March 20

12 Steps To Creative Thinking

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Grand Cayman Floor

This list comes from the book Lists to Live By compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens and John Van Diest. Last year, I did a similar post, 25 Ways To Get & Stay Creative. I like lists.

1. Right away, write it down.

Record ideas as soon as you think of them. Keep paper and pen handy at all time–in your car, by your television, on your nightstand.

2. Listen to music.

Listen to whatever sparks your imagination, whether it’s Bach, the Beatles, or something you’ve never heard before.

3. Exercise.

Go for a run, shoot some hoops, do jumping jacks–anything that starts your blood pumping and keeps your mind sharp.

4. Brainstorm with a friend, co-worker, or six-year-old.

Talk with someone who looks at the world a little differently than you do. Chances are he or she will inspire a new approach.

5. Do it poorly.

If you’re a perfectionist, don’t be. Create something that isn’t necessarily your best work, but that gets the job done. Then go back later to fix it or redo it.

6. Watch people.

Go downtown or to the mall, sit on a bench and observe the passersby. Imagine what kind of life they lead.

7. Keep a journal.

Write about your life and what’s important to you, then revisit your old thought when you need new ideas.

8. Pray or read the Bible.

Putting life into spiritual perspective can take the pressure off and jump-start the creative juices.

9. Free-write.

Sit down at the computer or with pen and paper and write whatever comes into your mind. You might be surprised at what comes out.

10. Change your locale.

Find a new quiet place–a park, the beach, a library, or just a different room–and let your mind wander.

11. Wash the dishes or mow the lawn.

It’s easy and it gives you a feeling of accomplishment while you’re trying to think.

12. Sleep on it.

If nothing is working, your best bet may be to give up for now. Let your subconscious create overnight and you’ll have fresh ideas tomorrow.

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists, Want to Talk About (Whatever) | 18 Comments

December 29

Books I Read October-December

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Here’s what I read during the last three months:

Broken Harbor

Broken Harbor by Tana French

Broken Harbor is Tana French’s fourth Dublin Murder Squad novel. I am a huge Tana French fan because she writes a first-rate police procedural mystery, her characters are complex and compelling, and she explores both human weakness and larger societal issues. Each of the Dublin Murder Squad books is set up so that a minor character in one book shows up as the protagonist in another. It’s not necessary to read the books in any particular order since other than this particular connection, each book stands by itself. My favorite…#2 The Likeness…but I love them all.

Daily Inspiration

DI 363

Medicine for the soul.

Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

Posted by lori . Filed under Few and Well Chosen (Books), Lori's Lists | 5 Comments

December 22

5 Ways To Look Great In Photos

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Look Great In Photos

I tore this article out of a Good Housekeeping magazine and thought it might be appropriate for this time of year…5 Ways to Look Great in Photos:

Tip 1 – Hide Tired Eyes

If you only have time to do one thing pre-picture, reach for concealer because dark circles only look darker in photos.

Tip 2 – Consider Camera Flash

Shimmery cosmetics can catch the camera flash and create splotches in pictures. Opt for matte products instead.

Tip 3 – Smooth Strands

Don’t let frizz and flyaways ruin your otherwise picture-perfect “do.” Spray a brush with hairspray and quickly run it through your hair.

Tip 4 – Pump Up The Volume

Hair always looks flatter in photos, so flip your head upside down and tousle hair at the roots.

Tip 5 – Smile Genuinely

To keep your grin natural, not forced, pretend you are looking at someone you love instead of the camera lens. Aiming your gaze just above the lens, rather than straight at it will also make the end result look less staged.

I also have 5 tips for looking great in photos. Here are my tips…

Tip 1 – If given the choice between checking my appearance in a mirror or asking my husband, “Do I look alright?” I opt for the mirror.

I’ve spent years training my husband to lie to me about my appearance. Why would I trust him at a time like this?

Tip 2 – If I really look horrible, I encourage a group shot.

I make sure I’m in the second row, stand slightly behind someone, and right when the photographer presses the shutter, I conveniently “disappear” behind the person in front of me.

Tip 3 -I encourage the photographer to shoot the picture from my waist up.

I’ve never had a picture taken of me that’s been improved by having my gut in it.

Tip 4 – Add something cute to take eyes off me.

