Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ida Clare, I’d like to thank the Academy!

I’d like to thank the Academy.

“Why are you thanking the Academy? You didn’t win an Oscar.  Oh, I know, you must be thanking Academy Sports and Outdoors for putting exercise equipment on sale.”

Oh, shut up.  I cannot imagine in what universe I might go in person to the Oscars, (or buy exercise equipment, for that matter), but I enjoyed watching it on television without having to shave my legs or hire a limo.  It broke up the monotony of Sunday night television viewing for seven or eight hours. 

I know that a lot of people think the Oscars are pretentious, egotistical and a waste of time that could be spent watching countless reruns of HGTV’s Love It or List It and they would be correct, but so what?

I’d like to thank the Academy for handing out awards that at least acknowledge that creativity matters to somebody in this world besides you and me. 

Rather than another dreary sales meeting around the conference table, what would it be like if every industry or workplace gave out awards for a job well done? 

One could argue that a paycheck should be reward enough but you and I both know that we all need to feel that we are appreciated for the effort that we put into our work.  Chances are nobody in your work place is going to give you a gold statue, so today I would like to nominate you for:

The nominee’s for best ______________ in ____________ is   (your name here)  .

Some of the categories you might not have considered are:

The nominee’s for the best sales person in spite of a dipstick boss are:
The nominee’s for the person who slept with the most co-workers are:
The nominee’s for most efficient accountant under IRS scrutiny are:
The nominee’s for wearing the skimpiest swim suit in the secretarial pool are:
The nominee’s for making a fool of themselves at the office Christmas party are:
The nominee’s for pretending to love being a farmer’s wife are:
The nominee’s for continually hosting your dysfunctional family Thanksgiving dinners are:

You decide your category and who you have to beat out to win.

And the Oscar goes to:  YOU!


P.S.  I would have had this post up yesterday while we were still in Oscar Glow, but the party at my house ran amok and ran over.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ida Clare, It’s Oscar Myer Weiner Sunday!

Break out the beer, the hot wings, and the bean dip, it’s Oscar Sunday.

No fool, that’s Super Bowl Sunday.

You mean there will be football too?  I thought football season was over.

It is.  You don’t drink beer and eat bean dip during the Oscars.

Shucks. I was getting ready to let down my tailgate.

You always were easy.

Could we stay on the subject?  What does one eat during the Oscars?

Caviar and champagne, I suppose.

The closest I’ve got to caviar and champagne is to scramble some eggs and drink bubble bath and even I’m not that hungry. 

How about something healthy?

How about something tasty?  Look, someone has to eat for all the starving women at the Oscars.  Bottled water and carrot sticks are just not going to calm my nerves.  If I have to live vicariously through them having that kind of life, I like knowing they have to live vicariously through me satisfying this kind of appetite.

They don’t know you Ida. 

Yeah, and I don’t know them either.  I just hope Danica Patrick wins.

photo by grammy 1028's media on photobucket

Hugs and good eating,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ida Clare, Start Where You Are!

One of the problems with being a know-it-all is that I don’t really know it all.  Unfortunately this becomes evident when I have to learn something new. 

And I don’t know about you but I don’t like being a beginner.  I have new Serif software I’m trying to learn and it is kicking my roundly comfortable butt out of my comfort zone.

Like Frank Sinatra in the iconic New York, New York song:

I want to wake up in that city
That doesn't sleep
And find I'm king of the hill
Top of the heap

Like that guy, I want to wake up knowing that I’m king of the learning curve and top of the software heap, but here in Big Thicket, it ain’t going that way.

So what I have to learn over and over again is to accept that with being a beginner, comes discomfort, not knowing, and imperfection.  If I can calm down and relax, I might also enjoy the process of learning something new.

A wiser person than me said, “Start where you are.”  Why in the world would I think I should know how to make that software do what I want with no instruction, no teacher or no advice from someone who has gone before me? 

