Monday, August 3, 2015

Oversight

sun art

The other day we were driving in the car and I mentioned something about my job. Cordelia asked, "How many jobs do you have mom?!" I paused for a moment, unsure of how to answer. Obviously there is the unpaid and eternal job of motherhood, but I also have many paying jobs:  artist, teacher for a college and a university, teacher at an art museum, free lance writer, private painting instructor, lector, and I am sure there are more that I am forgetting. None of this quite equals a full-time job, it comes and goes in waves. I work a lot, but I am happy to be able to sort of be my own boss. Sure I have people I answer to, but none of them have the same authority in my life as a single boss.

Now I have one position which has a LOT of oversight and accountability. I will keep it vague, but let's just say that it has taken some getting used to the constant check-ins and updates. I think my personality tends to fight the constraint of that type of leadership. I understand that many people really love regular feedback and lots of guidance, it's just not my bag. I prefer to be left alone to do my job, obviously if I were to fail in some capacity I would expect intervention. I rationalize it that I am a capable adult and people should accept that and not micromanage. For this unnamed job I made a choice early on to accept the oversight against my natural inclination to rebel. Instead I have pushed myself to grow. Initially it really got under my skin to have constant check-ups and updates, but then something happened. I became a better employee. I do a good job anyway, but all of the oversight made me rebel in new ways. I decided to always do more and better, trying to give my overseers (I have many with differing points of view) absolutely zero room for critique.

I don't think anybody noticed as they are so busy watching over so many and in fear of the people watching over them, but I noticed. I noticed that I feel better about myself and my work when I do at least one more thing than I am required. Somehow this has spilled over into other areas of my life and now I have started pushing to do just one more thing, just to try a little harder. Trust me there is always something, always. And while I still don't love oversight as it makes one feel as though they are expected to fail. I appreciate that it has pushed me to try harder.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Quote: Great Artists


Lesser artists borrow, great artists steal.
~Igor Stravinsky

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday

Today I am already out and about with the family. We are taking a day to just be together. I hope you are enjoying your Saturday.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 7.31.15

Our week as told by phone photos...



Cordelia and one of her good friends hold hands and wait for the Calvary at a reenactment.

A teepee. Duh.

Elise and I in the hammock.

Thrift store find of the week.

Bee sisters in the midst of some strange play.

Did you know that hammocks also double and boats, trains, cocoons, planes, spaceships, etc.?

Family life. The girls have been putting on a lot of plays lately. Eric and the animals and I are their audience. 

Cordelia has taken to taping plants in her diary. Elise has been taping dead plants onto living plants in an attempt to revive them.

We went to Laramie this week for a day trip. Eric had work. The girls and I hung out with friends while Eric did his thing. We did get to eat at Wyoming's only veg restaurant!

On a walk with friends.

This.

Elise in a space helmet and a blanket.

Elsa and a bee at the grocery store.

Three parts mutant flower.

Best pals.


Sketching. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Presently...



• I have been busy with teaching. Grading papers, responding to messages. I have also been prepping for some fall classes I am teaching and doing some commission work.

•I am beginning to panic about winter. How will I live with no hammock? 

•Homeschool for Cordelia has begun.  We have just been working on kindergarten basics this summer. Her curriculum begins probably around the same time Elise starts preschool. 

•I am currently sitting at the table. Elise is slow-eating lately. Each meals takes one billion centuries.

•The girls are working on a play, to begin when Elise finishes breakfast. Elise is a clown in this play and Cordelia is "a royal queen."

•Cordelia has worn a bee costume for three days. I washed once. Definitely feeling summer relaxed about the whole business of clothes and/or cleanliness.

•I have four books that I want to read all at once and I can hardly bear to read one and let another wait. Do you do that too?

•I emptied the junk drawer the other day. Now it only holds a few essentials. I feel like a whole new woman. Seriously a junk drawer in order is simply a drawer.

• Yesterday I sanded and painted the wood patio. I am so happy when long intended projects are completed.

•I am currently garden watching for two people. I have to say that this is a fun job, particularly watching the food garden. All of the free food!

What is going on in your life?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Life Drawing


Yesterday evening I went to a life drawing class. I am sure you are imagining me sitting there, pencil in hand, studiously drawing the model. This was a different experience. Yesterday I was on the other end of things. I was the life model for the class. Seemed to me I should know what that is like, so I gave it a go. Here is what I learned:

-You are not supposed to make eye contact with the artists as they draw. I was handed some reading material prior to the two hour drawing session and that was one point that stood out. Not that I had planned to make eye contact, but after reading that I kind of wanted to stare each artists dead in the eyes.

