time flies…

 

starry night startI have started painting again…i haven’t painted since high school really. I really enjoyed painting in high school, but then I got to college. And I majored in art, beCAUSE i liked painting- i liked the paint, the colors, the way I could get so engrossed that i lost time…however our college painting instructor promoted stepping out one’s comfort zone and painting in an abstract manner, which didn’t make sense to me. And I wasn’t assertive or sure enough of myself at that point in time to stand up for my own ideas.

I had a sculpture class that first semester too. It was fun, i liked the teacher, and i felt strong- learning to weld, and bronze cast.So I abandoned painting and became a sculptor for the remainder of my college art career.

Then clay took over and that has been my focus for the past nearly 30 years (my gosh, has it been that long…??)- with small detours into paper-nina's stormmaking, collage, watercolor, sewing…a rather large investment into fiber, spinning and knitting– but clay captured me. It was the fire, the glaze surprises, the accidental nature, the feel of clay, the predictable flow of throwing. There was always something new to learn, to investigate, to try. This is what has kept me coming back to it, over and over.

This winter I decided to paint one little tiny painting for one of the girls for Christmas. She loves sunrises, and every morning sends me a snapchat of a sunrise on her way to work– so I thought it would be fitting to paint one of those sunrises for her. So i did. I had a blast! So then I did another one…and another…  I decided to try my hand at my own version of Starry Night.  I was on a bit of a Van Gogh kick for a bit, doing studies of a few of his lesser known paintings. And now I am doing something of my own. I’m more adventurous than I used to be- I use my fingers, rags, rubber stamps…and a paintbrush now and then. I still have a comfort zone, but its a much different place than it was 30 years ago…

and you know …i still like the colors, and the paint, and the way I lose time…

mulberry treestarry night done

 

a note from the road…

open-roadI feel like I have been away on a trip…haven’t written a blog since last October! Geez…what’s up with that? Well, as you might have guessed, something has changed….AGAIN… life is always changing, isn’t it?

Just when I had come into a peace with my life, when I had made the changes that were needed, when I let go of soooo many things– a job, a marriage, anything material that wouldn’t fit in my little U-Haul, friends in the Hills, a house that I helped build with my own hands…just when I had taken a deep breath, and said, ‘yes… this is enough.’

That is when a new person came into my life.  I have a co-worker that says ‘we let go of things to make room for better things’. Maybe so…

He (yes, a ‘he’) fits me…I can’t put it any other way… we match…and we share time in a way that I don’t think I ever have…every day is an adventure…I am happy…life is good.

So in a way, I am still away…

I will write at the next rest stop!

Take care and wear your seatbelts!!

run, run, run

photo(10)Thirty eight degrees!? Seriously?! …let me back up a bit…

As I told you, I have been doing the Couch to 5K workout.  And feeling ‘athletic’ and…admittedly smug.  I liked to drop into conversations, “I ran this morning.”, with nonchalance.

So when I visited my chiropractor a few weeks ago, the wonderful receptionist (her official title is “director of first impressions”…for real! It says it on her badge!), Brooke, handed me a flyer that said Health Adjustment 5K.  It was advertising a 5K that was sponsored by the local chiropractic clinics. Well, I have the best chiropractor on the planet…and of course, I ‘run’ now. It seemed a perfect opportunity!  I sent Tasha the information and asked her if she wanted to do it. She was enthusiastic, so we both registered.

Now can we mention that this 5K was outdoors? In my being new to this ‘running’, it vaguely occurred to me, that running outdoors was going to be a bit different from running indoors.  That running on a treadmill or elliptical would be different than running outdoors…but really, I thought, “how different can it be?”

OK, so back to where you came in… Yes, 38 degrees…on the morning of my first 5K. I almost went back to bed…but Tasha wouldn’t let me. So we got up, put on our Keep Calm and Chive On shirts, covered them with layers of other shirts, put on hoodies, and headed out.  I got my hat too.

There were quite alot of people there when we got there…all sitting in their cars, waiting for the race to begin. We went to the Envive registration place, got our packets, with oh-so-many goodies! 2 different Tshirts, an energy bar, BioFreeze, instructions and the all important number. I was “354”.  And then we waited in the car…I was nervous…it was freezing out, and Tasha wasn’t going to let me quit and go home, if I got cold or tired. I hoped I would be done by noon (the race began at 9am)…I should also probably mention that I had no idea how far 5K was.