Instead of listening to my diligent, persevering, inner student, I am listening to my whining, complaining, inner critic browbeat me because I’m not learning it fast enough, I’m not retaining what I’ve already learned, and since I’m not doing it perfectly, I shouldn’t just do it at all.

What my critic inspires me to do succumb to overwhelm and move right into being paralyzed and stuck.  No thanks!  I'll never get to the top of the heap from over there.  I have to start where I am: in the land of not knowing.
So today, I hope you will join me in starting where you are.  When you begin at the beginning, you get an opportunity to be teachable.  And I get the opportunity to not be a know-it-all.


And since I now have that song on my brain, here is the video.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ida Clare, I love mini's!

Hello Friends,

In case you are thinking I am raving for mini skirts, you'd be wrong.  If you've got the legs for them, I say wear them, but my days of tugging on the hem of my skirt trying to hide what day of the week panties I am wearing are over.

I'm talking about mini albums.  Mini albums are an offshoot of creativity that came from the scrapbook world.  This blog post has twenty or so photos and it is long so hang in there with me.

I am not going to do a tutorial, cause that would be silly.  I still barely know what I am doing when it comes to mini's, but that never stopped me from staying up all night working on this one.  There are tons of tutorials on Youtube and Pinterest so if you are inclined, you can have all the instructions you need to complete one.

This book took much longer than I planned and even though it made me realize my decision-making skills were being sorely tested, I loved the whole process.  I always enjoy trolling the aisles of Big Thicket's Hobby Lobby but I used some things from my stash as well.

I made this mini for my dear friend Audrey who is a creative whiz when it comes to quilting and embroidery.  Check out her Etsy site; it's AWL Good.  She inspires me whenever I see her work. Audrey is a France-o-file ever since she went on a lovely trip to Paris so I included a nod to her experience. I hope she enjoys her mini as much as I did making it.

The bling in the center says, "Happiness"

 I had to trim the front end paper because it was wrinkling in the fold of the book.  I declare, the lighting in some of these photos look like I took them in the morgue or the tomb of the unknown photographer.  It could be those little light bulbs with the pigtails on them that put out that unnatural light.  Yeah that it, let's blame the light bulbs.

 In retrospect, if I had put the heart on the outside of the page the book would have been less fat.

 I like it when a book looks like it has evolved over time.  A sweet lady, Mildred who owns a quilt store called MJ's Designs, gave me those adorable scissors.

Some of the graphics, I got from Graphics Fairy.

My friend will be able to put photos of some of her award winning pieces on this photo mat.

  "So dear to my heart"

 I did the shading around the roses with watercolor pencils. It makes them stand out.

I love the look of old print.

 The Friends Section

 I like the contrast of the shiny Friend decal against the old faded look of old paper.

I kept adding paper to the photo mat to get the look I was after.

 The paper looks wrinkled but I guess it will be covered up by photos.

Audrey and I and about a million other women on the planet (you know who you are) are obsessed with the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  This year it will be in October 31-November 3, 2013 at the George R. Brown Convention Center  Hock your gold, sell your blood, do whatever it takes to make the trip.  Start saving now!  Your stash will grow exponentially and your wallet will deflate.  Your creativity will thank you.

 Audrey and I have shared a lot of memories from our youth.  And we ain't telling...'Nuff said.

This makes me think of the lyrics to "The Way We Were" by Barbara Streisand." ...Memories light the corners of my mind, misty water colored memories of the way we were..." (Thinner and able to leap buildings in a single bound.)

Finally by the end of the book, I started thinking ahead and making a plan of what the page was going to be like before I started slinging glue that I would later come to regret.

This is the "Secrets" envelope.  I am afraid that all of mine wouldn't fit on this one page.  I'm thinking Audrey's won't either. ;-)

 This little dangle has a sewing machine charm attached.  It belonged to a friend of my mother.

The Bon Voyage is an embroidery piece Audrey made and gave to me so I used it here.  I love how the Eiffel Tower looks like an "A".  I added that piece of paper in the photo over the post card for privacy reasons.

