Feline Focus

Feline Focus
My latest puma, July 2016


Beloved companion to Sarah, Nov 2015

Window To The Soul

Window To The Soul
Watercolour Horse, June 2015

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties
Watercolour Lionesses, Nov 2012


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others."

Groucho Marx

Snow Stalker

Snow Stalker
Another snow leopard - my latest watercolour offering - July 2013

10 February 2019

And, Moving On...

Nightingale in watercolour, Jan 2019

Yes, it’s time to say goodbye.  I started this blog on the 10th February 2010, exactly nine years ago, so it’s rather fortuitous that I should end it now; though I have to say that it was someone else who suggested that it was perhaps time to bring it to a close and start afresh, given that I don’t like endings (or beginnings, both of which denote change, a concept with which I’m not at all comfortable), and would therefore have carried it on, and simply tried to re-boot and re-purpose it.

But the fact is, it has fulfilled its purpose: which, according to the words of my first post, was “a vague hope that perhaps I might find my own voice, and it might help to re-ignite my enthusiasm for writing. Oh, and that maybe there will be someone out there with Aspergers whom it might help. You never know.”  So, basically, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing with it, and it shows.  Never was a blog more appropriately titled.

Having moved past the rambling stage (which at least denotes some form of movement), and got stuck in a circuitous holding pattern for some time now, I have decided to end this iteration of my blogging life and begin a new one, which will have a definitive, single purpose this time - to share my experience, strength, and hope as an autistic using the Twelve Step programme on everything, from my alcoholism, eating disorder, etc, to my autism and adhd.  And this time, God willing, I will stick to the point.  I’ll post the link here on this blog when I get it up and running.

I might also start another blog in which to post my artwork, poetry, and all the other creative and literary bits and bobs with which I sporadically littered this one.  If, or when, I do, I will also post that link here for anyone who might be interested in seeing how I progress along that journey, though it will mostly be to satisfy my desire to display my work (like many of my fellow/sister autistics, I do so love to display things).  But my focus will be primarily on the other new blog.

So here’s to new adventures.  I hope you’ll come along with me.  

30 January 2019

Add Moron

This is a fox I painted, whose nose is too broad, making him look like a Corgi dog.  Still, I like the colours.

Struggling with feeling overwhelmed?  Can’t make a decision?  Too many choices?  Too much on your plate?  Fret not, I have the solution.  Add more on.  Yes, that’s right - do what I do, and add more to your plate of ever-expanding options.  Never mind that the more you add the less you find yourself able to choose or, ultimately, do anything at all.  Instead you’ll become catatonic with chaos, paralysed by perplexity, incapacitated by information overload.  Embrace it!  After all, variety is the spice of life (so they say).  

And look what fun you’ll have, spending oodles of hours (not to mention money, probably) accumulating all of this wealth of ‘stuff’, which will ultimately leave you poverty-stricken - poorer in mind, spirit, body, and bank balance.  But go on, I say, throw caution to the wind.  You only live once, so you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to drown in all the wealth of choices life has to offer.

And now I would like to make an interjection, in order to clarify that I am, of course, being ironic.  Please do NOT do what I’ve just suggested.  On the contrary, my advice would be to ignore it completely (if you can).  My point is that this is what I do, and a fat lot of good it does me.  It appears to be my default mode - something to do with a fault in the wiring which leads me to confuse the words “more” with “less”, and “complicated” with “simple”.  Beyond that, I cannot explain the bizarre and perplexing nature of this particular ‘quirk’.

As a consequence of the undesirable results of this behaviour, I am now trying to make a change by doing the opposite - whilst, simultaneously, attempting not to do the other thing I do, which is to go to the polar opposite i.e. rather than lessening my options, ending up removing them completely, and deciding to become a minimalist, or go and live as a yogi on the top of a Tibetan mountain.  Ah, the vagaries of being a person of extremes, with no middle ground to speak of (never mind live in).

So here, hopefully for your edification (and my own amusement), are a few examples of where I have tried applying my version of simplification.

Compared to a lot of the artists I’ve seen on YouTube, I don’t have an excessive amount of stuff.  However, for me what I did have felt overwhelming as it was (all the choices left me with barely enough time or energy for the painting itself).  So I came up with the stonking good idea for how to lessen the overwhelm - I gave myself more options.  Yes, I added more, and now I have double the overwhelming choice I had before.  Marvellous.

And still on the subject of art, which is an endless source of overwhelm… I find most of my ideas for my paintings on-line (Pixabay is a good site); but, as with everything, I can’t just have one photo at a time to use, I have to look at and download more (despite the fact I already have a collection of photos for this purpose on my computer), thus adding to my woes when it comes to trying to decide what to paint.

I couldn’t decide where to start with re-reading the books I already owned, so I decided I should try the minimalist route (having recently become obsessed with reading about the idea on the internet), and get rid of any books which weren’t my favourites, and wouldn’t be re-read.  Strangely, there was a major fault in the way my brain translated this instruction because, rather than getting rid of any of my books, I ended up buying more instead, and dramatically increasing my library.  I’m still quite baffled as to how this happened.

