Thursday, December 31, 2009
It doesn't matter, though. Tonight draws 2009 to a close and it has been a year of ups and downs, as any year has.
I went back in the blog to read some posts from the beginning of the year and I have definitely come a long way in some areas. I didn't achieve my reading goals, but I did start out strong. I am going to be revisiting that commitment to myself in 2010 - not as a resolution, but an attempt to enjoy my life more.
Some of the journey this year has led to photography, art, art journals, taking art classes, workshops, travel, new blogs to read, new friends, self-care. I am practicing more to be who I am and to live my life instead of planning for it. For me, some planning will always be involved, but not to the detriment of EN-JOYING it.
Tomorrow, I will be collaging my vision for the new year in conjunction with the Full "Blue" Moon Dreamboards.
My phrase for the year drawn randomly from a set of cards (from Christine Mason Miller's "Ordinary Sparkling Inspiration Cards": "You Are Needed"
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Opening an email is just not the same as finding a letter in the mail and knowing instantly who sent it by the handwriting. I miss that.
Having moved a lot as a child, mail was always a way to stay connected with people. My connection to all my extended family was solely from cards and notes sent. I stayed in touch with my friends when we moved via letter because back in the day, long distance calls were horribly expensive. I remember when I was 12 and we moved to Oregon - I used to be allowed to call Florida friends once a month for 10 minutes. I even had to set the kitchen timer to ring so that I would know when my time was up.
I am not committing myself to writing a letter a day because I just know that I might not be able to live up to that and I hate breaking my word - even to myself. I am thinking that I might be able to manage postcards...that counts, doesn't it?
Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about tonight.
Tomorrow is the Full Moon and it is the Full BLUE Moon, so enjoy! This is a great way to usher in a new year and I, for one, can't wait! 2009 has been filled with some really great things and some huge challenges (mostly in the second half of the year), so I am looking forward to the change. ***Quick- write that down! Jean said she is "looking forward to change". That is definitely a change of pace.
Namaste and Happy New Year!
So, they did.
Why is this ironic, you ask?
Well, when it started snowing at 2:30 PM - completely unexpectedly (I thought the freak snowstorm was local to Wilsonville - a town south of here)- I started preparing to go home. I really, really, REALLY didn't want to stay at work overnight. I could have gotten a room at the Hilton across the street, but the last time I did that, it barely snowed and I had clothes with me. It took me until almost 4 PM to get out of there - just enough time to not know how bad it was or how bad it was going to be. AND I needed gas.
I should have stayed at work. I'm pretty sure I was in the car by around 4:15 or 4:30 PM. It took me an hour and a half to get from the office, across the bridge to the best exit (small hill) to get gas. I got gas and stopped at a restaurant for some food and read a little while before attempting to work my way through Portland on surface streets (the freeways were backed up SOLID).
I thought I would stop at Lloyd Center Barnes and Noble and kill time. The temperature was supposed to go up around 8 PM and all would be well. When I got there, they were ushering people out the door with a sign out front saying they were closing early(7:30pm). So, I slowly made my way downtown and decided to go to Powell's. I got there by 8:30pm. They were closing at 9:00pm. So, I got back in my car and decided it was probably clear enough to get on the freeway - even if the road was icy, they would be free of traffic, right?
Well, folks, I arrived home at 10:30 PM tonight. I will be putting some clothes and toiletries in my car tomorrow - for just such emergencies. Next time, I'm going to go on Priceline.com, get a room at the Hilton and watch cable TV instead. I hope someone will remind me of this in the future, so that I never do this again. It is ridiculous and frustrating and pointless.
So, here are photos of the snow at my house. I would have taken some earlier except that I didn't have my camera with me. Or my iPod. Or my Kindle. Or ANYTHING. It was a long day.
Snow in the yard, the back yard, on the cars and on the garbage and recycling cans (to show depth). I felt like I had to memorialize the day in some way.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I miss him. I see older gentlemen walking, having coffee at Starbucks, in restaurants or the store and I always tear up. There is a certain physique that always makes me think of him and I am sad that he and my mother weren't together to enjoy their retirement.
One of my goals this year (I didn't do it last year...) is to figure out how to scan slides so that I can post some of the photos of my dad when he was younger, too. He was the photographer in the family, so it was hard to get him in front of the camera, especially as he got older.
Anyway, I miss you, Dad.
"I know all your life you wondered about that step we all take alone...how far does the spirit travel on the journey? You must surely be near heaven and it thrills me to the bone to know Daddy knows the great Unknown." ~ Rick Springfield
Monday, December 28, 2009
I was talking to a friend about childhood art and I remembered this book that I made when I was in Kindergarten (I have noticed I have a strange sense of capitalization - I don't think Kindergarten has to be capitalized all the time...but I digress). I will have to dig that up and scan some of the pictures and post them - since I don't have my own kids' pictures to scan and post.
