Category: creating


After my visit to the eye doctor I ordered new glasses with new frames … this level of clarity cost over $700.

I’ve read thousands of pages, watched hundreds of hours of video on animal training and applied it … this level of clarity cost a lifetime with animals.

I’ve practiced drawing, artwork, playing instruments and singing … this level of clarity cost massive creativity.

I’ve written journals, mindmaps, blogs and lists … this level of clarity cost intuition, self-knowledge, pens and ink.

I’ve lived rural, grown food, and been outside in all weather … this level of clarity cost living with nature.

Imagine how easy your life will be when you are able to make all decisions with clarity and freedom from fear. —Lulu Mares

Rhubarb leaves in autumn colors … the weather has faded them now that it’s December. Photo – J. Renzoni


What has clarity cost You?


Finding crows

watercolorcrows 001
Watercolor  11 X15 Strathmore 140lb cold press paper, vision of a crow family.

As a teenager I looked early every spring to see if I could find a crow’s nest. My intent was to climb up and steal one of their babies. I wanted a crow for a pet. My brother and I scouted the woods. Crows nest very high. Very high.

I had raised a pigeon and taught her quite a few things. She even went to school with me one day. She liked riding on top of cars as they left the school grounds where we lived. Then she stayed with my grandmother when we went somewhere for an extended period and grandmother apparently released her to her resident flock of barn pigeons. Back to the wild for Freedom. I grew taller and the next time we saw her she landed on my younger brother’s shoulder instead of mine and he was surprised. Scared her. She never came down to us again, despite frequent attempts to cajole her. She’d just look, pace and coo.

I never found a crow’s nest that was anywhere near accessible. Probably lucky me. One year we did find an easily looked at blue jay’s nest with three eggs in a red pine tree, however they are a protected species. It’s changed since back then, crows now are also protected by the migratory birds law. Every once in a while, I still think longingly of crows especially when the local gathering gets rowdy. Such smart, irritating and funny birds.



Watercolorhorses poetry

My watercolor art – I thought I’d create a haiku explanation. It seems that the same event, viewed at the same time creates different emotions in all of us. Only time reveals the most correct response, which is then boggled by differing memories.

For you non-horse body language viewers: the red horse wants to swirl and run, the brown/white horse is willing to investigate … but if the red horse runs the other horse will go with it.

Interesting isn’t it?

Ice Creatures

We’re back to cold in Wisconsin – 7 degrees overnight and a high that barely skirts the 20s. Our brief springlike weather has blown over. But there is some melting, dripping, ice forming in the bright sunlight and that’s where the creatures are formed.

Icedragonfly 006a
Decorated ice photo – Dragonfly aka Mosquito Dragon photo Jeanine Renzoni
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Ice creature in the honeysuckle vine. Photo Jeanine Renzoni

Dragonfly, serpent gleam;

Delicate bridge, to in between;

Icy drips, aching cold;

Sunlight streams, never old.

Icefrog 002a
Photo edited to intensify ice frog … – Jeanine Renzoni
Icedragonfly 002
Ice frog in the honeysuckle vine – photo Jeanine Renzoni

Sagging amid the honeysuckle vines,

Amphibian style so reclines,

Frozen in this awkward pose,

When will spring come, no one knows.



Learning mastery

Snowpinesdec272014 005My asking has celestial life in the shadowy garden still.

I once read it took at least 10,000 hours or maybe a lifetime to become a master of whatever you’re trying to master. It’s not possible at 10 minutes or even 20 minutes per day because you won’t live long enough.  At 4 hours per day, 2500 days.

Expertise is valuable, even though we live in a confusing time where access to information ranks almost the same as having mastery.

As I work towards mastery in my garden of interests, I find that my sporadic progress, and randomly focused gathering of tools and ideas, has suddenly allowed me to do lots of new things – which I couldn’t do before. I was learning things, that had limited use in and of themselves, when internalized and congealed, a whole new range of options magically appeared. I have graduated so connections light up. However, now there are new problems, new things become important, become visible and necessary.

Lethargic progress finds precious flame, enlightened.

When I’m learning from (talking to or reading or looking at videos of) someone, it’s obvious if they are a level above me, because they see instantly or do instantly what takes me work or time or both to figure out. The newly accomplished are good people to learn from, because they were recently where I am now, they remember the struggle. What they are doing is easy for me to make sense of (it’s not that much harder, even though I can’t do it yet, than what I can already do).

Early success fuels confidence, until…

Learning from someone many levels up is a different matter. They are barely understandable, incomprehensible, in fact, they speak a new language. It’s hard to think I would ever know or be able to do what they do. Trying to learn from them is good (barring the discouragement of being so far below), but the things they want to teach seem philosophical, not practical, and it’s hard to see how they’ll help.