Thank you for allowing me to share this labor of love with you.  And thanks to my friend Audrey for being there when I needed a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to party with, and someone who laughs at my jokes. She also helped me get out of town in a hurry.--Now that's friendship.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Ida Clare, It's President's Day

Hi Friends,

 I've been thinking.

 "Uh oh."

 Now hear me out. It's President's Day and I am thinking that we should all celebrate by doing something presidential.

Here's my plan for the day. As President of Rancho Wrecko, I am holding a much needed cabinet meeting. From my cabinet I am tossing all of the cool-whip bowls that don't have lids. The margarine bowls will get their turn at the next next cabinet meeting in 2014.

Then while I am still in the presidential kitchen, I going to review my foreign policy by doing an oral assessment of Belgium waffles, Polish sausage and French fries. Then it's on to German Chocolate or Italian Cream cake where it will by my policy to eat as much of the above mentioned foreign food as possible.

I have a number of Bills piled high on my desk begging for my attention but I am going to postpone signing them until women get equal pay for equal work or I fall off the fiscal cliff; whichever comes first.

As far as Presidential Pardons go, considering that I am a tad hung over and there was a neighborhood party with free drinks around here last night, I may have to ask for a few for myself. Otherwise I will take it as a mandate of the people that my ex-husband should not be pardoned.

So there you have it.  What will you do to be Presidential?

Your Madam Presidential Ida Clare
P.S. This week I have a mini album to share.  Check back on Wednesday.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ida Clare It's Valentines Day!

Ida Clare it's Valentine’s Day!

I have four ex-husbands.  Since I am in favor of gun control, I have fantasized hiring someone with a bow and arrow to shoot my last Mr. Ex in his spectacular behind, but the shooter’s name would not be Cupid. 

I hope you have a fabulous Valentine’s Day; me—not so much.  At least there’s candy.

And then I remembered a video from Energize Your Creativity.  Watch it.  It’s good.

So me and my Sweet Valentine: Creativity are going to be spending a pleasant day together fooling around, discovering new things about each other, maybe even going a little wild.  Then I am going to take it out to dinner and a movie.  Yay Ida!

How can you let Creativity be a part of your Valentine's Day?



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ida Clare, I’m a candidate for Pope

Pope Benedict announces that he will ride off into the sunset.
Pope Benedict XVI has just made the announcement that he is resigning due to health issues.   I am pretty sure it’s because he is sick of the Catholic Church.  Since he is riding off into the sunset and I would like to live in Italy and have a group of sharp dressed yes-men who bathe in holy water kissing my ring, I think I will apply for the job.

What happened to the other half of Micky D's Arch?
If there is anybody more capable of telling other people how to live their lives than me, I don’t want to meet them.  Abiding by the rules made up by a bunch of old white guys who meet secreted behind closed doors wearing pointy hats may be why I would have never been a good Catholic.

The next Pope will be selected by the “College of Cardinals,” which means I would have to make a trip to St. Louis.  I didn’t know the church was so into baseball, but whatever, I can drink beer and spit with the best of them.  At least I will get to see the world’s largest golden arch, America’s Gateway to McDonalds.

Mostly I want to get to the Vatican so I can be the first woman pope.  Would that make me the Pope-ette or would I be called Madam Pope?  The Catholic Church has a dim view of women, women’s rights, and how much power a woman can have; maybe that’s why the name of the main branch of Catholic women is N-U-N as in n-o-n-e.  If history provides any clue, they might name me witch and burn me at the stake, but I will win them over after they get to know me and I put a spell on them.

In the Catholic tradition, when a Pope is elected, they are given a new name, a Roman numeral and the keys to the Pope Mobile.  I am sure they will want to re-name me Pope Ida-Mary-Clare XOX, so I can bestow upon the world hugs and kisses whenever I sign my name.  I just need to make sure the Pope Mobile has air conditioning and a lighted make-up mirror.

Kiss Hug Kiss
Wannabe Madam Pope-ette Ida-Mary-Clare XOX

Your candidate for Pope
Vote for me!

