Self Improvement Sunday

Self Improvement Sunday: Hack Your Brain

This is a long one but I found it worth the watch. This definitely jumps off from the video I posted last week about how we need to act first and motivation follows, not the other way around. Also, stick around for his simple breathing exercises for relaxation. I’ve been using them and they’ve helped me calm the heck down.

Events

Lansing Community Library Art Show

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Welcome to my first art show! It’s from now until the end of April at the Lansing Community Library. I had a lot of fun revisiting my past work for this show and also creating some new things. I hope people can see it in person but if you can’t, I’ve included images of everything on display. Plus, all prints are available in my online shop. The library had to reduce my long-winded artist’s bio so it fits onto their marketing materials so the following is the official bio that I wrote:

Jaime Hazard has been a wildlife enthusiast ever since she hatched with all the other tadpoles in her clutch. Paired with that was a love of all things arts and crafts. In high school she studied art, played in several bands, walked dogs at the SPCA and spent every free second at the zoo. When it came time to decide what to study in college she was torn between animals and art. Animals eventually won out and she went on to earn an associates degree in Veterinary Technology from SUNY Delhi and for a little while she actually worked at the zoo she’d practically lived in as a teenager. Being the lifelong learner she is, she went on to earn a bachelors degree in Natural Resources from Cornell University and a masters degree in Environmental Communication and Participatory Process from SUNY ESF. Jaime went on to work as a field biologist and biological technician in various locations all over the United States including Yellowstone National Park. And although her work focused mainly on threatened and endangered species of reptiles and amphibians, she’s not biased. She loves all animals equally (with the exception of crabs, of course).

Needless to say, art definitely became an afterthought until one day a friend commissioned her to create some recycled jewelry for her store. Wanting to put her own personal touch on things, Jaime decided to depict her own experiences working with animals into small jewelry-sized works of art. What she discovered through that process was that her once very precise technical style had turned into loose, haphazard scribbles and what would normally take her months of agonizing over every detail was a quick, extremely satisfying, worry-free process of creation. These works are on display here as well as many more that she’s done since.

When Jaime’s not drawing, she’s working at Cornell University where she helps diagnose parasitic infections in every imaginable creature that this universe has cooked up so they can live long, healthy lives. She also teaches private tai chi and qigong lessons, volunteers for Hospicare, is diligently writing a book on life and death care, takes every opportunity to dance with complete reckless abandon, is obsessed with all things paranormal, makes and sells soap, builds furniture (and is currently working on a teardrop camper), and happily cohabitates with her furry best friends. Jaime would also like to warmly invite you to visit her photography exhibit coming up in May at Hopshire Farm and Brewery which will showcase some of her favorite moments of being a field biologist.

 

Adventures

The Everson Museum

Last month my mother and I joined the hoards of others who enjoy all things artsy fartsy at Syracuse’s City Market. (I will leave out the part of her almost killing us by driving the wrong way down a one way road into oncoming traffic.) The market relocated this year to the Everson Museum‘s community plaza. So every second Sunday of each month, from May to October, there’s a craft fair with food trucks and live music and as an added bonus, there’s free admission to the museum. At the craft fair, I managed to pick up a few absolute gems including a set of four camping inspired salad plates, dinner plates and bowls for $10. They’ll be perfect for my future travels. In addition, I also found a $5.00 camping hammock which I’m dying to use. I’ve been wanting to ditch my tent for a lighter, more comfortable option.

Needless to say, that was a very worthwhile adventure so if you’re in the Syracuse area and looking for something fun to do, look no further. Sadly, I didn’t get any pictures of the market but I did manage to get a few pics of my favorite works of art at the museum. Enjoy!

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A very cool sculpture made with real knitting needles by Lois Hennessey.

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A profile shot of our busy little knitter.

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I love this wee little tea pot by Richard Notkin. It would probably hold a shot’s worth of tea so its practicality is in question but I doubt function matters when it comes to art.

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Emperor Moth by Michael Lucero.

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The flip-side of Emperor Moth by Michael Lucero. The wings are made out of plywood which gives me all sorts of creative ideas for future projects.

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Now this is my kind of fiestaware! Created by Michael Gross.

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This is called The Ego Cup & Saucer by Matt Nolen. Very detailed and pictures don’t do it justice. I don’t think my ego could squish itself into such a small vessel…just putting that out there.

