My ARTventure to Brooklyn was quite eventful!

First, I have to say that I really enjoy going to New York. Any reason to go is good enough for me. Last year I went more than ever and really learned my way around. I saw New York from a helicopter, from ferries and from the top of the Freedom Tower. I took quite a lot of pics along the way which I begin to show next month.

Back to this weekend”s ARTventure, I took Scott Fagan to play at a “cafe.” I was expecting a place with food, maybe not too big. He said it was a really “hip joint.” Scott has lived in big cities and I have only ever lived in small town, so I don’t really know what that might mean.

We find this place in a modest Brooklyn neighborhood with a nice park across the street. The outside of the building may have been new in the 50’s, I’m guessing. I asked Scott if he thought is was safe, lol. And what is the first thing you do after a four hour drive, the last hour which was taking the long shortcut, where there were lots of traffic lights but at least I wasn’t sitting in traffic on a highway. At least sitting at red lights, I can take more pictures:)

The door to the cafe really doesn’t look like a door that should be opened. It wasn’t clean or freshly painted with a nice window curtain. The curtain actually was a nice sheer, but the window had a rather large crack which had been taped, and taped over. I opened the door and walked inside. Yes, this place must have been new in the 50’s. It certainly wasn’t new now. There was paint pealing off the ceiling which revealed in some sections a copper colored “tin” ceiling. You know the ornate sort of design that I imagine must have really been beautiful at some point in time. There was a counter with built in stools. They appear to have been used well over the years. The sign outside also said “fountain” so it definitely was reminisce of a once upon a time soda fountain.

The floor is very well worn and I begin to regret wearing lite colored clothing. There are booths on the wall which are covered with now cracked vinyl. There is a panel of mirror around the wall which has those old mirror spots that make it difficult for you to actually see yourself in it. Above the mirrors hang bookshelves which sag like they may fall off the wall at any moment. They don’t have a lot of books on them but there is a projector on the top shelf pointed toward a screen that hangs over the kitchen area. I’m sure it is well secured or they would have taken it down, right? I just have to relax and know that it will be dark soon and nobody will see the dirt if any gets on my clothing.

The door has been shut so the place smells like a greasy spoon sort of place and the others think they smell gas. It turned out that one of the burner knobs was turned on slightly so I guess the stove works but nobody cooked that night. As I approached the bathroom door, it had a big sign on it which read KNOCK FIRST, door does not lock. Thankfully once inside, the toilet looked fairly new. Next to the toilet was a utility sink, which was sufficient. It didn’t have to be pretty. This was simply functioning as a place to gather and listen to music tonight.

Pizzas were brought in and shared among the room which became rather packed with people of all ages but mostly a younger crowd and a dog. Family of Scott’s from New York City came to see him. Musicians who have heard of Scott and played in Europe with the same band he toured with also came to meet him. As the door hung open for a while and people filled the room, the greasy smell disappeared and the tatteredness of the room was replaced by an enthusiasm for creativity and music.

People bought Sock Monkey Boy books and a woman who is getting ready to open a book store wants them in her store. This was an exciting encounter! Now, I have another excuse to come to New York:) And the dog made friends with all. I never heard him bark. You would not have even known he was there. Everyone was friendly and as far as I could tell, a good time was had by all! By law, the music had to stop by a certain hour, so it was a relatively early evening. But til we talked and packed up to return, we weren’t leaving New York until midnight. We could have stayed with my friend in the city, but we had a rental car to return in the morning. The next time, I will plan to stay a little longer.

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North Jersey and the Snow Storm

My Artventure today began in North Jersey, near New York City. I love New York and enjoy coming along when my fiancé has work there. We left central PA last night to come since there was a threat of snow this morning. Yesterday it was projected to be light in NYC.

Maybe the blocked road on the normal route we would take to NYC was a sign.

Our original plan was to leave around 6p after rush hour traffic. Then, Paul thought we could get to New York early and be in a hotel and well rested in the morning. I noticed there was a nice long red line on the GPS near Hamburg so we stopped before we were out of the Harrisburg area and had dinner to wait for it to die down, but it didn’t. We had to back track and go a completely different way.

It was 11 o’clock til we got to the hotel and after midnight til we were ready to sleep. Even on the 5th floor of the hotel, it sounded like trucks might come right through the window. Paul was having trouble sleeping and so was I.

When snow or rain storms are coming in, I tend to be even more sleepy than usual. I had great difficulty getting out of bed. We made a plan to move the car to a garage near a train into NY and we would meet there later.

