Entries from: February 2007

I’d Rather Be Hibernating

February 14th, 2007, Comments (8)

Today it snowed, and snowed, and sleeted. Our first real snow of the season. My boss's flight was cancelled this morning, but I think they made it out tonight. School was cancelled, so the girl was home. And me, I wished I could cancel everything in the upcoming week, the extra work, the babysitting for my mom, all of it. But unfortunately, the only things that got cancelled were the things I was looking forward to: going to see a house and Valentine's day dinner. The realtor had to cancel because of the weather and I asked the fiansor if we could postpone Valentine's Day til Sunday night when I get home. The roads are really yucky out here in the boonies.

I wasn't feeling particularly anxious today, more tired and bored than anything else, a lot of sitting around with the boss while she waited between flights. *yawn* The snow makes me want to hole up under ten pounds of blankets, drink hot chocolate and watch movies with my kitties and the fiansor. No such luck. However, I am feeling grateful that the girl has gone to bed, one of the dogs is by my side, and some fun shows are coming on tonight. Ah, and the fiansor just called and we had a nice conversation. Feeling more relaxed.

I read part of Finding Water this morning and I'm excited for the process. I've got a new journal started and I plan to collage the cover soon (I think it's fun to decorate the cover of each journal, often times with collage.)

Happy Valentine's Day. I'm sending love out to you and you and yes, you. xoxox

Anxiety Bug

February 13th, 2007, Comments (7)

I've been hit by the anxiety bug. Weird stuff and it's kept me silent here this week. There's been some things keeping me busy, such as graduation on Sunday (hooray!), a visit from my dad, open houses, and such. But in general I've been too distracted to sit still and type. Anyways, I'm trying to break out of this rut. Anxiety, I'm not sure why, I'm suspecting it has a bit to do with impending changes ahead which has my head all buzzy and busy, and knowing I'm working 24/7 starting tomorrow through the weekend (boss is going on vaca) and I'll also have my youngest brother with me (mom and step-dad on vaca).

Graduation was overwhelming. Parts of it were wonderful, parts of it were stressful. There were too many people and too much small talk, totally burned me out. I was glad we did our saying good-byes and closing the week before because the day of graduation felt very disjointed to me.

The past few days, my anxiety has manifested in sleeping very poorly (can't fall asleep or stay asleep) and doing weird things like obsessively picking lint. Yep, lint. I don't even know. Our couch is a magnet for something like lint, a combo of my hair and cat fur that gets stuck together. I like to find it between the couch cushions. A lot. And sometimes I like to pull lint out of the dryer vent. I'll stick my hand in there to get the stuff out, sometimes using a sewing needle to get at the spots my fingers won't fit. Today after a half hour of dryer vent cleaning I realized I'd stripped a bit of skin off my hand between my fingers in my very odd quest for lint. I get an odd sense of enjoyment out of lint collecting, go figure, but I recognize that it's kind of weird and unnecessary and a symptom of feeling anxious. There's something about it that reminds me of binge eating, which I used to do years ago to numb myself out. Lint collecting is far better than binge eating, that's for sure. Ok, enough about lint. This is probably why I haven't written much this week!

Anyways, I've been doing a few things to try and positively sit with the things that have been stressing me out. I've been meditating in front of a candle after work, I've been doodling with no purpose in mind, keeping my list of what I'm grateful for each day, and saying affirmations.

I haven't been able to keep up with CaC at all. There's too much! But I remembered the photo challenge from Krista last month about candlelight and I wanted to play with my new camera and try to get some cool shots. I really liked the way some of them came out.