The man in charge lined us up at the starting line- “serious runners in front, joggers in the middle, and walkers in the back”. And away we went…and I ran…for awhile. And then I walked…Tasha was way ahead of me. My goal was to keep her in my line of sight for the race. So when she got far away, I ran, when I got tired, I walked.  I wondered how far we would have to go. The course had a loop at the end and then you were supposed to turn around and come back the same way. I passed some people here and there.  And then I saw the first person coming back…awesome! It couldn’t be that much farther then, to the turn around place…it was.

Down a hill, thru another park, under a bridge, past another park, thru some trees, past another park, under another bridge and FINALLY, I could see the lovely Sanford ladies waiting to give us water at the turn around. I wanted to conjure up the speed to grab the water as I sprinted by, crush the cup and throw it aside…but I walked by, said ‘thank you’, drank it as I went around and calmly put the empty cup on their table as I went back by.

By the last part of the race, I was only jogging the downhill stretches…but as the finish came up, I summoned some energy for a run across the line. I have to say, I wasn’t feeling very “athletic” anymore… But now it is totally authentic to say, “I ran this morning.”

hearing voices…

Image“you’re halfway…”, she says.  And I gasp for breath, but keep on going. I have someone new in my life. Before all kinds of strange pictures begin filling your head, let me share. 

A few months ago, Tasha, one of my daughters, said she was doing “C25K”…otherwise known as Couch to 5K. (This is an app you can download on your phone and a lovely female voice will talk you thru workouts for 8 weeks. They begin with minimal running and increase gradually until you are running the equivalent of a 5K at the end.)  And even tho’ I was applauding her for the decision, smiling, clapping my hands and saying, “wow! That’s awesome!” with my mouth, I was scoffing in my head…

“that’s ridiculous! No one can go from not running to running a 5K in 2 months! And really…who would want to!?  You don’t RUN. You are 52, and have gotten along just fine your whole life not running…not gonna start now!”

My daughter completed the 8 weeks in fine form, and made plans to attend a 5K event. I was stunned… “omg…really? You can go from a non-runner to a runner?? Just like that?!”

I was not a believer…but she lost so much weight doing it, and was energized, it seemed. She would post her little daily updates to Facebook- “Tasha just completed Week 5; Day 3 of the C25K…Running for a Cure.” And she looked amazing!

My internal voice was still scoffing when I downloaded the app.

“you can’t do this!! You have never been a RUNner!! You don’t RUN…not with scissors or any other way…let’s keep it that way!! We are happy with the status quo! Don’t upset things with this ridiculous notion to RUN!”

When I looked at the app for the first time, I was overwhelmed and mortified. In fact, I didn’t even listen to the first day, just scrolled thru it, and promptly hid it in the Entertainment cache of my phone… months ago.

But then I joined the fitness center- a good decision, but a story for another time! And there was that app still on my phone, and there was Tasha looking more fit all the time.  And I had the perfect place to try this…

“and fail!”, said my internal voice. “Just go ahead then! RUN! Try it, and find out you cannot keep up! RUN and get it out of your system, so we can get back to what we normally do at the fitness center…walk on the tread mill, and lift some weights for a few weeks…I have to keep reminding you, you don’t RUN!!”

The first day was not bad…pretty easy, in fact.  The second day was OK too.  By week 2, I felt like I knew what I was doing…I had a plan! In week 3, I was stunned that the workout went by so fast, and experienced my first ‘high’ from running.  Ran all the way through the lovely female voice saying “begin your cool down now” and beyond…it was glorious!  I felt powerful, and strong, and even, dare I say…athletic! (I have never felt athletic a day in my life!)

Over the weekend, while doing some pretty stressful paperwork, all I could think about was leaving the house and working out… this has never happened to me before… And I did go do my workout,  actually repeated one from the previous week, but ran longer and farther than I had before. Amazing feeling!