The book was "A Book about Me" and it had pre-made pages. "This is me." "This is where I live." "This is my family." "These are my pets." In that book, I drew myself as a princess because, in my eyes, I was one (very "The Little Princess" of me, I know). I drew my family, I drew my pets and some imaginary ones (including the squirrels that lived in the patio roof in Denver). I believed that I was a writer, therefore I was.
If I look again at the idea that we are what we practice, then "We are what we believe we are" makes total sense. So, I just have to practice and believe my way to where I want to go.
I am a writer. I am an artist. I am a storyteller. I am more than my job title. I am more than my role. (Shhh...I'm practicing believing!)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
My friend said it best last night, "It's nice to know that out there in the world there is someone who loves you just the way you are." And that is very true. I got to spend the holiday with all the important people in my life and I feel very loved. Not because of gifts (which I gave and received), but the genuine enjoyment of each other for the day.
Next year, I'm going to come back and read this before the holidays so that when I get frustrated or overwhelmed, I will see what it is all about and remember this afterglow feeling.
Friday, December 25, 2009
I was not raised in a religious or even spiritual home originally. I'm pretty sure that I spent more time at my friend's churches than I ever did at a church "home" with my own family. I went to church with my 3rd grade teacher in Germany, to a friend's Church of Christ church (no instruments - I'd never heard of such a thing), another friend's vacation Bible school (I can still recite all the books of the New Testament from a song I learned there), a Christian Center church with 1970s Christian rock music, I had Jewish girlfriends who never really taught me anything about Chanukah although I REALLY wanted to learn. Christmas was a holiday when Santa came and we got some toys and Christmas cards. Sometimes relatives would come to visit, but mostly, not.
When we lived in Germany, we joined in their traditions of wooden ornaments and birds on the trees. We celebrated St. Nicholaus day on Dec. 5 by putting a shoe by the door. If you were "good" you would get little candies and toys in your shoe. If you were not good, you would get a switch in your shoe.
From the ages of 9-12, I lived in Panama City, Florida where I went to public school. When I was in the sixth grade, at Patterson Sixth Grade Center, I was in the choir. That year, for the Christmas program, we did a musical called, "One Small Child". Clearly, Christmas has its roots in Christianity and is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I get that. When I was 12, I didn't really think about it that much. To give you a sense of this musical, here is the first stanza of the first song (yes, I still know it by heart...):
"One small child, sent from God,
stem of hope from Jesse's rod,
light of light, king of kings,
in his hand salvations rings.
Born to save us all from doubt and sorrow
born to lead us all to a new tomorrow,
born to be a hope for peace to every nation
a gift of love for all creation..."
I LOVED that musical. In fact, somewhere in a box, I have a cassette recording of us singing that musical. The entire show is about the REAL (i.e. Christian) meaning of Christmas. To be honest, although I was a fairly smart child, I didn't really register that the show was particularly religious because at that time, in that place (deep south, people), that was the norm. In the late 1970s in Panama City, Florida, I don't think saying "happy holidays" was a twinkle in anyone's eye. I don't know how it was for the rest of the country, but I'm pretty sure that we were fairly ethnocentric as a nation.
I remember when I was in high school - I think it was 1984 - when the word "Christmas" was banned from the school. We weren't allowed to have any form of Christmas anything. In our journalism room, we had a "Purple Wish Tree" that looked remarkably like a Christmas tree but was decorated with intricately cut purple snowflakes. My best friend at the time was Jewish and even she mocked the change "in name only" to all the traditions. I asked her at the time if it bothered her that there was Christmas stuff everywhere - did it offend her or upset her. She was not a religious Jew, she called herself culturally Jewish, so perhaps her answers gave me a false sense of safety - she didn't mind. In fact, one year, she spent the night with me on Christmas Eve and celebrated with the family in the morning.
Why am I rambling on about this? Well, I guess all of this is to say that I find myself confused annually. I respect those folks who do not celebrate Christmas and I don't want to offend them by throwing Christmas in their faces every two seconds, and at the same time, I love songs like, "Away in a Manger" and "Angels We Have Heard On High". I love "The Charlie Brown Christmas" special (particularly the tree). By the same token, I love that Peter, Paul and Mary sing "Light One Candle" to honor the Jewish tradition of Chanukah and I would love to learn about other cultures and their traditions. This week, when I was talking to folks who are "not from our tribe", I found myself commiserating with them. When talking to the Christmas crowd, I can relate to them.
It is complicated, isn't it?
