Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Addition to the Family : Henri the Holland Lop!

For many animal lovers, there's that one pet you'd love to have more than all the other possibilities out there.. That one animal that melts your heart more than any other when you see it, or that one animal you think would just be a dream to have in your life. For some people that might be a horse, a parrot, a boa constrictor, or even a goat! For me it has always been dogs.. But one step below dogs, it has always been a rabbit.. Why did I never get one before, you might ask? When I've had, mice, gerbils, hamsters, rats, guinea pigs, an iguana, and even a ferret? All of those animals were more than special in my life when I shared it with them, but I can't say I would own them again, for various reasons. While I loved them and enjoyed caring for them, they never quite filled that hole in my heart that needs to be filled with a small pet.. That space has always been meant for a rabbit, and now I circle back to why I never got one before now -- The answer is where I lived. I've never lived in a place that seemed appropriate to try to properly house a rabbit. I just plain didn't have room in my house growing up, it wasn't even allowed in my old apartment, and now in the new place, I realized my dream of having a rabbit could finally come to fruition. So after a while of careful planning and researching breeds, I can proudly introduce the new addition to our family : Henri, the Holland Lop bunny!

This was the first picture I saw of Henri, and I knew he was the one for me. I'd been looking for a while, and had chosen the Holland Lop as the breed I wanted. While I would have loved ANY rabbit, it was amazing to come across the very one I wanted.. It felt so meant to be!

This is our first picture together! Due to his age, he's a little spazzy and kicky, but that's more than to be expected for a feisty young bunny. He tends to behave once you have him in your arms. He's slowly taking to me, as he's realizing I'm the new source of goodies! He's now running up to me when I approach the cage, but the booger doesn't like to be picked up. Most Holland bucks mellow out with age, especially when neutered, which we are definitely considering.

This is a lovely photo of him that shows a bit of his coloring, which I absolutely adore. I went into my rabbit search knowing I wanted a male lop-eared breed, and in my studying of breeds, I always found myself most partial to the coloration known as "broken blue", so when I found Henri, I was ecstatic over it! The color was pretty irrelevant to me, but to find a male in the exact breed and color I was partial to felt like a huge blessing. I would have loved any bunny of any color or breed, but to find Henri, who is basically exactly what I wanted, was just amazing. I think he's already starting to realize what a little Prince he is! Gunther, my Shih Tzu, will always have the biggest piece of my heart, but Henri now shares a large portion of his own.. He is too special for words!

This is the hutch I have for him. I thought it was a beautiful little enclosure, and he completely loves it! He loves having that little hidey hole to run into, which is filled up with straw to keep him warm. He will also have a secured playpen with a wire top (to keep hawks out) where he can play and graze on the grass with supervision. I know he'll love that, since he's so curious! I really think he's going to continue to develop a really outgoing personality. Now he likes to touch noses with me when I open the cage door. Every day he's bolder than before!

Here is a photo of his darling face. I truly don't think I've ever seen a more adorable animal in my life! Now, I'm going through that difficult stage where I'm so in love with him and constantly worrying about him. It's that terrible, new emotion where you realize you've allowed something precious into your life, and it will devastate you if something happens to it. I went through that with Gunther, but now he's just an integral part of me, and I only worry about him when there's a reason to. It will get there with Henri too, but for now, I feel like a psycho, worried Mom! But to end this post, I wanted to share a video of him acting cute on my floor while Jeff reinforced the barn for him. My heart melts every time I look at him!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Videos : Finding your Motivation and a Poetry Reading!

I made two new videos today! Wearing my lucky poetry reading dress. Actually, that wasn’t intentional.. I only realized I’d worn the same dress after I was already done! Anyway, this first video is a reading of “Fade and Forget”, which is in my poetry book, “Fragments From Nowhere”. It's a rather dark poem, though contrary to how it sounds, it's rather abstract, and not meant to be taken literally.

The second video I made today is about a topic I’ve discussed with several people lately, and have thought a lot about. This of course won’t apply to every artist, but it will to some. Because many artists, including myself, indulge in numerous artistic outlets and hobbies that can distract from what we TRULY want to accomplish. This can create a sense of being unfulfilled, a profound frustration, and chronic procrastination. It's important to fight against being so erratic artistically and devote your time and energy to your most important projects. The ones that create a deep sense of accomplishment, and represent who you truly are as an artist.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Chapter / Plus Beautiful Winter Birds!