Today was Week 4, Day 1…and it kicked my butt! But I kept going and at the end, I felt like I had accomplished something!  I have learned to drown my internal voice with water during the workout…and besides, I have my headphones in my ears…and all I can hear from time to time is “RUN…RUN…RUN!”

note to self…

affirmationI smiled as I read the email that morning, especially the ending-

“smile and have a good day! You really ARE a rock star! Make a chiropractor appointment tho’, your neck has been hurting in the mornings…but mostly just enjoy your day!

Love you!”

Always makes me smile to get a note like that, especially from someone who knows me so well…

It was from me.

And really, when you come down to it, who knows me best?  its me…i know all my fears, my bad dreams, my hardest moments, my selfishness, and the things that piss me off- and sad to say, but we often know those things about ourselves better than we know our beauty, our creative abilities, our strength or how amazing we appear to others.

I have heard people talk about affirmations for years, and always thought they were hooey. But one day, when i was discouraged with my aging body, I decided to try them. Now the decision was important, but affirmations didn’t appear in my life for several months. I always thought I would artistically create wonderful affirming statements in funky fonts set against breathtaking photos, frame them and hang them artfully around my home. I didn’t. Often I thought about the concept, but that was all, a fleeting thought.

photo(4)Finally, having had the thought travel through my mind so often that it had its own path, I acted. Grabbing a nearby pad of post-its, I scrawled affirmations on them and stuck them all over my house. Affirmations on my mirror, my cupboard doors, my fridge, my hall closet doors… They were and are still everywhere.  They are about my strength, my future, my power, my body, my abilities. 

And here is the cool thing… they work.

The reason they work is that we have an automatic way of thinking about ourselves that we have developed since birth…coded messages and images that we remind ourselves of every time we are faced with a challenge, a decision or even a compliment.  Changing those thoughts takes practice, and repetition. Old dog, new tricks, you get the drift…

I have figured out that I would never let anyone speak to someone I love the way I was talking to myself…so I stopped.

Speak to yourself kindly…it makes a difference.

I could make that!

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if there is one phrase in the English language that has gotten me into more trouble than any other, it is “i could make that.” You have to say it in a variety of tones of voice, to get my meaning…say it scoffingly, and that is me standing in gift shop in front of a clever picture frame, or a poorly executed gift idea…say it with regret and that is me when I see someone making a million dollars with an idea that has played with the edges of my mind, say it with excitement, and that is me in the midst of a creative surge, where everywhere I turn is a seed of an idea that I could make–except I could make it better

This phrase is the impetus for me scouring the internet and local area for materials and supplies to make whatever has fleetingly caught my attention…my storeroom filled with crates of assorted papers, stamps, jewelry findings, beads, feathers, leather, glass scraps, canvas, paints of all kinds, wax, glues, and fabrics…oh, and dyes, wool roving, yarns, a variety of knitting needles, and a spinning wheel…and this doesn’t even begin to list everything in my clay studio. Yes, I have an addiction…i love raw materials…

trouble…how could this be trouble?, you ask…it sounds very exciting to be in the midst of creative energy, on the brink of new discovery and all of that…and it is, but…well, have you ever woke up wearing someone else’s cowboy hat? stepping on shards of memory, on your way to the bathroom, pieces of just how much fun you had the night before, lighting up your brain like so many flashbulbs? …and in the light of day, its …well, it doesn’t live up to how great it was going to be when you started?…in fact, its a bit embarrassing?(strictly a rhetorical question…put your hands down)

“I could make that” is a bit like that…it starts out with such good intention, like the time I decided to make Tasha’s prom dress…and ends up abandoned on the table, with me looking back at it with a stranger’s eyes…”what a mess! who did that!?” Or the time just recently, when I decided Nina and I should make Tasha’s graduation present – at 10:30 pm the night before graduation, there we were, sprawled on my kitchen floor, hammering letter stamps into metal blanks for a necklace.

But lest you think that ALL my endeavors end in disaster, I will say that a good many of them turn out well! Because really what fun is life, if you are afraid to try something you might fail at?

if my spinning wheel could talk

spinning wheelput away for the summer? put away for the summer!? Seriously??? why? Just when I want to party, and dance! When there all kinds of summer festivals for fiber, when the colors of the outdoors are vivid and lush…when I could be inspired by the colors of the flowers and trees– stuck in a dusty corner of the dining room…life is so unfair.

