Entries from: January 2007


January 31st, 2007, Comments (14)

I was feeling low today, unsure why. Sometimes the subconscious works in mysterious ways. Out doing errands for my boss, I was stopped at a red light and let my eyes and mind wander a bit. To my right there was a paved path next to a store that led down to the train tracks and the bridge they rode beneath. And I thought of my cousin, L, who comitted suicide by laying on train tracks. She and I were a month apart in age and as children we were close. We spent summers in lakes in New Hampshire and playing with make-up and making up silly games. We grew apart as we grew older, but we'd still spend a day out, mother-daughter lunch, in the summer. About a year after I was hospitalized for depression, she was also. It was a bit more complicated for her, she was pregnant and it was not planned and she wasn't sure she wanted the baby. After coming out of the hospital she had decided she did in fact want the baby and things seemed to be looking up, until the baby inside her grew very ill and died. She had to wait out the remaining few weeks of her pregnancy and give birth to an already dead baby. I can't imagine the pain that must have wracked her body and mind to go through something so terrible, so tragic. I visited her in the hospital and we played a game of Uno; I kept letting her win. I'm not sure if she noticed. I brought her a sketchpad and watercolors in the hopes she could get some things out with art, but I don't think she was able to. She put them in the pile with her other gifts, stuffed animals and cards. There's really nothing to say, no advice to give in a situation like that. She came out of the hospital, was in therapy, seemed to be improving. Her boyfriend was planning to propose on Valentine's Day; he had a ring. A couple weeks before that could happen, she decided to end her life. She didn't leave a note. The confusion and sadness this left behind for her family is awful. She had always said that this was the way she would choose to go though. I don't know why. Such a violent choice, I think, but clearly her mind was clouded.

Painting/collage of summer memories with her, painted before she died.

When I got home from errands, I got an email from my cousin, her sister, about her. I'd forgotten, today is the anniversary of her death. I believe it's been five years today. I spoke at her funeral and read lyrics from one of her favorite songwriter's. She's buried next to her baby, Angel.

Lyrics from Angel:

Spend all your time waiting
for that second chance
for a break that would make it okay
there's always one reason
to feel not good enough
and it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction
oh beautiful release
memory seeps from my veins
let me be empty
and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

  in the arms of an angel
fly away from here
from this dark cold hotel room
and the endlessness that you fear
you are pulled from the wreckage
of your silent reverie
you're in the arms of the angel
may you find some comfort there

Just Dropping In…

January 30th, 2007, Comments (2)

Oh boy, this past week has been nutty with school stuff! Ack, my brain! It has been wild and wooly in all possible senses, mostly good stuff. Many great new possibilities, some difficulties. I've got this paper I need to finish for tomorrow night and my last day of classes is Sunday and then, woohoo! I'll be done! So, before I get back to paper typing, I want to share the gorgeous Finding Water blog that Jessie has set up for us. If you're up for joining in, leave a comment over there. If you've already commented here that you definitely want to join in, you're all set. I'll make sure you're blog gets added to the list of participants.

Oh, and another thing before I forget! I posted my final Creative Challenge over at CaC, so be sure to check it out and all the other wonderful creative goodies over there!!

Back to typing...

Finding Water, Finding Myself

January 26th, 2007, Comments (19)

I've had so much to share recently, that I've shared nothing. Does that ever happen to you? There's no way to condense it all, so saying nothing is easier. I'm sitting in a Starbucks right now, getting out of the house is good for the soul. And small world, someone I go to school with just walked in. I feel re-energized now, partly coffee, partly being out in the world. On these days I'm working at home, I'm trying to get out of the house at least once per day. Yesterday it was to ship off a piece of art to a woman in Minnesota that found my art randomly online (how cool is that?) Today I did some corresponding with a potential art-studio-mate and a woman who has commissioned me to do a family portrait similar to the style of this one that I did for her friend.