My life has changed dramatically over the last few months, and it has been truly amazing in almost every way.. Everything I had come to know is now gone, and I have entered an entirely new phase in my life. One I find terribly exciting, and it is truly a massive leap forward. While I don't want to delve into personal specifics, I will say that leaving behind the job, city, and apartment I was in was one of the best decisions of my life, and proved to me that sometimes taking huge chances is worth every bit of doubt you might feel. Sometimes a bad situation can feel "safe" or even "comfortable", but you can't advance when you stagnate, and even when when you have to take on a whole new set of challenges, you still have to dive forward and chase your dreams. It's truly the only way to live, and the experiences I've had these past few months have only made me more confident and happy with myself. Had I been afraid of change, none of it would have happened at all..

I think Winter is getting everyone down this year, especially with how harsh it's been in certain areas. It has been so incredibly cold here that I sometimes wonder how the birds survive such brutal conditions.. Though they always seem as chipper as ever. I think the massive amounts of food they get to eat on this property helps, but they were quite happy to pose for some pictures yesterday! The beauty of the birds can always make you smile, even on a miserable winter day. ♥

Northern Cardinal

Carolina Wren

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Have a seat, and take a listen..

I'm well aware of the fact that very, very few people will care enough to take the time to listen to even just one of these songs, let alone the whole list.. But I wanted to share my absolute favorite songs to be released in 2014. The albums these songs are taken from are all incredible as a whole, so I suggest buying the album if you enjoy the song presented here. So, without further delay, here are what I consider to be some of the best songs released this year :

Godflesh - "Shut Me Down" from A World Only Lit By Fire

Godflesh, the absolutely legendary, untouchable pioneers of abrasive, "industrial" metal made their crushing comeback this year with what I believe is their heaviest album to date. The entire album is complete perfection to me, but this song has been on repeat a little more than the others. Pulsing, relentless, rough, and undeniably sexy.. Though descriptive words like that are pretty common coming from me when in reference to Godflesh. Regardless, the song is exceptional.

Jakob - "Blind Them With Science" from Sines

Jakob have slowly but steadily risen to become one of my all time favorite bands. Masters of post rock since their 1999 debut album, Jakob have proven once again why they reign supreme within this genre. Theirs is a unique blend of heavy guitar, and unmatched emotional, poignant moments that make their songs unforgettable. "Blind Them With Science" is typical Jakob, but perhaps more polished than their earlier work. As always, moving, heavy, and potently inspiring.

Emma Ruth Rundle
- "Living With The Black Dog" from Some Heavy Ocean

We'll drift now outside of the confines of "rock" and into soloist guitar work, though Emma Ruth Rundle is no stranger to extremely heavy genres, which is why I think her newest solo album is so profound and hard-hitting. This song in particular has really stuck with me since I heard this release. There is a gritty, dark sense of melancholy trapped inside this simplistic track, and it just gets under my skin.

Judd Madden - "Radio & Tone" from Everything In Waves

Judd Madden is my favorite "one man band" of all time. The music he creates is incredibly structured, balanced, and never lacking in moments that blow you away entirely. His new release is absolutely his best, and this song captivated me the most. Not to mention, my Husband Ascending Storm created ten separate paintings for the album, one for each song. Needless to say, this release was beyond epic.

YOB - "Unmask The Spectre" from Clearing the Path to Ascend

YOB are a recent infatuation of mine, and directly after falling in love with Atma, the new album was released. So unlike long-time fans, I almost felt as if the two albums bled directly into one another. The most accurate word to describe YOB's music is power. Mike Scheidt's vocals are some of the absolute best in the entire genre of "metal". Though I wouldn't classify YOB as metal at all. Not even "psychedelic" or "stoner" metal as they're often classified as. They are purely their own entity, and once their music finds its way into your soul it can never retreat. Their music to me is like taking a slow walk through a graveyard, but as you look around, you realize the earth is shaking, and every grave is being torn apart.

