed and read the blog did too. Otherwise I don’t think they would have followed it.

It was said to me this month that hope was like the waves in the ocean… the waves that hit the shore gain momentum by many waves joining together: like energies attracting like. And I understood. The more we feel hopeful and positive, the people around us feel hopeful and positive.

Today I decided to take #31 back to where it started- to Surfers Point. Walking along the bike path I passed the labyrinth where I placed Bluebird #1. Thoughts of walking the circular path came back to me and the anticipation of the project. I kept going following my intuition. I thought of the huge cement circular wall past the river mouth. As I came to where Ventura River flows into the ocean there was a little bridge to cross the stream. It was built out of rocks and tree branches. There were a couple of tall sticks beside the bridge with shells decorating them. Bluebird #31 landed a top one of the sticks.

It seemed like a good idea to bring the project full circle. It also occurred to me that the stream of water was like the hope that we gathered and carried through this month. And the stream meeting the huge ocean was the Hope gathering momentum.

Happy New Year! Let 2012 be filled with hope, happiness and prosperity!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Bluebird #30

This is the 30th day of my Bluebird Project. I have one more bluebird to place tomorrow, New Years Eve. This has been an interesting journey. I am sad to see it coming to an end.

Today was the last day of pet sitting Sonny the Dog. I was sad that it was coming to an end. Funny though, half the time I spent sitting outside at 7am with the temperature at about 35 degrees just sitting quietly getting the dog to trust me. My time allotment was 40 minutes but I usually stayed an hour.

Today Sonny’s playmate, Cher came home and when I stopped by for my final visit the two were together in the kennel. They both came galloping out of the gate and ran around the yard. That was the happiest I have seen Sonny all week. I gave them lots of treats… I gave Sonny a couple more than Cher because he is my favorite. I was a little misty as I drove away. This was a last minute booking so I’m not sure I’ll see Sonny again but I hope so.

In honor of Sonny being a rescue dog, I took Bluebird #30 to the Humane Society of Ventura County in Ojai.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bluebird #29

For two years I have watched the transformation of this rundown property on Thompson Blvd. It was City Center Motel. Now it is transitional living for homeless people.

The project was taken on by several churches of different faiths (I say different faiths even though they are all Christian based… ). They cleaned, painted and remodeled. I love the idea that these many churches pooled their resources and were able to coordinate with each other and get this facility up and running: people coming together for a common cause- to help someone else in dire need.

When I drove by today they replaced the chain link fence with a brand new stucco wall with wrought iron. That is what caught my eye. Then I saw the children playing inside the yard. I also noticed that they put in a jungle-gym in the back too. The whole place looks so much better than it did. I could feel the radiant hope.

Bluebird #29 landed on the new stucco wall outside of The Kingdom Center.

See their website:

Bluebird #28

There is a building on the corner of Laurel & Main Street in Ventura that use to be a church. Now it is a theater, a small theater but a very good theater. It is called The Rubicon. Karyl Lynn Burns and James O’Neil founded the theater company in 1998 and brought the company into this building on Laurel & Main in 1999.

The first play I saw there was “Night of the Iguana”. I think it was 2004. I was blown away by the level of professionalism of the production. The story, the acting and the set design in such a small space is what amazed me. Since then I have seen several productions and never was I disappointed.

Now I have the privilege of working for the Rubicon as a costumer. Now I get to see the whole thing built from scratch and performed for weeks at a time. I see the heart that goes in to every single performance from backstage. I get to hear the audience respond before, during and after the performance. I see the hope come alive in our community through the magic of the theater. And for this I am very grateful.

Bluebird #27 landed on the front stoop of the Rubicon right next to a spider weaving its daily web.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bluebird #27

One of my grandmothers was a fantastic knitter. She made sweaters, baby bonnets, booties and other items. She did a lot of hand work. I have taken up the tradition. I have been knitting for about a year now having taught myself out of a book. So I have been knitting at home or backstage in between quick changes & costume changes. Mostly I was making wash cloths. I was knitting squares… lots of squares.

I got to the point where I really wanted to be part of a knitting circle so I could expand my horizons beyond squares and meet new people. I mentioned in an earlier blog that in August I joined a group on It is a group of people who knit and crochet.

We meet every Tuesday evening at a Starbucks in Ventura. They are women from all walks of life. We sit and compare knitting projects and share patterns and techniques. There are beginners to advanced knitters. It has been fun getting to know these women.

