Monday Museletter — April 2, 2012


Monday Museletter

April Fool

Happy April!  Hope you didn’t get too fooled on April Fool’s Day.  On April Fool’s Day, I felt like a fool. Many of my cowboy photos have been copied off the internet and been put into Google searches with someone’s else name and website.  It makes me feel like a fool for not protecting my photos with watermarks.  When I first started www.meganoteri.wordpress.com in 2009, I went with the muse and shared my images, hoping to celebrate and inspire others.  I was very naïve.  People stole my images with the right-click one two move, not even thinking about the fact that this was my art. So I have to buckle down and purchase a watermark program and I also have to watch what I put on the internet.  The good news is one of my photos is so artistic and visually appealing that a professional bull rider is using my photo as his Facebook profile photo (the photo is of him).

This same photo has been reposted (without credit to me) on a Southern Romance Writer’s website, a cute faces website, a bunch of other websites, and you can Google the cowboy’s name (Brian Canter) and the website origin on Google says it started at this website (an all-girls school). The website address above says the name of the girls’ school and Canterbury Tales.

Image source: freebooknotes.com
Where were these cliff notes when I needed them in college?

Anyway, this photo below of the cowboy, is just one of my photos that has not been credited back to me as the artist. Some teenage girl must have copied it from  my website and put it in a Canterbury Tales paper. I really have no idea. But Canterbury Tales and Caymen farmers are in the web address when you go to the link.  Any Canterbury Tales scholars out there know how this photo would connect to Caymen farmers from Canterbury Tales?  I remember reading it (or skimming) it in college when I took the best class, which I did not appreciate, at the time (unfortunately) — Western Civilization.  In fact, it was a great class –  every weekday, but it was my freshman and sophomore year in college.  Let’s just say academics were not really my focus.  The course was designed to tell the history of Western Civilization from five perspectives — Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and History.

Back to one of the photos that was pirated:  I am telling the world right now — this is my photo!

"Brian Canter" (c) Megan Oteri - All Rights Reserved

I took it.  Someone acknowledge it, darn it.  I am working on getting the image correctly credited to the website it originated at: http://www.meganoteri.wordpress.com –  I have since made this website password protected  since so many people stole my photos.  I am in the process of putting together the photos to publish a coffee table photo book. The website address above says the name of the girls’ school and Canterbury Tales.   Anyway, this is just one of my photos that has not been credited back to me as the artist.

I get really upset because photography is an art and if a painter spent a lot of time on a painting and someone else claimed to have painted it, that would be just as upsetting.  People think they can just take photos on the internet because they google a name or a place.  But an artist took the time and practiced precision, patience, and craft to capture a beautiful moment, image, place, or portrait.  The photo is so good that Brian Canter, a professional bull rider is using it as his profile photo on Facebook.  This I don’t mind, but I would like to be given proper credit.  It is my copyrighted photo.

Please credit an artist when you share a photo.  Or better yet, contact the artist and ask his or her permission if you can share their work.  They probably will say, “Yes.”  Artists do not create with the intention of getting rich.  Have you ever met a rich artist who got rich from their art right away?  Artists create because the muse is in us! I won’t get started about how some of my other cowboy photos are on other websites.

Pinterest

The silver lining to all this is one of my photos has been properly identified on Pinterest as me being the photographer.

I have had this photo also pinned on Pinterest with my name given.

I have not looked much at Pinterest. The photo is credited to meganoteri.wordpress.com.  Bad news is I had to take that website down because so many photos got pirated.  But I am working on getting the new website up to date with watermarks and flash so photos can’t be stolen.  I do offer photos for sale at this website: http://www.artflakes.com/en/shop/megan-oteri.

Food Review

I am working on a food review for Grocery.com.  This should be posted on Grocery.com late this week.  I will also share the link of the review on this website, Twitter and Facebook.  The last food review I wrote for Grocery.com was for Wheat Thins — it is a review of Wheat Thins 100% Whole Grain crackers.  “What do The Colbert Report, Family Guy, a disbelieving Twitterer, a hiker stuck under a rock, and Wheat Thins all have in common?  They all are part of the new advertising launch of the new Wheat Thins made with 100% whole grain.” – opening line of review Click on this link to read it.