CityView1

Paul left much earlier than I and he changed his plans when he heard the snow storm was now projected to be worse than we originally thought. Now we were meeting at the train station at 2p, so I didn’t go into town. Instead, I took a leisurely drive down the coast through Weehawken, Hoboken, and Jersey City, taking pictures of the New York City Skyline before meeting him at the train station. The snow started, the skyline became cloud covered and it was time for me to head inland all about the same time.

snowtower.jpg

This snow was coming down hard and fast and our plans to drive to Mt Laurel to spend the day in Philly tomorrow quickly changed. We were trying to get on the NJ Turnpike South and were having so much trouble accomplishing that, we went the opposite direction and stopped at a Hilton to grab a bite and regroup.

They were full and we made a reservation less than a mile away. With the weather as it was, our GPS said it would take 7 minutes to get there. The mistake we made was going to the bathroom before we left. By the time we did that, there was an accident that blocked the only route out of the hotel and it would have taken us an hour to get less than a mile. It made sense just to relax at Starbucks in the hotel.

Four hours later, five hours then 6 hours, the hotel lobby, bar, restaurant and Starbucks were jam packed with people. Our hotel room – empty. It would have been so nice to spend the afternoon catching up on our sleep in a comfortable bed. It would be so nice now, after 10p to be in a bed sleeping.

Finally, after 11p, people were clearing out. The traffic had begun to move and everyone was leaving. This meant we could leave too:) We met some people, we shared granola bars and we had some good conversation. It would have been much worse if we had been stuck in our car on the highway! I am thankful and everyone was thankful.

Interestingly enough, the next morning, I saw a rainbow.rainbow1

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The Poetic Prequel is on Amazon:)

I have had a busy year and somehow managed to get three books on Amazon and a song produced. It spins my head a bit that I managed to get all that done. But, I am on a BIG artventure! It isn’t occasional and it isn’t small! This Poetic Prequel pretty much highlights my life as I know it. It is a Prequel to the book about my cross country artventure in 2010 as I was starting over, yet again amidst my second divorce. I hope to release it next year. This blog contains some of the artventure and I have more to share in the book. I took approximately 10,000 photos on that 52 day artventure and will share as many as I can. When I returned from the trip, I went back to art school and completed a BS in Graphic Design, so I created some art for the book too. I look forward to sharing. In the meantime, check me out on Amazon:) https://www.amazon.com/Shari-Brandt/e/B01NA9IVB1/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1507685729&sr=8-5

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Assateague Island

It has taken me a little longer than I prefer to get this posted from July, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

This year’s vacation was very much needed after the death of my brother. He suffered and we all suffered with him for eight months. And while he suffered the most, he got the greatest relief from his cancer when he passed. We all had to deal with what was left. The emotion of loss, grief, picking up all the pieces and dealing with all his stuff. Collecting is in my genes. My grandparents did it, my parents do it and I am inflicted as well. While we are all inspired to clean out, it takes time. His apartment took priority. Getting it cleaned out, remodeled and rented will pay the mortgage and give us time to clean out the garage. The main thing in the garage is a lot, a whole lot, of jeep parts. It will take more time to sell them for top dollar rather than let someone come in and auction it all off. I have spent a lot of time cleaning, installing flooring and painting and my parents and my son have spent much more time. So, taking a break at Assateague Island was therapeutic.

We almost went to Cape May when my father said, “I want to drive my jeep on the beach again before I die.” I didn’t like the way he phrased it, but I am glad he thought of it. We went for 6 days, almost each day driving from our hotel in OC to Assateague Island. We had to drive two vehicles and take two trips with the jeep and all our beach stuff out to the water’s edge. It was so nice not having to lug stuff over the sand then pack it up and carry it back later. And the trips were fun! It was like driving in the snow.

jeep
My dad’s jeep is an old 1952 Willys. This model was made for the Korean War. Over the years it received a few modifications. A fiberglass body molded to replicate the original without a tailgate and an automatic transmission to name a few. The other oddity was that there was never a fan in the engine. It was never needed for the ordinary road. On the beach, it would get pretty hot and we would park with the wind from the ocean blowing on the engine. It would cool pretty quickly so we could go on, but my other brother (my brother’s best friend) happened to be working close enough that he brought a fan down and put it in the engine one evening.

I took my bicycle along and an extra bike and got to ride almost every day. My dad even went on a bike ride with me. This trip was also a celebration of his 75th birthday. We got a permit for the jeep for a year, so if we go a little earlier next year, we won’t have to get another permit. One day I even took my paints to the beach. Worked on some very small watercolors, but really felt like doing nothing on the beach but relaxing. An unusual activity for me. My youngest boys got along well and we all had a good time.boys

The other big highlight of the Island is the horses. They are wild and you got to see them everyday either along the road or on the beach. We saw them race around the campsites and hang around on the beach and dunes. I got some great pics and kept a safe distance even though my son was upset that I was so close

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One day we had rain and the boys went a little stir crazy, so we started the next day by dropping them off at an amusement park which had a bunch of go cart race tracks. While they were there with a two hour pass, my mom and dad and I went to tour Berlin, a quaint little town nearby. The buildings were cute, the shops were really nice and the people were very friendly. It was an enjoyable time away from the hustle and bustle of a boardwalk.