Regardless of all of this, I wish anyone who visits here much joy and peace and a SAFE New Year. I wish you all love and laughter and time with your family and friends. That's what really matters, right? No matter what we call our celebrations or how they come to be, the most important part of that is love.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I decided long ago (in 1996) that Christmas couldn't be about pressure and spending and presents - it was about people and I wanted to keep it that way. Granted, I go through a period annually where I stress about what to give, about how much I did or didn't spend, will they like what I got them, did I do enough...but I also find my way out of it.
This year, at work, there was a woman in the break room having a conversation with a co-worker. Her family-in-law seems to be made of of people who are in the "big spender" must-have-lots-of-gifts category and she was feeling the stress of it due to the sheer number of people in that family. She has young children and some events have happened recently that would make it difficult to have a good Christmas for them, much less extended family and others. I nosed my way into the conversation and advocated for drawing names, letting the family know that they couldn't do the big Christmas, but that seemed like it wasn't possible for this family.
Then I remembered a gift that I gave that was not only a gift to the people who received it, but a gift to me. One year, a friend of mine and I bought a big jar and some fancy paper from the art store and cut it into small squares. On each square, we wrote down one memory about our parents. I did a jar for each of my parents, so memories of my mother and memories of my father. My father was not one for Christmas and could be very Grinch-like on the day itself. When he opened that gift and unfolded the first slip of paper, I knew I had done the right thing. All that Christmas day, he would sneak out another slip and read it. He kept the jar with him in his chair all day long and near his chair for months and months after.
I think at work they were also talking about what to give the kids' teachers - as even $10 each would add up with several children. The co-worker suggested a letter from each child to their teachers telling them how they felt about the teacher or thanking them for their work. I loved that idea...if I were a teacher, that is what I would want instead of gifts of apples and paperweights and other "duty" gifts.
I love Christmas because of how it SHOULD be, but I loathe Christmas as it is. I struggle every year because I see it in such a dichotomous way. I remember what it is supposed to be and I feel what it feels like now. I see such despair and stress. We have put what is supposed to be a joyous time and a time for family and friends and celebration at the end of the fiscal year, the end of a school term, the time of year when the weather is the worst, the time of year when cutbacks are made to save the bottom line. So we run around spending money we don't have on people we don't care about. We get a Christmas bonus or we don't and we are either disappointed with the amount or disappointed that we didn't get one...
I could go on and on, but I won't. All of this is to say that I remembered a song that we sang in my 6th grade Christmas program. In addition to the DEEPLY RELIGIOUS Christmas program (I'll talk about that tomorrow), we sang, "Christmas is a Feeling". The lyrics are below:
"Christmas is a feeling, filling the air;
It's love and joy and laughter, of people everywhere.
Christmas is a feeling, bringing such good cheer,
It reaches out to touch you as the holiday draws near.
It's mistletoe and falling snow and candles burning bright
It's a baby in a manger on a cold winters' night.
It's glad noels and chiming bells and presents by the tree
It's the spirit of giving in you and in me.
But if Christmas is a feeling, filling the air
Then why oh why can't you and I
Try to make it last all year?"
It's a conundrum, ain't it? Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate. Peace to those of you who don't.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
"A human being is nothing but a story with skin around it." ~Fred Allen
Isn't that a great quote? I guess this month's theme should have been STORIES. I have been thinking about stories quite a bit, so I guess that is why these quotes resonate with me.
One interesting thing that I have noticed as I get older is that many stories that we tell about ourselves showcase ways that we were not at our best - it may be humorous, but definitely not our most shining moments. I have been trying to come to terms with that because when you tell a story like that, especially if it is humorous, you have to commit to it. You can't hesitate or worry that people will think less of you for behaving badly.
I noticed over time that I have become more cautious about the stories I tell. I'm sure this is just a part of "maturing" and it is influenced by some of the roles I play in my life.
One of the things I miss most about Roby was what his family called "tandem storytelling". We used to regale his family with stories that one of us would start and the other would augment. Having both perspectives with both of us finishing each other's sentences made the stories so much funnier. These are the stories that I want to record - since my storytelling partner is no longer here, I don't want to forget a moment of them.
I feel very fortunate, as I have many stories and have had many storytelling partners over time. Roby was a brilliant storyteller - we were well-matched in that way. I have known other brilliant storytellers - when we get together, we laugh so hard our cheeks and sides ache. I miss that. Hopefully, we can get together and laugh soon.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Here is the obligatory "it's the holidays and time to reflect" blog post. :) It's kind of funny really - isn't that what most personal blogs ARE?? Reflecting ad nauseum. I can say that because my blog is definitely that.
Anyway, I have been poking around some of the blogs I have found this year and finding some great ideas. Tonight, at Kaileenelise, I found a great idea - just what I needed to think about. She got the idea from here.
A "Stop Doing" List for 2010. This is BRILLIANT! There were a couple of other ideas from Kaileenelise (I love the look of her blog, by the way...very clean and sophisticated), that I may follow up on later this week.