Balance

I am trying to find balance as a stay-at-home mom, writer, and creative.  I still struggle with the desire to go back to work full-time outside the home and finding balance with being OK with just being a stay-at-home mom. There is no just to being a stay-at-home mom.  That is not what I mean by that statement.  What I am really trying to communicate is the idea that just being a stay-at-home mom should be enough.  It is one heck of a job.  I think I say it more poignantly in this post, Red Belly Slide. I have always been driven by needing to do something. Call it dysfunctional, call it people pleasing, call it a need for validation, call it a need to achieve, call it motivation– I call it a nuisance.  I can’t quiet the storm inside me that says, “Capture that moment – everything is art – the next project – the next mountain to climb – etc. etc.  I was always very competitive.  I remember learning to shoot hoops because my older sister was shooting hoops.  I wanted to do what she did.  I have little sister syndrome, I guess.  I know that art lives in me and I can’t quiet the storm, so I paint it.  But sometimes I wish I could just watch a beautiful sunset without having to tell someone about it.  But then again I wouldn’t have this photo to show you — this photo was taken at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. The photo is available on my Flickr account. There is a link to my Flickr account in the sidebar.

"Blue Ridge Sunset...ahh the Beauty!" (c) Megan Oteri - All Rights Reserved

The moments when I feel most at peace though is when I am away from the computer – this can be when I am with my son, outside in nature, or celebrating the muse by writing or taking photos.    I wrote this poem, Dazzle yesterday when my husband was kind enough to give me some time alone to write.  I did not have my camera with me on the porch and a cardinal flew right up into a Dogwood tree in my front yard. There is something majestic about the color contrast of a bright red male against the intense white blooms of a Dogwood in full bloom.  And also how a female blends into the tree, camouflaged by the brown branches.  Listening to the male court the female and the female floating through the air is like watching taffy being made through a glass window at a beach town soda shop — like watching poetry being made — beautiful.

"Bloom" (c) Megan Oteri - All Right Reserved
Bloom: You are beautiful, brilliant, wonderful, and strong. Happy spring. - memomuse

Article

I have an article I am working on that I am very excited about.  I can’t tell you many more details, but I certainly will when the article comes out.  It is a great story.  I am very passionate about the subject and the magazine is very reputable.  I have to say that serendipity is the word that comes to mind when I think about how the opportunity unfolded!

#Brain Tumor Thursday

"One" - (c) Megan Oteri - All Rights Reserved
"Remember, it only takes one person, one thought, one word, one smile to make a difference in someone's life." - memomuse

I have volunteered my time and blog to write and host a weekly column for the brain tumor community.  I met this amazing community through Twitter accidentally when I had put in a hash tag, #brain tumors, when I had this photo, Brain Tumors, up for voting at Talenthouse.com.   You can vote for Talenthouse entries through you Twitter or Facebook account. Every Thursday, there are many people trying to raise awareness about malignant and benign brain tumors in the Twitter community.  Their stories are inspirational.

My mother has had benign, slow growing brain tumors since 2000, at least they were diagnosed in 2000.  For some readers, #Brain Tumor Thursday will be a source of inspiration and hope.  For some, it may be something you don’t wish to hear about.  I understand both sides.  I still can’t watch any visual media that eludes or shows a brain surgery.  But I can listen and read people’s stories about it no problem at all.   My mother had brain surgery in 2000 to put a shunt in her brain to drain the fluid on her brain from the pressure of the tumors.  This surgery saved her life.

Anyway, the template for the tumor patients to fill out is based on my motto: Hope. Wish. Dream. Be. If you wish to read about the launch of this weekly column on my blog, read this post, #Brain Tumor Thursday.  You can also catch up by reading the first profile, which got posted last Thursday (3/29) about Tom McLain.  It is inspirational. They fill in the blank: I hope… I wish… I dream… I am (be)… Then they share three things about themselves, a picture, and a favorite quote if they want. #Brain Tumor Thursday will be posted on my blog every Thursday.

#Brain Tumor Thursday on memomuse goes International

BT Buddies, a non-profit organization from England, that offers support and information for brain tumor patients, has expressed interest in hosting the profiles on their website, dedicating a section to these amazing stories and profiles.    If you know me or my writing, you know it is heavy at times.  That is just who I am.  I think the human condition is what great literature is about.  And I think everybody has a story.  So, if you want something light on Thursdays, you might want to steer clear – some of the profiles are intense.