Hard to see until the philosophy is what enables new jumps.

A master of ______ (fill in the blank) is speaking a different language. Even if the words are comprehensible the meanings are more nuanced, more specialized. They may seem less impressive than someone who is just several steps up, because most of what they’re thinking about and referring to is totally invisible to me.  So invisible it doesn’t even register. They usually are aiming for understandable, as opposed to trying to impress. They have gone beyond the complexity, to refined, deep knowledge and ability. I might think I can follow them because of the really entertaining stories they told. Any one of these stories, if I pay enough thoughtful attention to it, can have adequate insight to get me into my next phase of mastery. If they are recorded, I watch them many times with space and learning in between.

It’s always a head shaking surprise – why didn’t I catch that before?

What are you trying to master? Is there something that made you step up? Something invisible that became suddenly visible?

Success, planning, life examined

Success, planning, life examined by Jeanine Renzoni

It seems like the weather is the mother of fated armchair introspection, of course having an antenna that went out and so the TV doesn’t work helps too. Excessive cold makes it easier to work inside. The shortest day, winter solstice,

Winter Solstice
Winter Solstice (Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

is almost here – time to turn on the lights and review and plan and adjust instead of letting shadowy destiny arrive as it may.

Why? I worry that if I don’t do something pro-active many of the things I say and think I want, won’t happen. It’s too easy to put off, make excuses, do something that’s immediately more fun or entertaining or comforting – like read another book or go shopping or make cookies.

Outline or Mind map? I like to look at pictures and connections more than straight lines and words – at least if I’m going to look at them repeatedly. And since this process is all about me (or you if you plan to do it too) I want it to be as fun, entertaining and comforting as possible, but still meet the purpose of enthusiastically mapping out my plans, ideals, goals, and yes time frames.

I did a Lumosity brain preference quiz and it identified me as 62% right-brained, 38% left. This is likely too simplified, but fun as an explanation of why some things click and others don’t.

If you like outlines or specific kinds of paper, pens, computer software, iPad, smart phone, collages, paint, markers, stamps, stickers, calendars … use them, be authentic and enjoy it.

The most exhausting thing you can do is to be inauthentic.  – Anne Lindbergh

I’m doing some trading (my animal training ability for learning how to work in stained glass) and the artist I’m working with (Kathy Heir does lovely glass creations) suggested doing a collage first to clarify color preference, shape preferences and important things I like. Oddly I had just picked up a second-hand copy of Breathnach’s Illustrated Discovery Journal, which basically asked me to do the same thing – serendipity. It was fun and I ended up with an interesting piece I’ve posted in my craft room. If you haven’t done a collage (ever or recently) I’d strongly suggest doing it, cutting and pasting is more fun when you’re older (I disliked it sincerely in 2nd grade).

My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.
My collage of important things, preferred colors and shapes done before starting to work in stained glass.

I saw a recent AP from Jack Canfield ( of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) that uses photos and statements. According to him, the research states phrasing as if the goal were already achieved is the most beneficial way of posting/thinking of it to make it real. So instead of ‘I will’ statements change to I am or have or do or … In the world of this affirmative plan, events are already happening, in place, active, not just out there waiting to be started.

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. – Iris Murdoch

I really like dog training, I’m really good at it, but I need to re-think what I’m doing if I’m actually going to make a second truly profitable career out of it. This year I got certified as an AKC Canine Good Citizenship evaluator, completed new simplified handouts for classes, in-depth trained four dogs, made lots of agility equipment for 4H (significant time spent here), volunteered as 4H dog project leader, took agility classes with my own dogs and am on board with S. Garrett’s training PP for the next 13 months. The current balance here is still on acquiring more knowledge instead of being paid for it. So far on the not happenin’ yet are self-produced YouTube/videos and anti-dog bite programs for school kids (although I did segments of this in each class and for the 4H dog project kids/parents). The weather this spring put a dent in the outdoor classes, maybe I need a goal about alternatives related to weather.

I like art and music and writing and gardening and food (know a lot about food and health) … So the process involves finding key things and focusing on key pieces of them that I think (you think) would make an important difference, a needed difference in making success (whatever the definition of success is for you). These are the goals, these are the stuff of dreams, but in this game they are already here, happening and do-able.

Life examined? So far on my 2013 mind map there are some nice completed successes and there are areas of stagnation. I wonder should I keep the things in that haven’t had much action? Were they as important as I initially thought they were? What actually seemed most successful? Am I holding myself accountable (in a friendly, frequently nicely treated way) or would I be fired if I worked for somebody else? What things did I concentrate on that I didn’t put in my plan?