Lately most of us have been working on gifts for family and friends. But a few of the ladies also knit items for charities and they get the group to participate on group projects. One of the projects was the Mother bear Project ( ) a charity dedicated to providing hope to children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa by giving them hand-knit bears. There have also been local charities they have donated knitted items. Tonight the host of the group was knitting an afghan to be given to some one on skid row.

This is another reason I joined the group- knitting for charities. Knitting is a way I can contribute to the world beyond my family and friends. This group of knitters gives me a lot of hope and these ladies have a lot of heart.

Right outside the window Bluebird #27 landed & watched happily while we sat and knitted our yarn into pieces of hope.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bluebird #26

I have noticed a new store front on Ventura Avenue... AA Grupo 12 y 12, right next to the bakery where I buy my Dia de los Muertos dead bread. I have even seen people gathered outside the door and at night I can see people sitting in chairs. My heart sang when I saw the sign in the window. Hope in my neighborhood!!

Pajaro de Azul numero vente seis!!

Update: Sonny the Dog

Follow up to Sonny the Dog… visit #6: When I arrived this morning Sonny barked & wagged his tail and appeared happy to see me. Over the past couple of visits (twice a day) gradually Sonny has come closer to me but not close enough to pet or hand him a treat.

But this morning he came up to me several times and ate the treats out of my hand. He even followed me in to the house. No petting yet but I am so happy.

Bluebird #25

There are many aspects of the state of our nation that bother me but one that worries me is the huge losses in the stock market. I don’t gamble and I haven’t been to Vegas since 1984 so I don’t really like the stock market because of the similar risks. But here we are with our whole financial well being wrapped up with those lunatics on Wall Street.

The part that makes me sad is that so many people lost big chunks of their retirement funds. They had planned ahead, did it the way it was suggested for success and BAM- the bottom drops. I had a 401k too and watched that thing shrink. I suppose this is a sad example of “there are no guarantees”. So now what? I’m not sure.

First thing that comes to mind is that we need to take care of each other. I suppose that pride needs to be set aside. Possibly asking for help when it’s needed and giving it in return. I’m thinking bartering with each other. The universe is abundant when we don’t hoard things or get greedy but share instead.

Most of the people I know have friends and family around them to help them out. There are a lot of people that don’t. What about them? I’m not talking about saving the world or maybe I am, just a baby step at a time. Just a little effort goes along way.

What can you do in your community to help others thrive? Donate food to the local food bank? Help distribute food? You might already do some volunteer work… yay for you!! Keep it up!

Bluebird #25 landed at the Senior Center in Ventura… spreading a vision of hope to the people who need a bit more for their retirement.

Bluebird #24

I drive up and down Ventura Ave several times a day. It is my neighborhood. There are several bus stops along this street and they are frequently occupied with people waiting for the bus.

This particular bus stop on the corner of Prospect & Ventura is often occupied by two men with market baskets filled with their belongings. Usually it’s in the afternoon that I see them. They seem to be engrossed in conversation… I think with each other. It must be warm there at that time of day because it faces west.

Bluebird #24 landed on the corner of Prospect & Ventura Ave at this bus stop.

Bluebird #23

For the in between times I took a job as a professional pet sitter with a local agency. It is a happy job. It is rewarding on many levels. I get exercise, the dogs get exercise, the cats get massages, every one gets love… It’s a win-win… win situation!!

My new doggy client is named Sonny. He’s a white malamute and is a beauty. His owner took him in a few years ago after he was rescued. I met him briefly before his owner left town and he was very timid… distrustful is a better word. He did take a treat from my hand and sniffed me a little but otherwise kept away

The first visit was at the end of the day. Sonny was so distrustful that he wouldn’t come within 10 feet of me. He stayed in his dog run, didn’t sit and growled quietly. He was very apprehensive and it makes me sad to see him unhappy. So I just sat quietly in the yard hoping he would get used to me.

There is a sweet little birdhouse in the yard where Sonny lives and Bluebird #23 landed there.

Bluebird #22

One of my friends mentioned earlier this month is still in the hospital. He had a bicycle accident and got pretty banged up. It will take awhile for him to recover. It is hard to stay hopeful when you are lying in a hospital bed...

So bluebird #22 landed at the County Hospital in Ventura. Sending you well wishes friend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bluebird #19, 20, & 21

There are some of us walking this planet that have to create. We have to draw, paint, sculpt, sing, dance, make music, write. It is in our DNA. It’s something we must do or our spirits shrivel. I have also read in different spiritual books that self expression is an essential part of living and without it we will not find true happiness and wholeness.