In 2010, I will
1. Stop checking email while on vacation/time off.
2. Stop putting off fun for no reason.
3. Stop second-guessing myself.
That's all I have so far. There will be more, but I just found the idea, so it hasn't had time to percolate much yet. More later.
Monday, December 21, 2009
"The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms." ~ Muriel Rukeyser (Quote from "Juicy Pens Thirsty Paper" by SARK)
One of the greatest lessons from my fabulous telecourse was about how story defines us, how we can change our story. The funny thing was that somewhere DEEP DEEP DEEP inside, I already knew that. I have always known that...but I didn't BELIEVE it.
I remember telling stories about things when I was very small and I remember the reaction that my stories, my noticing, got from the people who most mattered to me in the world. They were amazed and amused by my ability to story. When I was first in school, I wrote a "book" that amazed teachers and parents alike with the beginning, middle and end - apparently, children of that age don't usually have that ability (at least in writing). I always knew that I was a writer. I never said I was going to be a writer - I was going to be a teacher. I was born a writer. I was born a reader. I was born a storyteller and a story gatherer.
For a brief period of time, I had an acquaintance who was a "storyteller" and I always thought I would love a job like that...there is nothing in the world like the rapt faces of people waiting for the next moment of a story - whether adult or child, it doesn't matter. There is something so magical about the way we relate to each other through a story, through a turn of phrase, through a tiny bit of humanity. I love that. I miss it.
I realized that there are so many moments that live only in our heads. For me, those things will fade. The things that stay in my memory are the things I storied. The things I told myself in story or told someone else. One of my goals last year was to start to write my Roby stories down. I don't talk about them as much and I am afraid those stories will lose their color, their humor, their humanity. They are, in fact, some of the best stories of my life. Some because we were young and foolish, some because we had such an intense relationship borne out of secrecy and fear and some because we had some incredibly funny moments together.
So, when I read the quote above in SARK's book, I knew I had to write about it. Also, a special thanks to "Life Unfolds " by way of Swirly Girl for leading me back to SARK. I have all of her books but I haven't READ one in a long time. I was reading Swirly Girl's "Five Things" and that led me to "Life Unfolds" and to SARK, where I got the quote at the beginning of the post and a couple of others that may show up here in the next few days.
P.S. There is something wrong with Blogger - I have been hotlinking SARK, Swirly Girl and the Life Unfolds blogs and it isn't saving. I will get that fixed as soon as possible.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
A little event called Christmas intervened and I cleaned and shopped instead. I thought I would do it today, but I didn't. I had a date with a friend to go play Bingo - she loves it and I think it is fun enough. We finally set a date and went to play.
I think it is fascinating how some people win and win and win and some people just DON'T. I came closer tonight than I ever have (I've been to play maybe 5 times in my life), but still, no dice. I know it is all just luck and attentiveness - there is no way to predict which ball is going to pop up. But it is interested. I wonder if people have studied the statistical anomolies of Bingo. I bet it would be interesting, although I'm sure it wouldn't really lead to career opportunities.
I guess all this prep will be fine - I'm going to see Shirlee this week and the rest of the family and we will undoubtedly do some "family function" before the week is out. I will get to my art journal...I just miss the outlet. Once you get used to doing something that relieves stress (like writing this blog), the pressure builds up when you don't do it. Like a pressure cooker, you have to find ways to let the steam out.
I went out briefly Friday after calling in overwhelmed. I was just going to the drugstore to pick up a few things and I ended up finishing my Christmas shopping which was a GREAT relief. I didn't want to have to go out again next week.
I decided that I would also loan some money as gifts through http://www.kiva.org/. Basically, you choose someone to loan money to - the range is from around $25 to a few thousand to help people with their businesses or their farms or some subsistence effort they are engaged in. Over time, the people pay back the loan and you are free to reassign the loan to another person. The true meaning of "the gift that keeps on giving". I'm excited to do this - it seems to be my year of doing something for others and I have enjoyed it very much.
I also spent today, unexpectedly, cleaning. I started with a mail pileup on the dining room table and progressed to the living room. I have stacks of books and some other stuff that I am trying to organize. I haven't completed it, but I'm getting tired, so I'm giving up for a while. Found some buried treasures and a book I almost bought a copy of last week because I didn't remember I had it. Nice gift to myself - I didn't spend the extra money and I still had the item. I love that.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Well, as promised, I chose a random page from Listography, the book and the list I am doing today is Favorite Teachers.
Before I start, you should know that I LOVE TEACHERS. When I was six, I decided I wanted to be a teacher and that never really faded until I was in college and had NO IDEA how to get where I wanted to go.