Do you know how many yoga mantras, meditation techniques, mudras, gurus/teachers, and schools of thought there are?  No, neither do I, but I’ve tried incorporating many of them, and then wondered why I don’t feel particularly serene.  It’s because I was too busy worrying about all of the other options I thought I was missing out on, and how in the name of Shiva’s socks I was going to fit them in.  I am happy (and relieved) to say that here, at least, I have managed somewhat to simplify my practice, mostly by giving up wandering about on the internet looking at yoga sites.  As you may have noticed, that’s the third time the internet has been implicated.  It has a lot to answer for.  Speaking of which…

Yes, the very thing which is the source of too much information and too many choices is the first thing to which I head when I feel confused and overwhelmed by too much information and too many choices - thus adding to my ever-expanding pile of options, and my ever-increasing confusion as to what to choose.  And yes, I know it’s obvious what to do when it’s written down, but not when you’re in it: and not when you have an addiction to excessive (and inappropriate) internet use. *sigh*

And finally, I have even managed to complicate the process of blogging.  Not content with simply writing things and then posting them, I decided that they needed to be categorised, and also embellished with photos, the way I’ve seen other people do on theirs: you know, “proper, professional-style” blogs - the kind I can get distracted by for hours.  Copying again. *sigh*  I also imagined that it would inspire me to write more consistently for my blog, but it’s simply overwhelmed me, and now I can barely remember all the categories that I’ve implemented.  Plus, the purpose of my blog has become rather obfuscated in amongst all these supposed ‘simplifications’.

And there you have it - but a small selection of all of the opportunities available to me for making my life more complicated and overwhelming, to which I run at the drop of a hat.  Now I just have to learn to recognise when it’s happening (which is relatively easy to spot - it’s when I’m thinking about things, unattended by the guidance of God/a Higher Power; or another, sensible, human being who knows me well enough to recognise the signs), and then run in the opposite direction.  Screaming.  

08 January 2019

You Say You Want A Resolution...

Watercolour Horse - Nov 2018

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning, but a going on with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”    Hal Borland

“To promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.”    Mark Twain

Oh look, it’s that time of year again - the start of a new year (or  should that be New Year, just to denote its importance and significance?)  Yes, the time when my bonkers brain tries once more to get me to sneak into my life yet another plan, under the cunning disguise of new year’s resolutions.  Because, of course, a resolution is completely different to a plan (well actually, no, it’s not).  And of course, it being the New Year will make all the difference to my ability to be able to follow and stick to any plan  *ahem* resolution I mean (not at all the same as a plan) because, you know, it’s different.  I insist - this time it WILL be different!

Yes, yes, I know I’ve never yet, in all of my fifty-one years of living on this planet with this brain, been able to stick to any of the hundreds of resolutions I’ve ever made (strangely reminiscent of my inability to stick to any plans I’ve ever tried to implement, outside of the routine I have installed to keep me functioning on a daily basis).  But I live in hope (or a delusional state of magical thinking, and a stubborn resistance to accepting reality).  You never know, this might be the year I achieve the impossible improbable highly unlikely (and, while I’m at it, I might just stumble upon the land of Narnia in the back of a wardrobe - if I could only find the right wardrobe).

Let’s face it, I love a plan; I love the idea of following a plan; I’m OBSESSED with plans; I just don’t have the genetic disposition to be able to stick to one, without tweaking, complicating, or abandoning it five minutes after I’ve made it.  I’d have to have my brain genetically modified to get me to be the person I dream of being - super-efficient, rigidly structured, hyper-productive.  

You know, when I look at it like that, what I basically mean is that I want to be a robot.  Or someone else.  Or both - someone who is a spontaneous robot, but who doesn’t have all of those confusing and messy feelings that get in the way of me functioning efficiently.  Oh, isn’t that what the scientists working on Artificial Intelligence are trying to achieve?  Something that resembles a human being, but with which you can replace the inefficient, inconsistent, unpredictable human workforce?  And it’s not like they haven’t already made inroads, replacing them with automated services, thereby putting people out of work, and reducing the amount of jobs available.  And here am I, offering myself up on a plate.  What a dodo.  
To get back to the point, then, giving a plan another name (or ‘re-branding’ it, as they say), and re-packaging it in shiny new wrapping is not going to change the results one iota.  I still won’t be able to stick to it.  
One day I’ll fully accept this, and stop living in the future.  One day… (Oh, is that a plan I see before me, for how I plan to live in the day at some point in the future?  Well, golly gadzooks, how on earth did that sneak in?)  
Long story short, I have no plan to make any resolutions for this or any other year to come… but I’m sure that, if I contemplated that statement for long enough, I’d find that I’d somehow managed to sneak in a plan.  Oh bum.  *rolls eyes*

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
An experiment in watercolour and gouache

Quotes Quota

"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.

"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."

From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett


Copied from photograph of the same name by Roberto Dutesco

Quotes Quota

"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama

"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."

Malcolm X

On The Prowl

On The Prowl
Watercolour tiger

Quotes Quota

"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step."

"There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

C S Lewis