I'm trying my best not to feel overwhelmed by all I want and need to do. For one, the amount of cleaning and clearing and organizing that needs to happen is so daunting. There are many things to set up such as websites and online stores and cutting mats and of course there's the art-making and the constant reminder needed that I can just play and see what happens, because trying too hard usually leads to a bunch of crapola. I'm aware that I don't need to conquer everything right off the bat. I've had all of 3 days, counting today working on my own. I need to give myself time to ease into this, to properly prepare. Yesterday, I found myself very frustrated. I think I was feeling a great sense of overwhelm that I wasn't acknowledging, so I was super anxious. And then all these little things started going wrong, the internet stopped working and then I couldn't find something and I went off on an obsessive search for it that involved digging through the nightmare that is the basement, crawling over dusty boxes that most likely belong to someone who lived here years ago and sneezing my brains out and getting a bloody nose and searching the same spot over and over and never finding it. I don't know if anyone else experiences this, but I go a little nuts when I can't find something, I have trouble letting go and my anxiety just builds and builds as I search and it's so hard to stop! Sheesh! Anyways, eventually I did stop, I got art out the door, did some business-y things, and then the fiansor got home and we fell asleep together. After the nap, I felt so refreshed and energized that I danced around and made some art. Writing my gratitude list was helpful in turning things around, the nap helped me get some perspective, and I woke up today feeling ready to go. I need to stop and smell the roses, enjoy the journey, love the questions. I'm learning as I go, one baby step at a time.


In this new venture, it seemed like the perfect time to do a little inner work to focus in on my creativity and myself. A few weeks back, I saw that Jessie had received the book Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance, the third installment in the Artist's Way series by Julia Cameron. I didn't even realize this book was coming out! I sent Jessie an email to see if she might be interested in doing the book together and we've been going back and forth about it, the timing, whether we'd ask others to join in, etc...Last year, the Artist's Way group that I facilitated was an amazing and at times overwhelming experience. This time around, since I've never done this book before, I'm not going to be leading a group, instead I'll simply say:

Hey, Jessie and I are going to be working through this book. It promises to be a wild, wonderful experience.  If you'd like to join in, we'd love to have you. Simply leave a comment on our, Finding Water blog (link coming soon!) which is where we'll be keeping links to the blogs of anyone participating and perhaps occasional group announcements. Jessie and I will be posting about our own experience with the book on our individual blogs, so this new blog will function as a place where we update links to anyone doing the book.

I don't know if there will be an interest, the Artist's Way is such a phenomenon and this book is brand new. But I know she uses the same tools (morning pages, artist's date, etc), so the experience will be similar in that sense. And I don't believe you have to have done the previous books to do this one. She explains everything at the beginning of each book, so they can stand on their own. Like the others in the series, Finding Water is a 12 week commitment and it's so helpful to do it in a community of like-minded people, so I'm super excited to do this with Jessie (and anyone else who might like to be involved.)

The starting date for week 1 is Saturday, February 17th. So, if you're interested, you have time to purchase the book online. I saw it on half.com for much cheaper than what I bought it for in a book store. Also, if you let me know you're buying it and you've never used half.com before, I saw a program where I can "refer" you and we both get $5! Good deal! But feel free to get the book whereever. I was too excited to wait, so I had to go to the store and pick it up right away. :-) Here's what it says in the book jacket:

Finding Water completes Julia Cameron's bestselling trilogy on the creative process to offer guidance on weathering the periods of an artist's life when inspiration appears to have run dry. This book offers advice and wisdom about tackling the greatest challenges you may face, such as:

  • Making the decision to begin a new project
  • Persevering when a new approach to your art does not bear immediate fruit
  • Staying focused when other parts of your life threaten to distract you from your art
  • Finding possibilities for artistic inspiration in the most unlikely places....

And just as a reminder, the term artist here is used in the broadest sense, not just for traditional artists but for creative people of all stripes (photography, knitting, writing, collage, crafting, teaching, dancing, whatever!) and everyone is creative (really.)

I have entries for CaC too, that haven't made it to posting, ack! It's hard to keep up with it all! Ah well.


January 23rd, 2007, Comments (7)

I keep seeing things that make me go, "oo, that's so cool! oo, i gotta remember that! oo, wow, I want to share that one!" I bookmark a lot online, in different folders and some links just floating free in the main bookmark link. And honestly, sometimes it's just too much, there's too much! Ack! There's so much to read and see and be inspired by, the blessing and the curse of the internet. So, before, I back away from the computer for a bit (step away from the computer, Leah. take your hands off the keyboard and step away) and do some work (boo!), here's some of the goodies I've been inspired by lately. And be warned, you may be sent off on an internet adventure that will leave you hours later wondering where the time went.

Many years ago, my best friend gave me a book by Jennifer Louden, The Woman's Comfort Book, which is filled to the brim with self-care goodies. Well, like most of the modern world, she now has a blog and a podcast. I just listened to a great podcast of hers in which she interviews artist Lynne Perella. I highly recommend it because it relates so well to various topics that have been coming up over at CaC and the creative challenges I've been  posing. Lynne Perella recommended that when trying something new, shifting, or changing, to expect setbacks and more than that, embrace the setbacks as part of the process. I love that! Seeing the challenges as part of the process could make what might normally feel discouraging as par for the course and not a reason to stop but a sign that you should keep going!

