Looking forward…

This week…

  • my part-time job that takes about 10 hours a week
  • a second part-time job which has paid off our second car
  • a six hour drive to pick up my second daughter and bring her home for a long weekend
  • several shopping trips to prepare for my two oldest daughters’ upcoming trip to New Orleans with their aunt
  • a library summer reading program involving reptiles (ugh, snakes)
  • a sprained ankle
  • a trip through IKEA
  • a snowball fight
  • a sprained thumb
  • 6 A.M. start times and midnight end times for my son’s work schedule (we live 45 minutes away)
  • a graduation
  • a graduation party
  • a birthday party
  • a doctor’s appointment for my husband at 7:15 A.M. (we live over an hour away)
  • 3 optometrist appointments
  • some bad news in the mail
  • some awesomely good news in the mail
  • friends spending the night
  • loads of family
  • a minor car accident

I’m tired.  I’m happy.  We’ve gotten a lot of things off of our to-do list.  We’ve had fun.  Our whole family is together and getting along reasonably well.

I wouldn’t trade this week for anything.

I’m pretty sure that I couldn’t make it through another one.

I just have to make it through Sunday.  I’m looking forward to what tomorrow will bring.  More family, friends and who knows what!

I’m looking forward to what Monday will bring…a nap!

I Hate My Life

Yesterday, I was within one load of having the laundry caught up.  We aren’t going to count the uncollected laundry still on the floor in certain family members’ bedrooms.

It was a happy moment.

Then Matilda, the basset hound, started calling from the back door to be let in.

I went and let her in.

This is the part of the story where I mention that I’m allergic to mold and we’ve had twenty-something straight days of rain and I’m congested and can’t smell anything.

So, Matilda comes plodding in and wanders off.  I go back to whatever I was doing.

Next thing, I hear my oldest daughter retching and screaming Matilda’s name (and maybe some profanity).  And then retching some more.

I go running to her room and Matilda is skulking out.

It turns out that the dog has gotten under the ramp that leads from our deck to the back yard.  She has evidently rolled in something really gross.  Stagnant water, mud and opossum den gross.  She smells like something from the middle of a garbage dump gross.

This is all second-hand.  Remember, I can’t smell anything.

Into the tub Matilda goes.  She doesn’t care for baths.  Bassets are hard to bath.  They have dense, oily fur with a fine hair undercoat.  Thirty minutes later, my daughter pronounces her odor-free.

All of my daughter’s bedding now needs to be washed.

I hear myself say, “I hate my life”.

I’ve been working on not saying that.  I don’t really hate my life.  I don’t care for parts of it.  Some parts are better than others.  I mentally re-word what I just said.

“I am not happy that I have two more loads of laundry to do.”

“I am not pleased with your behavior, Matilda”.  (She’s asleep on the deck in the sun and doesn’t really care.)

“I am not happy that I have to go change clothes and have even more laundry now.”

The voices in my head are a work in progress.

Oh, and when I went to get in bed last night, I find that the dog has managed to roll her grossness on four pillows, the sheets AND the comforter on my bed before going to my daughters room.

Laundry load four and five.

Sometimes, I hate my life.

Happy!

Yesterday was a happy day for me.  Everything just seemed to come together beautifully.

My husband has been working extremely long hours and the overtime will definitely come in handy.  I am grateful for the added income.

He got off on time yesterday.  My oldest daughter didn’t have to work.  My son was home.  We all just hung out together.  My daughter who is at school even called to say she would be coming home on Sunday.

Everyone was outside working on a project that I’ll show you in just a bit, but first…

My son asked me to come out an join them outside.  I hesitated and he said “I understand you have a lot to do – don’t worry about it”.

Whoa!  How caught up do I get in accomplishing tasks that I miss opportunities like this.  I dropped what I was doing and headed outside.  The dishes still aren’t done and I’m okay with that.

