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carving knife (poem)

old man dog

Sometimes when

chopping apples I am

stopped

by thoughts

of mary

 

who was drunk when her

wayward electric knife

carved her forearm

instead of

the ham

 

the doctors said permanent damage

from ligaments sliced straight to bone

 

the next day

she changed

her habits – learned

to drink with her

other hand.

 

-ryn.02.12.18

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Art Therapy Project: SATISFACTION

satisfaction cat art therapy

When the topic of SATISFACTION was proposed for our art therapy project, my mind immediately hopped to the Cheshire cat with his infamous grin. So I knew I had to create a cat.

  • Topic: Satisfaction
  • Result: Satisfaction cat made of pen, ink, glitter glue and paint on canvas. Note the illustrations within the cat’s body that depict different things that bring me satisfaction.

Artist comments:

While the Cheshire cat was definitely the primary motivator for creating a cat for the topic of satisfaction, he wasn’t the only one. Cats in general kept coming to mind with this topic. Not only is cat art fun to create, but felines frequently look very satisfied with themselves. Maybe it’s because they:

  • Sleep 18 hours a day
  • Do what they want, when they want
  • Ignore or even shun people yet still get love and attention
  • Can jump extraordinary distances
  • Always manage to land on their feet
  • Are thought to have magical, mystical, supernatural powers
  • Have nine different lives to play around with

Dang good reasons to be satisfied.

The topic also made me think of a cat perched high in the cat bird seat, next to an open bird cage, with the kind of contented grin one can only get from eating the resident bird.

I didn’t want to use the idea of eating small feathered things as the only way to be satisfied, so I let that last thought flutter out of my head altogether.

My final project result was a non-bird-eating Satisfaction Cat, featuring a rosy pink, glittery outlook, a collage of images representing things that bring me satisfaction, and a sensationally satisfied smile.

Enjoy!

satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction:: Hummingbird, sunshine
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Planets, pulling out a splinter
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Flowers, garden, hugs, purple swirls from Biomat energy, headstand on a paddle board
satisfaction cat art therapy
Things that bring satisfaction: Love, dogs, lifting weights, naps, making money, LOL-ing, phone calls with mom, job well done

Dig the satisfaction cat? Check out more fun felines and other animals at rynski’s etsy shop.

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May I Brag about My Brother?

sibling rivalry turned pride

My brother won an award, and I feel like bragging about it. This is a big deal.

The award is a big deal, sure. It consists of recognition for teamwork – and a designated parking space – at the hospital where he works.

But the biggest deal about the deal is that I’m genuinely happy for my brother – and not jealous at all.

Anyone who grew up in a house peppered with sibling rivalry, heady competition, and racing to see who could do what first might know how absolutely glorious it feels to actually be happy – instead of jealous – when a sibling does something cool.

Sibling Rivalry

I’m not sure when our sibling rivalry began, but I’m guessing it was the day my younger brother was born. I don’t recall being pushed aside for my new baby brother, but I do recall thinking I was the queen of the world. That meant anything that had the potential to take attention away from me could be cause for alarm, whether the potential was actually realized or not.

While you might expect rivalry from a batch of sisters like the Kardashians, where they’re all competing for fame, fortune, and the biggest butt, it’s not something you would necessarily expect from me and my brother.

That’s because we:

  • Are four years apart
  • Have totally different interests, dreams, goals, styles. He kayaks. I paddle board. He paints saints. I paint skeletons, dogs and spiders.
  • Are pretty much on opposite sides of the personality scale (aside from our matching sarcasm and wit)
  • Are fans of different football teams
  • Took totally different paths in life, with totally different results. He went to college and medial school immediately after high school and eventually became a surgeon. I hopped on a Greyhound bus bound for New York City and eventually realized my dream of making a living through writing, art and creation.

Despite our massive differences, I still felt the need to compete. I wanted to be the first to call Mom on her birthday, send Dad a Father’s Day card, book my plane ticket for a family visit, or get dibs on the last corner piece of deep-dish Buddy’s pizza.

Competition seemed to always be part of our relationship, at least in my head. This competition sometimes reared up mightily enough for me to turn into underlying envy. I’d look at everything my brother had, which included many things I didn’t, and want to use some of that sarcasm on him.

When I heard about this latest award, however, my heart didn’t harden with jealousy. It opened with love.

What the Heck Happened?

I can pinpoint several factors that are likely to have contributed to this glorious change of heart. They include:

  • Keeping a daily gratitude list for the past year, which makes me grateful for what I have instead of what I think I lack
  • Realizing there is enough God, love, money, fun, and everything else in the world to go around for everyone to enjoy, reassuring me that I won’t get less if someone else gets more
  • Being part of a supportive community that actually cheers for people to succeed rather than secretly hoping they’ll fail
  • Stopping the dang comparisons. Someone will always be smarter, younger, richer or have fewer dental fillings – but only I can be me.

No doubt I’ll be keeping up the above practices. The daily gratitude list comes with illustrations, has spawned several art projects, and consistently obliterates negativity. The realization that there’s enough of everything for everyone helps me revel in abundance.

Supportive communities that actually cheer you on are like getting a big hug every time you’re in their presence. And stopping the comparisons helps ensure we’ll enjoy the unique person we were born to be.

Not only that, but I can merrily brag about my brother and his award, instead of groveling and wondering why I didn’t win one. I can be happy for who he is, what he does, and that he’s my award-winning brother. But that still doesn’t mean I’ll ever give up dibs on the last corner piece of Buddy’s pizza.

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Cranky Today? This May be Why

jiminy crankball cause of crankiness

You know those days. You wake up annoyed and cranky, ready to drop-kick anything that gets in your way. What the heck is going on? There’s a good chance you’ve been invaded by the Jiminy Crankball.

What’s the Jiminy Crankball?

The Jiminy Crankball is a small, fuzzy invasive species that makes people cranky. He usually crawls in through the left ear, first infiltrating the brain and then moving throughout the rest of the body.

How You Get It

The Crankball species is especially adept at pinpointing weaknesses and certain circumstances that are basically begging for members to invade. These include lack of sleep, being hungry, or getting a $290 parking ticket in Phoenix.

Any annoyance that disrupts your normal routine can invite the Crankballl, as can stepping in cat puke and listening to bad house music.

Oh yeah, you may as well set up lawn chairs for the Crankballs during the monthly womanly thing. That’s when they come around in swarms.

How You Get Rid of It

The only way to eradicate the Crankball is to address and resolve the weakness that let him enter in the first place. Get some sleep. Eat some treats. Deal with the parking ticket. Get back into your normal routine. Clean up the cat puke. Shut down that godawful music. Take a hot bath and a nap.

What Else You Need to Know

Crankballs are highly tenacious, breed quickly, and are extremely contagious. Let them fester in your body for days on end, and you’ll end up surrounded by people who are equally as cranky as you are. It’s like going to work when you have the flu only to infect the whole office.

If you’re not sure of the exact weak point that let the Crankball in, try extra sleep or a healthy meal anyway. You can also talk to others about your crankiness. Crankballs prefer to live just under the skin in the dark. When they’re subjected to attention, laughter or light, they tend to rapidly flee.

Need more helpful hints for dealing with difficult things? Check out the rynski guide for dealing with jerks.

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