-Holding a pose for a five minute warm up is no big deal. 

-Posing with both arms overhead for twenty minutes is far more grueling than it sounds. The blood all left my arms, they went totally numb with the exception of pinpricks of pain. When my time was up my arms fell at my side and didn't work properly for a few minutes. Still sore this morning.

-While frozen in place your mind can really wander. It is kind of fun. I pretty much had two hours of uninterrupted thinking time. Well, except for the times that my arms or legs fell asleep and that numbed and fuzzy pain encroached upon my thoughts.

-The artists were so kind and appreciative, made me feel happy to help out a bit. It can be tough to find someone willing or able to sit for a drawing. I hope that people of all ages and body types will sign up to model.

-I really wanted to draw. Posing is fine, but I can't want to draw next week!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Without Words

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bird

Last night the girls were asleep in bed. Eric was in the studio working on a piece. I went to our living room to sit and think. Do you sit and think? Motherhood has left me with less time to think the thoughts in my head. Much of my daily thought is allocated to logistics: food,  shelter, bills, play, projects, homeschool, doctor's appointments, laundry, cleaning, etc. My evenings are reserved for work on an art piece or online teaching. I find that I am left with little time to just think. Yet I crave it, moments to myself to reflect, have new ideas, to wonder. 

So last night I settled on the couch. The sun had set and the light was dim. I put my phone to the side, face down and sound off so I wouldn't be distracted or tempted. I sat there in the darkening dusk and had my thoughts. I made some progress in different road blocks in art that I have been needing to mull over. I was struggling with one particular art related concept and feeling frustrated. I began to think about animals.

Then I heard the tell-tale thunk. A little ting coupled with a thud. The sound of a bird hitting our big front windows. The first year in our home I realized there was an issue with birds and this window. I have a bunch of stuff hanging from the pane. A sign that reads "Happy," several green glass stars all suspended at different heights to keep birds from flying into the glass. We haven't had any deaths yet, mostly because there are trees that keep the birds from coming in at top speed. This thunk was different, harder. I assumed that I would look out the window and see the lifeless body of a sparrow.

(Not my photo.)


I peered over the back of the couch and out the window. There is a large evergreen bush right below our window. Laying on top of the bush, with one wing splayed out was a robin. I immediately thought of the robin (robins?) who always hop into the spray of water as I use the sprinkler in the garden, never coming too close. This moment was different, not playful. Her bright black  eyes shining in the low light. I froze, watching, waiting to see if she was truly injured or just stunned. She saw me. We stared at each other, something passed between us. I can't say what it was exactly. Of course on her side the feeling may have just been terror and confusion, but for me there was something important about this encounter that seemed to be connected to the thoughts I had been mulling over seconds before her impact. I felt something powerful pass between us as we sat there frozen, considering each other.

Then she folded her wing. I let out the breath that I had been holding. We sat there for another moment, looking at eachother. Then she flew off and landed on the lowest branch of the cottonwood tree that lives out front. She looked at me again and then hopped a bit deeper into the green leaves of the tree. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday Quote: Quiet Desperation


Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
~Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Vegan Recipe: Smores

Here is a recipe moved from Rooted Vegan
vegan smores by rootedvegan.com

Sometimes it hits me that my vegan children will be really out of the loop on certain things that are cultural tradition or rites of passage here in the US. Honestly, this makes me mostly proud and happy. My kids don't go to rodeos or circuses. They will never eat greasy dogs at a ball park (unless they are vegan veggie dogs). I am proud to be breaking a cycle of rather mindless eating and traditions that are built upon the suffering of animals.

There is another side, a side that I feel a little bummed about. Grabbing an ice cream cone from the ice cream truck is not an option.  They can't just grab a bite of food with their friends without first ensuring that there are vegan options.  The girls will never get a carefree attitude about food, which is both good and lame. Unfortunately my three year old has long understood that she needs to inquire about whether or not a given food is vegan. While I like that she is considering food and its sources I don't want food thinking to be the central factor in their lives.

While this isn't a big deal I do try and give the girls some normalcy so that, when they are grown, they have some of those same touchstones as others. Shared or common experiences are so often a great conduit to genuine connections. So, with that in mind I set to creating vegan smores! (Honestly, this was all about my children, not at all about my obsession with chocolate...).

So you're probably going, "Yeah genius smores are literally three ingredients. We don't need a recipe." To that I say, some folks don't realize that they can veganize this treat. Let me guide you on this journey!

