Thursday, July 16, 2009
As I had anticipated, the lack of imposed deadlines and assignments has left me feeling a bit unmotivated and I find that I am getting very little drawing or painting done.
And no writing.
What's happened, I believe, is that I've become so conditioned to using my academic breaks as down time that I've become conditioned to just aimlessly drifting about over Summer Holiday.
Of course, now that I have my degree, I can't treat every day like a holiday!
Still, it might be that I'm simply taking a well-deserved and much needed break and that I will find myself feeling considerably more motivated once the students begin returning to town.
That's the thing about living in a college town: Whether or not one is associated with the University, things still tend to happen according to the academic calendar.
And almost nothing ever gets done in July!
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Due to the heat and/or rain, we've had to reschedule a couple of times. Yesterday, it was raining buckets and we very nearly abandoned the idea.
Instead, I decided to move the picnic indoors!
In true picnic fashion, we enjoyed tofu-dogs on whole wheat buns with veggie chili and spicy mustard, fruit salad and a corn/bean salad (from Whole Foods).
I had set the dining room table with some blue and white batik linens that I bought at Crate & Barrel, a few years ago (souvenir of my stay in Chicago), used some attractively crackled plates and popped some daisies (also from Whole Foods) into a tall vase. To brighten things up (because it was very grey and rainy) I'd added a vase of faux lemons.
I have this theory about entertaining: The most important thing to do is let the guest(s) know that they're expected and welcome. For me, that usually means setting the table first (sometimes, the night before) and making sure that there's fresh coffee and an alternative to offer.
As much as I have always enjoyed cooking, I have no trouble with picking things up at the deli counter or grabbing some take-out. If the aim is to spend time with my guest(s), there's no sense in my spending more time in the kitchen than at the table For this luncheon, all that I really had to do was pour some coffee for my Mom and then heat up a few things.
We had a lovely, relaxed visit and - despite the rainy day - enjoyed a sunny picnic!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
That's the Trib tower on the far left and the Wrigley Bldg is the thing with the clock.
This is TonyP, taken in the pizza/wine bar at Fornetto Mei - the restaurant at the Whitehall Hotel. (It's the only restaurant that I can think of that serves calamari prepared by any method other than frying.) TonyP and I spent the Spring of 2006 flying back and forth between our home in North Carolina and a temporary apartment in Chicago - located a short walk from the Whitehall. One of my favourite ways of settling into my Chicago surroundings was dropping off our bags at the apartment and then walking over to Fornetto Mei!
OK; I know it isn't much. But hear me out.
I am experimenting with a very restricted palette and decided to work on some quick sketches. I have a few 6" x 8" Fredrix canvas boards that I use over and over again for acrylic painting exercises.
This week, I decided to experiment with an extremely limited palette: crimson, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, raw sienna and white.
The point of this experimentation is to achieve greater control of the colours while also exploring their potential.
I also spent several days out on the back porch, doing monochrome value studies, in watercolour and in pencil.
Getting back to work (after several years of writing and concentrating on theory) has been a bit of a struggle and there have quite a few of those "I'm crap at this!" days. However, I am finding it very useful to go back to the basics and to work through some of those basic exercises from college. If nothing else, it's therapeutic! I start out the day's work very self-conscious and frustrated and - after a few exercises - I suddenly forget that these are exercises and I become thoroughly engaged by the process.
It's like when a musician stops thinking about the notes and just plays the music or a dancer stops thinking about the steps and just dances.
It's intoxicating and liberating.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Waiting for things to start.
We were fortunate to have the Governor speak. Bev Purdue is the first female governor of North Carolina.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Monday, April 06, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 05, 2009
I love welts! I don't know why I don't use them more often.
It can be hard to see the corner that I'm cutting into, so I feel the thread to find the corner, mark it with a pin and use my stork scissors.
I'm still not sure about the closure. I have this tab/button option or a rather pretty frog and I haven't been able to decide. The frog is a bit fancier and the tab is a bit more casual.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
We received about 2" of snow, yesterday. It was bitterly cold, overnight and will not really warm up for a few days.
I took this on Monday, when there was a brief break in the clouds and a touch of blue sky made it through.
Today, even though it is quite cold, the sky is a clear blue and the sun is shining like crazy!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I've arranged my new schedule to take advantage of what I like to call My Stupid Part of the Day.
That means that I start off with a workout, follow up with a nice, hot bath and then do some housework. I'm trying to restrict the housework to 1/2 hr, in the mornings, so that I have a short burst of focused activity and I avoid spending an entire day cleaning out a single drawer. I'm allowing myself 5 minutes per task. That's it. No dawdling. That means that I only hit six things a day but that's better than only-sort-of-doing one and have it sort of creep into my entire day.
Once the housework is done, I have about an hour and a half to do something creative - like sew. This week, I'm working on a wool cape, from a vintage pattern. I bought the fabric a year ago. In two days, I have managed to get the fabric cut out and the pieces marked. Maybe that doesn't sound like a lot but it certainly is more than I managed to get done on the project in the past year. So, I'm content.
Afternoons are spend working. Right now, that means finishing up grad school all compiling my writing. After I get my degree, I will have that time available to get back into the Studio. There's even time for my writing and I still have my evenings to watch TV, cook dinner with TonyP and make it to the gym, a few times a week.
It's Wednesday of the first week on the new schedule and I'm already tired. But, I have a lot of work to show for it.
The most important aspect of this plan is that it takes advantage of my daily peaks and valleys in such a way that I am free to concentrate on the task at hand - rather than being distracted, unfocused and frustrated with lack of progress.
The best thing about the new schedule is that it starts each day by putting myself first and nurturing myself -
- kinda like a "spiritual breakfast"!
Monday, February 23, 2009
I really enjoy coming up with them but I'm not particularly good at sticking to them.