I think this creative spark is in all of us but some ignore it or push it down or neglect it. Maybe they believe the judgments set upon them by others. They think that they can’t do any of it well and judge themselves. They don’t value it because they can’t make a living from it. Whatever the reason… they don’t believe in their creative self.

But the bluebird is here to tell you “Don’t give up on that creative spark!” It is part of your wholeness. Sing often and sing loud!! Get out those paints! Pastels! The camera! The guitar! The sewing machine! Turn up the music and dance with abandon! Who cares if anyone is looking! Maybe they’ll join you.

These 4 bluebirds flew out to places where creative self expression is nurtured and valued. Vita Art Center is located in Bell Arts Factory (a building that houses a group of art studios) on Ventura Ave & Harrison. The art center employs many local artists to teach their disciplines to anyone who wants to learn. Students of all ages come through here and there are art exhibits and performances coordinated with some of the classes.

Stoneworks is just down the street on the corner of Park Row & Ventura Ave. Two of my friends live and work here. They dedicate their live to bringing the arts into our community. They teach stone carving to anyone who is interested as well as being working artists. They also promote local artists through events like First Fridays, exhibits and art fairs.

Art City is just off Ventura Ave on Dubbers. This property is tucked up against Hwy 33 and is a place that has been around a long time. This is a magical place that I recommend exploring any time you get the chance. Art City is made up of a group of some old time stone carvers. There are gigantic pieces of stones of all kinds around the property which is an outdoor studio. You could see pieces started and half done. There are also many finished pieces to see. These people are dedicated to their creative spirits.

These are places where hope lives… where hope is created and multiples. This is where you can expect something good to happen.

Bluebird #18

This little bluebird didn’t make it threw the process. It broke before it could get fired in the kiln. This happens with ceramics. It’s a process that puts a lot of stress on the artwork… drying the clay without cracks, moving it into the kiln without breaking, firing up to 1600 – 1800 degrees for the bisque firing and a second firing that can be as high as 2200 degrees for the glaze…

It’s a metaphor for how life can be… We take it for granted that things won’t break when sometimes things do break and sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want it to… but in the end everything turns out just right… whether we like it or not.

Bluebird #18 may he rest in peace.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bluebird #17

There are places around town where people gather for one reason or another. They come together for a fellowship of hope. A lot of times the places are churches or temples and sometimes the people that meet there are not of that particular faith. This is not a religious posting today (and it would be wise not to expect one from me even though it is December, just sayin’).

Every Saturday I go to this place to meet my friends for an hour. I know of several 12 step meetings held at this location. This place has a banquet hall that is used often by their own parish. There is a school on the premises. I also know that this place has emergency funds for people in need and they are one of Food Shares Pantry Partners too. There is a lot of hope being generated in this location… and shared.

Bluebird #17 Landed at the Presbyterian Church on the corner where Poli & Lincoln meet.

Bluebird #16

Where is Bluebird #16? Where did 16 go? He was here in the flock... what? He flew the coop?! He went out on his own to find a place of hope himself?!! Well, there you go!

Bluebird 16 flew the coop... destination unknown!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Bluebird #15

Food, the topic is food, feeding people who can’t afford food… I just spent the last hour looking at statistics of poverty and housing expenses in Ventura County. It is a wonder that any of us can keep a roof over our heads with the housing cost… looking at the numbers I wondered how I do it.

Most of us can afford to buy food. We get to go to the grocery store and pick the food we like & want to eat. Others don’t have that luxury. There are places in town who feed people who are in need of a meal.

I just went to the Food Share website and found a plethora of information. Catholic Charities is listed as a Pantry Partner which provides free fresh food to people who can’t afford to buy their own. Catholic Charities also provide meals daily to people who find themselves homeless. There is a ton of information on the Food Share website including lists of shelters & other services. If you know of anyone in need of assistance, this website is a great resource.

Catholic Charities is located on the corner of Ventura Avenue & Park Row. And this is where Bluebird # 15 landed today.

Bluebird #14

There is a building on Fir Street that I go to several times a week at noon to meet with some friends. It is a place where we talk about our experience, strength and hope on a daily basis. We share our successes and our defeats. Some of us live on the hill and some of us barely have a sleeping bag. There is always coffee. In this building I find hope.