First I discovered vegan marshmallows! Here are several.

I also found graham crackers. Check here. If you aren't hung up on the ethics of supporting non-vegan companies Nabisco Original Graham Crackers are accidentally vegan (check out this site for tons of accidentally vegan products)

Then I grabbed some chocolate. There are so many vegan chocolates out there in the world! Thank goodness.

Next, I showed my oldest daughter how to roast a marshmallow. We roasted and assembled our smores like people have been doing since the dawn of time, or whatever. Graham cracker, chocolate, roasted mallow, graham cracker. Of course you can always jazz things up by adding fruit. We like raspberries and strawberries. Enjoy the time honored tradition with a vegan twist!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Phone Photo Friday: 7.24.15

Week in review as seen from my phone...

The girls had some messy fun with chalk.

Working on a sketch for a larger commission.

Out with artist friends. We spent the evening sketching.

Something was happening here and it involved the dog bed.

My mom and Elise on the mountain.


Eric and my father playing guitar.

My mom and Elise.

Eric.

Cordelia and Sam when we celebrated Sam's birthday a bit early. 

My mom and I took a fantastic hike together. Such a rare treat to do anything with just us.

First time on the slip-n-slide. May wait another year.

Painted sugar skulls with friends this week.

Double rainbow!

This!

Elise.

Hot air balloon hunting this morning.

We surprised the girls and hopped in the car to drive around town and look at balloons.


How has your week been?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Confessions


 confessions2

Time for confessions!


•My inbox situation is out of control. When Eric sees my 300+unread messages he starts to sweat. In my defense many of them are junk mail that I plan to deal with (probably never) or stuff that I marked as unread for some reason or another. About three times a year I dig in and sort it all out. You might be thinking,"Gee it would be so much easier to just deal with email as it comes in," but that type of logic holds no bearing in my reality.

• I went to the house of a friend this week and while there I noticed that her family has two regular hammocks and three chair hammocks. When I asked her about it she said that she and her husband were tired of their kids taking over hammock time so they bought chair hammocks for the kids. Genius! $30ish each on Amazon....tempting.

• I feel bad for flowers when I cut them. I might whisper an apology, it is not weird at all I promise.

• Belly buttons kind of freak me out; not their original purpose. I can handle newborn belly button stuff all of that is no biggie. Adult belly button is just kind of nasty. Even the most accessible belly buttons are full of strange wrinkles and folds. What is lurking in there? I don't want to know!

• Yesterday I spilled my coffee while working at the computer. I was quite dramatic and coffee   shot up into my eyeball. Now my keys are sticking. Do I need to buy a new keyboard or is this a fixable problem? 

• I have been engaged in a turf war with mice. I noticed a mouse, really Betty spotted it, by the bird feeder. Rule of thumb is that if you see one mouse it represents one billion more trying to invade your home and kill your family with hantavirus or bubonic plague. I am in no way going to kill mice, but I don't want them to move in when the weather cools down in a few months. So I stopped feeding the birds. I have also started a serious plan of attack with the garden. I have been landscaping and removing the long leafy stuff that they were using for cover. I am also spraying the perimeter with peppermint oil as they are supposed to dislike it immensely. So far I seem to be winning. I haven't seen a mouse in about two weeks. Betty is bummed.

• I am often not sure what day of the week or month it is as my schedule is so weird.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lucy Sparkles Scratch-n-Sniff

 Lucy

One year ago today we brought Lucy Sparkles Scratch-n-Sniff home from the Humane Society. Read here about her adoption and the reason we chose to adopt this sweet little lady. Her adoptiversary is easy to remember because it is also my youngest brother Sam's birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM).

We are so in love with this sweet cat. She  is a one in a million type of creature. She is engaged and playful. Growing up in a house with kids and dogs and another cat she is also quite confident. She is such a character! We laugh at her antics on a daily basis. At night she often snuggles up behind my knees and ends her night up on the top bunk in the girls' room to wake Cordelia. 

She has forged her own relationship with our older cat Ophelia. We are so happy that Ophelia seems to have come out of her depression (from losing our Siamese cat Mia). She is interested in Lucy, though she has zero interest in playing with a kitten, that job falls to the dogs. Bumblebee and Betty Sprinkles both play with her on a daily basis, racing through the house barking and romping. It is, however, the relationship between Betty and Lucy that is the most endearing. They play and snuggle and seek each other out. 

Take a moment to look over a few pics from the past year with Lucy.

Lucy

Lucy

Lucy

Lucy

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