Grab a kid or a pet and no one notices me in the picture.

Tip 5 – Smile, smile, smile

Whether I think it looks good or not, everyone loves a smiling face.

Daily Inspiration

DI 356

There are always two people in every picture:  the photographer and the viewer.

Ansel Adams

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December 15

A Simple List

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A Simple List

A simple list today. May I reflect on it and do my part.

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can.

Attributed to John Wesley

Daily Inspiration

DI 349

Though we cannot think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one opinion? Without all doubt, we may. Herein all the children of God may unite, notwithstanding these smaller differences.

John Wesley

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists | 11 Comments

December 8

Freezer Paper

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How is it that I’m just learning about freezer paper? Freezer paper is a thick, plastic-coated paper used for wrapping food for freezing. Here are a few of its other uses:

1. Protect work surfaces.

2. Use as a paint palette.

3. Cover school books.

4. Cover party tables and let your guests draw on it with crayons or markers.

5. Create templates. Draw the design on the paper side of the freezer paper. Temporarily adhere the plastic side to the fabric with a hot, dry iron. Cut out the shape, then peel off the paper.

6. Wrap packages for mailing or gifts.

7. Line shelves and drawers.

8. Use to catch spills in refrigerator drawers or bins, under pet dishes, when painting or potting plants.

9. Protect kitchen counters from raw meat juices.

10. Make banners for school functions, welcome greetings or parties.

That’s a lot of fun and function in a box.

Daily Inspiration

My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

Erma Bombeck

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists | 10 Comments

December 1

Favorite Christmas Movies

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I’ve come to realize that I am limited in my knowledge and appreciation of holiday movies. Here are my Top 10 favorites:

A Christmas Carol

It’s a Wonderful Life

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Elf

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A Christmas Story

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

What are your favorites? What am I missing out on and need to see this holiday season?

Daily Inspiration

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.

Charles Dickens

Posted by lori . Filed under A Bowl of Popcorn, a Movie and Thou (Movies), Lori's Lists | 8 Comments

November 24

Simple Holiday Preparations

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With Thanksgiving over, it’s time to think about Christmas.  Fortunately, I don’t have too much “crazy” to contend with, but I thought a little list of “things to do” was in order.  Here’s my list of holiday preparations:

1.  Christmas Cards

  • Purchase cards
  • Order holiday picture prints
  • Sign & address
  • Stamps & mail

2.  Holiday Decorations

  • Sort through Christmas decorations
  • Just a few simple decoration

3.  Gifts

  • List of gifts to purchase
  • Shopping
  • Wrapping
  • Giving

4.  Events

  • List of events and anything I need to do/purchase prior to the event
I’m hoping to keep it simple.

Art Every Day Month – Day 24

I’m participating in Art Every Day Month.  Every day during the month of November I’m going to start a painting. Most won’t be finished, but I’ll get something started…a lot or a little.

Daily Inspiration

If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.

Eckhart Tolle

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November 17

Bram Stoker Awards

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My lovely daughter is writing a horror screenplay.  She’s asked me to read bits of it and give her feedback. Reading it has given me a hankering to read a good horror novel, so I was looking over the Bram Stoker Award winners.

The Horror Writer’s Association annually awards the Bram Stoker Award, named for the author of Dracula. First awarded in 1987, any work of horror first published in English is eligible for nomination by the HWA membership. Awards are given in twelve categories. The award itself consists of a 8″ replica of a fanciful haunted house, designed by sculptor Steve Kirk.

Below are the “Best Novel” Bram Stoker Award winners since 1987.  There was a tie in 1987 and 2005.  The novels I’ve already read are in red.  So what do you think?  Any suggestions from either the list or something you’ve read?  I’m ready to be scared.

