Sunday, December 25, 2011

Resolution 2012

Resolution 2012

The past few days have been filled with Christmas preparations, celebrations, and cleaning. Now Darrin and I sit here in the airport in Kansas city, packed, ready for real vacation! We are headed to a mild beach climate in South Padre, Texas. One of the things I am looking forward to, surprisingly, is Humidity! My hands are aching from dry skin cracks. Missouri is so polarity opposite on everything, including humidity conditions. So yes, I'm looking forward to sand, water, and wet air, haha.

For holiday gifts I made paintings for each family member. I ended up making no less than ten medium sized paintings. I decided to do printmaking as the theme and they turned out great. I only bought gifts for my nephew (army men/cars) and for Darrin (cologne/gift card). I will try to attain some pics of the paintings for this blog.

So as we near 2012, I remember my resolution 2011 was to payoff my credit card. I even blogged about it on new years eve haha. Well, that has not happened. I paid it down a thousand dollars, yippee, and managed to pay an average of 60 per month in interest, which amounts to . . . .720 dollars. Lame. Instead of paying off that credit card i traveled to Springfield, Seattle, Colorado, Boston, and Texas. Those trips are worth way more than half of my credit card debt. I have also saved up a grand towards Europe.

So my new resolution? Eurotrip obviously. BUT . . .I have considered making the decision not to travel after Europe for a certain length of time. The problem is that traveling begets more traveling, due to the number of friends, contacts, and experiences I will have in Europe. People will recommend places, events, and lifetime opportunities from this experience. We shall see. At lease Eurotrip has finally inspired me to get a second job, which means more income to pay off that credit card after Europe, if I restrict my traveling of course. If, and only if :)

Whether I restrict my travels or not, I would like to renew my vigor towards my painting series. I have watched a friend develop a line of paintings from start to finish. Its been interesting to see him start with a small number of new designs, all on an exact canvas size, and work through an intense development of his collection. Over a year he seems to have painted at least 30 designs, many of them seem inspired by a small thought, image, or idea. My paintings tend to come from a mood and a collection of ideas over a few months. Then I throw everything together in a mixed media, or collage style, painting. I have not invested in canvasses or proper framing. And when a painting is finished it takes a while for the next one to build up. Another difference between me and my friend, he is committed to establishing the lifestyle of an artist. He spends hours working in his studio probably daily, balanced by some part time work probably to make ends meet. But with this series and his commitment, he is ready for his new line of paintings to take off, and it is. He is building up his gallery calendar and getting reviews published of his artwork. Do I want that lifestyle? I don't know. I guess I probably have to decide. It's very hard work. If I were that committed while maintaining my full time teaching career I might run out of time for one or the other, easily. I would also have to change my development of ideas to a much faster pace, which would happen naturally if I put in the time. This all reminds me of the book I read on Willem de kooning. He turned down a high paying job, especially in his times, in order to commit all of his seriousness towards becoming a painter. It worked for him eventually, but not after some serious lows combined with complete immersion into the art world. I am just dabbling. I have too many other combined interests to give up one for painting. I guess I will come back to this later.

For now, off to the beach and a week of wonderful vacationing.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Go to the East Side Market!

So I went to two small local businesses for groceries this month. The first was the healthy foods store, the second was the east side market (Amish type produce store). I spent about the same at each store: 50 dollars.

From The first store, healthy foods, I came out with a lot of instant "noodles." they carry a lot of Thai, Indian, and cultural items. I was able to find quinoa, which I read about in magazines all the time but can't find in grocery stores. I also got pre made organic soups, chai tea, organic deodorant and shampoo. The problem with the food, I tried four different noodle/soup meals before finding one that I liked enough to eat. The Indian chili was the good one, but probably not good enough to buy again. The chai spice tea is ok, not my favorite. I still have more to try.

Now the east side market looks like a small produce store, and I was surprised at how much they actually have inside. I could easily eat a full diet from their selection. The neatest thing was how fresh, local, homegrown everything is. The Amish girls were in the back baking fresh loaves of bread! I picked a loaf of warm, buttery, oatmeal bread and it renewed that dangerous love of bread that I used to have. The treasures were abundant. Spicy cheese, veggie cheese, chocolate, milk, peppers, butter lettuce, cheese dip, Italian spices, almonds, butterscotch pecans, fruit, salsa, mango jam, jalapeƱo jelly. I left with 5 bags full, came home, and had an excellent taste party for lunch. It was all good.

