Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Messy Me

I'm going to be very industrious today and clean out a lot of the messy areas that get stacked up with papers and laundry and stuff during the rest of the year, when I don't have the extra time or energy to figure them out. I'm GOING to get my room cleaned and my bills paid. I'm going to start next year with a clean house and a clean slate. And then, I hope, I'll work on staying a little neater to start with.

Don't believe me?

Why not?

You don't believe me because I'm sitting here on the computer and procrastinating, is that it?

OK. I'll take the challenge. It's 8:38 right now. I'm going to start working, and check back in at 10 AM. I bet I work really hard for the next hour-plus. And I'll come back and tell you what I've gotten accomplished. Sounds like a plan?

Ready, set, go.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Photos

I take a bunch of photos but they all look wrong. I haven't figured out yet how to exactly capture how beautiful it can be outside at night.

I took these within a few minutes of each other, on different settings.

Neither of them are right, but neither of them are wrong either. I want something in the middle?

The first snow of the year is always welcome. (Maybe not too many snow storms after that!) I am still in my pajamas... it's only 7 PM! No point in getting dressed, is there? I've had such a cozy day, making pots of tea, taking photos, writing, and eating cookies. It might be almost the same tomorrow because this snow is supposed to last until tomorrow night!

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I've got some kind of virus, and everything hurts. I've taken the day off and I'm going to do nothing but sit and stare out into space and read and sleep. Well, it's a Saturday, so it isn't too complicated to take the day off. I'm missing a party tonight and all of that work I'm supposed to be doing right now. Not such a big deal.

Well, so much Christmas preparations I should be doing, so maybe it is a big deal... I'm feeling very behind. I've been feeling like I have so much pressure to get everything done but can't. That's the source of another dull ache in my head, I think.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Be Alone video...

It's a beautiful poem, I love it.

I want to write more, but time is fleeting. Soon, though, I'll have all the time to myself again, and I'll be back to being alone. See ya then!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I want to paint this.


I've started like two paintings recently that I'm in the middle of working on, and now I've got a third in mind, and it's along the lines of this photo... but not really, not even close.

The other paintings? Well, one is a painting about beauty, and how and what people see as beautiful, especially about generational style differences. I'm painting a picture of a girl - no one in particular, in fact, just a girl I've never seen or met before. It's good practice for my goal of getting better at painting and drawing people. And I'm trying to portray a pretty girl. But she's also pierced and tattoo'd, which some people would say looks good, and some people would say looks bad. I like it so far. Of course, like usual, my person isn't coming out overly realistic. It's making me think about signing up for a class in drawing people. Well, I'm thinking about it. That's not saying I'm actually going to follow through with that. Because right now, I'm a little over booked, with the job thing sucking my brain. But - I still might. I might take a night course at the county college. Will I be brave enough? I don't know. I'll feel a little weird in a class of kids. Is that a good enough reason not too? I'm not sure. We'll see.

The second painting is all symbolism and good luck. I read a thing somewhere about it being "good feng shui" to hang a painting of a boat coming in to harbor, so I decided to paint a picture of that to hang in my living room. (Not that I know enough about feng shui to KNOW if that's good or not - or if it's good in the actual spot that I'm hanging it - or if it's too much water for my chi, when I need more wood or more metal - or any of the other details that I would need to know!) But I've decided that I'm going for it, and I'm going to paint a good luck painting. So I decided that the boat coming in to harbor should be OUR boat. (Well, my husband and his buddy's boat. It's called "the broken drum", because you just can't beat it....pause... get it? get it?) And in the boat will be my husband and my boys. (Although recently, I've been wondering if his buddy should be in there too. But it's a small boat, and I'm not sure the picture will look right. I might just put something symbolic of his buddy and his family in it.) And the boat should be coming in with bounty of some sort - so I added a crab trap with crabs. And I'm sitting on the dock, reading a book. Because that's where I'd want to be. And the sun is shining brightly, and the sea is calm, and there are little pink houses in the background. And swans in the foreground - I'm gonna add more - to represent family and friends and constancy and grace and some other quality that I can't name off the top of my head, but it's kinda like loyal and true... ya know? So, yeah. That's painting number 2.

And painting number 3 is something along the lines of this photo, because there have been SO MANY nice days lately, and the sun has been shining goldenly through the trees and the trees are such a beautiful color! So I have something in mind. So... which one should I work on? I don't know, I guess I'll decide tonight!
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Friday, November 05, 2010


It's a beautiful, peaceful morning around here today. The leaves are falling off the trees quite rapidly now. I don't have work because we are still on holiday, so I have all the time in the world to sit and think and dream and read and drink tea. I have plenty that needs to get done, but I'm enjoying my peaceful time so much this morning that I'm going to have just one more cup of tea before I start running around. It seems I never get time to myself for this kind of thing, and I've gotta enjoy it while I can!