This Thursday, a woman shares her story of having a baseball size tumor removed.  She truly is a brave person.  And living courageously with a disease.

As Rocky says, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.”  But the thing is, storms create rainbows and this woman is a rainbow of living, breathing hope and inspiration for the brain tumor community and others.

Mini Muse Interviews

If you, as a regular reader, would like to participate in the Hope. Wish. Dream. Be. mini muse interviews, you can fill out the template and I will post them in the Mini Muse Interviews section of this blog.  It is a current project and you don’t have to have a brain tumor to participate.  We all have hopes, wishes, and dreams and most importantly – we all ARE. We be!  Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.  If you would like to see an example of a Mini Muse Interview, click on this link or go to the tab up top that says, “Mini Muse Interviews.”  It would be great for you to participate!  You can email me at memomuse@gmail.com if you are interested.

Just LeDoux It – Chris LeDoux

As most of you know, I am from Wyoming.  I call Wyoming home and it always will be.  But my home travels with me — Wyoming is in my heart.  I carry the courage, cowboys, cowgirls, pride, people, landscape, and stories within me — within my muse.  You can view my portfolio here, which has a lot of my Wyoming photos.  One of my favorite poets and rodeo cowboys is Chris LeDoux.  Sadly, he died in 2005 from cancer.  He was an exceptional human being who really portrayed the essence of the cowboy code.  He wrote poems while he was traveling the rodeo circuit, which he turned into country music songs.  These are some of the lyrics from “Cadillac Cowboy,” and he mentions Cheyenne, and he is referencing the Daddy of em’ All of rodeos!

Turn up that radio

Don’t wanna think about a rodeo

Don’t wanna think about a round-up

Up in old Cheyenne

It’s a crazy circuit

But still you work it

Chris LeDoux graduated from the same high school I did in Cheyenne.  I was lucky enough to meet him in person and see his beautiful smile and be LUCKY enough to have him smile directly at me.  After a long day of taking photos at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo (where most of my cowboy photos come from), my buddy, Thumper,  who worked behind the chutes, told me, “Be back here at 5.  It will be worth your while.”   I didn’t have any film left and I couldn’t go home, so I took Thumper’s advice. I have a story about meeting Chris, which I will post on this website when voting for his photo opens on April 16.  So stay tuned.

Here is the link to the photo, Chris LeDoux,  You can click on the link and become a supporter today.  By becoming a supporter, you will be sent an email from Talenthouse when voting opens, reminding you to vote.

One Ride is a musical celebrating Chris’ music and tells the story of the rodeo cowboy.  Check out the website, One Ride, to find more info.  You can also find information about the musical, One Ride, at the Chris LeDoux offical website and you can listen to lots of his beautiful country songs.  When you click on the website, you will be greeted by one of my favorite songs, “Old Paint.”  Click here to read the lyrics to that song. Chris was a true cowboy bard and poet.

National Poetry Month

National Poetry month is April!  Write a poem.  Read a poem.  Think a poem.  You are a poem. I will share my favorite poem:

Hope     

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune–without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

– Emily Dickinson


My Muse – My Son

My son is my muse.  He is a full blown toddler.  He is into everything and is as curios as a bee in spring.  I am so lucky to be a mom, as I had several miscarriages in the past and struggled with infertility for many years.  I am blessed and everyday I am thankful to be able to enjoy his energy and enthusiasm for life.  Like right now, he is pouring coffee on the floor.  But at least, it is the wood floors and not on top of my computer. Ben’s favorite March flower was the daffodil and he plucked every single one off its stem and gave my husband or me it.  I wonder what his April flower will be?  What is your favorite April bloom?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a flower per say — maybe an annual event or occurrence.

"Spring Muse" - (c) Megan Oteri - All Rights Reserved
This is a photo of my son, picking the tops off daffodils -- the gateway flower into spring.