Bluebird #14 landed on the brick wall just outside the door today as I was walking in.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 15

Where does hope live?

The Bluebirds of Hope have been quiet for a couple of days. This project has been a true exercise for me. I know I have said it in previous postings but the more days that pass the more interesting it gets. And when I say interesting I mean hard. Pulling the hope from within to share with you is easy some days and not so much on others. Sure I could write something everyday that sounded like a Hallmark card but that is not the point. I am doing this because it isn’t easy pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps everyday. Some days we just don’t feel like it. And if it goes to long then we get apathetic and the world becomes a bleak place.

Part of the reason I decided to do this project is that I have the time. I don’t have any work this month when I need to work this month. The idea of sharing hope with the world when I needed some myself seemed like a good exercise in faith. I still believe in the concept. But I have to walk the walk if I am going to talk the talk.

This week I hit a wall and what I realized was that with this project being daily I am counting the days and by counting the days I am focusing more and more that I don’t have work. And then the fear starts rolling in like high tide.

Now I am not complaining, I am explaining where I stand… because I don’t think I am standing alone here. And so I had to take a step back and breathe. Breathe out the fear and breathe in the faith. Already a solution has arrived and I can focus on the issues at hand: bluebirds.

Hope is wishing that something good will happen. Faith is knowing that it will. And Trust is total confidence that it will all be taken care of.

So stay tuned there could be a Bluebird landing somewhere near you…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bluebird #13

Bluebird #13… Two birds in one day… yeee-ow!

After the doldrums of yesterday and figuring out where #12 was to go on the 13th, I was still in a quandary as to where to put #13!! Procrastination or constipation don’t work for this project at all. The days keep coming, day after day. Figuring out where hope lives is a full time job.

Libraries have been a place of inspiration for me. Curiosity is something that keeps me going. I hope that I am curious to the day I die. When I lived in Pasadena I would go to the main branch on Walnut. I would get lost in the books for hours. I caught up reading literature that I was supposed to have read in High School English… let’s just say I missed a couple of classes and Cliff Notes aren’t the same. I looked at art books with beautiful prints of paintings and sculpture. This curiosity got me back to college when it meant something to me.

Today when I went to both the Avenue Library and the E.P. Library I was happy to see both places in use by many: little ones with their grandmother, elementary students with tutors and teenagers doing homework. At the Avenue Library there were a couple of older women at the back table reading the newspaper, some fellas on the computers and a group of 4th or 5th graders with a tutor in the children’s section. There was even a young man just outside the door playing his guitar. And of course the two friendly ladies at the front desk who I love to chat with about books.

Well it seemed fitting that #13 be placed at my neighborhood library because there still is a library in my neighborhood. It is well used and well stocked for such a small place. Bluebird #13 landed in the Avenue Library right next to “Louise: The Adventures of a Chicken”.

Bluebird #12... thank you

Bluebird #12... Has landed! While proofing my December 12 entry I got an inkling of where #12 should land. The place was closed and rather than suffering a breaking & entering charge I waited until today.

I don’t know why Thing One & Thing Two came in to my head last night except that the activity in my mind yesterday was very similar to the “fun that is funny!” carrying on in Sally & her brother’s house… with the Cat in the Hat as the Ring Master. But while checking my facts on line I found some interesting information on Wikipedia, one of my favorite websites I became inspired…

In 1954 there was an article in LIFE magazine about the reading levels of American children. Apparently their reading levels were very low and the author, John Hershey listed many reasons why, but one in particular I enjoyed being a rebel from way back:

“…In the classroom boys and girls are confronted with six books that have insipid illustrations depicting the slicked-up lives of other children. Feature abnormally courteous, unnaturally clean boys and girls. . . .”

Then at the end of the article there was a shout out to the imaginative illustrators of the day to create a primer textbook for elementary students, Theodor Geisel being one of the illustrators.
Long story short Dr. Suess wrote Cat in the Hat to help children enjoy learning to read. It was the first in a series of Beginner Readers he wrote and illustrated. I am so happy that he was inspired to do so because these are the books that I learned to read.

Soooo, Bluebird #12 has landed in the Children’s Library at E.P. Foster Library on Main Street Ventura, next to Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs & Ham.

Monday, December 12, 2011

#12 please...

Today I got stuck in the doldrums.