I've been trying to think deep thoughts, but something in my mind keeps switching them off. I've been trying to think about my goals; or about human nature, and how I can evolve into a better person; stuff like that. And yet I can't really get firmly into the meditation. I have an inner child chattering too much inside, and interrupting me. That aggravating voice that starts bringing up regrets and disappointments and embarrassments, and I want to drown it out, so I fill my head with other noise. Even when I was driving yesterday, and even when I was doing the dishes, both prime meditation times for me... I still couldn't find that profound place in my head. I think I'm going to have to take some time to schedule myself into a long peaceful silent thought time. Maybe when my husband watches football, I can walk to the park and sit by myself for a while. Maybe I can watch the trees lose their leaves, and whenever a stray thought pops into my head, any thought, I can just say "shush!" until all there is, is the silence and leaves falling.

Monday, November 01, 2010

November Sun


Good morning! It's sunny, and brisk, and the beginning of a week off, and so of course I'm pretty happy! I had a nice get together here at my house yesterday with a bunch of my husband's friends from high school, and I have a busy week planned. So many things to try to jam into a few days. And everytime I think about it, I think of more things to add to my list of things to do. So even though I hope to start blogging more again, I think that right now, I've gotta go get started on my stuff. I'll try to post something more interesting tonight if I can think of something interesting to say! :)
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Weather related

I've noticed so often how my mood is soooo weather-related. If the sun is shining, all is right with the world. When the clouds scud across the sky, my mind gets cloudy and blah as well. WHY???? This drives me CRAZY!!! And you'd think that by recognizing it, I'd be able to fight it. Well, I can fight it, but I don't always win the fight.

Break from school begins... NOW... Yay! I'm liking the classes I'm teaching better than I did in the beginning, but it's still hard. Teaching is HARD. It seems so easy when you are on the outside looking in. But it's not, not if you really want people to learn. Everyone who reads this (unless you are a teacher) is probably thinking, "yeah, well how hard can it be, you have a week off now!" And sure, I have a week off. But I can tell you that I've got class work to do for at least two or maybe three of my days off, between grading and organizing and getting lesson plans together.

I'm going to try to get back in the groove for blogging. I don't know why it's become less of a habit than it had been. But yeah, I've got big plans for this week, and blogging is one of those plans! And my first step is to clear out all of these papers surrounding my computer. So let me get on to the task at hand... as soon as I have my tea...

Monday, October 18, 2010

What Now? What Next?

I'm about to make a wish.... or maybe not. I can always only wish for one thing, for happiness, and it gets boring after awhile.
I'm teaching now. Yes, I love it and Yes, I hate it. I'm too nice, the kids walk all over me, I know that. I can't be mean, I don't even want to be. I don't want to change who I am; I just want them to learn that learning is a good thing, and I want them to listen to me because they SHOULD and because they will learn something. It hasn't happened that way yet.
And I'm SO TIRED. I have so many things to organize and think about. But actually, I find that they are pretty good when they get to cook, it's only when they have to do other things that they are bad.
Oh... did I mention that I'm the cooking teacher? Which doesn't just mean lesson plans, it also means getting to the market every few days. I'm TIRED!

But first -- as for what's next?
The cooking and teaching isn't going to last long. It's a temporary job. And I have another application out, for a job that would make decent money, but more manufacturing/factory based. Do I really WANT this job? I don't know. I want something stable, though, and this is a stable field - the oil industry. Can I even DO this job? I'm not sure about that either. But I had some whispers from the universe, that maybe, just maybe, it's something that would work for me. The timing would be right. The money would be great. It's a definite maybe. So? We'll see.

Friday, October 15, 2010

My summer of ART AND FLOWERS

Hi all, long time no see!

I know, I know, I haven't written anything in ages. I haven't given up on blogging... although by this point, you may have given up on me! But I guess the explanation is that I've been so busy doing things, I haven't had the time or energy to write about them. But things are starting to settle down, and blogging is still something I like to do, so I'm trying to sit down now and actually write again.

The summer was amazing - I hope yours was too?

The bad thing, of course, was being laid off from a job I loved. But I wasn't "too" sad, because I had the whole summer to look forward to! So I set a bunch of goals for myself... things I'd always wanted to accomplish... and I did them.