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This is incredible! Sadly, I didn’t get the artist’s name because there was a tour group right in front of the info. Guess I’ll just have to go back another time…twist my arm!

Musings

A Ghost Story

Here’s a true story that I recently shared on Jim Harold’s Virtual Campfire and I thought I’d share it here as well…

Here’s some background to keep in mind: When I was thirteen, my sister died of cancer. She was 23 at the time. I’m now 41 years old. Well about six months ago, I had a friend of mine, who is a shaman, perform a journey session on me. During the journey, my guides kept telling her to tell me to “play more.” They were adamant about it. She even wrote it down to me in all caps “PLAY MORE!” I thought, that was interesting since I’ve been rather depressed and holed up lately. Then about a month ago my massage therapist told me about this amazing psychic that she went to and was raving about how I had to go. I’m skeptical but I trust her so I figured that at least it would be interesting. Keep in mind, this psychic only knew my first name. She didn’t have a clue how I came to know about her or even how I got her contact info, she prefers to know as little as possible. Well, my reading was very detailed and spot on and as we were nearing the end, she said that there was a young girl next to me pressing her face to mine and saying that we share the same face. She asked if it was my sister and is her name Julie? And indeed it is! She went on to describe this needlepoint tapestry that’s hanging on my mom’s wall that she had made before she died, etc.. The psychic then told me that she has an important message for me: “PLAY MORE!” I nearly died laughing at this point. I guess the entire supernatural world is conspiring to get me to have more fun. She went on to describe how she sees my sister swiping her hand across my desk and clearing it of all the things I have to do that keep me from playing. She warned me that if I get to work or come home and all of my stuff is on the floor, that it’s her trying to give me that message. Well, I was greatly amused but I went on with my life as usual. About two weeks later, it was about 9:30 pm and I’m sitting on my couch watching TV. My dog is on my right and my cat is on my left. All of a sudden there’s a loud bang, like a hand slamming down on my table. It occurred right on the table with all of my work on it, right in front of our very eyes, and everything scattered to the floor. There was nothing tall that tipped over…nothing that I could debunk. And all of my animals were right next to me. My cat just about jumped out of his skin and he slinked up the to table to investigate, all sorts of freaked out. I just turned the TV off, grabbed the dog and her leash and said “Okay, Julie. I’m getting up and we’re going to play!” And that’s just what we did. No complaints from her since.

Adventures

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum

Yesterday was the mega controversial inauguration day of Donald Trump and today was the Women’s March on Washington. There were also local marches that I could have attended, but I’ve just been so conflicted about world issues of late that I just want to seek what little peace I can find. Despite being hung over, when a friend offered up the chance to go to the local museum, I jumped at it with full zeal. I’m so glad that I went. My heavy heart feels lighter thanks to the majesty of artistic expression.

I can’t recommend enough going out into your local community and discovering or rediscovering all the things it has to offer. Sometimes we need to be reminded of all the reasons we choose to live where we do. Today was one of those reinvigorating days for me.

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum is located on the beautiful Cornell University campus and is absolutely free to the public! I feel like a complete idiot for not going there all the time. I only live ten minutes away and I work right across campus. The 360° panoramic views of Ithaca from the 5th floor alone are worth going. I can imagine sitting there and either reading a good book or sketching.

Here’s just a taste of what you’ll enjoy when you visit:

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Adventures

Gettysburg: Oct. 15-Oct. 17, 2016

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Petunia, Ling Ling and I headed out to Gettysburg, PA for the weekend to explore the area, the history and the ghosts. This was Petunia’s first real vacation and her first stay in a hotel. Well it goes without saying that she LOVED it!

The Appalachian Brewing Company

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Here’s Ling Ling enjoying MY chocolate stout. Both the food and the beer were delicious. I highly recommend the visit. It will be yummy in your tummy.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

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The Gettysburg National Cemetery is a very touching, respectful, peaceful place. You can read the Gettysburg Address and view the Lincoln Monument or just enjoy the trees. Seriously, they did a superb landscaping job (I didn’t even know cypress trees grew to be mammoth size this far north) and the circular layout of the cemetery is unique. It reminds me of a meditation labyrinth.

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The New York monument was absolutely stunning and full of interesting symbolism.