Pallbearer - "The Ghost I Used To Be" from Foundations of Burden

I have saved my favorite song/album for last on this list. This album, but perhaps this song the most, has become my favorite release of the year. Pallbearer are a relatively new band, so for them to be this groundbreaking after a few short years is a sign of immense things to come.. This album is, from start to finish, flawless. Filled with emotional, unforgettable moments and thought-provoking lyrics, yet it's also nowhere near lacking in brutal heaviness. What is more, they are phenomenal live. I had the pleasure of seeing them live last October, and it only made my love for this album grow leaps and bounds. They are passionate performers, and truly bring these songs to life. They are one of those bands whose music can't simply be called "music". It is art. I feel the same intensity, brilliance, and emotion in their music that I do in my favorite books and paintings. I'm so elated that I've come to know their music, and got a chance to see them, so early on in their career. I have very high hopes for this band, and I'll be awaiting their next release with bated breath.

Friday, October 17, 2014

On the Precipice

Few people can truly grasp what it feels like to be a fiction writer. Even many fiction writers themselves don’t feel the certain emotions others of us do about their work. For a lot of them, it’s a hobby, something they enjoy, something they even just do for a living.. But then there are other writers who fall into a different category entirely. Not necessarily in talent or skill, but in the way they feel about their work, but more specifically, their characters. I am, unfortunately, one of those writers I’m talking about.

The love I feel for my current protagonist rivals even the love I feel for many real people. The way I feel about him is as though he is a real person. As though he lives and breathes in some other place I can’t get to, and my heart clenches tightly at just the thought of him. Like a fist, and the idea of letting this character go, of never being able to touch him again, makes me want to ram that fist into a concrete wall.

So many people have asked me why this book isn’t yet finished, and I normally use the excuse of laziness, procrastination, or life just being too hectic. While all of those things are true, the main reason is that I don’t want to let him go yet. I want him to stay present. Relevant. Tied to me as a fledgling not yet ready to leave the nest..

That moment when I allow him to fly towards the horizon, it is finished. He will then belong to everyone who will ever meet him inside this story. He is no longer mine then, and I’m still too in love with him to set him free. When I finally do, there will not be a celebration as one might expect. There will be a period where I grieve for the loss of him. Where I listen to songs that remind me of him and weep. It will feel as though I’ve just left an intimate, four year relationship with someone who saturated my mind on a daily basis. It will feel like a loss more than a triumph, and that, more than anything, lets me know that I’ve chosen the right character. I've chosen the story I was meant to write at this time in my life.

Now, as I stand on the precipice of an entirely new life, in a new place, in a new home, I’m glad I was able to spend this period of my life with this character. This period of sheer strife and pain. He was my release, my comfort, and my escape.. I will finish his story just as I enter this new life, and that’s what makes it hurt so damn much. To leave behind the only thing that got me through one of the darkest moments of my life. The beauty of it is that I know there are people who need him more than I do, and I want him to belong to them.

Putting the blood, sweat, and tears into this novel for four years was the easy part..
It’s saying Goodbye that will tear me apart.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Limitless Reaches of the Earth - Song / Video Collaboration with The Rose Phantom

I had the pleasure of working with Ted Newsom, aka "The Rose Phantom" on an incredible project. Ted is a phenomenal musician, vocalist, and artist, and when he shared this eight minute track with me that he created I was flooded with ideas of my own. I wrote lyrics, and sang the lead vocal on this song. We also came up with ideas for a video, which has turned out better than I imagined! As well as being gifted musically, Ted is also a gifted filmmaker. This is a combined effort where two visions blended together into one explosion of creative energy, and I couldn't be any happier with the result.

Lyrics :

"Bright and gold the sun does burn.
Hot enough to stun the snakes.
Sand and Earth as red as blood.
Sky so blue it heals your heart.

Trees as far as eyes can see.
Light is seen in dots and beams.
Birds will sing from dawn to dusk.
Owls and wolves make night a dream.

Green to red and back again.
Rain to dust and back again.
Free is how you feel out here.
Free from pain and what is real.

Listen now to what you hear :
Desert song that draws you near..
Forest song erasing fear..
Is it what has brought us here?

An expanse of burnt sienna so daunting, it hints to unborn ideas.
A canopy so lush and green, it mends even the most shattered of dreams.

Can you feel the forest of the Soul?
Can you grasp the desert of the mind?
Landscapes so beautiful it hurts.
The limitless reaches of the Earth,
Are mirrored in our own consciousness.
In the way we search for truth.
In the way we reach for love."

View and purchase the track on Bandcamp :

Jeffrey Smith, aka Ascending Storm created an incredible cover image for this track.

Listen to more of Ted's music and see more videos at :
The Rose Phantom Official Website
The Rose Phantom Youtube
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