February 8th, 2007, Comments (21)

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

This is the piece I mentioned last week. I needed to end it and so I finished it up today and here it is. The idea for it came quite randomly. I had started to doodle and sketch in a sketchbook, just swirling lines. And then a figure appeared and her long hair made me think of Rapunzel. I think she may have popped into my head because my hair has gotten so long. So, I was drawing her and the window she would gaze out of, but I didn't put her rescuer in the scene. Then it occured to me that I didn't want her to have a rescuer, I wanted to re-write this tale, so that she would rescue herself. It also became a play on the idea of looking outside yourself (out the window, waiting for your hero) for the answers, when they reside within you. So, yes, there is this beautiful landscape outside her window, but within her there is an equally beautiful landscape from which to draw upon, and it's right there for her whenever she needs it. There's nothing to search for, there's nothing to wait for. The answers lie within.

The quote above is stuck on a corkboard near my desk, so I will remember this, and re-remember all over again.

Eatin, Prayin, and Lovin

February 6th, 2007, Comments (15)

Sunday was my last day of school and it was a doozey. It totally wiped me out. I cried in the last class when talking about my experience. For all the difficulties, I will miss my classmates a lot. The last class was all about endings and saying goodbye. We did silly superlatives, then a gift exchange where we brought in an object that held some meaning for us, but we were ready to let it go and then we finished with some toning and saying goodbye to teachers. For the gift exchange, we put an object in a basket in the hall when no one was looking and then the basket was unloaded in the middle of the room where we stood in a circle and chose the object that we were drawn to. I brought a bookmark with three spirals on it. I found it at a time when spirals first started showing up in my art and I had looked them up in a book on symbols and found that they represent change, evolving and growth, something that I was going through quite a bit of at the time. I still love spirals and I'm still evolving, changing and growing, but I felt ready to pass on this symbol to someone else, as I feel I'm in a different phase of growth than I was then. One of my good friends, not knowing it was mine, chose it, which was kind of cool. And she's going through a big period of change and growth, so it was appropriate for her.

I chose a book, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It has been on my list of books to read and I was just waiting for the right time. Sometimes books fall into your life when you're ready for them. And so it seemed with this book, which I scooped up quickly when I saw it. And it was from a sweet friend of mine, who said she'd read it several times, lent it out several times and was ready to pass on. I loved the quote she wrote in pencil inside the cover:

If there was already a path, it would be someone elses' ... The whole point is to find your own way.
-Joseph Campbell

What a beautiful quote. And it resonates deep, deep down in my heart. I have so often longed for a path to follow, a road with signs to tell me which way to go, so I wouldn't have to make those tough decisions. But now, I'm revelling in the unknown. I'm so grateful for this weird, wild, winding path with all it's hills and valleys and potholes and unexpected beauty. I'm finally accepting that I need to find my own way and I'm doing just fine.

In a wonderful synchronicity, another classmate called me yesterday to tell me that the author of Eat, Pray, Love was in town and doing a reading at a nearby bookstore. I heard the message in just enough time to put on a sweater and go. It was frigid out, so I was surprised to see how many people were there and I had to stand in the back where I was entertained by a chubby-faced baby who made goofy toothless smiles at me throughout the talk. Elizabeth Gilbert was a great speaker, intelligent and funny. She mainly just talked about some of her experiences that led her to writing the book and then took questions. I loved her stories, one of which I wrote down when I got home, so I wouldn't forget it.

I don't remember it word for word, but it was something like this: She had just been through a particularly rough day in divorce court. She had to run an errand at the post office before going home and she was feeling very low, depressed, and like she wanted to go home, collapse, and cry her eyes out. She said that she was grateful that New York is one of the few places where you could stand in the corner with your hands on the wall praying and no one would pay any attention. She mentioned how some early Christian mystics related praying to plucking on a lute string that was strung from you to God and the prayer would travel like a vibration upwards and the answer would travel back in a similar vibration. And you had to listen for this vibration. So, she prayed in the corner of the post office and what she heard was that before she went home and collapsed, she should look for one beautiful thing out in the world on the way home. When she stepped out of the post office, she saw three elephants walking down the street, tail to trunk, dressed in full sparkly garb, each with a woman standing on its back in equally sparkly dress. And she thought, ok that'll do.