Monday Museletter

I am going to try to do the Monday Museletter every Monday.  Don’t think I am getting organized or anything or predictable!  I will still surprise you with random posts on Tuesday through Sunday, except on Thursday – that is Brain Tumor Thursday.  And does anyone have a suggestion for a better title for that weekly column? Have a great week and thank you for being such a wonderful community where I can share my muse, thoughts, and art.  If you would like to be on the Monday Museletter email list, let me know in the comments or sending me an email at memomuse@gmail.com.  You can also subscribe via email or RSS (see the first two side bar widgets).

Thank you for your time.  Have a muse filled Monday!

Hope. Wish. Dream. Be.

http://www.talenthouse.com/memomuse

http://www.artflakes.com/en/shop/megan-oteri

https://twitter.com/#!/memomuse1

memomuse@gmail.com

Red Belly Slide


    

My little beautiful boy! He is adorable. He was so cute -- he gave Teddy a special hug after Teddy fell off Ben's "motorcycle" and he ran him over. I was witness to toddler magic. Some days it really is that simple and pure.

Red Belly Slide

After looking over some motivated to do lists in my notebook, it has dawned on me I still have not looked at being a stay-at-home mom as a full-time job.  I long for a day of emails, phone calls, and people asking me for my expertise.  I’m still trying to fit in so many other tasks to fill in as a freelance writer and photographer, as if 40 hours of a workweek exist.  I get frustrated when I can’t get it all done or even find time to concentrate for more than ten minute stretches.  Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job.  Why does it feel like I should fit more in?

Am I missing the Big Picture?  Am I missing that my son and I have this unique opportunity to bond?  (As I write this I’m cheering him on as he goes down the spring pollen dusty red slide at the park near our house.)

For just as I wish be recognized for my creative talents, he wishes to be recognized for his.  And for him, it’s going down the red slide on his belly making sure I watch him the whole way.  He sneaks a look back at me to make sure I watched until the very end.

Sometimes I’d rather watch paint dry than watch my son play, but heck, these days go by so very quick – I should savor the quiet.  I should savor no emails, phone calls or interaction with adults because I’ve got the most interesting boy in the world sliding down a red slide on his belly and he really cares if I participate.

A slideshow of our adventure walking to the park, with the scent and sights of spring in the warm North Carolina air.  My favorite spring bloom is the Dogwood tree.  A fleeting moment as spring blows her sweet kisses, welcoming rebirth and renewal. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m Not Alone


 

Painting by J Gray

Benjamin’s in my arms right now.  Quiet, sleeping, calm.  I’m watching him like an oil painting in a museum.  My tiny giant one year old.  I study his face and body. His ears have grown; they are now the size of apricots.  His hair curls with the humidity.   I study his sounds.  His tiny snores zigzag under his breath.  When he is asleep I am Wonder Mom.  When he is overdue for a nap and I am overdue for a nap, I am Awful Mom.

The fight to go down for this nap lasted 30 minutes, seemingly like hours through toddler twists and mounts, crying screams that only escalated in decibels, cocooning into a curved ball on my shoulder, head butts to establish prime shoulder rest real estate, and a tenacious one year old desire to stay awake.

I tried the breast first.  It used to be my go to sleep inducer.  Doesn’t really work anymore;  he filled up –recharged and energized, hips spinning from back to belly to knees to movement, pointing to things with toddler immediacy and curious craft.  Saying “Dis, Dis,” and trying to unravel the mystery of each object.  The air purifier: white like a Storm Trooper, sleek and tall, shiny, huffing out Darth Vader voices of puffs and curled noise with electric royal blue lights humming back and forth like an elevator.    The light on the side table to the left of the mattress on the wooden floor — its cord now tucked secretly behind its back.  The light, a montage of balls and gloves – football, basketball, soccer ball, and a baseball, all equally interesting to him.  “Dat Dat.” He points again looking back at me with the inquiry of a class of eager freshman. 

This nap is going nowhere.  I start to think about moms who sleep train. I begin to envy scheduled nap time where babies know to nap and agree with baby coos and smiles, snuggling lovies that offer comfort.  Teddy bears, baby blankets, little toddler hippos, grey and blue with fuzzy soft down material – some kind of something that will fill in my mom blank.  Something he wants more than me right now when I am not soft and snuggly on the inside.  In fact, I am dry as the desert and in need of an oasis of patience.  I imagine one flowing full with clear streams of mother love.  I begin to drool from the thirst.

