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. . . . . On Mother’s Day

A black black family but not mine. Flickr Commons

With eight operations; (two major), one near fatal car crash, two parachute jumps, seven bouts of pneumonia caused by the hereditary disease Sickle Cell Anemia, various mishaps and accidents, all behind me and the 50th

My sister Elise with Max Taylor sculpture

My sister Elise with Max Taylor sculpture

birthday looming, there are times I need to take stock of where I am physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually. Here is what I know for sure.

Without a strong support structure of able, intelligent, friends and relatives, I’d be DEAD!

I’ve written before about the Power that Gratitude has on our lives.  In this vein, I’d like to give thanks to those persons who have come this far with me and whom I am prepared to carry with me the rest of the way.  Since it’s Mother’s Day, I’ll start with the ladies . . . . . .

Family

Eula Delancy (Mother) – Great men like myself (I’d also say Modest but it sounds like bragging) begin from great stock like her.  There is no need to write more because she has her own post which you can read HERE.

 

Elise Delancy (Sister) – Older than me by ten years, my relationship with her is explained in this post.

 

Aunt Elva on her way to church

Aunt Elva on her way to church

Elva Minnis (Aunt) – My dearest aunt -who still does my laundry and

has mediated any number of arguments between me and Elise.  Aunt Elva is one of the funniest, wittiest and kindest women ever.  Despite

having known her all my life, I am always surprised by the number of people she has helped or continues to help. Never a word of who needed her and what was required.

Her personal motto “live while you may and die when you can’t do any better”,   describes her perfectly .  My favourite quote from her is, “I ‘most 90 but I ain’t old yet” which she said on her 85th birthday.

Karen Strachan ( sister) – My eldest sister and the only one of us brave enough to reproduce.  Thanks for taking that one for the team!!

Singleton Cox (Cousin) – Like the little annoying sister I never wanted,  my super successful cuz  has grown into the kind of woman that makes my family proud.

Girlfriends

Lauren Riviere – My Significant Other (along with Consuela – an inside joke)  and my source of happiness 95% of the time.  Why and how she has managed to put up with me for almost two decades is a mystery.

Betty Rolle – Author, quiet activist,  a source of inspiration and a light into the minds of women.   At one point I quoted Betty so much people thought she was my girlfriend.  A brilliant conversationalist, even her ‘small talk’ is worthy of a Nobel Prize.

Vanria Gibson – Trotman – My BFF.  I still have a hard time believing that I’ve had some of the same friends for more than 30 years and that she is one of them.  It wasn’t until her wedding that I learned  that Vanria is capable of maintaining four or five “Best Friends Forever” relationships.  I’m totally down with being her side BFF for another 30 years.

Marcia Musgrove – Best advice I can give for living a long, healthy life is to find a Seventh-Day Adventist.  Every  rock, bush and potion known or even suspected to increase life, they have it.  Listening to Marcia’s,  instruction I’ve improved my overall health.  Special mention: The only person I know who can slip the words “oolitic sand” into casual conversation but still insist that she’s  not a geek.

Stephanie Babbs-Seymour – Back in the 80’s she was a good friend in college, flash forward to the 2000’s still a good friend and a successful entrepreneur.  No one would think, listening to our conversations that Steph is only a year or so, older than I am.  She gave me on point  relationship advice and helped me get over my homesickness while we were in college.

Rene Hepburn-Davies – Did my entrance interview when I joined my present employer, still friends today.  A friendship filled with laughter and guidance is something we should all cultivate.

 

Honourable mentions go to:

Jennie Reckley (Deceased) During the time I lived on a different  island in The Bahamas, Sister Jennie, fed me, kept my spirits up when I was at a low point, taught me that courage and perseverance  required neither loudness nor martyrdom.  I miss her greatly.

Dr. Christine Chin– primary care physician. Thanks for giving a damn when the male doctors didn’t.

Dr. Raine – Repaired the botched operation on my toes done by another podiatrist.

Hannah Middleton and Shermona Wisdom – Physiotherapists who are putting me back together again.