Being a cold wet day with nothing to do…The Cat in the Hat showed up and had a Pity Party in my head and the mayhem ensued …. Thing One & Thing Two jumped out of the box and ran about the place, trying on my socks! …or was it flying kites. Whatever. I got tired of looking for the butterfly net and took a nap. Get out the book if you need a visual.

Bluebird #12 is in a holding pattern. He is waiting for a location.

Tomorrow’s another day… God help me if Sam I Am shows up with green eggs & ham… being a vegetarian that might cause a problem.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Bluebird #11

When I am working in Santa Barbara especially in the summertime I like to take the Seacliff exit on my way home. It’s just past Mussel Shoals & La Conchita. This road is actually part of Highway 1: Pacific Coast Highway. It travels right along the ocean’s edge. The road takes you through Faria & Solimar Beach and ends at Emma Wood State Beach. I call it the road less traveled because everyone is speeding down the freeway in traffic... and I'm not.

I love it. I roll all the windows down so I get the fresh sea air. If I am really not in a hurry to get home I will park next to the sea wall and watch the waves. Many times I see dolphins playing just off shore along here. I actually saw two jump straight out of the water like a Sea World trick! I see the pelicans fly high in formation or really low to the water, just grazing the waves.

Actually it doesn’t have to be summertime for me to take this path. I like going here in the winter too. It is just a really nice place to hangout and watch the ocean. Be quiet. Journal or meditate. This little stretch of road gives me a lot of pleasure whether I’m moving through or sitting still.

Bluebird #11 landed here this afternoon on my way to visit my aunt & uncle in Montecito. It is perched on a rock just north of Emma Wood with a great view of the islands.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Bluebird #10

In August I joined a knitting group on . I had taught myself to knit from a book earlier this year and joined the group so I could learn more in a social setting. It has been a lot of fun. One week I noticed on the group’s website that there had been a field trip to an alpaca ranch in Somis. So I mentioned it at the next meeting. Not everyone went but I was told that the ranch had open house every month. So the research started.

I found the website for the ranch . Initially my interest was in just the fleece and learning to spin. Then I noticed that there was a page about investing in alpacas… what? So then I started researching further. My curiosity was peaked and now I really had to go see the alpacas.

This morning I woke up with a smile on my face because I was going to Windy Hill Ranch to see the alpacas!!! Paca-paca-paca!!! Every second Saturday Windy Hill Ranch has an open house… eeerr… open ranch from 10am – 3pm. It is located out in Somis – about 35 minutes from Ventura.

It was a treat to get off of the beaten path to find this peaceful little ranch. They have about 300 alpacas living there. They own some but also board many of the animals. There is also a classroom there where all sorts of classes are held. Today there was a knitting group that meets monthly.

The little critters were so cute. Alpacas are shy but curious and approach with caution. They do let you pet them and if you are quick you can grab one to hold (with the help of the owner). It was fun. Alpacas make a cute little humming sound and are pretty mellow. They are low impact on the environment; relatively inexpensive to board; their fleece is warmer & softer than sheep’s fleece. I still have information to gather about investment and I am still looking for spinning classes but I think I’m going back in January to see the alpacas again!

Bluebird #10 has landed next to the alpaca statue at the Windy Hill Ranch of Somis where hope & happiness abound. (it's outside of Ventura but in the county!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bluebird #9

I was thinking about trees today and how much I enjoy having them around me. I love listening and watching the birds in the trees in my backyard. Of course they provide us with oxygen and help balance our carbon foot print but there is more to trees that I love.

For some reason trees give me a sense of security. They provide shade from the sun and cover from the rain. They are like our ancestors, like the Ents in Lord of the Rings. So I was trying to think of a representative of our local Ents and I thought of the huge Moreton Bay fig tree on the corner of Chestnut & Santa Clara. This tree was planted in 1874. I think it qualifies as an ancestor. The Great Moreton Bay Fig feels like a protector.

This park is a lovely public space with playground and bandstand… and like many of our public parks there are also quite a few homeless people. Where else can you go if you are without your own home? I hope the Great Moreton brings a feeling of hope and protection to the people of the park.

I want to say more here and I just don't know what to say. I want to say I'm sorry that those people have to live on the street. I'm not saying I'm sorry because it's my fault... it just makes me sad to see them suffer. And I wish them a vision of hope... that they see a way to solution.

Bluebird #9 has landed in the folding roots of our historic Moreton Bay Fig tree in Plaza Park as a little token of hope for the people of the park.