If you would like to share this on social media there are Twitter and Facebook buttons hidden under the drop-down menu on the left side near the Search.  Click the word "More" at  the very top of this blog above the picture of yours truly.  Thanks for spreading the word.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ida Clare, That’s Creative:

Hello Friends,

Writing is tough.  It is lonely difficult work on a good day.  Finishing a major creative writing project is a huge accomplishment.  Leah Lax has done what is difficult on many levels and may be The Next Big Thing.

The Next Big Thing is the name of the blog share that I am participating in where authors answer questions about a book they are writing.  This week Leah Lax is tagged to tell us about her story and how it came to be.  

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?

Not From Here: new Houstonians and their journeys

Where did the idea come from for the book?

In 2006 I got a commission from the Houston Grand Opera to write a libretto for a new production based on the personal stories of Houstonian immigrants. I spent a year interviewing immigrants and refugees in Houston from all over the world. This book is based on that background work. Dr. Stephen Klineberg is contributing a forward for the book.

(“The Refuge,” with music by Christopher Theofanidis, premiered in 2007.)

What genre does your book fall under?

Non-fiction. Social interest.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

This book is teeming with astounding characters, so I’d have to choose about a hundred!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Not From Here presents, one story at a time, the human face of Houston’s incredible growth and transformation over the last quarter century.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

That remains to be seen.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

With terrific support from InPrint, the Houston Endowment and the Brown Foundation—one year, full time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I don’t think anything like this has been written specifically about Houston’s populace. I have on my shelf a

collection of "narratives of undocumented lives” called Underground America (McSweeney’s, 2008).

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I knew as soon as I got the commission to write the opera that I would do this book. It just seemed so necessary.

What about your book might pique the reader's interest?

The immigration “issue” is so abstract in the political forum. This book makes it real. I don’t think anyone can read these stories and not be changed by the experience.

* * *

Thank you so much Leah for your participation and congratulations on making the book happen.  I will look forward to seeing, Not From Here in print.  When that momentous day happens, I will let my readers know. 
Come back tomorrow for a big announcement!


If you would like to share this on social media there are Twitter and Facebook buttons hidden under the drop-down menu on the left side near the Search.  Click the word "More" at  the very top of this blog above the picture of yours truly.  Thanks for spreading the word.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Next Big Thing

Hello Friends,

Ida Clare, I’m an author!

Today is a big day for me since I am announcing the publication of my first book, Embracing Your Inner-Nut; How to Replace Boredom and Stress with Fun which I hope to have available by the end of March. 

I am making this announcement via The Next Big Thing which is a blog share where writers talk about their upcoming books or current projects.

I‘d like to thank Lane Devereaux, my sweet and talented writer friend for inviting me to participate.  Lane’s book, The Requirements of Love is an in-the-trenches account of coping with grave health issues and ensuing family upheavals while adopting and raising an abused child with undiagnosed mental illness.  You can find her interview at her blog, Down Memory Lane.

                                                                          * * * *                                       

Here are my answers to the interview questions:

What is the working title of your book?

Embracing Your Inner-Nut; How to Replace Boredom and Stress with Fun

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I know this couple who affectionately refer to the Internet as the Inner-Nut.  Every time I would hear them say that, it would make me laugh.  I kept thinking about how we have an Inner-Child and an Inner-Critic, so why not an Inner-Nut?   

I set out to see if I had one and I discovered that, in fact, I do have an Inner-Nut.  My guess is that you do too unless some squirrel in your life snatched yours during a hard winter and buried it in the back yard.

My hope is that this book can help you with excavation.

What genre does your book fall under?

Since I am talking about nuttiness, I guess it would have to be humor.  I think the whole genre system needs some revamping, but that’s just my Inner-Snooty-Nosed-Elitist-Book-Critic talking.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Does she have to be female?  I wonder if George Clooney ever thought about playing a nutty woman in drag?  If I could be on the set while filming, and if I could know the directions to his trailer while he wasn’t filming, and if we could have some quality time together before he called Security, I would pick George.  