1987 – Misey by Stephn King and Swan Song by Robert McCammon

1988 – The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

1989 – Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons

1990 – Mine by Robert McCammon

1991 – Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon

1992 – The Blood of the Lamb by Thomas F. Monteleone

1993 – The Throat by Peter Straub

1994 – Dead in the Water by Nancy Holder

1995 – Zombie: The Novel by Joyce Carol Oates

1996 – The Green Mile by Stephen King

1997 – Children of the Dusk (The Madagascar Manifesto, Book 3) by George Guthridge

1998 – Bag of Bones by Stephen King

1999 – Mr. X by Peter Straub

2000 – The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon

2001 – American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition: A Novel by Neil Gaiman

2002 – The Night Class by Tom Picirilli

2003 – Lost Boy, Lost Girl: A Novel by Peter Straub

2004 – In the Night Room: A Novel by Peter Straub

2005 – Creepers by David Morrell

2005 – Dread in the Beast by Charlee Jacob

2006 – Lisey’s Story by Stephen King

2007 – The Missing by Sarah Langan

2008 – Duma Key by Stephen King

2009 – Audrey’s Door by Sarah Langan

2010 – A Dark Matter by Peter Straub

2011 – Flesh Eaters by Joe McKinney

Art Every Day Month – Day 17

I’m participating in Art Every Day Month.  Every day during the month of November I’m going to start a painting. Most won’t be finished, but I’ll get something started…a lot or a little.

Daily Inspiration

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.

Ambrose Bierce

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November 10

How Did It Begin?

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Sometimes I pick up a book like this because the bargain books are less expensive than purchasing a magazine.  Also, I’m a sucker for trivia and interesting bits, so this book caught my attention.  Did you know this is how these began?

The Mad Hatter

This saying was the result of an early occupational hazard of those who made hats before the Industrial Revolution.  The hats were mostly made from animal fur, such as beaver and rabbit, with mercury, also known as quicksilver, being used in the processing.  Mercury’s harmful qualities were not realized at the time and the hatters, through frequent handling of the dangerous liquid metal, slowly absorbed it into their systems and poisoned their bodies.  The first symptoms appeared as “the shakes,” soon followed by mental aberrations.

The Barber’s Pole

The red and white striped barber’s pole is a relic from the days when barbers not only cut hair, but were also surgeons.  During the process of blood-letting, it was customary for the patient to grip a pole tight in his hand, which made the veins swell and the blood flow freely.  In the process, the pole became bloodstained which led barbers to paint the entire pole bright red, thereby concealing any actual blood.  When not in use, the pole was hung outside the shop and the barber wound bandages around it.  Eventually, the real pole and bandages were replaced with one painted red with white stripes and became a barber’s trademark.

The Piggy Bank

During the Middle Ages metal was rarely used for common household utensils as it was too expensive.  More economical was a type of clay then commonly known as pygg.  It was also used for dishes, pots and jars and eventually all earthenware was referred to as pygg.  Frugal housewives would put aside what money they could into one of these pots or jars and the container came to be known as the pyggy bank.  At some point, the origin of the term was forgotten, and when a customer ordered a pyggy bank, the potters erroneously produced a pig-shaped moneybox.  The piggy bank captured people’s imagination and caught on.

Art Every Day Month

I’m participating in Art Every Day Month.  Every day during the month of November I’m going to start a painting. Most won’t be finished, but I’ll get something started…a lot or a little

Daily Inspiration

Love is a game that two can play and both win.

Eva Gabor

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists | 12 Comments

November 3

13 Virtues

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In 1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin devised a personal plan of conduct which consisted of 13 virtues.

TEMPERANCE – Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

SILENCE – Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

ORDER – Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

RESOLUTION – Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

FRUGALITY – Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.

INDUSTRY – Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

SINCERITY – Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

JUSTICE – Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

MODERATION – Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

CLEANLINESS – Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.

TRANQUILLITY – Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

CHASTITY – Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

HUMILITY – Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Franklin committed to focusing on one virtue per week.   At the end of the 13th week, he would start the process over again.  He even created a chart to track his progress and carried it with him as a reminder of his plan of conduct.  The first letter of each day was listed on the top and the first letter of each virtue was listed down the left side.  He would add a dot if he felt he fell short of meeting that virtue on a given day.

I’m pretty sure you figured it out, but “venery” is sexual indulgence.  I’ll let you all know how many “spam” comments I get because I used the words “sexual indulgence” in a blog post.

Art Every Day Month – Day 3

I’m participating in Art Every Day Month.  Every day during the month of November I’m going to start a painting. They will vary in their completeness…from “just started” to done.”

Daily Inspiration

Do not fear mistakes.  You will know failure.  Continue to reach out.

Benjamin Franklin

Posted by lori . Filed under Lori's Lists | 7 Comments