Bluebird #8

Bluebird #8… posted a day late but landed on time…

After spending the morning with a friend I drove past Lincoln School on my way to my clay studio. The children were at recess and the playground was bursting with energy. There were screams & yelps, laughing & talking, balls bouncing, jumping & running. I remember those days of fun filled recess! It was exhilarating to get out of the classroom for awhile and run wild with my friends.

Two of my favorite recess activities were playing on the swings & the horizontal bar. On the swings, I used to swing as high as it would take me and then flip off backwards and land on my feet. It was like flying. I loved it.

On the horizontal bars I would sit atop the bar and then swing backwards with the bar behind my knees with enough momentum to come back to the top of the bar. And for the finale dismount, I would flip off and land on my feet. I did this until Lisa Wormhouse broke her arm and it didn’t seem like such a good idea any more. But I kept flipping off the swings! No one broke anything over there.

Playful memories… Playing in our adulthood gets hard. We start racking up the responsibilities and we don’t have time. Well I’m here to saw, there is always time to play! And sometimes we need to take risks. Lifting your spirit in play & laughter is just as important as meeting our responsibilities. Think about what you use to do as a youngling that would bring you hope & joy… And do it! Go on! It will be fun! Some of us need to learn to skip again. I’m thinking about finding a swing. Don’t worry, I’m not going to flip off of it… but I will see how high it will take me!

So Bluebird #8 landed at Lincoln School, Ventura where the children reminded me that adults need to play too.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bluebird #7

In October a friend of mine gave up the good fight against a 17 year addiction to drugs and alcohol. He got sick and tired of being sick and tired and took his life. It was a shock. It was tragic. It was very very sad. It rocked my world and shook up my belief system and caused me to reexamine it.

In a weird way his passing has given me hope and a new perspective on what I believe. It has strengthened my belief in a forgiving God and the idea of a Divine Plan. My compassion has grown for people who struggle to get clean & sober. My friend showed me how my life touches the lives of people around me because I saw how he had touched people’s lives at his memorial service.

His mother is a very dear friend of mine. She needs a daily dose of hope. So Bluebird #7 will ride in her car next to her picture of the Dalai Lama.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bluebird #6

Today was a bit challenging for me. There was a list of items on my To-Do List looming in my head that needed to be addressed. The kind of things you wish would go away… your bill was late now there’s an extra fee… insufficient funds notices to clear up… so sorry you didn’t get the job we hired someone else… Yay! Life is in session!

Where’s the hope!? Where did I put that darn hope? I could have sworn I put it right next to my keys… is it in my purse? Maybe I left it in the car. Oh! There it is hiding under a bushel of fear!

That fear can sneak in quick without you even knowing it. It’s outside in the driveway doing push-ups just waiting to wrestle me to the ground. Some people say fear stands for: False Evidence Appearing Real. I think that is true. I get myself all wound up over things that are not as big as I think they are or are not even happening.

The late bill… was their mistake. I paid it on time. The insufficient funds were because I linked the on-line Bill Pay to the wrong account. They refunded one of the two fees. The job - I didn’t get it but the right one will come along. And right now right now everything is okay. December rent paid. My health is good. There’s food in the fridge. I’m going to meet up with my knitting club tonight with one of my sunshiney friends and Noodle is curled up on the ottoman next to me! Yay! Life is in session!

There is another saying: You can’t give away something that you haven’t got. So I decided to put Bluebird #6 on top of my roof to remind me that Hope lives here with me all the time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Bluebird #5

This is quite a challenge I set for myself… everyday write about hope. Mmmm so today… hope. Okay I’m going to talk about music.

I think most people will agree that music is inspirational and can bring hope to our day. Most of the time we are listening to recorded music on the radio, iPod, CD, whatever but it’s not live. That works but being in the presence of live music is a whole different realm of experience.

If you haven’t been to a live performance lately I suggest you go to one sooner than later. What ever the type of music you enjoy: jazz, folk, blues, opera – just go hear it live. Even better, if you play an instrument or sing – take the time & do that. I believe that there is something in the vibration of live music and live singing that lifts the spirit. Really more precisely I believe it to be the channeling of the Divine Spirit and it elevates us.

I have the privilege of working with singers and musicians of different types in my line of work. This is one of the blessings of my job- I get to hear live music a lot. It brings so much hope & inspiration to me. I even love opera. You have to hear it live to truly appreciate it, honest.

My first opera was Faust which I worked on the costumes. Being involved in the whole process: rehearsals, designer run-throughs, dress rehearsals and standing backstage watching the performances were an amazing experience. It gave me a comprehensive understanding of the discipline.

