Archives For Life

2015

01/01/2015 — Leave a comment

Ok let’s just say it. 2014 was weird. Really WEIRD. Throughout the year there were positive notes and less positive ones and all sorts of sad, depressing, sometimes terrible happenings around the world. But it’s a new year and in a few hours the sun will rise on our next shot at making things better, brighter and braver. Let’s look back on 2015 in a year with a smile.

Happy New Year, Everyone! Let’s make it a good one…”let’s tell the world about it now, happy days are here again…!”

See last year’s NYE post here.

Lately, I’ve been trying to be more active again. I’ve been pretty good about working out regularly, but still feel like more movement needs to happen; so I’ve been working on that. With that in mind, I went for a walk in the rain tonight. After a long, hot sunny few days, it felt great to walk through the hushed wet streets.

While walking, a few things caught my eye:

Night Shadows | AmandaMuses

Rain Shadows | AmandaMuses

Rain Shadows | AmandaMuses

Shadow Wall | AmandaMuses

Shadow Layers | AmandaMuses

How about you, readers? Seen any unusual or interesting things walking around lately?

Buffalo by Alt-J

Pax

13/02/2014 — Leave a comment

If you’re tuning in from America, or keep up on US current events, you’re probably aware of a massive winter storm bearing down on the east coast at the moment.

Pax Snow | AmandaMuses

Last night the storm blew into town, dumping close to a foot of snow in my neighborhood in about 12 hours. The snow drifts on my windows this morning were pretty impressive to say the least.

Pax Snow | AmandaMuses

This afternoon the storm switched to warm drizzling which helped pack down the snow a bit and then switched to freezing rain as the sun went down. Now the storm has switched back to heavy snow. Stay tuned, I guess…

So it’s a new year (FINALLY) and that often means new year’s resolutions. In the past, I’ve made some and like most follow through on them with mixed results. Small things seem to be easier to adopt but even so, we all have our road blocks and detours.

So this year, I’m trying something different. Following the advice of others, I’ve decided to pick a word for the year as best described by Ali Edwards and her One Little Word concept.* I’ve still written down a few goals or hopes for the year for my own reference but I’m not going to limit my focus to those. Instead, my resolution-ish efforts will be aimed at my word for the year, endeavor.

Picking a word upon which to focus does not magically affect change (unfortunately). Instead, it serves as a sort of personal mantra for the year, a sort of motivation or guide when I wake in the morning or to reflect upon when feeling direction-less in a given project or pursuit. We’ll see how it goes. But I’m pretty excited to infuse my year with the concept (or is it really a pursuit?) of endeavor.

This year, I’m also going to do my Daily365 exercises a little differently too (at least that’s the plan for now). Instead of one project that I get sick of by July, this time a handful of shorter term projects will be my goal. As in the past, my daily365 project exercises will be posted here in the Daily365 section of this site. Ultimately, I hope to re-do this section to be easier to navigate between the years, but for now it’s ordered chronologically from 2013 backward (stay tuned on this front).

So, how about all of you? Have you made any resolutions for the new year or opted to focus on a word? What’s your word for the year?

*You can still sign up for Ali’s One Little Word 2014 workshop if you want to try this concept but would like some help and creative prompts to follow through along the way.

It’s no secret that 2013 has not been my favorite year so far. Hell, let’s just admit it— 2013 pretty much sucked (at least for me and several others I know). It could’ve been worse, things could ALWAYS be (or get) worse; even so it was still pretty bad as years go, imho.

But tomorrow is not just a new day (and chance), tomorrow is a new YEAR. It’s been a long while since I’ve been this excited for the new year— a nice symbolic start to a new chapter and a chance to start fresh and begin again. After all the crap of this past year, I feel confident that making things better and more positive in 2014 will be within my reach.

And because I’m so excited for tomorrow’s new beginning, I can’t help but keep singing this song to myself (and have been for the last few days, to be honest):

If you already know me, you probably also know that I like music and movies from the 20s-40s. This song was written not long after the market crashed in ’29 (and was used at the ending of MGM’s movie Chasing Rainbows released the following year ). Leo Reisman & His Orchestra first recorded the song in late 1929 and perhaps that version may be better known or more popular, but for my money it’s Ben Selvin’s version shared above that does the trick.