The lovely Carla of Zena Musings is co-leading a retreat in April that looks so juicy that I drool reading about it. Not to mention her candles which are a wonder to behold. And her co-leader has an amazing blog as well. I signed up for her newsletter and it has been such a joy to read.

Last night I was led to the blog of Rosa Murillo and my jaw dropped. I just *love* what she's doing in the world! Rosa makes great pieces of art and leaves them out in the world to be found. Totally inspiring!

If you're really digging the visioning challenge I did a couple weeks ago, you might be interested in Artella's dream board workshop. Sounds like fun and not expensive at all! And speaking of Artella, I tend to get overwhelmed by their website, my visual senses are on total overload when I go there, but if you can get past that, there are some real treasures, including a free sample issue of their e-zine!

Ok, there is always more. I could go on and on. But that's enough for this moment. I wish you a day filled to the brim with inspiration and creative goodness!


January 22nd, 2007, Comments (9)

Here's a fun challenge from Jamie who is the host of Try Day on CaC. Looking at something of my own and pretending I don't know who owns the objects, I will do some detective work and figure out what this person might be like. So, I emptied out my, I mean the mystery girl's purse and here's what I found:


Oh, she sure has great taste in purses! (hehe) Ok, ok, um, it looks like this woman is a bit messy or disorganized. Probably one of those creative, messy types. She sure has a lot of stuff crammed in that purse! Seems she has trouble throwing things away. I see she has a paperback book in there, so she must enjoy reading if she's carrying a book around with her. And she must be a cat lover by the looks of that 2007 cat calendar. It seems she's prepared for winter with her little black gloves, burt's bees lip balm and stocking stuffer starbucks card. Car keys and a gas card and sunglasses, make me think she does a lot of driving, those children's book illustration stamps make me think she's a child at heart, she probably likes kids, maybe she works with them. I think she also may enjoy silliness, laughing and being playful. Excedrin, lots of receipts, coins and four different pens, hmm, that says stress to me and overwhelm. Although all the pens could mean she's a writer or an artist and she needs these tools at her disposal. Definitely isn't the purse of a professional working woman, not a teenager either, maybe a student?

Hrmm, that was interesting! I found myself wishing that my purse was full of adorable and neatly packed goodies. But that's just not reality. My purse is pretty, I designed it at a purse party and I love it to pieces. Ah well, detective Leah, over and out.

My Mug! And other stories…

January 19th, 2007, Comments (12)


Yay! I was so excited to get my mug in the mail today and I was even more thrilled to see it covered with kitties! Thank you, thank you, Bella! Here it is with some orange ginger mint tea and honey on top of a journal from last year's Artist's Way journey in which I drew a picture of myself leaving my job. I drew it nearly a year to the time I will actually leave my job and I found it today on my first day not at my regular job (the start of working part time at my nanny job and part time working on my art and the end of March is the end of the nanny job. I'm so excited.)  It was so funny to see this picture of what I truly wanted, to just walk away. In the drawing I have myself saying, "See ya!"

This is a time of big transitions and yesterday feeling on the edge of something big and new, I was super anxious. Yes, I'm excited about this new adventure. I'm also wildly nervous which leads to this vicious cycle of being frozen in place. However, today was a great day. I knew that I didn't want to just flounder around all day, so I decided to schedule out my day. I laid it all out in time segments of a half hour, including time for breaks, stretching a walk to the bank and checking email, with other chunks devoted to business tasks and research and of course a big chunk for art making. The schedule isn't meant to be absolutely rigid. If something comes up, I'm prepared to switch things around, there are just some things that have to get done today and some things that can be pushed. But it was extremely helpful for me to put time limits on things because sometimes I get sucked into one thing for far too long and my brain numbs out, but with this schedule I was able to say, ok, half hour is up, time to move on. This really worked for me today, we'll see how it goes next week when I have two days to do this.

There were interruptions of course, a really weird phone call and later a visit from the plumber and of course there were periodic kitty visits as I spread art supplies out on the floor of my office for an art picnic. But I managed to get back into the groove and at the end of the day I felt really good about what I had accomplished. I need to celebrate the small victories otherwise it all seems so overwhelming. There is SO much to do. Ack! But I am really trying to keep a positive outlook about it all because the alternative is so draining (been there, done that.)

Ah, by the way, an art picnic is my name for laying out an old blanket on the floor with floor cushions and then surrounding myself with art supplies (collage materials, paint, water, papers, glues, pens, stamps, brushes, music and tea), and creating. It allows me to really spread out and relax and give a sense of play to what I'm doing.