In the finale of Faust, the chorus sang off stage like a choir of angels. I was standing near them and the vibration of their voices was unbelievable. I almost levitated… or cried I was so moved.

Another stand out moment for me was working at the Santa Barbara Bowl on a Labor Day a few years ago. I got called in to do wardrobe for Earth Wind & Fire. Okay one of my ALL time favorite bands: Earth Wind & Fire. I couldn’t believe it. Basically once I was done ironing clothes which I finished them in 45 minutes, I got to sit backstage and watch the entire show.

I sang all the songs. I danced. It was so much fun I could barely stand it. At the end of their set the crowd jumped up and applauded. Standing Ovation. The energy from the audience was so intense that it was intoxicating. Live music, I’m telling you, nuttin’ like it.

Now to smaller music, folk music, acoustic music… but no less inspirational and moving! Earlier this year I had the opportunity to work with a group of young musicians on a project at the Rubicon Theater called ”Lonesome Traveler”. They sang music composed by old time folkies. Those old timeless tunes were wonderful. But it gets better, several of the musicians write & perform their own music. The Rubicon had a couple of nights at Zoey’s where they got to sing some of their own music.

Tonight two of these talented musicians will be playing at Zoey’s again, one of the best places for live music in Ventura. B. Willing & Justine Bennett will be playing together.
So today Bluebird #5 has landed at Zoey’s where live music inspires and B. Willing & Justine will lift our hearts and our spirits with their beautiful voices.

(And if you can't make it tonight, play your favorite tunes and sing! )

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bluebird #4

Every morning I wake with Noodle, my cat curled up next to me. She has been with me for 11 years now. She was my transition cat. Some of you have known me long enough to know I had a previous cat, Livingston aka Stoney, aka Piggly-Wiggly, aka Wiggy aka The Mighty Wig. He was a marmalade tabby with green eyes and lived for 20 years.

When he was about 17-18 years old I started to worry about when he would pass on and leave me. He would be sleeping, a lot as older cats do, and I would think he wasn’t breathing so I would poke him to see if he was dead. He wasn’t and would roll over and go back to sleep. A friend gave Noodle to me when she was a wee little tike. Her name at the time was Sooty… her name has morphed to Noodle (another story).

Back to Wig- Well Wig lived another 2 years. He became playful again and they would groom each other & sleep together on the chair or bed. It was really wonderful to watch. Finally it was Wiggy’s time and he passed on.

So Ms. Noodle has been my solo feline companion for 9 years. She is a very good friend. She sticks by me through thick & thin. She follows me around the house. Sits close by while I work- which she is doing right now. Even when I let her out in the morning to sniff around she only goes out for a short time and she’s right back checking up on me. Some would call this co-dependent. I call it true blue.

Noodle gives me a lot of hope. She keeps me going and helps me adjust my attitude. And so did Wig. I have been blessed with 2 very good kitties.

So today Bluebird #4 landed in front of Cats Cradle Rescue on 4160 Market Street in tribute to our well loved pets. I wanted to bring some hope to these little animals that need homes. Animals have a very important role in our world. They contribute love, hope & joy to our planet.

Cats Cradle is an all volunteer non-profit organization that rescues unwanted & abandoned cats. They have a thrift store on site to help support their cause. I stepped inside to see the cats. It was fun playing with the little kittens. I could tell that all the cats were well taken care of & loved by the staff.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bluebird #3

When I woke up this morning I wasn’t feeling hopeful. I knew the day would come that I wouldn’t be feelin’ it and I would have to work through it. Thankfully I had a full day so I couldn’t pull the covers over my head.

My regular work has gone dormant during the month of December. All the theater companies I work for aren’t doing anything this month. So I have been looking… and looking. I knew December was going to be like this so I have been doing my due diligence for awhile. For the last couple of weeks I spread my search a bit wider and haven’t found anything yet. Thus the reason my hope was waning today.

It’s okay. I know it will be okay. Everything always seems to work out for the best. I have been here before. I do have a little income coming in from pet-sitting and odd jobs. This doesn’t mean I sit on my doorstep and wait to win the lottery (I think you have to buy a ticket to win... just sayin'). I have to get into action. Not to be confused with making things happen or forcing things to happen.

Getting into action means I actively look around and pay attention to the landscape around me and follow my intuition. Do the next indicated action. It gets the Universe lubed. It lets the Universe know I am ready. I am ready for the endless possibilities that could come my way.