She also suggested that we become good at reading omens, such as the one above I suppose, because what was the alternative? Sure, you could always turn to the logical explanation, the circus was in town, but because she'd asked for help and seen these elephants, they became part of her story. She also mentioned a quote (I can't remember who said it) that I loved, "Be the hero of your own story." I loved this, as a person who pays attention to synchronicities and enjoys them for whatever they may be worth.

I was thinking about all this and I totally laughed out loud when I was walking back to my car and I noticed a big red banner on a brick building that read, "It's a sign!" It was an ad for the Jewish Kabbalah center, but really, how funny is that! I could have stayed to have my book signed, but the line was so long and I'm not really big on signatures, so instead, I looked for a copy of the book I wanted to send out for the book swap and found it in their used book section (bonus!), then I picked up a spinach and chicken pizza for the fiansor and I and went home.

Lovely stuff. I'm still a bit fuzzy-headed from a killer migraine this morning. I'm feeling the need to hit the sack early. Off to bed for me.

Celebrate the Trees!

February 3rd, 2007, Comments (9)

Today I took a day off. Yes, there was lots I could have done, but I decided to do some relaxing. I slept in and got some coffee with the fiansor in the morning, then I went to the gym for a NIA class. Later I took a nap. The NIA class was fun! There were some things that weren't ideal about it. There were a few older women who kept complaining about the music volume, which sent the teacher going back and forth and back and forth adjusting in the first 20 minutes. More bothersome to me were the big windows in the back of the class that face out to the cardio room where people are running on treadmills looking directly into the aerobics room. I managed to forget this some of the time, but some of the time it was a little awkward. NIA, which is a combination of dancing and martial arts and yoga movements and reminds me a lot of simply playing and stretching to music, isn't something I really want people watching me do unless they are participating. Particularly because (and this is me judging) I feel like most of the people running away on the treadmills wouldn't exactly "get" this type of class. Ah well. It's busy on Saturdays too, so perhaps it would be less weird with a weekday morning class. I'll try that another time. The things I did like about it, were the play involved, the adorable teacher with the thick accent and the leopard print garb, and the fact that she mentioned the Jewish holiday of the New Year of the Trees, Tu B'Shevat and based some of the exercises on it.

I had never heard of this holiday before, but last week I joined a gym at a Jewish community center near my home. It's not just a gym for Jewish people, but there is a large Jewish population there along with writing in Hebrew on the walls and Jewish related events (Jewish author book signings, Jewish musical groups, etc). The gym is beautiful though, clean and with great equipment, so we decided to join. As an aside, my father and the fiansor's mother are Jewish (or they were raised Jewish, but don't actively practice), but neither of us were brought up Jewish as my mom is Catholic and his dad is Greek. Great combos, eh? We've been exposed to various Jewish holidays and temple and celebrations with our families.

Anyway! So, when I walked in last week I noticed they had painted up the glass doors of the entrance with a big tree and swirly words announcing that February 3rd was the holiday of the trees. I thought this was so cool! I love trees, who knew they have their own holiday? Yeah, I know we have arbor day, but this seems somehow more spiritual and I feel a sort of spiritual connection with trees. So, happy birthday to the trees! I love you!

Um, yes, I just declared my love for trees. I'm getting a little giddy over the fact that my last day of massage school is tomorrow. *happy dance!* I haven't quite finished that art piece I've been talking about, so I'll leave you with an older piece that hangs in my hallway called "The Tree of Life."


Love, Love, Love

February 2nd, 2007, Comments (8)


Here's the second piece I'll be showing at the Lovely Hearts show. I did this for an Illustration Friday awhile back. It's 5"x7" with the mat and frame done. It fits the theme of Susan's show and it fits the theme of my post today. All about the love. :-)

Busy day. I love doing art all day! Love it! I can't express how amazing it is, I sometimes start to stress, am I doing enough? am I making the most of my time? etc...But if I can relax and get into it, it feels great. I feel so grateful, so blessed right now, I could cry. I've felt so emotional lately. (oh no, now I have that Whitney Houston song in my head.) It's not really bad. I think I'm opening up to what I'm really feeling, I'm not repressing as much. I'm quite skilled at putting off feelings when it's inconvenient. Something I learned in childhood when it served me well. It can be a useful trait, but at the same time it cuts away at me, so I lose track of how I really feel and have to dig deep to uncover my truth. Perhaps with more time to make art, I'm feeling the layers peel back. One of my goals the past few years has been to get closer to my authentic self, to be the real me more of the time. I feel a little closer. 