Just back from a nice dinner with the fiansor. We laughed so much! At the end of the meal we used the paper wrapper that the chopsticks came in as a prop to use in funny ways (bert's unibrow, the karate kid's headband, a snaggle tooth, a cigar, etc...) and then the fiansor ate my fortune. Really. He was doing one of those silly tricks were he'd normally make it look like he ate it, but was just pretending. I kept saying, "wow, that was amazing, it looked so real!" And then he admitted, as he gulped some water, that he did really eat it and it was a bad idea. On the walk home he pointed to the sign attached to a light that said, "pedestrians crossing when flashing," and he said, "imagine if there was someone who flashed people when pedestrians were going to cross?" Hehehe. Today I 'm grateful for:

1. working on my art at home today.
2. my new mug!
3. the plumber fixing our shower so we have hot water again! hoorah!
4. podcast of npr's wait, wait don't tell me.
5. art picnics. 

Getting to Know Me

January 17th, 2007, Comments (10)

Ok, now I have that song in my head..."getting to know you, getting to know all about youuuuu. getting to like you, getting to hope you like meeee..." oh dear. Anyway, here's my q&a from CaC.

Best and Worst

1. What's the best place you ever lived? the worst? Best place...I've lived in a lot of cool apartments, but I'll have to say where I'm living now, because it feels like home more than anywhere else I've ever lived. It's a place I've shared with the fiansor the last few years and as an added bonus we each have our own spare room to be creative in. The worst would probably be, hmm, tough choice. I'd probably have to say this place I lived in right out of college. I was only there for a few months. It was a studio apartment that used to be a barbershop, so it had one of those huge barbershop windows up front that was super drafty in the winter and  made the apartment like a steaming hot automobile in the summer, and it took way too many curtains to cover. Then there was the bathroom which you couldn't turn around in, I'm not even kidding it was rediculous. I'm a small person and I barely fit in there.

2. What's the best place you ever visited on holiday/vacation? the worst? Best was probably my trip to Greece with the fiansor a few years back. We stayed in the house his father grew up in on small island that wasn't touristy at all. It was beautiful and fun and so different from home. Worst was probably a camping trip I took on my birthday weekend one summer with my then boyfriend and another couple. I can't remember if we were in Maine or New Hampshire. What I do remember was that it was freezing cold and raining the whole time. The second  night of freezing rain when our tents got rediculously waterlogged, we went to a motel. That was probably the highlight of the trip. I've not been a big fan of camping ever since.

3. What's the best job you ever had? the worst? I'm about to embark on my best job in a couple months! Worst would probably be waitressing at Brigham's. What a nightmare. I once got a whole check (for four people) paid in coins and they didn't leave a tip either. Boo. Though that job might tie with another short lived job in a place for kids, sort of like Chuck E. Cheese, where I wore a referee uniform with a whistle and basically my job was to yell at kids when the broke the rules. That totally sucked. I hate yelling.

4.  What's your best talent or ability? your worst? I think my artistic abitilities would be my best or at least it's  my favorite ability. I've been drawing since I was two (my mom kept some of my earliest drawings with notes about what I told her they were pictures of!) and I still love it. My worst would definitely be sports. I am so bad at sports, it's sad. My brother and sister played in lots of sports and played well and my dad loved them too, so I've tried many, many things. I've had lessons, taken classes or participated in a team sport in some way in the following: tennis (went to tennis camp), softball, field hockey (played freshman year), soccer (went to soccer camp), skiing, bowling, golf, roller skating, gymnastics, swimming and there are others I'm sure. I took directions well, so teachers would generally like me, but the time would quickly come when directions could only go so far and skill had to take over, at that point I'd fall flat because I just sucked. It was unfortunate. Finally in high school, my parents realized I'd given everything a good effort, had started to hate all sports, and let me off the hook. I enjoyed theater and art and later, boys, things my dad had trouble relating to me about. But I'm glad he finally let me sit and read instead of play sports if I didn't feel like it. I'd still choose a good book over playing sports any day of the week.

5. What's the best decision you ever made? the worst? Best decision I ever made was to follow my heart. Worst decision was racking up too much debt on my credit cards when I was just out of college. Got it all paid off though and learned my lesson!

Bonus (so we can end on a positive note!): What's one good thing about you that isn't covered in the questions above, but that you'd like to share with the world? Everything I know about snuggling, I learned from my cats.