I had an amazing garden. Well, not so many flowers, but plenty of veggies. We planted heirloom vegetable seeds, and I've saved seeds for next year. I wasn't sure it would be worth the cost, but I think it was. Even now we're getting string beans. The Zuchini was amazing. I didn't love the tomatoes, I have to try a different variety next year.

In the art side, I painted all summer, and the grand finale was a local art show I participated in last weekend. I even sold a painting!!! I was really excited. It was a skull on a pink background with flowers, a small canvas, and it went for $10. I was happy with that, because my only goal was to be IN the art show, and I didn't expect to sell anything. And no, it wasn't bought by a friend - it was a random passerby.

While I painted, other people wanted to paint as well... my husband has been painting with me. In fact, he's been painting even when I can't now! He loves it too :D and the kids too. Well, not MY kids. Nick likes to do three-dimensional work. Frank likes to play music. But their friends have come over and painted with me. And other friends of mine have joined us too.

I had other goals, as well. I looked for a new job. I had afternoon tea almost every day, sometimes alone, and sometimes with guests for a tea party. I started a book club, which was originally meant to be for the summer only, but everyone is enjoying it so much that I'm gonna keep going. This month, we're reading "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coelho. I always wanted to be in a book club! (If you are local, and want to join, give me a call! The more, the merrier!)

I didn't excercise as much as I should have, but I did manage to survive our week-long hike of the Appalachian Trail, and had a great time doing it - and lost 10 pounds! (Which may have been put back on, I don't know. I need to hike more!)

I survived the House Boat on Smith Mountain Lake. And had a good time at the beach house in Chadwick.

The summer flew by. And now, fall is upon us. I wasn't sure what I'd be doing for a career this year. Turns out that the school I was a secretary at needed a long-term sub in the cooking class, and they offered it to me. It's not as much money as I was making as a secretary - and it's way more work - but it's fun. I'm teaching high school kids, and although I have a lot to learn, I'm gonna get there. Eventually. (I need to toughen up some, that's for sure.) (But without being mean. I need to find that balance.) So I can teach cooking probably until next January... and then? I guess another summer of ART AND FLOWERS!!! lol :D I really thought that by this point in my life, I'd be settled. But I guess that's not my destiny. As long as I've got SOMETHING, I should be fine.

So tonight's a Friday, and I'm having my tea, and looking forward to painting tonight with some of my friends. I'll write more soon... maybe even tomorrow AM!
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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Trail


I'm back from my Appalachian Trail adventure with the Venture Crew :)
It was... hard to explain

all at the same time!

I had a lot of time to think and reflect. I want to write it down before I forget it... but first,
it's back to the rest of the real life that I've let go while I've been off playing for the last few weeks.

I'll be back soon
after I get some stuff done
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Atlas Shrugged


This could be Atlas, with the weight of the world not momentarily resting on his shoulders
It could be Nick putting his dad on a pedastle
It was very, very funny to the folks sitting on their deck watching us pose
It is a very real photo
I really love this picture
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Two variations on a theme

two different nights this week
two different places
Relaxing at the beach
and relaxing at home.

I like them both
But home is a little... sharper... isn't it? Meaner?
But it's still home sweet home
and it's actually more peaceful in someways
home is home, after all.

You can't tell by looking at the beach photo
but at my back
are hundreds of thousands of people
vacationing at the Jersey Shore

And you can't tell by looking at the home photo
but the neighborhood is very quiet
and crickets are chirping, and music is playing
and no one is home but me.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This is what I've been working on lately


I played with this for a long time before I figured out what I wanted to do with it. I really like the way it came out. I put actual pages of a book down first, and then painted on top of them. The quote is only me, I decided I wanted to just say something from myself, not try to look up something that someone else said. Not what I usually do, but I wanted to play... and I'm getting tired of trying to paint people, lol :)
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This is a small one I just finished


It was a quick painting but I really like it. I like the idea of adding words... maybe it's trite or hokey, but I do like the idea...
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This is the one I'm working on right now.


