Friday, October 30, 2015


A couple of weeks ago I wrote about making lists and received many interesting responses. Lists are more profound than we think. Even a simple grocery list can tells something about the person who wrote it. The process of list making touches a nerve in many.

One person, who has a Taskmaster sitting on their shoulders, stopped making lists and enjoys the freedom that has ensued.

One person keeps her list in a journal, crosses out items that have been done, but continues to have a record of all that she has accomplished, or not. Those that are 'or not' on the list give her something to dream or plan about for the future.

One person, in her twenties, made a list of all that she wanted to do in her life, tucked away the list, found it in her 60s, and realized that most of what she listed she had achieved.

One of my aunts kept a daily record of the weather,  which showed many, many years worth of living on a secluded farm in Minnesota.

Another friend started her day with a list of calls she needed to make. She was a networker and loved by those she contacted frequently.

One person makes a list that includes items she needs to do, but also rewrites past entries to make her realize how much she has done.

My sister laughs at the number of lists I make, which can be found all over our house. They bring order to my life (I have a list on the door leading to the garage of all of our daily, weekly, monthly, yearly chores). They spark my imagination: I have a list of unusual names that I've gathered, which includes Twyla Tharp and my mother's dad, Elzeor Jean Bellefeuille de poire (shortened to Belfi when his ancestors moved to Canada from France). I've even made a book of lists. Here is the Table of Contents (another list, of course!)

The book includes the lists for the preparations for a New Year's Eve party:

and a list of random things about me:

I like what  Steve Maraboli said about lists:

“Rename your “To-Do” list to your “Opportunities” list. Each day is a treasure chest 
filled with limitless opportunities; take joy in checking many off your list.” 

I hope this Inktober has been a fruitful way for you to make a daily practice of what you decided to do!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Inktober Third Week of Drawings

Inktober is the perfect month to share with you some of the work by my cousin, Todd Heimdahl. He is an artist who creates ink drawings like these on this page. They are spare and quiet and set us right into the empty prairie that he loves to draw.

Can't you just feel the chill of the snow and the stillness in the air? 
Todd's work can be found at Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries        

I've been working hard at some drawings for a printmaking class at Kala Institute in Berkeley. The instructor is Kazuko Watanabe, a terrific teacher. I'm saving my next batch of Inktober drawings for next week.

Enjoy Todd's work instead!

Check out Kala Institute at  They offer classes in printmaking and digital arts. Great place for artists to get together! And right next to Berkeley Bowl, a visual food treat.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Twyla Tharp leaps like a puppet, legs and arms extended
Over my head with a horde of other women bold in their days
Women who have jumped, vaulted, rattled into our consciousness,
Thwarting our culture's stand against women.
Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King, to name a few,
Fly with Tharp, baiting me with their triumphs.
How to leave a legacy of a life well-lived, one person among many.
My belief: we are all connected dots in the universe
When I am gone, something else will rise like Spring and replace me


I would like one little moment in the sun.

  by Martha Slavin

Does someone really inspire you?

Twyla Tharp, dancer and choreographer, is coming to Berkeley this month with a new production. Long ago, Tharp caught my attention because of her unusual name.

 I longed to be a dancer all through my school days into college. Yet, I didn't have the early, strenuous practice needed to land on the stage as a dancer. Twyla Tharp did.

I watched a documentary about Tharp as she explained how her mother drove her each day to excel. She was in class starting early in the morning till late at night. Instead of burnout, her extreme practice developed her perfectionism which heightened her skill as a dancer and choreographer. She is an example to me of someone who turned a negative into a positive. She is still performing at 74, working hard, looking beautiful, and sharing with us her inspiring creativity.

Read more about Twyla Tharp here:

Who has inspired you?

Here are this week's Inktober challenge:

Friday, October 9, 2015


Do you keep a to-do list?

I do. On my list today:

Call to change tickets for a play.

We have tickets to a play, but the performance is scheduled for Halloween. We have close to 800 trick-or-treaters come to our door that night. Our neighborhood Halloween has turned into a huge block party with families walking up and down the street, the police supervising, and lines of merrily costumed kids forming at our door. We don't want to miss that night.

So on my list today is to call the theater to change our reservation.

This is what's also on my list today:

Call to get some fencing put in,
call to find someone to refinish our front doors,
fix the fountain,
count the number of my dad's drawings that I have,
finish the family photo albums from the 1970s and 80s, (yes, I'm a little behind)
call my sister,
email people who emailed me several days ago,
talk to friends,
call the plumber,
get a copy of our property tax bill,
clean out storage locker, (where am I going to put that stuff)
fix sprinklers on the hill,
draw layout of plants to replace part of the front lawn.

A big, unrealistic list to finish all in one day. Some of the items have been on my list for several years while I wait for the right moment.

But thinking one thing at a time, right. So before I start on my list, I go upstairs to brush my teeth. As I walk by the railing, I see the stack of books waiting to go upstairs and think:

"Oh, those look interesting," as I rifle through a few pages, teeth forgotten. Oh, back upstairs, without the books, I clean up a cat hairball - yuck - hang up a sweater, fix my hair, brush teeth, do not go into the other upstair bedroom to start sorting out objects to give away, oh, I did, but only to pick up a photo box to put stuff in to take to Sunday's printmaking class. Downstairs, those books again, walk back to workroom, ignore computer and the emails waiting, pause at work table, thinking how long it's been since I was able to paint (last week), and the state of the table as more and more things are layered on top of one another.

Waiting for the right moment when I can do one thing at a time.

Buddhist call this monkey or beginner mind when your mind flits from one thing to another and you don't know how to pull your thoughts back, let them go, and concentrate on just one task at hand. So I close my eyes and take a deep breath, watch my neighbor, who used to walk vigorously up and down the street, as he now slowly walks by with the help of a cane. I calm myself down watching him so that I can begin, so that I can realize that my list will get done, one thing at a time.


 *   *   *   *   *   *

Here are this week's One Ink Drawing a Day for Inktober:

Friday, October 2, 2015



A challenge to you: make the month of October a month when you will do one thing with intention each day -- an ink drawing, a painting, a photograph, an essay, a poem, a letter to a friend, a new recipe, a gratitude sentence, organize one drawer a day. Commit to your intention, whatever you need to do to make your life a richer place.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a sentence of gratitude each day. As I was writing every afternoon, I didn't feel a new sense of gratitude come over me. That was a little disappointing, but I kept at it. At the end of the year, when I reread my pages and pages, I saw my world with new eyes. Those small moments of gratitude changed me. I realized that change doesn't always happen immediately. It took a whole year of putting gratitude down on paper for me to realize what I had to be grateful for.

So I challenge you to do something with intention this month that may alter you in a way that you weren't expecting.

Inktober is a national challenge to artists to do one ink drawing each day for the entire month. In honor of Inktober, I've decided to make this my challenge.

Here are my drawings for Oct. 1 and 2:



You might choose something entirely different from art for your challenge. Keep it simple. What idea can you commit to each day this month?

Check out Jake Parker's website. He is the originator of the Inktober idea.

Let me hear from you about your choice. We can encourage each other on our month of intention!