In the end, i will get beauty supplies and cultural foods from one, and a majority of groceries from the other. I should mention the east side market was very reasonably priced, comparable to grocery stores. The healthy foods store was more expensive, but carries rare and less common items, such as the quinoa. The biggest point of this blog? Go to the east side market! I loved it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Today has been wonderful. It is the first full day of my holiday break, Saturday, and I have spent it pampering myself. I woke this morning and jogged a mile on the treadmill in the art studio, then did lifts, sit-ups, etc. Afterwards I tanned, got my hair trimmed and highlighted, and eyebrows waxed. After that, I went the the health foods store and picked up neat tea, rice, soups, and Thai meals to try, as well as some organic shampoo and deodorant. It's been a great start to enjoying my two weeks off work.

Its especially wonderful in contrast to the last day of work yesterday which was filled with some unnecessary drama and unprofessional behavior which is bothering me. But, I was not perfect last week and managed to step on some toes myself, so I can't claim too much unfairness. At the end of the day, I have to forget it, move on, and leave it in the past. That mental note is furthered by the knowledge that the next work day is already different. Everyone will have already forgotten all the events of the day before and will be focused on new events. Or at least they will tire of gossiping about them.

So, I shall focus on pleasant things such as this chai tea, the christmas gifts I am making in my art studio, my night out tonight with good company, and the many many good things to come in the next two weeks and beyond. Hooray for family, for vacation, for our trip to the beach, and an upcoming new years eve of a lifetime thanks to Tino! Happy holidays everyone.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My true love

Darrin and I went to the library today. We go every few months, and as usual I went straight to the new books, nonfiction. Within five minutes I had picked out 4 to check out. First I grabbed Bringing Adam home. The abduction that changed America. It's about John Walsh, the guy who created America's Most Wanted, pictures of missing kids on milk cartons, and modern missing child alerts. His son was abducted from a Sears store and killed.

Another book I got was about Somalian pirates. Not long ago, an American couple was murdered by pirates and it enraged me. I hate those pirates, and reading this book is going to be tough for me, which convinces me more that I should read it. I know it will be somewhat sympathetic to the pirates, or their circumstances. A third book I picked up is about the 5 young men that did not murder the Central Park Jogger, and were wrongfully convicted. I have always been fascinated by the this female jogger, I read all the headlines as a kid and last year i read her account of recovery. I think about her almost every time I jog knowing that I am putting myself in danger but that fear should not stop me.

What's interesting about these 3 books is the comparison of different types of crime. I have actually grown more used to the crimes that make absolutely no sense, like Adam Walsh's murder. His killer was just an insane stranger with no motive. The insanity of the killer makes the insane amount of suffering seem cruelly balanced. The crimes that actually have motive, like the Somalian pirates, enrage me more. They make sense yet I am furious. Finally, I'm sure the stories of the youth arrested in Central park are going to make me question motive, crime, injustice, and corruption altogether.

Can you see why I love nonfiction? Why I majored in history? Thinking about these topics and the other books on my never-ending list to read, i realized I might have to re-evaluate my calling. I would love to be the author of one of these books. I love to research and find out details of one story, that connects me to another story. Trisha meili, the central park jogger, worked for Salomon brothers investment company. The same company also created Michael Lewis, author of Liars Poker, his personal account of wall street success. He also wrote Moneyball, the book and now-movie on baseball's new use of numbers and statistics to predict future talent. Two weeks ago when game six or seven of the World Series was rained out, I remember one of the players saying he would spend his evening going to the movie theater to watch Moneyball. My knowledge of Wall Street is definitely influenced from reading Liar's Poker, and it somewhat affects my thoughts about the current "we are the 99% movement" to shut down wall street.

That's just one example of how one nonfiction story links to a hundred other stories. I'm addicted. I should go and see about my master's degree in history. Or better yet, maybe I can dive into some kind of research and just use the degrees I already have instead of paying an institution to prolong my career and my debt both?

There is one thing that stops me or at least pops out of my subconscious, an insecurity that I am sad to admit has hindered my motivation. My desire to research and write is obstructed by a bad college experience that I need to confront. It's whirling around in my head, and I might just have to explain it in my next blog, either that or deal with it this week and come back to this topic later. Wish me luck. If I can get over this experience and move forward with my ambitions I just might find some real career fulfillment.
By the way, if you had noticed I left out the fourth book, it's 10,000 Ways to show you love someone. It's surprisingly humorous, which makes sense because love needs humor more than anything else to survive. That reminds me, Thomas Jefferson was big on the importance of humor too. He wrote about that to his grandsons and mentees. I should stop writing now, because my thoughts just keep going and going.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Calm before the storm? I hope not.

