In Light of Recent Events

Debating issues and what changes are needed is not bringing change about. It has not yet.

I respect your opinions whether I agree with them or not.

There is a reason why we must, as parents, be diligent and pay attention to our children. The internet has a side YOU as an adult have most likely never even heard of. I can guarantee you most 12 year olds know way more about the dark net than you do.

Even the best parenting can be undone by the internet.
Even the sweetest of children can succumb to peer pressure or bullying.

I will not say spanking is needed. I will not bring up guns. I will not address mental health issues. I will not say prayers are needed in school.

The arguing back and forth is solving nothing other than to share opinions. This is not action. And I see in the comments of these opinions being shared how adults act like social bullies. Now imagine a young, undeveloped mind experiencing this behavior.

Pay attention.

And remember these faces and these names each time you decide to allow your children to go on line.

7 year olds with cell phones…in Toys R Us, playing on the phone and not the toys…….ūüė≥

I know this is hypocritical but perhaps us all posting and debating less on line and setting the example by actually spending more time with our children is one small way to bring about the change?

By the way Kira read this and pointed out a few grammatical errors for me. 

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Vacationing IN Art

An inspirational journey spanning Key West¬†ūüáļūüáł, Aruba¬†ūüá¶ūüáľ, Bonaire¬†ūüáßūüá∂, Cura√ßao¬†ūüá®ūüáľ, Cayman Islandsūüáįūüáĺ, and Jamaica¬†ūüáĮūüá≤…..finding art each stop of the way.
I even managed to find my favorite artist, Michael Cheval, at Wyland’s Gallery in Key West. I was completely starstruck. In my fangirl stupor, I left forgetting to purchase some of his amazing work on display!
From the art on board our ship, to the wonderful artist street market at Bonaire, I found amazing art. Every where I looked, there were magical creations. There were intricate pieces of the creators souls on display.
I am in awe of the magic each talented artist gives!

vacay art Seeing these beautiful works was very inspiring.

I had not, however, packed any of my art supplies.¬† My phone to the rescue!¬†Without Wi-Fi or other forms of¬†internet available at sea, unless you want to pay a ridiculous amount of money, I was limited to what apps I already had.¬† Luckily, I still had an expired trial of Infinite Painter on my phone. I only had it on there for my daughter to use, which she never did. Infinite Painter was the first digital drawing app I ever used on my first tablet, many years ago.¬† I absolutely loved the app.¬† I lost all the art¬†I did with it when my old tablet stopped working completely. I remember feeling so crushed at the hours I spent.¬† Specifically, on a drawing of a Pandarian and Tinkerbell.¬† I digress, back to the present day….. Now, I have not doodled digitally with my fingers on a small surface in many moons. Years ago, I remember struggling with my bulky, sausage-like fingers on a tiny iPod screen for the drawing app Draw Something. I also remember how horrible my art looked because of it…which was extremely frustrating as I knew I was better than the art I was producing at the time.¬† Nonetheless, remembering all of this, I still opened up the app and began to doodle.¬† It was soothing and relaxing in the down times.¬†¬† Down times usually were just prior to the Broadway style shows and entertainment.¬† In order to have a decent seat, near¬†anywhere remotely close to actually seeing what was on stage, we had to arrive extremely early. As sitting in a theatre with passengers who are older than your grandparents, is well, at best, boring, I found this helped the time pass quickly. I also found just before¬†retiring for the evenings to be¬†a good time.¬† I usually do my personal artwork at home in the evenings as well.

The inherent challenge was the expired trial version of Infinite Painter.¬† There were no tools,¬†virtually no brushes, and only one layer!¬†Over the years, I have become extremely¬†spoiled with digital art.¬† Between Photoshop’s tools and the incredible capabilities of artist apps I use on my iPad Pro, my phone felt archaic. It provided a beautiful challenge.¬† I embraced it and I actually enjoyed it.

The end results are not great works of art, but they are work I do not mind sharing.

 

vacation1

vacation2

vacation3

The seahorse I ended up finishing at home and adding the background to using Procreate.