Here is what happened:

A coop is being built for our new chicks.  These three are some that my sister’s hen hatched.  We aren’t sure what kind they are.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.IMAG0667IMAG0630A baseball was tossed about.IMAG0640 (1)IMAG0646

The garden is growing like crazy because of all the rain.  We’ve barely kept ahead of the weeds, but we haven’t given up like we did in the past.  I’m slowly letting go of my “perfect or not at all” mentality.

Our first harvest of the season – purple and green beans, purple basil, peppers and an onion!IMAG0621 (2)

What a happy day – I’m still smiling.

We create.

Some friends had a couple of extra tickets and invited us to a concert Friday night.  It was a lot of fun.  The performers were entertaining, the music loud, and the crowd fascinating to watch.  All in all, a great date night!

During one of the set changes, I started thinking about concerts I’d been to in the past.   I’ve enjoyed them all, but my favorite concert experience of all time didn’t require an expensive ticket and didn’t take place in a huge venue.

Year ago, I started attending a yearly artists’ retreat at a place called Laity Lodge in a little town in Texas.  It is attended by all kinds of creative folk:  visual artists, singers, musicians, writers of poetry, prose, and song, dancers, actors, designers…forgive me if I missed anyone…suffice it to say, there was a whole bunch of creatively awesome people.  Before I started hanging out with this tribe of creative artist, I didn’t have a artistic community to be in.  Even in college, I didn’t hang with the artists. I didn’t feel like I belonged.  I’ve since learned so much from them.

One of the things I’ve learned deals with my concept of art and success.  I’m talking about my idea of what makes an artist successful.  I’d also supposed that an artist became a success when he became known in the world – a visual artist doing gallery shows, an actor on Broadway or on the big screen, a musician or singer on the radio, a writer who is published and on the best-seller list.  I’m sort of embarrassed and ashamed that I even thought that way.  I have a lot of learning to do it seems.

But back to the concert I was talking about.  The best concert I ever experienced was one late night around the fireplace at Laity Lodge.  I was walking through the patio area on my way from the studio to my room.  Around the fireplace was a gathering of people and there was a whole lot of music going on:   guitars, an accordion, singers (including an opera performer), songwriters, and I don’t know what else!  It was a spontaneous celebration.  Some of the participants are well-known in their field of endeavor.  Some are downright “famous”.  Some used to play in the big leagues and have since stepped out of the spotlight by choice.

We all had one thing in common.  We create.  It has nothing to do with the expectation of fame or financial gain (although I don’t know that we would turn down some cash if it were offered).  Some are famous.  Some are making money.  Some are well-known and respected in their field.  Most of us will never be known outside of our respective “tribes”.  We all have one thing in common.  We create.

We want to create.  We have to create.  It’s not even really a choice sometimes.  It’s what makes our lives real.  It has nothing to do with an audience or acknowledgement.  It just is.  It makes us who we are and blesses our community – large or small.

So, here’s to all of the creative people in the world…those I know and those I’ll never meet.  Those whose endeavors I’ll enjoy and those I’ll miss out on.  What you do – what we do matters.

I wonder.

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 6.56.00 PMThis is a companion piece, of sorts, to yesterday’s post, Things I Learned…

Today, I’ve been wondering why…

Please don’t judge by what you read.  I will disclose that I’m not a great housekeeper.  There always seems to be something  more interesting to do, but I do strive to maintain a level of hygiene that encourages basic good health.

Not sure if there are ten, but here goes.