My life is currently more organized than it has been in my working career. Everything has it's place, and it is all in it's place. The house is ready for winter, my car parked in the attached garage ready for snow. Chores are caught up, house is clean, plants, mirrors, and pictures are hung.

The duck pen is ready for winterization. They have heated a water bowl and a heat lamp to survive January. We have plastic to cover the pen from chilly winds and straw for sleeping.

At school I have done things this week that I have never done. Table tops are scrubbed and painted, bulletin boards are fresh, shelves organized, grading is done early, and unbelievably I have organized my desk. The closet is clean in a way it has never been. I have my own microwave at school and a pile of healthy snacks. I even have been taking pictures of artwork and posting it online for viewing.

My bills are paid online, I'm caught up on phone calls, calendars are current. Most important, I have my current big life goal to work towards. The eurotrip fund is officially started, with about 400 this first month saved. All my travel plans are booked for Christmas. I have plans for the second job for November and January. I just finished my Thomas Jefferson biography. I'm accepted to UCM for a masters in history. I have a new painting idea next in line. Everything is ready, ready for what? I don't know, but I'm ready.

Out with friends this weekend, anytime a person asked me, "how're you doing?" I just thought of how organized everything is and had to say, things are very good.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Keep trying!

I was thinking of where I could get a second job to save up money for eurotrip 2012. I looked into retail stores, and realized they would start me out at minimum wage, or very close to minimum wage, which in Missouri is 7.25. So I realized I would be looking at probably 8 dollars per hour at the gig, especially if it's retail or similar. It really disillusioned me. I thought what's the point of that? I have a college degree, and is it worth my time to mess around with jobs that horrible anyway?

Then i remembered all the career opportunities i had looked into over the past year, and got even more bummed. I still am not teaching any dual credit or college courses, I'm not taking any college courses, I'm not painting in my studio or showing artwork, I'm not teaching any private art lessons. Loser right!

Well, here is my new view on both. I need to get my act together. I emailed a contact about teaching college classes, and she responded positively. I just needed to take a step of action myself. It's not gonna fall into my lap! I picked up my mail, and there is some progress on my status with enrolling in another college masters program, I just need to wait another week or two. I also need to apply for a scholarship! I can't afford another degree on my own. I need to revamp the studio and finish my owl painting. TONIGHT! Today, I printed my flyer for private art lessons. Now I can drop them off with some clever contacts. How can I be sad that none of this stuff has happened to me if I have not put in the effort?

Now lastly, about the part time job. I did some math and even at a mere 8 dollars per hour, three nights a week, I can save up close to 2400 over eight months. That is HALF of the funds I need for eurotrip. The other half I can scrimp, save, and apply my lowly tax refund. It will work. I just have to try, not give up, ask for what I want, and stop being lazy! Anyone know of any job openings?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eurotrip 2012!

I visited friends and family in kc last weekend, and they are all going through important transitions! I helped all three of my besties pack their belongings, which was lucky because they all gave me some stylish clothing! One of them is moving in with her significant other, one was leaving, and another took a job in Dallas. I even got to help her load her car and see her off :) It was all very exciting! For the weekend I had packed my own little suitcase knowing I might stay for three days, and I did. I ended up bringing lots of belongings home in my car to keep and helping move.

I needed that little mini trip for a couple reasons, one to catch up with the girls before I missed too much of their lives, second to help deal with my own travel withdrawal haha.

I also got to see my bro n wife, pet Titus, and jog and swim some laps. What is it about traveling that makes me exercise so religiously? I dunno but it feels Goooood. Kendra had an amazing rooftop pool at her condo, and Tino n kel both just left the best neighborhood to jog in. Sad that I won't be in either of those places probably again, but that's how life changes isn't it? It's crazy.

One of the neatest things I got from the girls this weekend is the tentative plan to backpack Europe this summer. We had mentioned it before, but they seemed serious about it this time. So I sent out a travel email, we picked a month, July 2012, which is only a short 8 months away!