For more of my art, please visit my website.  http://www.alysathena.com/

All my art is for sale, I take commissions and everything is always fully customizable! From canvas to clothing, there is something for everyone.

stationery

 

Returning From Holiday

There is nothing that can compare to a beautiful vacation aboard a cruise ship.¬† Sailing has always been my preferred method of travel.¬† In fact, I have not even been on a plane in over 30 years. If I had my druthers, I would live on a yacht as opposed to being on land. There is something so tranquil and calming¬†that the ebb and flow the ocean provides. It can rock me to sleep like a mother gently rocking a cradle.¬† The beautiful salt air from the sea soothes my soul. It would seem for me, the roughest days I have experienced at sea were still more relaxing than the calmest of days on land.¬† Let me not forget to mention the glorious sunrises and sunsets at sea.¬† The horizon unfiltered by the congestion of buildings and clutter of man….simply stunning.

sunset at sea

Granted, planning a vacation at sea can be a bit nerve wrecking at times. Especially when hurricanes are involved. Last year’s hurricanes devastated many of the ports which cruise lines frequent.¬† Several of our cruise ports were shifted.¬† For me, this is honestly not a matter; I feel worse for those who have suffered living at the regions affected, and find it incredibly selfish when those who are vacationing complain about not being able to travel to these destinations.¬† A vacation is a vacation, regardless of where you go. This was the second time I had a plan to visit San Juan, Puerto Rico that was altered due to a hurricane.¬† The last time was in ’98. Eventually, ¬†I will visit Puerto Rico.¬† In the interim, however, I am praying for those who live there and the horror they have experienced after the devastating effects of the 2017 hurricane season.¬† And to the passengers who insist on complaining, ¬†I offer you this; imagine, for a moment,¬†¬†that you were on the ship during the hurricane.¬† Redirection of ports is not that horrible, it is inevitable.¬† Nature happens.

wreckage

In all of my years of cruising, and there are¬†many, I must say NCL is by far the best cruise line I have ever been blessed to sail on.¬† They have, what I believe to be, the friendliest and most talented of staff. NCL’s crew always make us feel like family.¬† Being an OCD neat freak, I must add that NCL is also the cleanest line.¬† A spec of dust cannot be found! NCL has become our preferred choice for sailing for 14 years now. I cannot recommend them enough to anyone who is considering a vacation at sea.¬† I realize have had been a little bit annoyed at times with the experience as a Latitudes member, (example is our cruise this past¬†Thanksgiving, article click ¬†here)¬†¬†however, overall no other line comes even close to the wonderful vacationing experience NCL provides.

ncl

Now, some may say my daughter is pampered.¬† I mean, how many 14 year olds can tout that they have taken fourteen 7-14 day cruises in their life time? We have incorporated these cruises into Kira’s home school lessons, however! Each port has a rich history.¬† Even the ship provides education.¬† We loved Kira’s questioning the knots to miles conversion! There is a¬†learning opportunity everywhere you look.

 

horses aruba

aruba horses2From¬†the¬†significance¬†of¬†Horses¬†in¬†Aruba………

 

truman key west

the impact Truman had on Key West, Florida….

cayman

to the relations of the United States of America and The Cayman Islands!

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Not to say that we did not manage to have a little bit of fun amidst Kira’s cultural/historical and artistic educational experience.¬† After all, the entire point behind this specific holiday was the celebration of our little girl turning 14!!!

bday decor

kira bday cake

And NCL helped us by having our cabin fully decorated with cake ready when we first arrived!!

We had a glorious 11 days at sea in celebration of Kira’s turning 14.¬† The only down side was we are all sick now.¬† Evidently, someone on board (actually several someones) were ill.¬† Upon our arrival to land, we all fell ill.¬† Kira’s fever finally broke at 102.4 the other late evening/early morning.¬† I, myself, have been in bed non-stop. We feel a bit miserable, but it is quite worth our epic adventure.¬† After all, without the bad, how can you truly appreciate the good?? I finally felt able to move to my computer and try to post. I have managed to fall quite behind on things in my illness stupor!

There is a big artistic significance behind this vacation as well.  I will for now, however, leave that for a separate post.