I thought about my brother a lot. We didn’t talk about him much. I and my kids have always vacationed with my parents. My brother never did as an adult. Maybe this time he was with us, experiencing what he may have missed before. When we were both young we went to Chincoteague in VA with my dad’s jeep and drove on the beach. My parents and I are pretty laid back, I didn’t know my brother well enough as an adult to say if he was too. The time we spent together in the end isn’t really a true measure of how he lived his life because of the circumstances. I can only be thankful for the time that we did have together. I will certainly encourage my own children to spend more time together than my brother and I did over the years. You never know when you won’t have the chance again.

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Change of Plans in Philadelphia

Mural on Broad Street

Friday, July 2 plan – go to Philadelphia with my friend and her son to check out some galleries in the city, then pick up other son and friend at the airport 10pm.

1st plan change – she get’s a job that she has to work, so I’ll go to Philadelphia, find galleries participating in First Friday, then pick up boys at airport 11pm.

2nd plan change – I couldn’t find my map from last trip and left thinking I can find a little coffee shop when I get there and look online for info. I take my laptop with me everywhere. I could find my way to Manayunk and head into town from there.

Off Broad Street

3rd plan change – I get there and cannot find my computer. Fearing somehow it may have been stolen from car, I call the gallery to find out that I left without it. I don’t know if anybody else has this problem, but I get so many interruptions sometimes that I don’t know what I have and haven’t done without double checking. I was feeling like I just had to get out of town so I bolted first chance and didn’t do the double check. I’m relaxed and this is no problem. I wander around Broad Street taking pics, enjoying the scenery.

4th plan change – I explore and take pics til dark, then head to the waterfront for dinner. That’s when I got the call. The plane won’t be in until 1:30am. “No worries”. That’s what they say in the islands where the boys have been. I eat slowly, mmm- oysters on the half shell and a selection of delicious soups. Eating lite will help me to stay awake. Drink quite a few caffeine drinks and a white Russian hoping the coffee liquor also has caffeine, write and hang by the water for a couple hours. There is no place else a Pisces would rather be. Head to the airport with enough time to take a nap before they arrive. They arrive on time even if it is later that the original plan and I drop them off and get home by 4am. If I can get up by 7am, I’ll head to Brooklyn by 8am. If not, it’ll be 9am. I’m not driving for that trip:)

Either way, I’m enjoying myself.

If you are reading this again, it originally occurred on July 2, 2011. But I created it as a page somehow in my novice state and now am changing it to a blog post so I can categorize it and get it off my header menu. I enjoy re-reading my posts, so maybe you will too. I also recently learned more about tagging so maybe you have come across this since it is now tagged. My blog posts also get publicized to FB, etc, so either way…enjoy!

Round the Corner

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Fall Into Something New!

Fall Into Something New!

Enjoy an Artventure to Fallingwater

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Mother’s Day Reminds Me…

I am a great creator!  Wow, it amazes me that I created five wonderful children.

I am sorry that I was only able to spend time with two of them today, at least in person.  Talking on the phone, texting and voicemails will also have to count as time connecting when you are in different parts of the country.  They are helping me to create my dream of traveling by living in different places.

I may not have ever realized my BIG Artventure if my oldest son hadn’t determined to go to school in California.  Planning the trip to deliver him to school there is how it all started.  He has graduated and is well on his way to his dream of being a shoe designer. 

My oldest daughter added to my artventure by moving to the East Bay of San Francisco.  I have driven back or forth across the country five times so far.  I have enjoyed driving and couch surfing!  When I moved my daughter, I had to fly home and enjoyed a clear day in a window seat taking pics of the landscape most of the way home.

As I have shared my story and my dreams, I am getting more and more help and encouragement.  As a result, I am planning some trips to share my experience.  I am creating a life I love!

Maybe the Grand Canyon?

Maybe the Grand Canyon?

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Happy New Me!

     Any day of the year will work, not only New Year’s Day.  Just make a decision to be happy.  If you can change circumstances that you don’t like, do it!  If you can’t, be happy anyway.  The expression grin and bear it may have come from the science that you feel better by putting a smile on your face.  Believe me, I know how hard it can be at times.

     I am happy because I have spent the past year learning to let go of fears.  My possibility thinking has become endless.  With that in mind, I have a piece of digital artwork in a gallery in LA, opening night is Thursday, January10.  The next night, I have a sculpture in a gallery exhibit that opens on Friday, January 11 at the Art Institute of York.  And I am applying for Masters in Jewelry programs to start in the fall.