Jean's Favorite Teachers (in chronological order):
1. Mrs. Rogo - Kindergarten teacher in Aurora, Colorado at Crawford Elementary school. I still have a little piece of art she made for me and it has her writing on the back. It was a yellow piece of some kind of plaster with Raggedy Ann and Andy on it. Once, when it snowed, all the dads dug a tunnel through the snowbank (the Kindergarten rooms had doors that led outside to the playground and a little tin-like roof. The snow drifted over and blocked the doors) and when we got there, she made us toast and hot chocolate. She had a great play area with TVs that had their innards removed, so we could get in and pretend we were on TV.
2. Miss (?) Ballantine - Second Grade Teacher in Crestview schools in the basement of one of the apartment stairwells on the base in Wiesbaden, Germany. She had red hair and some kind of issue with one of her hands. I thought she was BEAUTIFUL and she read some of the best stories ever to us. I remember sometimes eating lunch outside and I remember that she was very kind and patient. I remember that we had a foyer where we hung our coats in her class. It was the maid's quarters from back in the day.
3. Mrs. Gobel - 3rd Grade Teacher in Crestview Schools in the basement of one of the apartment stairwells on the base in Wiesbaden, Germany. I adored Mrs. Gobel and for some reason, she adored me. She invited me to go to church with her and her family and I went to one of her husband's picnics with his unit (he was in the Air Force, too). She read books like "The BoxCar Children", "James and the Giant Peach", "Charlotte's Web" and "The Trumpet of the Swan". She was tall and she had that 1970s long hair parted in the middle. She had a little keyboard in class and in the morning, we would sing patriotic songs (in Miss Ballantine's class, too). I used to finish my work first, so she would have me help a boy named Ricky. He was developmentally delayed in some way and I used to give him spelling tests. I took my work seriously. She was surprised that I struggled to learn my multiplication tables...it took me a long time to fill the chart with stars.
4. Mrs. Eckhart - fourth grade teacher at Lindsay II Elementary School. We had to go to a different base to go to school once we finished third grade. Mrs. Eckhart was smart and funny and supportive of my needs as a learner. I always finished my work quickly and she would send me down to the library where I would pour over the encyclopedia looking for people in history that we were studying. I would meticulously copy the information from the encyclopedia (in my horrible handwriting - wow did I struggle with that...). I specifically remember writing about the presidents, Lincoln, Washington. I remember writing about Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr., as well. When her husband got his orders to leave Wiesbaden, she only had a few weeks to give notice. She gave us each a chance to pick one book from her bookshelf and I chose "The Story of Juliet Lowe" who was the founder of the Girl Scouts. I still have that book. I remember weeping on her last day. We had to carry our old wooden desks down the hall and downstairs in this ancient school building and join the class that was in Mrs. Mott's room.
5. Ms. Grimala - Ms. Grimala was a HUGE influence on me in junior high school. She was the librarian and facilitated me watching "West Side Story" for the first time. She created "The Book Club" and I met a bunch of friends there. She indulged my reading habits and gave me "preview" books to read when I ran out of books that interested me in the library. I was new to the area when I started junior high and I think she knew that I was a fish out of water. I used to take care of the plants in the library, too. At one point, I brought some home over the holidays and eventually fell in love with a giant Boston Fern I named George. I am eternally grateful for her friendship and guidance in those formative years of my life.
6. Mr. Reierson(sp) and Mr. Wright - these two gentlemen were a BRILLIANT history team. I had Mr. Reierson for U.S. History and Culture. They lectured on history, but made if fascinating. More than that, they played the covered wagon game and had everyone take different roles in the wagon trains coming to Oregon on the Oregon Trail. About half the characters died before the end. We played a stock market game to illustrate what happened in the Great Depression. They took history seriously and they loved it and they didn't pull any punches. I remember their lectures on WWII and the Nazi atrocities and it so resonated with me after living in Germany and having my dad so affected by his friend's experience in Auschwitz.
7. Mr. Stoppa (even though I didn't like science...) He was fun and funny and cute as all get out.
8. Mr. Borgen (?) - He was my English teacher in the eigth grade and was the one who recommended me for Journalism. That singular act changed my life in the years to come - it allowed me to focus on writing more and I met all the drama folks because I was in Journalism.
9. Mrs. Herron - She was our English and Social Studies teacher in seventh grade. She was strict, but also an old softie. She was one of those people who was meant to teach junior high kids. On Fridays, she would have us line up and give her a hug before we left for the weekend. EVERYONE did it. There was no arguing. I loved her.
10. Nancy Zettergren - my journalism and newspaper instructor all through high school. My staunchest supporter. Read all my poetry. Treated me like a person not a kid. First person I ever met who had worse migraines than I did. (See December 2008 posts for more about Nancy)
11.. Bob Mullin - my creative writing instructor. He passed away. It was quite sad. He started me off in my exploration of writing as art, not just an academic endeavor.