If not, Cathy Bates personifies a woman of a certain age who needs a break from all the seriousness in the world.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Sentence #1.  If you are bored, stressed, or in a rut, this book encourages you to get your nut on.

Sentence #2.  If you are bored, stressed or in a rut, this book is based on the old Almond Joy philosophy of life, only without the calories: “Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.”

One of these one-sentence synopses was written by my Inner-SNEBC from above.  You pick which one.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Mr. Inner-SNEBC, would you like to take this one?

“Thank you Ida.  Ahem.  Since I’m here anyway whenever you write something I might as well answer for you.  No publisher in their right mind would touch this, so I suppose if you must publish, you will have to do it yourself.”

Thanks for sharing, Inner-Snooty-Nosed-Elitist-Book-Critic.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Long enough to want to give up.  I think writing is one of the loneliest journeys a person can embark upon.  That’s why I have to do something in my writing that entertains me or I want to quit and do something like organize the spices in my kitchen cabinet by expiration date. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

War and Peace 

War and Peace is a slightly longer book about people who really need to lighten up and embrace some fun and humor in their lives.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I like to tell people what to do.  How to Embrace Your Inner-Nut is just a way to do that and not get slapped.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are pictures.

                                                                        *   *  *  *

That is all of my interview questions but stay tuned next Monday, February 11 for Leah Lax’s contribution to The Next Big Thing blog share.  Leah’s book, Not From Here: new Houstonians and their journeys is a result of the interviews with immigrants from around the world that she did when she was commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera to write a libretto for a new production based on the personal stories of Houstonian immigrants.   

I am anxious to know more.  Please join me then.


P.S.  I am sorry for the formating of this post.  I cannot get Blogger to cooperate this morning. grrr.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ida Clare, I'm Creative!

I declare, I’m creative.

“Oh, really? I’ve never heard anyone announce it like that before.”

I know! Doesn’t it sound wickedly boastful? Would my friends despise me if they heard me say that out loud?

“You have friends?”

Yes and the good ones, who know me, would support me in acknowledging something positive about myself.

What about what this woman said?  She knows everything.”

“It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.” Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

Miss Manners may be right but, I’ve been trying to impress others for years by keeping my mouth shut waiting for somebody to tell me who I am and what I think and how to act. Besides, it’s not like I am taking out a billboard. What about this quote?

“You have to do a little bragging on yourself even to your relatives; -man doesn’t get anywhere without a little advertising.” James Nance Garner, (American Vice-President)

“He obviously never wished he’d kept quiet on Facebook. Your relatives are usually the first ones to crucify you.”

My relatives have to stand in line behind me for I am my own worst critic. It's that internal Roger Ebert guy that I have to drown out.

Are the bragging police going come and arrest me for admitting out loud that I’m creative? No. Will they show up at your house if you do? No. 
  Admitting that we are creative ( insert your version of creativity here _______ ) is so difficult for some people. We think erroneously that if we have a gift or a talent or an ability that we can’t let our light shine too much or we will look like we are showing off. You may be able to say, “I’m creative,” but can you say:

“I’m an artist,” or (I'm an excellent artist.)
“I’m a poet,”
"I'm a writer."
"I am a photographer, an engineer, a maker of pies."

Saying who you are builds muscles for taking creative action:

This is me. This is what I can do. May not do it better or worse than some, but here I am showing up in this world, bringing my unique gifts to the table, willing to share them. No bragging. Just fact.

“There is a difference between conceit and confidence. Conceit is bragging about yourself. Confidence means you believe you can get the job done.” Johnny Unitas, (American Football)
Is there something you need to admit out loud today? Let’s hear it. You can leave it in the comments.

I declare, I’m ____________.


If you would like to share this on social media there are Twitter and Facebook buttons hidden under the drop-down menu on the left side near the Search.  Click the word "More" at  the very top of this blog above the picture of yours truly.  Thanks for spreading the word.