       That is another thing…I will have my jewelry online soon and in some stores again.  I will also be opening my studio for custom jewelry, graphic design and other artistic services.  This will be my most creative year yet! 

     Don’t forget to keep an eye on my blog.  I will be writing much more!

Happy New Year!

 

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My Second Divorce is Now Final!

This is not a time that I celebrate although this divorce was also a good thing.  As much as any divorce can be.  While I and my friends mourn the loss of a man who was such a wonderful addition to our lives for a time, I know that I have learned more.  Things that will help me to make a better choice next time and things that may help me to help others as I write about my experiences and share them through this blog and the books I am working on.  I know that I am not alone in my loss or my determination to move on.

I have written a poem which starts with my first divorce and ends with my healing from both divorces and the cancer I faced in between.  Sometimes people react with sympathy because they do not understand that all of this has brought me to a very good place.  Some people have trouble reading it because I have faced some difficult circumstances and it makes people uncomfortable to know about those times.  My purpose is to encourage people that there is strength that can be found through difficulties.

Set Free 

Going through a divorce brought up so many emotions…

Insecurity, will anybody ever love me again?

Low Self Esteem, something must be wrong with me.

Betrayal, so much for promises.

Rejection, what did I do wrong?

Abandonment, how could he leave me to raise our children alone?

Heartache, it hurts so bad.

Failure, I tried so hard and just can’t do it anymore.

Anxiety, I literally shake in fear.

Fear, what will tomorrow bring, my plans will never be.

Crying, my eyes just won’t stop tearing.

Sadness, I want to be happy again.

Bitterness, how could he walk away?

Blaming, it is all his fault! (OK, maybe only mostly)

Lack of Control, I am a victim of my circumstances.

Is it any wonder that I got cancer?

Then, I found a cure!

Not just the surgery that removed most of it before it returned.

But, JOY and PEACE and LOVE!

And how do you find these feeling when you are riddled with all the others?

STOP and sit still and connect with the spirit inside of you.

Your connection to all of the Universe,

To omnipresent LOVE!

Then, reprogram those thoughts

Insecurity can become hope

Low Self Esteem can become a knowledge of your worthiness

Betrayed and Rejection can become Set Free

Abandonment can become Resourceful

Heartache can become strength

Failure can become Success!

Anxiety can become courage

Fear can become Confidence

Crying can be cleansing

Sadness can become Joy

Bitterness can become Acceptance

Blaming can become taking responsibility

Lack of Control can become Power

Cancer can become a motivator to move on in your power

to do what you are on this planet to do

in this lifetime!

You know what it is

You may not want to admit it

Fear may have a grip on you

But, now is the time

To be healed,

get healed,

stay healed and MOVE Forward

into your purpose

Resources are abundant

Support is available everywhere

Just open your eyes!

Tear down your walls!

Reach out!

Seek and you will find what you need,

not just outside of you, but inside of you

Inside your heart

Inside your soul

Where it was all along.

Just waiting for an opportunity to shine.

 

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Happy Birthday Baby!

Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday.  As I think about what would be a good gift for her, I want to share my heart, my love.  There is no gift that I can give her that may affect her life in any greater way.

I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday.  It was a hot July day, not as hot as today, but I was so ready to get this pregnancy over with.  I was big and uncomfortable and I was trying all the old wives’ tales to get the job done.  Finally, at midnight, I went into labor.  I went into the hospital in the middle of the night.  In the morning they broke my water to try to speed things up and at noon they gave me pitocin and she was born in time for dinner.  I broke all the blood vessels in my face pushing for at least an hour.  All I wanted to do was eat and sleep.

My first baby had arrived!  I had no idea at that time that she would have four siblings.  She was 6lb 14 oz and when I held her in my arm, her little bottom was in my hand and her head rested where my arm bent.  It was amazing to have this tiny little being to take care of.  It was such an all-consuming job, sometimes I would forget to take care of myself.  She was such a good baby.  She didn’t cry.  She would sleep for four hours and nurse a little bit, but enough she grew very quickly.

And I remember when I was 23, the age she has reached today, three years before she was born.  My father had his first heart attack that year.  I thought that if he died no man would love me and shortly after that I was engaged to be married to a man I hardly knew.  That marriage didn’t happen, but the next year I was married to my children’s father.  I can tell you in hind sight, that although I may have thought I was confident, I did not even know the concept of loving myself first, so I can really love someone else, more importantly, looking for someone who loved himself, so he could truly love me.

I have learned after two divorces and cancer, that loving yourself is important for so many reasons.  Knowing yourself and your purpose can help you to make heart driven decisions which could help your happiness.  And trusting yourself and the divinity that is within you will help you to relax and live a healthier life.  How I wish I knew then, what I know now and maybe your life can be different because I have shared.

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