I started a painting yesterday that I'm so excited about. It started from nothing and each little thing has led to the next. Having all this quiet time to work on it has made a big difference as I'm allowing myself to get into a flow and not rush. I thought I'd finish it today, but it's not quite there yet. Almost.

More good stuff today! I won a magazine about organizing from one of Mary Ann's giveaways (oh boy do I need some organizing help!!) And she sent it wrapped with the prettiest tape and an adorable heart shaped pad of paper in the package that is now on my fridge. Thank you Mary Ann! What a nice treat!

Speaking of treats, the fiansor and I just got back from dinner where I had the most delicious pomegranate cosmopolitan. Yum. The restaurant was oddly trendy for the suburbs, but it was super busy and the food was excellent, so I could look past the bizarre art on the walls (supposed to be modern and abstract, but looked like experiments with glitter gone wrong. One looked so much like a giant sperm that it made the fiansor and I crack up cause we were both thinking the same thing about it.)

Today we are halfway through the winter and it is also the day of Candlemas and Imbolc. I thought today would be a great day to get a picture of a candle for CaC, but my energy is waning, so I think I'll save that for another night. I'm falling far behind in the exercises, but I'm not gonna stress about it (I'm telling myself that now as I type it.) So, let's see, perhaps I'll put some wishes out there, an idea from the lovely Jamie who suggests including these instructions:

“For Try Day, I’m posting this wish of mine. A part of the experience is having other people support my dream by including in the comments, “As _____ wishes for herself, so I wish for her also.” I’d love it if you’d take part and help bring my dream come to life.”

My wishes:

I wish for more joy in my life (more fun, laughter, playing, dancing, creating).

I wish for the courage to take risks (personal risks and business risks).

I wish to show my art in more galleries this year and have a great response.

I wish for health and happiness for my family, friends, loved ones and myself.

I wish for a beautiful home.

That's good for now, I think as this post is becoming a bit like a back road, long and windy with many pot holes. I'm wishing you a wonderful weekend full of creative goodness!

Random Notes

February 1st, 2007, Comments (7)

Funny synchronicity, after writing the post, Angels. I opened up the book I'm reading (The Subtle Knife) and one of the characters finds out she's talking to angels. (I can't condense how this came about, but it's a great book, book II in a trilogy.) It made me smile and made me think of Caroline who asked about synchronicities with books, and yes, I have them all the time. Words appearing at funny, appropriate, or perfectly timed moments. I love that.

It was a good day, I was productive. I'm working on a new art website and just fiddling around with different designs. Not knowing how to work with photoshop very well can be frustrating because there's so much trial and error. The fiansor has been helping me a lot, but I want to learn as much as possible...well, it's slow going, but I think it will look great in the end. In the afternoon, I sat down to an art picnic (seems to be a regular thing now) and I had no idea what I wanted to do. So, I grabbed a nearby sketchpad and a red colored pencil I found on the floor and drew a swirl and that led to a figure which led to an idea that I totally love and I spent the next few hours working away at it. I think I'll finish it up tomorrow.

I haven't been posting everything I've been making lately. There has been a little too much going on with work and school finishing up, but this will shift. I did this little piece last week, It's 8"x10" with collage and acrylic paint on canvas, a pair of love birds, which I'm sending in for artstream's Lovely Hearts exhibition.


There's more to share, but I'm settling in for a little relaxation and snuggle time with the fiansor and the meows. Sadie is snoring away. Heh.

Thank you for all your kind thoughts regarding my cousin. I really appreciate it.