Often a small jot on the plan can be a much bigger task than expected. The good thing about this is learning a lot about – details, deep understanding, process. The bad thing is time is taken away from everything else.

What might it look like if I did an outline?

10 year plan – 2014                                                   Finished

  • joined a professional dog trainers association
  • accepted as a guest speaker for dog club
  • participated in competition
  • submitted 6 articles to dog magazines
  • participated in dog club events
  • finished on training video ea. two weeks
  • completed dog art – photos, drawings, painting
  • put up large Cover-All for training classes
  • added agility equipment and sessions
  • limited novel reading (1/wk)

Two Years – 2015

  • designed a new website
  • competed in 3 agility trials (AKC)
  • wrote 1 dog blog per week
  • edited/completed 1 video per week
  • commissioned for 1 dog artwork
  • finished 15 strong pieces (art)
  • guest trained for other training sites
  • ?volunteered for Leaders Blind puppy trainer
  • attended Clicker.expo

Five years – 2018

  • offering web-based dog training
  • breeding and training service dogs
  • participating in two shows per year
  • attending schutzhund training
  • celebrated 

Ten years – 2023

  • writing/illustrating children’s dog book
  • finishing one great painting each month
  • transferred the training/kennel to protegé

This last section feels too far out, too hard to project as so many things could change and I’ll be past retirement age. I guess I’m not sure what I’m planning to do in retirement, I’ll have to think about it more. Plus the outline format makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s too linear or something, but if it works for you – go for it!


Mirror, mirror; DP challenge Wall to wall

What is posted on the walls of our home? What mood does the posting reflect? That is the daily post challenge.

In our house the walls mirror our life and the things we have done, places and animals we have known. The walls also show the gifts we have received. The artwork is, for the most part, created by us – each family member. The photos taken by us and framed and updated in the frames as new interesting photos are taken.

More carving, kinda retro...we don't worry about fashion, just what we like to have around.
More carving, kinda retro…we don’t worry about fashion, just what we like to have around. The brown chair is less than a year old, the kitty scratching post came soon after – it seems that the fabric of the brown chair inspires kitty claws (as you may notice, he’s been using the scratching post).
Dan, my husband carved the rays.
Dan, my husband carved the rays.
Clusters of photography include events like white water rafting, paddling a sale boat due to lack of breeze, rock climbing...
Clusters of photography include events like our first Airedale standing on his hind legs looking over a large wave on Lake Michigan for his ball, white water rafting, paddling a sail boat due to lack of breeze, rock climbing, wood pendulum clock by Dan…some old history and some new history.
Gifts dangle from the ceiling fans, plants add life, paintings done by my daughter or myself grace the walls.
Gifts dangle from the ceiling fans, plants add life, lamp from found pieces, paintings done by my daughter or myself grace the walls.

The mood is creative, eclectic, comfortable and colorful with lots of light coming in. The walls are white in the main areas to serve as a background for art. I like finding things and making things.

So do you make your own art and display it?

Six Senses – mindful use or just forget about it

The visual perception - Photography Course - L...

How many people here have telekenetic powers?

Raise my hand.      – Emo Philips

The sixth sense in movies is woo woo, something psychic or ghostly. I think we’ve just been overlooking the importance of additional senses.  We get stuck in a certain way of thinking and go along with it, but what about…say, like sense of balance?

Maybe it seemed more on the inside than the out. But it’s a sense, I mean we say ‘sense of balance’ so we already accept it as a sense.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.   – John Burroughs

I’m thinking of playing with all the senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight and balance to make them expand instead of decline.

Lack of use makes balance decline, but it improves with adequate vit. D and  practice (like standing on one foot or walking on uneven ground or bicycling very slowly or yoga). Actually all our senses can improve with practice and decline with lack of innovation – as in really looking for detail or specific colors or design; listening for notes, clarity, endings; or tasting for the ability to relate verbally or write a description; or touching with eyes closed and total concentration; or smelling in a way that makes us know all the scents and find them good or yucky. Just like our memory, we quit really absorbing and marking things as attention worthy and then they aren’t…

A couple of years ago I had multiple cycles of inner ear/vertigo leading to throwing up when I changed from lying down to standing up; it ended up that my down pillow and winter allergies had a lot to do with it (threw the pillow away and voila – no more dizzy retching) which was a big, OK giant, relief. I’ve always been prone to car sickness, air sickness or any motion sickness which is totally unfair. I’ve done more than my share of taking Dramamine and using those little handy airplane woozy bags – leave them on the seat, top firmly sealed – oh well.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth, come only from the senses.           – Frederich Nietzsche

I sit here with my eyes closed typing onto a computer screen, I realize how easy it is to get one key off-center if I don’t pay attention to the rise of plastic under my index finger on F and on J. No don’t look to check. I think how much I take for granted the seeing, the visual, the use of my eyes to double-check what I do, where I’m going, how upright and balanced I am. My world is so skewed towards vision, my other senses ignored so often, too often.