If this song sounds familiar, you may have heard it in the context of FDR. It was played at the 1932 Democratic national convention during his presidential campaign and later became associated with the repeal of prohibition during Roosevelt’s first year in office. And while prohibition has been repealed officially for eighty years (as of December 5) and the Great Depression is long gone, this song was written and popular during a time when things weren’t so great. When things were pretty awful for far too many. I’ve felt pretty far from great this past year (or two) and have had more negative things happen to loved ones during the past year(s) than I care to revisit here. So listening to this song on repeat for me is not just amusing and smile-inducing, it’s a song of hope and happiness. It makes me feel better and helps me BELIEVE that tomorrow will be brighter and better (even if that means we have to make it so ourselves with some paint and better lighting). “So let’s tell the world about it now, happy days are here again…”

Anyway. How about you guys? How are you feeling about the coming year? Any big ideas, plans, hopes or goals? Do tell. It’s been too long since I’ve written like this and hope to renew a more conversational tone with you all. So let’s start the new year by talking about what we hope to see around the corner.
xo A

New York

31/12/2013 — Leave a comment

Since it’s New Year’s Eve and many Americans will be tuning in to watch the ball drop in Times Square tonight, it seemed like a good time to share my weekend trip to New York from earlier this fall. A friend had an art opening which was the perfect excuse to hop a train and spend a day or two window shopping and looking at art.

Usually I go to New York with friends, but this time I went on my own and was able to maintain the usual crazy walk-15-miles-despite-riding-public-transit-and-doing-a-lot-of-shop-browsing-and-coffeeing pace that I tend to adopt when traveling alone. And this time, I finally (FINALLY!) got over to the Highline.

I’ve been eager to check it out since it opened a few years ago, but clearly not enough to have made that happen until now. Anyway, after debarking a red-eye and dropping a bag at my hotel, I made a beeline to the Highline to enjoy the park before it got crowded. I lucked out with gorgeous (and absurdly HOT) fall light and weather and minimal crowds. Here are a few snapshots from one of my walks along the Highline that weekend:

Hydrangea | AmandaMuses

Flowers | AmandaMuses

Flowers | AmandaMuses

Orchids | AmandaMuses

Verdure | AmandaMuses

Untitled | AmandaMuses

Untitled | AmandaMuses

This year has felt brutal in places and the last few days/weeks have been pretty intense (that’s not to say there haven’t been some highlights too but it’s been hard to get them to outshine the negative at times). Tomorrow is a new week though and in a month it will be a new year. So tonight as I try to focus on the glimmers of positive in the last week and forgive myself for skipping blogging and getting behind on work in deference to other emergencies, I am hopeful that soon the highlights will outshine the clouds.

Empty | AmandaMuses

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while now, you may notice a change in the way content is displayed starting today. I’ve decided to separate the ongoing Daily365 exercises from the rest on to their own page. Past daily365 exercises will also be viewable there as well (remember the first and second daily portrait projects?).

My goal was to allow readers to find the non-daily365 content more easily and hopefully this change accomplishes just that. What do you think? Better? Worse?

Lately

18/09/2013 — Leave a comment

Last week was, to say the least, intense. And it probably seems as though I’ve lapsed into another brief (unintentional) quiet spell. While that was not a conscious decision, things happen and so it goes. This week is shaping up to be similarly busy, but in a much better way (hopefully).

While this piece still does not feel “done,” here is another discarded iteration that I rather like.

Untitled iteration | AmandaMuses

What do you think? Any ideas where it’s going? This is another “sibling” of the last two iterations I’ve shared recently here and here. Can you see the relationships?

Whether you’re a dad or not, today is a day for celebrating the father figures in our in lives. Dads this is for you:

Let’s Talk

13/05/2013 — 1 Comment

Recently, I’ve had a chance to catch up with a number of old friends and have, as a result, been doing a lot of reflecting on the past. Additionally, a number of folks have asked me why I write so little on my blog these days.

Beginning in the summer of 2000 until about ’06 or ’07 I used to write blog posts quite a bit.* I’d write all sorts of goofiness and, in a lot of ways, Twitter has become my place for sharing silly quips and random observations. When I began AmandaMuses in 2007, I had originally intended that the site function as an (experimental) sketchblog and figured I would maintain a separate written blog. As time has marched on, however, I’ve grown reticent online. A side effect of concern over privacy and questioning of the value of or interest in the content I was posting. As a result, I seem to be writing less and less on any manner of blog and this site has become somewhat singular in its focus on daily image exercise postings and occasional article summaries or travel tips.

Based on a number of offline conversations though, I’m beginning to think it’s time get over it and just post more. While I have already planned a number of travel guides for the coming months, more personal writing may be in order.