In order to make this happen, we all have to save up LOTS of money, plan, make arrangements for bills, belongings, and PETS! Thank god we dont have kids, cuz I'm already worried that pet care will stop us :) I am serious about getting a second job to raise more money, and possibly eliminating my February vacation from the calendar. That way I can apply my tax refund as well. Doesn't this sound exciting? I also know, once my heart is set, I will have to go even if all the girls back out, which would be incredibly depressing. Our serious planning will start new years eve when we all meet up again, the holidays are over, taxes ahead, and only 6 months left. Unfortunately I can't start my second job until January, which is after coaching cheerleading. How stupid is it that I could make more travel funds working at mcdonalds than coaching sports at school? That's why schools are crazy sometimes. That's also why they literally have to FORCE teachers to do it, because they are asking us to work double overtime for FREE. Okay, end of soapbox, and back to happy thoughts of traveling :) arrggh.

Sooo, today I bought the rest of our holiday plane tickets. Darrin and i fly to south padre on Christmas night, stay five days, then fly to dallas dec 30th, rock it out with Tino for her 30th on new years eve!, then we fly home Sunday, and bleehhhh, back to work on January 2nd. One things leads to another though, because it seems these 30th birthday destination parties are going to lead up to our year of traveling Europe, while we are all 30 years old. What better way to celebrate getting old?? Till next time.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Research and possibilities

I would like to share a couple things I have been researching lately. But first, i should tell how pleased i was with my first teacher presentation! I mentioned briefly before that i was presenting at a teacher inservice in September. I spent all summer reading a book and mentally preparing notes. In the end, I whittled the PowerPoint down to some big ideas, shared some research I picked up in Seattle, and taught a short art project. All in forty-five minutes, and it was a huge success. I felt like i was in my element. Sharing information with adults made me a little nervous, but was so much more satisfying, especially when they complimented me! It was also a huge amount of preparation, but I think I could get quicker. I would like to share some of the info on here sometime.

So a new discovery I found when reading about Thomas Jefferson was the learning schedule he created for his daughter. It was neat to see what he prioritized and the time allotted for each activity. There were a couple hours of dance, an hour of musical instrument practice, writing and reading, etc etc. I plan to write down the exact schedule and put in my research folder.

I am also considering home based art tutoring, ideally for home schooled children or for kids that have parents who realize the importance of the arts. Just some thoughts, more info to come later.

Lastly, I painted two paintings for an auction. They both sold, although I think for pretty cheap. One painting sold for 85, the other for 30. 30 dollars would never happen if it had not been for charity, i don't think an artist would even consider selling a painting for that. 30 dollars might cover materials, but definitely not a profit considering time spent. However, the experience was nothing but good for me, since the materials were donated and it was a really fun experience. I got to see some old friends, maybe get my name out there, and acquire a touch of professionalism from it. And at the end of the day, there are two strangers out there that have my painting hanging up in their house. That's the coolest thing! Maybe i should give away some more artwork cuz it felt surprisingly good.


It's October, and I don't remember a more beautiful fall. Each day is more beautiful and temperate than the day before, and its been this way for three weeks. Today I woke and let the ducks out, laid on our new duck watching lawn chair, and felt great. I knew it would be an awesome day no matter what.

It's been a while since I wrote, since august when I was struggling to get back into another year of teaching. This year, my third year, has been the best. I am honest with myself and realize my teacher sense has improved immensely. My classroom management skills are so much better and I feel so privileged when a kid comes to me for advice. It can be very satisfying, and other days very frustrating, like when I feel like i just clean up after disrespectful kids all day long. I do love the district I work in, and I noticed this year the kids are beginning to trust me and like me much more. It takes years to gain their trust, believe it or not. Very satisfying though, and I don't feel that any other school would be better, or different. I also think the challenges would be the same elsewhere.

So, my career is fine. The home with Darrin is awesome. He is great, and we are doing good. Recently we acquired some new furniture, as well as a new roof, and overall the house is improving. My basement art studio is still in tact and i added my winter fitness gear to it. Ready to workout!

My biggest issue lately is the same as always, I want to travel. Travel travel travel. Today I was thinking about it, always in the back of my mind. I was trying to problem solve and decided that i simply don't make enough money to travel as much as I would like. I went on many trips last year: Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and Colorado. It's never enough! And after those four trips completely depleted my savings account and emergency fund so badly that it will take months to recover. A teachers salary pays the bills but that's about it. While i was fretting over this today the beautiful weather made me pause and think, why am I not happy enough to just be here? But I do believe that this is my home base, the place that keeps me stable, happy, emotionally safe. And the biggest blessing of my career choice is the time I have to travel, if only i had the money to do so. So onward with the problem solving mentality, how can I earn more money???

haha. Doesn't everybody struggle with that. In the meantime, I am considering taking a graduate history class at UCM. Studying history is so fulfilling, and maybe I can use it to help figure everything else out. Currently I am reading a biography on Thomas Jefferson, I was inspired to learn more about Jefferson after watching the John Adams movies. Jefferson is amazing, interesting, and inspiring. And I mean the real Jefferson not the boring hero persona given to him by third grade textbooks. Next up, maybe Thomas Paine or Benjamin Franklin.