12. Carol Coburn - The head of the Aloha High School Drama Department. She has also passed away. She was brilliant, a visionary. She was meant to empower high school students. She expected only the best from all of us and she got it. Who else could make me spend every Saturday of my high school career at SCHOOL?!? (See December 2008 posts for more information about Carol Coburn)
13. All my instructors in the PCC Interpreter Training Program - If not for them, I can't even imagine what I would be doing with my life now. Since these folks are in my life still (for the most part), I'm not naming names. But WOW. Amazing women, all. Their generous support and guidance has meant the world to me.
I have been EXTREMELY lucky in the teachers I have had. There are many more, but these folks left a huge impression on me. My life would not be the same if not for them and I appreciate them so much. I hope someday that I can reciprocate in some way to the community, to other students - whether they are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, or in K-12 or interpreting students or participants in a workshop. Teachers are heroes, in my humble opinion.
Friday, December 18, 2009
I think lists can be fun and short and you usually can learn something new about a person (unless they are totally predictable - which, be warned, I totally am...).
Here is a brief note from the first page of the book:
"Listography, the book is designed to help you create your autobiography through list making. I created Listography because I am nostalgic. I love the little details of life, from experiences to favorites, and I wanted to create two nice places to capture and share those details: Listography, The Book and Listography.com. I believe that everyone should have an autobiography, if only for their loved ones to read and even in the simplest form: a list.
Lisa Nola - www.listography.com"
Now, without further adieu, here is Lists of Jean installment #1.
List Pets You've had and Their Names:
1. Cindy the beagle (Denver, Colorado)
2. Rusty the cocker spaniel (Panama City, Florida)
3. Starsky and Hutch the gerbils (Panama City, Florida)
4. Laverne and Shirley the gerbils (+their many many children as they were NOT both girls.)
5. K.C. the Himalayan cat (Kitty Cat, as it were) (Oregon)
6. Tigger the black cocker spaniel (Oregon)
7. Molly the black cat (a direct Tutularu kitty descendant) (Oregon)
8. Poppy and Lily - Molly's daughters and grandaughters of TutuKitty (Oregon). Poppy lived until she was 18 and Lily lived until she was 16.
9. A goldfish whose name I have forgotten (Oregon)
10. Sebastian the blue beta fish (Oregon)
Bonus Pets (pets that belonged to Roby and whom I loved as well):
Pippi the cockapoo
Alex and Dmitri the chocolate pomeranians
I did not love his lovebirds
Sofie the Dove
Gretta Cato - the most beautiful and bitchy calico cat EVER
Blanche DuKitty - sister of Molly, Daughter of Tutularu and most talkative cat EVER
Kong the shar pai
Bella the black lab
William the black cat
Edgar the Maine Coon Cat who suckled on my hair and drooled a lot
Eponine - little black kitty who was maimed by a possum and never had a chance
Sophie the black pug.
Boris the fawn colored pug and Roby's last pet
Thursday, December 17, 2009
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Much to my relief, it was only a dream and I don't have to worry about it. I'm not sure but I think this is the first time that the blog has shown up in my dreams. I guess it means that my little endeavor here is living in my brain now and is engrained in me enough that I am dreaming about it. When I was learning ASL, it took a couple of years for me to start dreaming in ASL, which, by all accounts, means that you are internalizing the language and making it your own. I think it is a good sign to be dreaming about it but maybe a little stress showing through when thinking that I was tired enough to have my hands on the wrong keys for the whole post.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I called the Parking office and took care of the ticket, then I got transferred to the Business Office where they took the hold off. The Business Office tried several times to transfer me to Registration - both the general number and several people's direct line to their desks, but no luck. The Business Office lady could not see that I had registered for the class. I kept telling her that I was registered because how else would the intstructor know my email address, send me the syllabus, send me the first 2 lessons and 2 quizzes? But they can't find it.
I decided I would try to figure it out online, but I have had no luck. I called the direct number to the Non-Credit Community Ed courses but I have not been able to get through.
Computers are only as good as the person using them - either on the front or back end. I'm just smart enough to get myself into trouble - I can figure out some things, but MANY other items are a mystery. This is one of them. I haven't figured out if I will have to drop the class and re-register or what...it is so annoying. And now my class is on hold. So once I figure out how to pay for it, I have to go through the whole thing again to get the classroom access back up and running.
How hard does it have to be people?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
It takes so much courage to be in the world right now.
I didn't save this post before doing spellcheck. When I came back to the post, there was nothing left. Now I'm just frustrated and not at all prepared to recreate the little post I wrote about courage.
[photo from Maya Angelou page on Wikipedia]
Monday, December 14, 2009
I went to Hope Revolution's website again and I think I really am going to do some HopeNotes. I know I keep saying I'm going to do it, but I haven't been brave enough to do it. I am going to do it this week/weekend. With all my new art supplies and things, I can definitely make some nice little notes to hide in strange and unexpected places.