In the winter, then I am suitable company, I guess. When her creativity runs low…when she looks out at the snow and knits. The colors of winter are soft greys and undyed wool…instead there are skeins of indigo blues, rich purples and deep greens, miles of yarn traveling through my flyer, winding on my bobbins. I see her out there in the kitchen, up to her elbows in wool, and dye…wrapping multi colored bundles of wool in Saran Wrap and boiling them, like a witch at her cauldron….the steam making me wish we could open the windows. Yellows that look like freshly ground mustard seed, greens the color of a dark forest path, the trees canopied overhead closing out the sky…

We travel through time and continents in the dark of winter, the rhythm of the treadle and unspoken stories between us…

vegetarian by accident

20130722-090747.jpgI will always see Betty (not her real name) as being responsible for my vegetarianism. I never made the conscious decision to stop eating animals…it was Betty’s fault (not her real name). I had gone to get my hair cut- we were visiting about world peace and cancer, like you do with your hair stylist, and she mentioned a mutual friend whose cancer was in remission. Apparently this friend had bypassed the accepted practice of chemo and radiation, and had gone to an alternative health center for treatment. The regimen included exercise, spiritual practice, stress management skills and a vegan lifestyle. She was raving about the food this friend now ate, mentioning the vegan “butter”. I asked for more information, and she sent me off with the direction to google ‘vegan butter’. Betty (not her…never mind) said there were dozens of recipes online and i would have no problem finding one.

There were DOZENS of recipes, but the first site I landed on when googling “vegan butter” was a site for animal rights, go figure… The picture of thousands of chickens in blocks of cages was horrific…I hit the “back” button immediately, but the image was already there…in my mind. I went back to the site and read…and read…i even watched a youtube video on slaughter practices…makes me sick to my stomach even at this moment- 2 years later.

20130722-090814.jpgthat was it. I was done eating meat. Not that millions of people don’t still eat meat every day…they do. Not that my silent protest keeps even one chicken, cow or turkey alive…it doesn’t…i just can’t do it…

never did make that vegan butter…thanks alot Betty.

treasure hunt

the creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves. ~Carl Jung

Woke up to the sound of the rain…drumming on the neighbors’ garbage can. It was a nice rumbly sound. Had that muzzy twilight zone type of waking up, where your senses turn on one at a time, with images from your dreams still burned into your field of vision before you open your eyes.

I have an idea for a piece of work stuck in my head…it is so strong, so intense, I can almost touch it. I see the colors, the size, the words (there are words written on the edges)… I sketched it, thinking that would “photograph” it for my brain, so it could let it go…but it’s still there…becoming more vivid, if anything. The colors have filled in now, a pale yellow, large blotches of black and a blood red on the edges of the black. The black reminds me of magnified ink spills.

I am thinking I will have to go get materials and make this…it looks magical in my mind. I had a different plan for the day…but what are ya gonna do? I have to see what this looks like…

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once a dancer…

Pat Lindemann dancingI recently found this picture of my mother dancing with me.  The writing on the back says “Judy and Patti Jean on her first “birthday”.”  Its my grandmother’s writing.  When my parents married, they were in San Antonio.  Both were in the Air Force, and lived on the base.

I remember dancing with my mother…maybe not this time, but I remember a time.  I was little, but old enough to be walking…and we were laughing.  She was holding both of my hands and swirling them in figure eights, in unison.  I don’t know what the music was, no memory of that… although I wonder sometimes when I hear a song in a store or elevator that makes me smile for no reason, if it was that song…

dancingwithtashRecently Tasha and I trooped down to the park for a “concert in the park” night.  The music was jazzy and the park was packed.  We wandered around in the back, searching for a tree to lean on, since we had neglected to bring chairs like everyone else.  The band played the song “Brown Eyed Girl”, always a favorite of mine… and we were in the back…very few people were probably even paying attention…until I couldn’t stop laughing…but I totally see nothing wrong with dancing when you hear a good song. I like to dance with my whole body…none of this tapping of a toe, or a minimal shaking of shoulders, pfft!  That’s not dancing!  Dancing is feeling music in your middle, and letting it trickle out to your limbs. It was one of those moments when you feel so good, that laughing out loud is a tiny sound, compared with the light in your soul.

and the memory makes me smile…

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