What do you think, readers? Would you like to see more semi-personal writing here? Or would you rather I stick to image heavy or image-only content?

*In the recent years, I have merged my old blog’s archive with this site and have slowly made quite a few old posts public. Much of my early blogging will remain private, however.

Winter

11/01/2013 — Leave a comment

It’s not often that I miss living out west (see also: the Rockies), since in general I am a coastal creature. But this time of year when my mountain state friends start to post pictures of heaps of snow or other more traditional winter-y scenes, I start to miss those Rockies a little:

Snow filigree

Buried in the Blizzard

Blizzard Tree

Blizzard

Autumn

11/11/2012 — Leave a comment

It’s hard to believe, but today it was warm and sunny enough to be driving around town with the windows down. Even though it’s November, Baltimore is, as usual, somewhat reluctant to admit that it’s fall and that winter will be on the way soon enough.

Light leaves

The leaves are still hanging on though. And some flowers too….

Fall Flowers

Oh well. At least it’s fun while it lasts…

Update: Like these photos? Now they’re available printed on pillows & totes here on Print All Over Me.

GO VOTE

06/11/2012 — Leave a comment

Today is finally Election Day here in America. About 30 million people have already participated in early or absentee voting in 34 states by mail or in person. Now let’s get the rest of the registered voters out to the polls!

Still unsure of how to vote or waffling? Here’s a tongue-in-cheek opinion about choosing our next president that I happen to agree with:

With that said, the most important part is showing up to your polling place today and VOTING. Ladies, we’ve had the vote for less than 100 years in most states (thank you, 19th amendment and Susan B. Anthony), GO VOTE and make it count.

Not sure about where to find your polling place? Check your state elections board, or get more details about each state here.

Interested in the results of the election but are outside of the U.S. and/or without a tv? You can follow along on CNN’s website here.

And just in case the embedded player above malfunctions, here’s a link to the original clip.

Hey Baltimore, MD and East Coast–
We made the news (not surprisingly) in Sweden:


View on SVT’s site, just in case


View on SVT’s Site

Schysst!

By now, you’ve probably already heard about the massive storm, Hurricane Sandy, also dubbed Frankenstorm winding its way along the Atlantic coast at the moment.

For most of the day my neighborhood, usually a bustling mix of residences and local businesses, has been eerily empty. The rain has been falling steadily for a few hours now and the world outside my window remains ominous. I’ve seen, sailed and driven through plenty of bad storms, but the silent stillness is always the creepiest.

Waiting on a wire

If you’re in Sandy’s path, readers, stay dry and stay safe.

It’s no secret that I’ve been traveling quite a bit this year. Earlier in the summer, I took a short trip up to eastern Canada mostly to see a few art exhibits. This past Monday was Canada’s observance of Thanksgiving. And so not surprisingly, my mind has been wandering back north lately…

Wouldn’t it be lovely to get away for a weekend this fall before all trees lose their leaves..

Fence leaves

Stone face

Or perhaps it would be a fun spot to ring in the New Year…

River view

How about you? Been on any nice weekend trips lately, readers?

During the course of his life, Vincent Van Gogh wrote hundred of letters to his beloved brother, Theo. Lately, I’ve been reading some of their correspondence and came across a letter last night, part of which caught my attention:

“Ah, mon cher frère, quelquefois je sais tellement bien ce que je veux. Je peux bien dans la vie et dans la peinture aussi me passer de bon Dieu mais je ne puis pas, moi souffrant, me passer de quelque chose plus grand que moi qui est ma vie, la puissance de créer.

Et si frustré dans cette puissance physiquement, on cherche à créer des pensées au lieu d’enfants, on est par là bien dans l’humanité pourtant”

Translation:
“Ah, my dear brother, sometimes I know so clearly what I want. In life and in painting too, I can easily do without the dear Lord, but I can’t, suffering as I do, do without something greater than myself, which is my life, the power to create.

And if frustrated in this power physically, we try to create thoughts instead of children; in that way, we’re part of humanity all the same.”

Interestingly enough, Vincent composed this letter a hundred and twenty-four years ago today…

Change.

28/08/2012 — Leave a comment

Change.

Regardless of your politics, “change” has become a hot topic in America. Sharing this photo of mine is not meant to be a political statement, however…

When I saw this forgotten phrase above an empty storefront, I couldn’t help but appreciate the contrast of reality and message. Then again the text reads simply “Change…” What sort of change proves more elusive…

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