Why this change of focus? There are a couple of reasons for my determination to do something good this year. I have been down lately, as anyone can tell by reading a couple of posts. Doing things for other people makes me feel good and it does something good (hopefully) for them. I believe that we can make a huge difference in the world by doing little kindnesses. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and I don't want to be. I was thinking today about the telecourse and the idea that we are what we practice.
If I am down and talking about it all the time, I am practicing being down. I'm going to try practicing doing good things and things that bring joy to either myself or someone else. I am practicing joy. I need a lot of practice.
I went to see "The Blind Side" tonight with Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. It is the movie based on Michael Ohr's book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game". It was just what I needed to see. It doesn't really matter what anyone says about the movie - it moved me and it made me want to do something different, feel something different. I wanted to just make a different choice than feeling so lost. So, that's what I'm trying to do. Yay.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I am taking a night to celebrate tomorrow - to see a movie. Hopefully, "The Blind Side" after work. For Winter term, I am only planning on taking one day art classes that do not require any homework. Yay! I can't wait.
It isn't so much the busy that is the hardest part for me. The hardest part of all of this is not being 100% for everything. Not feeling like I can give my full attention to everything. That is frustrating. That is why I want to be smarter about my commitments. Not because I don't want to do them anymore, but that I want to do things WELL. Additionally, I prefer to enjoy my down time. Sometimes, when I am super busy like I have been, I feel like it is necessary to take some time for myself - time that I'm not working or thinking I should be working. The only problem is that I tend to feel guilty that I'm not doing what I think I should.
I have to take some of my own advice. Today, I sent a note to a student telling them to think about positive self-talk and how that might impact them. Well, duh. Physician, heal thyself. ;)
Anyway, I am celebrating completions and then I am going to bed.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Today, we went to an assisted living center and had a dessert/Bingo session with the residents. Several folks from work came and brought desserts and we served them to the residents and staff for what seems to have been a pretty successful event despite the weather.
I'm very happy that this event went well and that so many folks seemed to enjoy it. I know it was the right thing to do - we will continue to make inroads into the community to give back a little of what we can. This can only lead to good things.
And I'm also happy that we are done. Stressful event #4 in two weeks - not all stress is bad. I have grades due on Monday and that will be another item off the list. After that, there is just the whole Christmas holiday thing and me doing some art and reading and relaxing. I can't wait.
To my friends who have been faithfully reading - thank you. I know I have been down recently. I am actively working on changing that, so bear with me a little longer. It will all work itself out.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Anyway, as I was watching, I was thinking about how cool it was for Julie Powell (I think that is her name) to take on a project like cooking all of Julia Child's recipes for a year. It made me think of Patti Digh's book, "Life is a Verb" (and soon to be published, "Creative is a Verb"- I can't wait!!) and I wondered if I could make a project out of reading her book and doing the exercises.
In the telecourse, "Live Your Wild and Precious Life Now", we have gone through the book and I had read much of it before the course started, but I was thinking that maybe I could do a chapter a week - focus on one or two of the exercises and then write about it here...I'm not sure. I'm still marinating the idea. Maybe I need to go back and do Patti's "Write-Your-Own" Fridays.
Any thoughts? Any other suggestions? I do so much better with a project - otherwise anyone brave enough to read this blog gets to hear about me being tired or having a long week or whatever. Even I prefer to write about other stuff...but I'm not always good without a predetermined structure. Feel free to give me your thoughts. :)
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Anyway, I'm tired now. Long day. Good night.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
In the next few weeks, I am looking forward to doing some more art journaling, reading some books for pleasure and going to a couple of movies. I am looking forward to some down time that doesn't have an overlay of guilt/responsibility wrapped around it.
Today, I asked for help. For those of you who know me in real life, you know how big of a deal that is. I would rather die than have people think that I can't do something. Unfortunately, I have been about as close to that as I want to be. Physical manifestations of stress are not new to me (migraines, hives, crying daily - all ways I have seen my stress manifest itself). Right now, I have a cold that I can't shake (since before Thanksgiving), today I had the shakes (internally and externally), crying easily, complete exhaustion. My hair is getting grayer and I think some of it is coming out when I comb it (more than usual). I have always been able to deal with stress, but I realized today that stress + responsibility for other people = hyperstressed. When I am in control of my own destiny, my own outcomes, that is one thing. Being responsible for other people, accountable even when you aren't physically there - that is harder.
It is all a part of the great lesson in life that I'm supposed to learn. Sometimes, it is easy to recognize the lesson. Other times, the lessons are less clear so I have to work harder to learn them. I think I'm on the other side right now, but who knows. Tomorrow is another day.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
One of my favorite stories from the 1993 stand up routine, "Bill Cosby: Himself" is a story about Jeffrey...