Quick note! For those who subscribe to Bloglines (a couple people have mentioned having problems with subscribing to this blog), if you want to subscribe to my blog, I think you need to subscribe to my blog as this address: http://www.creativeeveryday.com/creativeeveryday

Winter Arrives

January 17th, 2007, Comments (1)

So, it's finally like winter here, and I'm not all that excited about it. Freakin brr! I hate being cold. The last two days have been a weird transition period between working/staying at the house 24/7 while my boss is away on vacation, to going back home and working regular hours. It's a weird, unsettling time. As much as I take things in stride and will be very accomodating to anyone, my body isn't always in agreement. It takes some time to adjust to new patterns. So, my sleep has been all screwy. While the fiansor is going off to bed, I am sitting up with the cats and herbal tea and my computer doing random searches for random things until I'm pooped enough to pop, then I wake up from sweaty, vivid, very weird dreams and I haven't slept well, so I'm tired all day. It's not the best way to function and I need to get back on track. My mind is abuzz with all the work I need to get done for school in the next few weeks.  And yet, I keep procrastinating.  Blarg! Deep breaths.

On a good note, it's been wonderful being back home again with the fiansor and snuggly kitties. We ate dinner together under a blanket on the couch and snuggled with silly cozy kittens to watch American Idol. I started to cry at one point (in one of those rediculous made for tv mushy moments) and laughed with the fiansor at the sudden surge of my emotion. That could mean only one thing. Yep. Got my period today. 

On another good note, I've been keeping a gratitude journal, a list of 5 things I'm grateful for each day and I've been pleasantly surprised at how it can shift things for me. Just thinking about all the positives, the wonderful things, even if they are super small, can be so good for the soul. Try it for a couple days and see for yourself if it helps. I find it especially helpful in times of crankiness...like, um, now when my hands and feet are freezing off.

I usually head off the journal page with, "today I am grateful for..." and then list 5 things:
1. hot chocolate in a pretty red mug
2. snuggling the dog at work this morning when I was cold
3. reading a great book
4. the house being quiet
5. a sweet random call from the fiansor to say hello

Ah, I'm actually smiling right now. :-) May your day bring you many smiles, inner and outer ones.

Oh, and p.s. If you do make a visioning video or collage, be sure to look at it often, that's another sure fire way to bring some smiles into your life.

My Video

January 14th, 2007, Comments (5)

In case you didn't see my post over at CaC (go check it out!), here's my video vision statement (a video version of what is often done in collage or through journaling) of what I want to manifest in my life. Go, check out the CaC post for more details and a creative challenge for you!


Last night, I watched The Secret which seemed fitting after the video vision project. All these things seem to be bombarding me with this kind of information. I've heard a lot of the info in this movie before, but what struck me differently this time around was the piece about not just creating a vision of what you want, but also feeling the joy it would bring while you think about it. That was interesting. There's more there that I found interesting, but tonight, I need to get my sleepy self to bed, pronto.

I am so tired, (massage) school all day long and I worked my butt off. It is nearly done, I've only got a few weeks left and plenty of work. I had some pretty funny experiences in the clinic today, we're all getting giddy with the end so near.


January 13th, 2007, Comments (7)

I tried out clayboard this week. I don't have the tools that are meant for this material, which is a black surface that you can scratch into to find white underneath. I used a tiny screw driver to do so on a 5"x7" piece of clay board. I didn't know what I was going to create. I seem to be enjoying this method of creating lately, at times I wish I'd prepared a little more, but I do enjoy the unfolding process of creating something purely intuitively. This piece change a lot along the way. A lot. I was having trouble feeling satisfied with it. It's far from perfect, but it's interesting to me in a satisfying way, so it felt ok to stop. The beginning feeling I started with had to do with the heart, opening the heart. In the end, A rose pendant on her chest acts as the heart opening in the form of a blooming rose.

Also here, I want to post my photo for Poetry Thursday on CaC, which has the theme "Find." At first I wanted to literally find something. But you know how sometimes when you are looking with the intent to find something interesting, nothing comes? Well, this happened to me.

Later in the day, when I kicked off my shoes, I saw my silly kitty socks and smiled. So, if you were to peek beneath my pant cuff on a typical day you would find a goofy pair of socks, often with cats on them. Sometimes, it's the littlest things that keep us smiling. For me, one of those little things happens to be kitty socks. Mew!


I tried to do the getting to know you challenge, started and stopped many times. I enjoyed reading about who others would invite to dinner, but I have the worst time with the dinner challenge wherever it comes up. So, I'm just going to let that go and try again next week.  And tomorrow is the next Creative Challenge. Check in to see and try it out for yourself!