I like the idea and the vision I have of it in my head. I don't know if I'll be able to get that vision on paper. It's nowhere near that yet. But I plan on working on this one for a really long time, and I have a long way to go, so maybe I'll get there. It kinda matches the one I have already hanging in the dining room... But I am still terrible at people, and I still don't know how to get those cartoony people to look REALLLL...
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Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm in training :)

Time to get ready
We're going to hike again
I need to get in shape
The trail is calling
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Nick's spinner craft video

What else should I say? It is just that. Nick made a spinner craft and I liked it so I video taped it. So... there you are.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Painting Parties

I love to paint, even though I'm never going to be a great artist. It doesn't matter because I enjoy it. (Although I'd enjoy it even more if it was turning out spectacular, I must admit!) But my belief is that art is great for arts sake, you don't have to be great at it, you don't have to paint something that looks exactly like what you are drawing, I believe you need to get down how you feel about what you are drawing. I'm not good at that either (lol) but it's still fun! And I guess it helps that I am not trying to get paid for my paintings - because that would be pressure of a different sort. But I love exploring what happens when you mix this color and that color, and if you use this brush instead of that brush, and if you add more water or glop it on. It's all fun for me.
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And that's what I've been telling the kids, and Thor, too. Just paint, it doesn't have to be good, just do it! And they seem to be enjoying it, because we've had a few painting parties lately and everyone has hung out for a long while to paint with me, and that is a LOT of fun for me! I think they are having fun too...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here are my paintings

I'm starting with the most recently finished, and working my way backwards to the oldest. Well, the oldest of the group that I'm doing right now, this summer. So anyway, don't think they are going to get better as they go along. And I do still have one that I'm working on now, that isn't anywhere near done, that I didn't post. It's nothing like this group, it is more of a collage and more random and I'm playing more with it. I'll post it in the next group, because I think that what I'm working on is the direction I'm going to go in next - more hodge podge.

Anyway, please feel free to comment (but don't feel like you have to comment just to make me feel better.) Say whatever you really mean, if you say anything at all. I don't mind constructive criticism, I'm trying to improve. What you see here basically represents practice more than anything else. Hopefully, some day practice will make perfect. Or at least practice will make better.

Sun rise at the waterfront

I thought of this one when I was at the "Relay for Life" walkathon... I went to watch the sun rise and wanted to paint it. Although I was alone on the park bench :P
I started it a while ago, but I just finished it last night. It didn't come out the way I wanted it to... but then again, none of them really do... but I like it pretty much.

The Family Tree

I started this one on ...Friday I think?... and finished it on Sunday.

It's my Dad, although like I said he doesn't really look alot like that - although I think my Grandfather, in the back, looks pretty good. I worked from photos for both of them. It's about my Grandfather's story about growing the peach tree from a pit. I remember him talking about it just before he passed away, and I remember thinking that it was a really important story about him. And now my father has a peach tree in the back yard, and I think of it as him keeping a piece of his father alive.

James and Tara

I did this one pretty fast after vacation. I like the picture, but I don't really think it looks much like James and Tara. I worked from a photo, which I posted below.

I picked this photo because I liked the sparkles on the water, and I wanted to paint them. I don't think I did a great job on the kids, but I like the water...

I like this one.

I did this one after I did all of the self portrait things below, and I wanted to do something more fun. I like this one. It's not supposed to be anyone in particular, but I think the fairy looks like Beth a bit...

Self Portrait 1 - I actually like this, surprisingly

although I'm not sure how much it looks like me. I messed up the bottom half, so I added a fan, lol :)

Self Portrait 2 - I like this one the least

and I'm still messing with it. Yesterday, it had all very grey and white hair, and I made it brown. I might change it again tomorrow.

Self Portrait 3 - most like me?

I guess this one is best... Hopefully I'll get better...

It started as a self portrait, but...

... I kept playing with it. I don't look anything like that, but it looks like SOMETHING. Again - like I said - these are the earliest things, I'm going from newest to oldest...

Early attempt - ballerina

Comment! (I like constructive criticism)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Link to an article

This article about BP, and about our government - and in fact our society's - response to corporate America - was a really good read...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My relationship to insects


This butterfly has been following me around :)
I found one here at home before my vacation, and then the same kind in two different places on the trip.
What do you think that means?

And I found another butterfly on vacation - I don't know what kind it is...

And a dragonfly. I love dragonflies.

I've had a few crickets in the house over the last few days. I hate the way they look, but they are lucky aren't they? They are definitely noisy. I can't kill one when it gets in the house. It's too big. But I can just let it chirp, it doesn't bother me. It usually bothers one of the men in the family first, and they THEY can catch it and let it out.

But the bane of my existence are mosquitos. They love me. They love to feast on me. And one little nibble and it balloons up into a huge welt that itches like crazy. I hate that. And then the marks last forever. My legs are red spotted all over. Yuck.

Anyway, I don't have much else to say... was that exciting?

No I guess not. But, well, nothing much is new here, so that's what I'm left with. And I wanted to post a photo, so I did, right?