Monday, December 7, 2009
I will write some journal stuff in this later, but for now, I'm just showing the art. I think that additional lettering will enhance the look (I hope). But since this is a first try, I'm trying to give myself a break. I am learning how to use different mediums and trying new colors and things. Who knows where I will end up...I'm just enjoying the ride for now.
So here are the photos...
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I think I am close to having the background of the center pages done. As I said yesterday, there are some mistakes on it (photos to come), but I am understanding what I need to do or to get. In some instances, I don't have the right materials to do what I want to do - particularly pens. I am waiting for a couple of pens I ordered last week to come in - I am hoping that I ordered some fine tipped black markers...I think I did. I watched Teesha Moore's lettering videos - it is gonna take some practice for me to get there. I did ok for a first try, but I want it to be PERFECT!!Aargh! (Although I was able to let it go. It isn't perfect, but I have never done it before, so I think it turned out ok considering.)
Today, I spent part of the day looking at Copic Sketch Markers which are hella expensive, so I decided against purchasing them. I have already ordered some of the Sharpie Poster Paint markers which I heard were being discontinued, but when I went to the Sharpie website, it still has them on there to order and no indication that those particular markers will not be manufacutered any longer. I did make the rounds of some of the art stores and whatnot, but I ultimately decided that if I continue to work on art journaling, I can buy some of that stuff later. I don't need to have everything NOW. I used my colored pencils and some of my other pens today and they mostly turned out fine. Although I definitely need to invest in some fine tip pens - I mostly buy medium tips but that isn't great for outlining and whatnot.
In Winter term, I will be taking several courses at PCC on art and collage, so I think that may help lead me in the right direction. I also want to take a course in webdesign. I worked on SignPlay a little today, but I think one of the issues is that my vision of the site and my ability to make the site what I want are so far apart, I get frustrated with it and I don't update enough. I did some updating and I looked up some webdesign classes, as well. Maybe I won't be able to do all that at once, either, but I just want to know that I have avenues to improvement. I have so much that I want to do; it feels good to be taking baby steps.
Photos to come.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
With all the hubbub about Donny Osmond winning "Dancing with the Stars", I was thinking about his attempted comeback in 1989. I actually really liked his music - had bought his record when it came out.
Here he is 10 years later (about) with a big comeback in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"
Of course, the inevitable journey down memory lane brings me to other 1989 songs, like "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau:
And Breathe's "Hands to Heaven" which I can't embed here:
(I love this song - I wish the group had stayed together - I think they had a lot of potential...)
Life in a Northern Town - Dream Academy (apparently it has been badly covered...)
My favorite Culture Club song ever - "Victims"
John Secada - Just Another Day
And who can forget - Rick Springfield "Souls". I am a die-hard Rick Springfield fan - I had the biggest crush on him and I have all of his albums and have seen him in concert 6-8 times.
And "Living in Oz" with the WORST HAIRCUT EVER
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The tip of my nose is barely above the water. My arms are flailing frantically, not the smooth, easy stroke of a practiced swimmer but the panicked flapping of someone who fears metaphorical drowning. There is no particular thing to blame or to point to or to fix. This is cumulative drowning. I know that in a day or a week, I will break the surface of the water and I will be able to draw deep, cleansing breaths and know that it will all be ok.
I am trying not to panic. I am trying to remember all the things I have to be grateful for. I am trying to remember that this will not matter in a year or maybe even a month. It isn't easy.
So, my defense mechanism is to want to curl up and sleep all day. Or do art and stay at home. I don't want to choose all the normal, every day things. I want to choose differently. But all my choices have lead me to this place. It is where I am. Wishing doesn't change anything, and it doesn't need to.
I think it is strange how fear backs up on me sometimes. Old stuff. Old thoughts. Mostly, I fight it off, but sometimes, it creeps up on me and grabs the oar and steers me offcourse. I will get back. It's just that dog-paddling is slower than actual swimming. I think it is the flailing.
Anyone have noseplugs?
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
The December 2009 Nablopomo theme is Mitzvah. Loosely translated from Hebrew, it means "a good deed".
Throughout the month of December, I am going to try to either recognize or do a good deed. I may not post about mitzvahs daily, but they are my target - what I am looking for in each day and in all surroundings.
Last year, I was able to write my gratitudes to folks who have had a positive effect on my life. This year, I want to recognize and do good things for others as a way of giving back. Paying it forward so to speak.
By the way, the book was a good read. Not great literature, but definitely optimistic. I like that!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Today, learn what you can. Do something to help. Donate time, money or love.
In loving memory of Dan, Alan, Dean, Roby and Chris and the countless others we have lost to this disease.
"This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More life. The Great Work Begins." - Tony Kushner from "Angels In America: Milennium Approaches"