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This is the haunted fence that separates the National Cemetery from the Evergreen Cemetery. If I understand correctly, this fence was originally at the White House. A man was murdered on the fence before it was moved. Now you can feel a cold spot in the exact location he was killed. Spooky.

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The Park Service gives free guided tours and interpretation programs of the cemetery and battlefields. I seriously regret not taking them up on that. Next time!

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Although she’s never been here, Ling Ling still feels it’s necessary to give me a turbo tour of the place.

The Dobbin House and Tavern

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The Dobbin House is the oldest house in Gettysburg. It was built in 1776. Now it’s a bed & breakfast, tavern, restaurant, ballroom and gift shop. Plus, it’s said to be haunted. There are free tours of the house, given by the owner, and it’s by far the best tour you will get in Gettysburg. Also, if you have the chance, check out the tavern. It’s everything you want it to be and more.

Cemetery Hill

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This view is so amazing, it doesn’t even look real.

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Here’s an interesting Gettysburg monument fact: If the horse has all four feet on the ground than the rider made it through the war unscathed. If the horse has one foot off the ground than the person was wounded in battle. If the horse has two feet off the ground than the person died in battle. That’s not the case for other cemeteries and memorials outside of Gettysburg but it hold true here.

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Elizabeth Thorn, the caretaker of the Evergreen Cemetery,  buried over 90 soldiers in the July heat while being six months pregnant. Now that is an amazing woman! Just as an aside, she gave birth to a daughter which she named Rose Thorn.

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Jennie Wade was the only civilian to die during the battle of Gettysburg. She was baking bread for the soldiers in her sister’s house and a bullet travelled through two wooden doors and struck her in the chest. That is seriously bad luck right there. You can tour her house and it’s said to be haunted by the ghost of her father.

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This is where every elephant knick-knack goes to die.

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Mr Ed’s is a lot of fun, especially if you love elephants or have a massive sweet tooth.

The Historic Round Barn & Farm Market

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The Round Barn is where I filled up on an end-of-days amount of canned goods and even bought Petunia dog beer. Yup, they sell dog beer and she loves it.

The Battlefields

The Battle of Gettysburg took place from July 1st to July 3rd, 1863. This battle claimed the highest number of casualties in the American Civil War as was considered the turning point. Approximately 51,000 soldiers died in those three days.
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There are markers and monuments to the fallen as far as the eye can see.

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We upstate New Yorkers played a hand in Gettysburg too. In fact, we saw monuments as far west as Wisconsin but there may be even more that we didn’t see.

The Historic & Haunted Sachs Covered Bridge

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Oh ghosties…where are you? I didn’t see anything but it was lovely just the same.

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Musings

My Most Impossible Feat!

This summer, I took a break from craft shows to enjoy flea markets and to also rebuild a teardrop camper that I can use as a pop-up shop. With the teardrop, I’ll be able to travel to craft events farther away and perhaps even go back out to Yellowstone in Summer 2017. One can dream!

I found the teardrop on Craigslist and immediately jumped on it. This is something I’ve been wanting for a while now and the last few craft events trying to vend in the snow and wind was the last straw for me and my crumpled up festival tent. Strangely enough, an old acquaintance had built this teardrop a few years ago so it was great to see her and catch up. You can find her blog on the build at http://www.alligatorteardrop.com.

Sadly, the teardrop sustained some very serious water damage around the galley hatch and I had no idea how bad it was when I bought it. Once I got it home and began to peel back the layers, I realized that the water damage was completely throughout the camper and the entire thing would have to be demolished. This hasn’t stopped me though. I’m using the pieces as templates and reusing as much as I can. Honestly, I’m enjoying the crap out of taking the camper apart and I’m learning a lot as I go. Since I don’t know anything about building, this is the best way for me to feel confident in what I’m doing.

I will keep you posted as I progress but here is the beginning…

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Here’s the day I brought the wee one home. It’s so adorable!

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Here’s basically the condition it was in when I bought it. I knew from the start that I had a project ahead of me.

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As I peeled back the layers I realized that not only were the walls water damaged but the floor was as well. So…

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I’m stripping it down to the bare trailer. Here’s my mother looking at the disaster taking over her garage. It’s a lot of fun though and the demo is going easier than I expected!