 This patience I barely have is wearing thin, like dough rolled out in transparent flakes.  I suddenly am desperate for him to go to sleep.  Desperate.  My plans on peacefully napping with him to catch up on much needed rest and sleep passes.  Quickly, like lightening bug flashes.  I suddenly want wine, sugar, donuts, cupcakes, beer, coffee, carbs, and lots of it.  Out.  An escape hatch.  Where’s the nanny?  Where’s the hatch? Oh, I am a Stay At Home Mom. There is no hatch.  I even have an acronym: SAHM.  I’m the damn nanny.  There is no damn escape hatch.

He is smiling, grinning with giggles that echo through the room and bounce off the high ceilings of his blue bedroom.  I get a cup of oasis patience water and smile back at him.  I can’t resist the song of his giggles so gorgeous.  I’ve sang him Over the Rainbow over and over the best I could.  Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high da da da da da da da to dream aloud. Once upon a da da da da da da da. Way up high on chimney tops and lemon drops you’ll find me, waiting…

Where does the patience come from?  Where does it end? 

Layered Hands

It is quick like lightening when that long braided rope runs out, slipping quickly through my layered hands, my layered thoughts, my layered mind.  Layered with questions, insecurities, doubts, fields of emotions, floors of frustration, conundrums, lists of things I’ll never do, wishes put on hold, way up top next to the creamed corn, on the shelf I can barely reach. 

I’ve got to raise this baby.  This boy.  My boy, Benjamin.  Hold those teeth tight.  Lassi whoa, the horses can’t gallop off just yet. I’ve got a family to feed, but the horses patter — their feet below the very ground that is supposed to hold me stable – sturdy – rooted in soil. My curled tendrils attach below this very ground in the garden of motherhood. 

Photo by Lisa Dearing

The horses’ hooves start to become restless—eager to run – to escape – to gallop in a wild childfree shout.  I start thinking about news shows and 20/20 segments about moms that start drinking at noon because of the boredom.  I think about how having a job outside the home holds me in place. Holds my busy mind, scheduled, engaged in adult synapses of activity and thought.   Boredom erupting, flowing over into red pooled lava circles. The containment area – lullabies, swing sets, and gooey gooey baby talk. 

Earlier this morning on our morning walk, I thought about working, how even hanging on the back of a garbage truck would be more active than this.  More exciting, as I listened to the men shout and rumble through the quiet morning streets, banging and pounding, creating a symphony of noise like jazz musicians.  Strolling down the sidewalk, with my beautiful baby boy, who was taking it all in visually.  His mind turning cartwheels and somersaults.  My mind – numb with boredom.  I was suddenly jealous, eager to be hooting and shouting along with the loud garbage men, bustling with activity on this early AM morning.   I thought about interaction.  About space.  About time.  About mind.

 I thought about all the people I used to talk to on a daily basis when I was a teacher and now as a SAHM, I have to check in politely for bi-monthly play dates.  I’m desperate for daily contact.  I used to see my colleagues every day.  A comment – a conversation – a break in the teacher’s longue.  Something – an exchange of ideas, humor, fashion yes nods.  “You look good today.  I like that shirt; it brings out your eye color.”  A question.  An opinion.  A complaint.  A joke.  A dare.  A don’t.  Something.  I don’t get this from Ben, from the swing set at the park, nor does the stroller answer back.  Instead, I look forward to bi-monthly mom meet ups.  My version of lonely staff meetings where we make small talk about sleep schedules, baby food, and recipes and try to get to know each other through questions like, “Where do you live and what does your husband do?”  

I am too open I think, admitting to post-partum depression barely after introductions are made.  I stumble long after the group has assembled and disassembled, breaking down the baby strollers, and driving off to each of our own separate spaces.  I’m still yearning for a 9 – 5 work day; a 9 – 5 play date would work.  I ask myself and roll over the video in my sleep deprived mind – “Why did I say that?  Where is your damn filter for goodness sake?”  But then a mom I have just met clicks like links in a set.  She laughs at my blunt cut Grade A honesty and nods her head.  Yes, I get it.  That’s all I need to hear.  I’m not alone.