  1. I wonder if the guy at the grocery store is a jerk, or merely unobservant, when he commented to his wife, “Who would buy this cheap, crappy toilet paper?”, right after I put said toilet paper in my cart.
  2. I wonder  if I was being judgmental at the thrift store when I saw a guy grab a whole armful of free bread from the “help yourself” cart in front of the food bank entrance.  Oh yea, did I mention that he went out to the parking lot and climbed into a two-seater 2014 Jaguar? Maybe he really did need that bread more than any one else there.
  3. I wonder if being excited because there was a package of Naan (my son’s favorite bread) in the above referenced cart means I am making progress on living a simpler life.  It seems to be such a small thing to be excited about, but it just about made my day.
  4. I wonder how in the world did I fill the canister on my vacuum cleaner while cleaning my bedroom?  The whole canister?  I have three dogs – that must be it.  I’m positive I vacuumed in there just last week.
  5. I wonder how I used to spend so much at the grocery store.  I spend about a third of what I used to and we’re doing just fine.
  6. I wonder if I could do an art journal page a day and publicly commit to post my efforts each day (even if I didn’t like them or think they were any good).  Just wondering; not an actual commitment!
  7. I wonder what my old dog is thinking when she sits in front of a wall and barks her big ole whooping Basset bark – going on 10 whole minutes now – I’m watching the clock as I type. (see #3 from yesterday’s post)
  8. I wonder how the sink can still be full of dirty dishes when I just started the dishwasher and we weren’t even here most of the day. (see #4 from yesterday’s post)
  9. I wonder how long I can ignore the glitter spilled all over my studio desk and magically spreading, as glitter tends to do, all over the rest of the house. (see #1 from yesterday’s post & #4 above)
  10. I wonder how long I can justify sitting here trying to think up #10 before I need to get up and actually do something that needs doing.

Here’s to you having a day full of wonderment also!

 

 

Imperfectly Focusing.

I know that’s a contradiction of sorts in the title.

I am by nature a bit contradictory.  One day I want to be a minimalist and get rid of everything (almost, I’m partial to my underwear and toothbrush) and the next I want to live in a cluttered home surrounded by the bits that reflect our crazy, busy life.  (I just don’t want to clean it).  Sometimes I want to  consume only whole food that is made from scratch.  Other days I’m pretty happy if I open a can of green beans to go with the boxed mac n’ cheese before 9 at night.    And then there’s the mood swings.  You get the picture.

Part of my intentional life journey has been about finding a balance – in all things.  Reconciling the different parts of my personality, my nature, and my reality.

Today, I greeted the librarian with good morning and  she responded with “It’s 2 in the afternoon”.    I laughed and told her that I was still getting my morning stuff done and afternoon would just have to wait on me.  And I was okay with that.  In fact, I was pretty darned excited about it.

I’ve noticed since I started this blog journey and have begun to record that journey here, that my focus has shifted.  I am no longer focused exclusively  on the negative…on what I haven’t accomplished.  Instead, I am beginning to be more aware of what I’ve done.  When I look at my long list of to-do’s, I don’t see the ones that aren’t crossed off, but the ones that are.

For example, today I did my Get Messy Art Journal prompt for tomorrow and it’s ready to post.  I didn’t do my regular journal pages or the dishes, but that’s alright.  We haven’t technically started school yet, but we spent an hour on Ancient Chinese history and it was fun.  Not something to get through before I moved on down the list.  A load of laundry is done, books are picked up at the library, and my Artist Trading Cards are in the mail.  What isn’t done – well…

I know there are still things on the list, but none of them involve the total breakdown of civilization as I know it if they stay on the list for a bit longer.

Life is imperfect, but pretty damn good if you focus on the good stuff!

No sad stuff here!

I’m declaring today a “no sad stuff here” day in my little corner of the world.    Sometimes the world is just too damn sad.  

So, here’s a list of only the good stuff that happened for me, to me, and around me today.  I’m going to try for 10.

  1. Trip to my favorite thrift store resulting in cool dishes for our eclectic collection – some might call it mismatched rejects, but they would be wrong.photo (15)
  2. I didn’t run out of gas while taking my son to work today.  (I did yesterday) 
  3. I had all the ingredients I needed (with a little imagination) to make a reasonably healthy meal that my family would actually eat.photo 3 (1)
  4. I am making progress on my newest art project.photo 2 (2)
  5. This giant stuffed dog that my sister gave my batman loving daughter (the good news is not the stuffed animal, but that it will soon be going to college with her).photo 4 (1)
  6. This giant watermelon that my friend grew and shared with me.photo 2 (3)
  7. My 17 year old Daisy May is still breathing.  Sometimes we have to wake her up just to be sure. photo 1 (5)
  8. My patient photographer/daughter.photo 1 (3)
  9. And last, but not least…I’m not depressed today.  Life is good.