Breathing shallowly, sitting here hunched forward, until I realize I’m breathing shallowly then I take a deep breath straightening up and don’t have to breathe again for a while. I notice the sound of the furnace coming on, the sound of the radio in the room above me, some whistling, the sound of the computer humming in the key of C louder in my left ear because it’s on my left side, the drips of the water collecting in the sump pump well below my basement office corner desk top, drip, drip, drip, plop with oddly slightly different tones. I wonder why, but not too much. I’m not going to try to discover the reason, just accept the fact of multi-toned dripping.

My forehead has some tension pain, my left trapezious muscle is slightly sore,  my shoulders, neck tight and tense, my feet in my boots I didn’t take off yet, feel a little cold and a little damp from the snow I walked through. My eyes are slightly dry and squinting now at the screen, I should just close them again. Its been a long day at the newspaper copy editing and proofreading way too many sports stories, news articles and especially obituaries of very old, dead people born in 1915 who died almost 100 years later.  I wonder how much sensation is lost in 90 years. I run my fingers through my thick hair, massaging my scalp and stretching, I yawn. I yawn again, the first time felt good, I swallow, is my throat getting sore? I yawn again, I hope not sore, not that cold or flu or whatever that has gone around.

I close my eyes, sitting here feeling what I feel; points of contact, heels, rump, mid back, elbows touching my midriff and base of palms on the desk and fingertips on the keys. I keep noticing the muscles of my face, maybe I’m getting a…maybe I just keep tensing my facial muscles and they’re tired of it. And I’m chilled.

The sound of dog claws on the tile floor, the jangle of shaken head, scratched neck end of day itchy collar. Then the sound of her laying down behind me and doing doggy grooming, minor jangles and some mildly discordant licking noises. The sound metal jangling tags must bother her with her ears so much better than mine. She gets up, I don’t notice until I feel her muzzle resting firmly on my leg and under my left hand. Is she aware of my thoughts focusing toward and then leaving her or did my body change when I noticed her?

Smell is mostly absent, the breath going in through my nostrils is cool but seemingly unscented stream. The body oil I put on in the morning after showering, fragrance of lavender that makes the dogs huff. They think it’s too strong. I think I quit smelling it before I’m done with breakfast. And taste, I pull my saliva through my mouth…chocolate?

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.      – Oscar Wilde

Maybe one of the reasons taking time for meditation is so health promoting is it provides time for awareness and just getting in touch with what we have helps to improve it or at least not forget about it.

Do you take time to do an inventory sometimes? Are you thinking about improving or working on a certain sense? Art, music, food? Where’s your balance? How important is mindfullness?

Trying to catch the elusive chickadee – the caped crusaders win again

Their taunting dee-dee-dee cries, warning all other little black caped crusaders to stay away from that yummy peanut butter encrusted photo lure because the photographer is lurking. Key word photographer, otherwise they don’t seem to care.I made a fake gingerbread house bird feeder to try to get the Chickadees to sit still long enough for my slow digital.

I made a fake gingerbread house bird feeder to try to get the Chickadees to sit still long enough for my slow digital efforts.

They initially made several forays in, landed in the shrubbery, dashed to the feeder but didn’t eat, moving constantly and flipping away. Then they realized I was trying to capture them – digitally.

This bird feeder came about because we had a  – make a gingerbread house over a 8 oz. carton of milk contest, at work. I don’t particularly like gingerbread houses. And my husband, seeing the empty milk carton on the counter, garbaged it.

So after some thoughts about skipping the contest entirely I came up with using a heel of homemade bread the size of the fated milk carton, smearing it with peanut butter and then using the various grains and seeds we had on hand, plus some dog biscuits to create a version for the birds.

Caught one, barely.
Caught one, barely.

For the indoor contest I added a branch with a beanie blue jay on top, so it hung outside the corner of my cubicle, daring people to knock it off. I didn’t see sunflower seeds on the carpet, so either the resident mice cleaned up or the plate worked.

Outside, after standing, as still as I could for 64 breaths (I didn’t want to move to look at my watch) and becoming really chilled, it’s 6F, I gave up, for now.   This isn’t the first time those Chickadees have thwarted my photographic efforts. They seem strangely camera shy.

Oatmeal roofing tiles, craisin soffits, whole wheat noodle perch.
Oatmeal roofing tiles, craisin soffits, whole wheat noodle perch.

Do you like Gingerbread houses? Should I give up my pursuit of the Chickadees?  I see them all the time. And are they telling me where to go in bird language?