Fact is, a lot of the things that I have to do require creativity and that can be sort of difficult to schedule. The Creativity Well tends to be either full to overflowing or dry and dusty.
There's also the stuff that I need to do for grad school and that requires a degree of concentration that I simply can't attain before around 2:00 pm.
Of course, there's the housework. Don't need any brain cells for that. Can be done while thinking about something else. Quite. Easily. But it does tend to take rather a lot of my time. And I really do hate housework o-so-very-much.
That doesn't leave a whole lot of time for fun or spending time with TonyP. Or getting out, during the day.
And it certainly doesn't leave much time for nurturing myself - a situation that can have all sorts of negative repercussions.
So, I'm embarking on (yet another) revision of my daily schedule.
I'm not sure just how this one will work out but the interesting thing about this schedule is that I'm starting out the day by taking care of myself.
Monday, February 09, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Nothing much. Just annoying.
But it has prompted me to offer a few suggestions:
*I know that times are tough and everyone is petrified at the thought of missing a few days of work. But....showing up for work SICK doesn't make you look like a hero. It just spreads the viruses around. Thanks for sharing!
*This is especially true if one's job brings them into contact with the general public. I know (from years of personal experience) that retail sales associates and waits are on the front lines of exposure to whatever nastiness is currently burning through the local population. As a member of the local population, I would appreciate it if sick waits and salespeople were allowed by their managers to go home, without penalty.
*Wash your hands. Use soap. Use hot water. Wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing "The Alphabet Song" through twice (I learned this bit of advice from a former co-worker, who was also a teacher).
*To people who are responsible for the water temperature in workplace restrooms: Can't you possibly figure out how to get hot water to the bathroom faucets? Seriously, I've been waaaaaayyyy to many places where the hot water tap is non-functional. I understand the desire to reduce operating expenses but this is a matter of basic hygiene.
*Lastly, if you regularly attend a worship service, please be respectful of the rest of the congregation. Consider staying home. Or, if you are convinced that your professed Deity is really so petty that you'll be in eternal deep doo-doo for missing a service, at least take steps to minimize your impact on the health of the nice, fragile-looking elderly couple sitting next to you and their tiny, adorable great-grandchildren. OK? Consider not drinking from the common cup, for example.
And, for cryin' out loud, if you wipe your nose or cough into your hand, at least have the common decency to not use the same hand that you extend to share "The Lord's Peace" with your brethren and sisteren!!
Monday, January 26, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Thursday, January 08, 2009
I have been looking through notes in my journal and paging through digi-pics from the past year and have decided that 2008 can best be characterized as a year devoted to Creativity: art, writing, music, dance, flowers, attending live performances and wrestling with computer-related problems. (All set against a backdrop of inflation, high gas prices and drought and the general election.)
Artwise: neither of us participated in any shows, in 2008, but we have done a considerable amount of photography. We have also taken the time to visit museums and galleries. The photo above was taken at the National Gallery in DC, when we were up there for Memorial Day Weekend. We also spent an August weekend in Alexandria, popping in at every art gallery we could in a single day. (Whew!)
Travelwise: TonyP finally got to Ireland. OK; it was for work and it was a short trip and it was only to Dublin. But...Hey! He got to Ireland!! (....I've never been to Ireland....>sulk<)
Aside from TonyP's trip to Dublin, most of our recent travel has been to Virginia and the DC area. We took a couple of trips up to Alexandria and DC. I also decided that I wanted to celebrate my birthday by spending a few days in Colonial Williamsburg, photographing flowers, etc. (Horses count as "etc".)
I've been doing rather a lot of writing and managed to attend two regional writing conferences. I'm not sure that attending those workshops actually make me a better writer but I do feel inspired and encouraged by attending them. (I could certainly use the same sort of thing to get me fired-up about my visual art!)
I'll soon be finishing up with Grad School and I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I'll do with all of that free time that will suddenly confront me!
(For anyone that cares....my degree will be in Liberal Studies - because the University did not actually offer a program in Global Studies until this semester. Ah, well.)
We did get to the OBX for TonyP's birthday. He lost his shades while surf-kayaking while I sat on the deck of our rented condo and worked on a Human Rights paper.
(Note: Above photo does not accurately reflect the considerable amount of effort that I was putting into that Human Rights paper. Honest. I really was working!)
This is TonyP on his new-to-him motorcycle. This was the fortunate confluence of 1) the rise in the price of gasoline and 2) a friend of his having a bike to sell! (Yes, he does wear a helmet when he rides! We are very pro-helmet!! I snapped this while he was just scooting the scooter into the garage.) He had been between motorcycles quite long enough.
The oddly-formatted picture below is (of course) Yours Truly. (Sans makeup. So, don't enlarge the picture...m'kay?)
Live Performance-wise ( a partial list):a performance during the American Dance Festival, NC Jazz Rep Holiday Concert, NC Symphony Holiday Pops, Pressure Boys (reunion show on my birthday), Hege V, Southern Culture on the Skids, Squirrel Nut Zippers, She & Him, X, Playmakers Rep performance of Shakespeare's Pericles.
We also took dance lessons!!! TonyP decided that 2008 would be the year that we learned to Shag. (For my non-US readers, that does not mean what you think it means! Shagging is a regional popular dance form, associated with Carolina beaches, alcohol and really corny music. Consider it an indigenous art form.) We both love to dance but have always had to leave the dance floor when anyone started playing "beach music". TonyP does not like to leave the dance floor. So, we actually took lessons and - even if I do say so, myself - we got to be quite good at it!
I suppose that the greatest single change of the past year has been that TonyP got a CPAP machine - and I have been able to sleep for the first time in mumblety years! It's f****n' incredible!!!
Happy New Year to All and a Fabulous 2009!