 

I’d say that’s it but it’s not, there are so many who played a role in bringing this far.  I salute them all!

What about you?  Who are the women that made you a better person?

 

 

Organizing an Art Show. 5 Tips You Need to Know

Dilly Vase by Robin Hardy

Dilly Vase by Robin Hardy

“From Within’ is the first art show of its kind in The Bahamas.  The show featured three woodturners (Robin Hardy, Jeremy Delancy and David McGorran)  who not only highlighted their skills but also the beauty of wood as a medium.   I came up with the idea of having the show in November of 2013 and seeing it to fruition has been  quite the learning process.  For anyone planning an art show, here are some tips that I picked up along the way.

1. Plan Ahead . . . .  Way Ahead

Don’t freak yourself out by trying to do everything at the last minute. Answer these basic questions early on and your life will be easier.

A.  Who are you planning to invite?  I go into more detail on this later in this post.

 B.  Where – Choose your venue.  Take into consideration,location, hours of operation, and management of the space you are intending to use.

C.  When –  Are there other major social events scheduled for the same time as your opening? What time of year?  I know that in The Bahamas almost everyone is broke and tired after the Christmas madness, so I’d try to avoid planning anything for January.

 

2. The Better Your Connections, The Better Your Show.

So, who are you planning to invite?  It’s quite easy for a budding artist to fall into the trap of only inviting family and friends.  These are the people of the social circle that he/she feels most comfortable with.  The problem of course is that these people can also feel so comfortable that they won’t pay for the art on display.

For this art show I wrote an invitation to known art collectors, had it edited by David and Robin, and then the gallery owner, Pamela Burnside.  Finally we added some pictures of the artwork to the letters and where possible had them hand delivered.  The total time spent on this process was about four hours but it yielded a major sale on the first day of the exhibition.

I did not have a personal connection with any of the art collectors but of course Pamela did.   I’ve often wondered how galleries justified 50 to 100 percent markups on an artist’s work.  Well, now I know.  A good gallery owner knows how to get people with money to look at your art, when they are most likely to come and what they are most likely to buy.  They should be able  to guide you through the process of putting the show together.  Therefore, if you can’t work closely and cordially with the space’s management, find another venue.

3. “The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne” Chaucer

I’ve written before about Productivity.  If you are interested you can read my thoughts here and here.  Now I can add to that knowledge with something I learnt the hard way.

DO NOT TRY TO LEARN A TOTALLY NEW SKILL WITHIN ONE TO THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE SHOW.  I tried this and found that I was breaking and repairing things faster than I was completing them.  Don’t make the same mistake, because:

a.  You will not master the skill in time.

b.   It will show in your work.

c.  You won’t be fully focused on what you’re best at.

Here is a video that explains why serious artists go through ‘periods’ which is directly related to the point I’m trying to make.

 

4. Volume not Perfection, Speed not Direction

When you do attempt to learn a new skill, don’t assume that each attempt has to be perfect.  If you practice enough, you will be able to critique your own work as you go along.  If instead you try to make only one or two ‘perfect’ items you won’t incorporate the nuances of the skill and you are more likely to quit.  It’s late and I’m tired, watch this video for a better explanation.

5. Attitude

The feeling an artist is most likely to feel after a show is. . . .disappointment.  Disappointment might be too strong a word but there is a let down even after a ‘successful’ show. So, if you were expecting Fame, Money and groupies, Good Times after your first show, don’t hold your breath.  The rule of thumb is, it  takes ten years to become an overnight success. One disappointing show does not make you a failure, and one successful show does not make you a great artist.  In all things, Equanimity. This may be the hardest skill for an artist to master but it will serve you best.

 

Here are some pictures:

 

by David McGorran

by David McGorran

Pamela Burnside

Pamela Burnside

 

Robin Hardy, David McGorran and Jeremy Delancy

Robin Hardy, David McGorran and Jeremy Delancy.  Yes, I am smiling!

Feel free to leave a question or a comment!

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