I'm officially unemployed. It's SO official, I've even received my first unemployment check. I'm working on getting a position... hopefully I'll have a job in October. And I've something in mind, something really POSSIBLE, not just a pipe dream. So I'm working on that but I'm not going to write it down yet. In the meantime, I'm working on my art career. So you could say, that for the summer, our government - generous to a fault - is paying me to have the career I've always wanted; I'm officially a paid artist! Well, I'm paid, and I'm putting in like 40 hours a week on art, so YES! I'm a paid artist!

My first show will be in October, and I'm trying to get ready by producing a TON of work (all of which probably won't sell, but I WILL SHOW it. And that's what a show IS, right?)

I've never painted people in my paintings, mainly because I've always been afraid to. I was never good at it. I was always afraid of what someone would say when they saw a painting of themselves that I did, and they hated it. And just painting myself over and over seemed boring. But with all of the time I have to improve, I'm working on including people. I want to get better as an artist, and I don't want to be held back because I can't paint people. So I've decided to paint people, and I'm sorry if I paint you and you don't like it.

I painted my dad, and he didn't hate it. Of course, he didn't really think it looked like HIM.
So yeah, I'm getting better at painting people, but I'm not getting good at making them accurate. You can tell it's a person, but I wouldn't necessarily say you'll know WHO it is.

Whereas, if I paint... say... a butterfly, you'll know it's a butterfly. And you'll probably even know it's an Easter Tiger Swallowtail or whatever. But maybe the butterfly wouldn't recognize himself. But I guess that's OK.

Another fun thing about painting is this: I've been having a lot of company painting with me.
My husband, and Nick and his friends, have been joining me periodically and painting too. It's cool... I love the company. It's been quite enjoyable!

Well. That's about it for now, but it reminds me -- I want to run out to the art store.
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An unpleasant article

If you want to read about the middle class being wiped out -- the middle class being the class that America was founded on, the group of people that Iselin has always been home too -- then click here.

I can't write any more than that right now. Maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love Boat Captain Vacation

I finally got it! I take way too many pictures on vacation. So I put these together into a video. The quality came out poor -- it was way better when I put it together -- but, well, what are ya gonna do? At least I've got most of my pictures all in one spot! :)

Tell me what you think...

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's early. It's late.

in the day. and in the year. And in my life.

I've been feeling very certainly over the last few days that it's early and it's late. I don't have a good sense of the middle. Middle age, the middle of my life, the middle of the afternoon.

It's almost the end of July. The time is going so slowly without a job. And yet it's going so quickly with not much to do.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh Captain, My Captain

Husband saw the post yesterday... I asked him how he liked it? And his reaction was ... luke warm.
He was basically wondering why I didn't mention what a great job he'd done captaining the ship?
And I, apologetically, said I would do that today.

He said, "No, no, don't be silly, it's fine," but really, you KNOW he wants me to mention:
He did a great job as captain.

He really did. The proof of what a great job he did? There were NO problems, at all. He made it seem effortless.

And we're talking a pretty big, heavy boat. Once it gets some momentum going, it's going that way whether you like it or not. Full steam ahead. Batten down the hatches... batten 'em down again, we'll teach them hatches.

I wasn't nervous ONCE. I didn't think that would be the case. But he kept everything smooth sailing for the whole trip.

So thank you, honey... you did very well. I might even go on a houseboat again someday. Love ya... :D
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


What I did on my summer Vacation...

We just got back from our summer vacation. Well, summer vacation part 1. Frankie couldn't come, because he had to work, so we decided to bring my nephew Steve instead.
So summer vacation part 1, A - overnight in Baltimore. The Inner Harbor at Baltimore is a great place. There are plenty of things to see and do... we were only there for a short period of time.

Lunch? At Hooters. lol. We did bring two teenage boys, after all.
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The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltiimore


This was the main event for me - the part of the trip I looked forward to the most (considering that I was afraid of getting sick on the houseboat.) I've wanted to come to the American Visionary Art Museum ever since I first heard of it.

I made the boys promise to let me spend as much time as I wanted, with no complaints. But I think they found displays that they enjoyed as well. There was a section of little kinetic sculptures -- almost like little toys, that did things when you turned their cranks -- that they really liked. It was a great museum. Part of the greatness of it was in the variety of displays, all in the name of art. I had a great time.
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The third floor was empty.


However, my family, being completely into the whole art experience, decided to create their own art installation. It's a piece of kinetic performance art. Can you tell? And it was exhibited on the third floor of the Visionary Art Museum, for a few seconds only. It's rare, and probably priceless. I call it "Sculpture number 3."
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