So I have been of service to others around me. (That is keeping me busy I’ll tell you!) And this guerrilla project has been keeping me busy too. Where will I put the next bluebird? I let intuition guide me.

Today I placed Bluebird #3 in the community garden on the corner of Chestnut & Poli Street. This corner has been an empty lot since I moved to Ventura 7 years ago until recently. I drive past this corner several times a day and I have watched the once empty corner get tilled, raised beds built, fertilized & planted. Now there is a beautiful vegetable garden. (The funny thing is that the cement peace sign was just laying there in the garden. It made the perfect pedestal for the bluebird.)

It’s exactly what we do with our lives. They can be beautiful gardens of friends, family & activity if we plant the seeds and take care of the plants. My job search is not for nothing. For every action I take: email, conversation, person I help, bluebird I place, moves me forward. This project is helping me as much as it is helping others.

Now it’s coming to the end of the day and I have hope again. The possibilities are endless.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bluebird #2

Day Two in the guerrilla art world. Deciding where to put these little birdies is an interesting process. More interesting is what to say about it.

Where does Hope live today? It’s hard to be hopeful day in day out, things are happening all the time. Doing this project is helping me stay in hope. It’s helping me to see the positive in people, places & things. It is getting me to sustain a hopeful outlook.

I am grateful I have good health and don’t have to deal with chronic pain or some ailment. There are people in my live who do have to deal with such things. Most of the time they have a good attitude and I forget that they are dealing with physical issues. Other times the discomfort wears on them and I wonder what the hell?! Then I remember how hard it must be to keep motivated & positive.

I know three people in the hospital right now for different reasons but they are laid up none the less. So today I placed Bluebird #2 outside the Emergency Room at Community Memorial Hospital. Seeing a bluebird just before entering the hospital could give a feeling of hope to someone in crisis.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bluebird of Hope

For the month of December, I have started a guerrilla art project called Bluebirds of Hope. Each day I will place a ceramic Bluebird of Hope somewhere in our town of Ventura, photograph it and then document here. The first one is already out there waiting to be found. I have made each bird so they are all unique & signed. HOPE is embossed down their backs and the date is carved on the perch.

If you find one you can have it or you can leave it for others to enjoy. You can add your own token of hope to sit with the bluebird because hope is contagious. I also invite you to comment on my Facebook page if you have a Bluebird sighting.

So why am I doing this…

Here we are December 2011. There is high unemployment. The stock market has tanked a couple of times to the point where people lost big chunks of their retirement. Foreclosures on homes are frightful with people getting pushed out of their homes. The banks taking bailout money, the US congress misbehaving in an even bigger way. Our financial mismanagement is having rippling effects across the world. Some would say we are going to hell in a hand-basket. AND it’s Christmas time. I have a lot of time on my hands without any theater jobs this month and I want to be part of the solution.

Despite all of this negativity swirling around I have seen a glimmer of light. I have heard several times in different news reports that people who think outside of the box, entrepreneurs & the like are the ones succeeding right now. This is the time when great ideas can be sparked because of necessity. Well that gave me a little bit of hope. And with a little bit of hope, people can be inspired & things can happen.

I was discussing the idea of doing a Guerrilla Art project with another artist. I wanted to put my artwork out into the community as an inspiration. No strings attached: just a gift to the world. I wanted it to be positive, temporary and I wanted it to be a thing that someone could take home if they wanted it.

The idea that art has an important place in our society and can lift the collective consciousness was my goal. I believe now is the time for some uplifting. Finally I thought of something that clicked: Bluebirds of Happiness.

Based on the myth of the Bluebirds of Happiness I decided to use this icon as the image for this series of work. Indigenous peoples around the world for thousands of years recognize the bluebird as a symbol of happiness, hope, prosperity, good luck. This symbol seemed like the perfect mascot to our current affairs in this country but also for the planet.

So today I placed my first Bluebird. I went down to Surfers Point to find a place. There has been a lot of work done along the bike path. I was very impressed with the improvements. As I was walking along I saw a rock sculpture area, you know how people stack rocks into a tower. I always like those. Next to the towers of river rocks was a labyrinth. A labyrinth is a circular path that you can walk to the center and back as a form of meditation. So I walked it and left my first Bluebird at the center rock. It seemed like the perfect place for him.

Tomorrow is another day, for another bluebird and another blog.