 

 

Adventures

Haunted History in Cooperstown

This is very late in the making but I thought I’d share it. Last October, I went on an overnight stay to Cooperstown, New York with my mother and we had an incredible time. It’s amazing how refreshed you can feel after getting away for just a night. I love Cooperstown, especially in the fall because the setting is just idyllic and there’s a lot more to enjoy than just the Baseball Hall of Fame.

We began our day with a few slices of pizza, drove around for a little bit to enjoy the Halloween decorations, checked in to our hotel, took a little nappy and then hit the epic Ommegang Brewery….

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There it is! The mecca for beer enthusiasts: Ommegang Brewery! Where beer goes to die (because it’s heaven).

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I cannot recommend enough making tasting reservations ahead of time. Sadly, I didn’t get to whet my whistle because all of the tours were booked for the day. However, I did get to do some holiday shopping for my friends, family and lets be honest, mostly myself, in their gift shop so I can’t really complain.

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There’s my escort for this festive occasion, Ling Ling.

Then it was off to our ghost tour of Hyde Hall

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Hyde Hall, located in Glimmerglass State Park, is a National Historic Landmark and State Historic Site. They open it up for ghost tours in October and has been investigated on Syfy’s Ghost Adventures.

As soon as that tour was over, we had to hurry across town to the late-night ghost tour of the Farmer’s Museum. Sadly, I didn’t get any photos of the museum tour because it was pitch black, mostly outdoors and very rainy. Our tour guide took one of the worst tumbles I’d ever seen. I truly thought she had broken something but she was a trooper. I think she ended up more embarrassed than hurt. A part of the tour was sitting in on a performance of Poe’s Tell Tale Heart, which was astoundingly good. It was a one man show and he was extremely talented. I’d very much like to revisit the Farmer’s Museum in the daytime because the buildings had such history and their gift shop was pretty awesome. I even saw a book there by a girl that I went to college with. I never knew that she became an author so that tickled me.

Overall, both ghost tours were a lot of fun and I’d highly suggest them for history buffs and paranormal enthusiasts alike. Unfortunately, I didn’t run into any spirits that day although I had a strange inkling in Hyde Hall about people being pushed down this specific staircase and a minute later the tour guide told me that many people have been pushed down those stairs and that animals refuse to approach them. Humm… interesting. The Farmer’s Museum offered a séance at the end of the night but we didn’t join in because I’m not comfortable with such procedures but it’s an option for those adventurous souls.

The next day was spent slinking around the Otesaga Resort Hotel. To say that I’m kind of obsessed with this place is an understatement. Have you even been somewhere for the first time but you recognize it deep in your bones? That’s how I feel about this place. I found out about it because it was featured in an episode of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters (I honestly never get to watch the show but I happened to catch this episode) and I instantly recognized it. A few months later I dragged my boyfriend there to check the place out and have wanted to return ever since.

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You don’t have to book a room to enjoy the amenities of the Otesaga. There’s a couple bars and restaurants inside, a beautiful porch overlooking the lake and yes, there’s even golf.

After walking around Cooperstown, we packed up and headed home but first we had to make a stop at the Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard to fill our bellies with tasty food samples and get a whole ton of homemade canned goods. It honestly looked like I was stocking up for the end of days when I left that place. It’s been almost a year since this trip and I still have some goodies left. Fly Creek was worth the trip in and of itself.

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It was a rainy weekend but still fun. Here’s Ling Ling again, posing at Fly Creek.

Last but not least, Howe Caverns was our the way home so that had to be experienced. It had been way too long since I’d been there…probably twenty years, at least. It’s always amazing to take a stroll underground and view all of the formations. I wish I could sleep down there. It feels like being back in the womb again but not gross. Ha! I guess there are caverns out west that they turned into a hotel. I need to experience this.


So that was last October. This October is Gettysburg! Yup, my ghostly dream is coming true. I will keep you posted.

Annual Reports

My Blogging 2015 in Review…Yikes!

Well since I didn’t do any blogging in 2015, I didn’t expect much as far as stats goes. I’m not sure what happened to my blog…What happened blog? Where’d you go? I guess I just didn’t have too much to report. Now, I know that’s not true but maybe after the whirlwind that’s been my life for the past five years or so, this year just didn’t pass my blogging muster. Yup, 2015 just wasn’t bloggable. It certainly wasn’t my usual nail biter, which I’m extremely thankful for. Here’s to hoping that I dust off my chops in 2016 and get back with it. Have a good one and see you next year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.