Saturday, September 10, 2011



Previously I blogged about how making goals can really cheer me up, and they still do. What has changed is that I don't meet my goals anymore. Over the summer I had set a personal art studio goal of creating 6-8 paintings and showing them in an art show. I have 3 paintings, only two of which were created this summer, and one of those is not even complete.

My other failed goal was to return to physical fitness this school year. The first duathlon is in two weeks and I have done nothing. The 5k that I reluctantly committed to is October 29th, and there is a big chance I will back out and simply focus on Halloween parties that weekend instead.

So the things that i have thought defined me: art, fitness, reaching goals, seem to keep falling by the wayside. I know other people must feel they dont have time for what keeps them happy. Instead I am surviving each day back at work, struggling to plan lessons And presentations, get grading done, deal with extra duties and concession stand chores, feeding and caring for ducks twice a day, going to meetings, worried about moving up in my career, trying to keep up with house cleaning, car maintenance, budgeting, aaagh! It's just not as good as I want things to be. We are never happy right?? Things are never good enough. The basement is going to house my art studio as well as the workout room this winter, and I wonder how often I will actually step foot down there for either of those things?? Do My life and my identity keep getting further and further away from who I think I am? I am so busy, never enough time. Is my time spent on things that are worth it?? Maybe if I could just get caught up on everything else i could decide and figure this stuff out!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Monday Madness

Yesterday was a rough Monday. The kids were normal, my schedule was as good as it gets, the day was actually nice. But I just didn't want to work. That's normal right? A bad case of the Monday's? Happens to everybody. Makes us want to change our careers.

Well I want to change my career! Ha. I am starting to feel like i might have to. Not that I have any other realistic options, but if the feeling persists I will figure something out. Eventually.

Teaching has good benefits. Excellent perks, so many that most others would agree I should not complain. The best thing about teaching is the amount of time that you Don't have to teach! It's true though, if you think about it. We work from 7 to 3. We have every weekend and holiday off. We get extended breaks, and a fully paid summer off work. Thats why I teach! Because I don't have to! And then there was yesterday. . . The first Monday of the school year. Ugh. I pouted, whined, and just felt completely unmotivated most of the morning. The kids were cheerful so that helped me through, and yet at the same time I try to find fault with the kids. I think to myself, they don't care about learning, they just want to socialize. The lesson I work to prepare and present to them is a passing thought. They wait and work just enough to make me feel somewhat useful and almost validated, then they spend every minute possible socializing. It's what teenagers care about. What do I care about? Learning. I want to learn! I want to read, study, research, collaborate, create, all the things that these kids can do and choose not to do! Not all of them of course. There is one extremely talented and artistic student engrossed in his six assigned design drawings, oblivious to the other 23 kids in the room that are talking about their social lives.

So, I want to trade places with them. I don't feel like I am growing, learning, or doing new things. I continue to manage the behavior of groups of children, perfecting my methods of crowd control, and feeling less and less happy about doing it during this third year of teaching.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lightbulbs turning on

Rambles, goals.

When i get very excited and happy during contemplation, i have noticed a trend in my thoughts. I am most happy when I have planned some detail about my future. Is that a girl thing? Perhaps, but i would bet money that guys do it too. Once I mentally solve a problem, decide on a goal, or plan any new idea, I get internal happiness that lasts at least a whole day. The neat thing about this blog is that i can put it down in ink, share my ideas with others, and fine tune it.

Today I was thinking about last years summer goal, the triathlon, and how fit and trim I was. I am doing different things this summer: painting, duck raising, and remodeling the house. I was also briefly thinking about how depressing it is during the long winter months of teaching (I try not to think about teaching at all during summer). This previous year I would work, carpool home, then eat a huge meal and lay down until bed. It was a true downer, and I was exhausted every day. The house was small and cold. I would literally turn on the space heater and hole up in bed until the next morning I had to get up for work again. So one obvious problem is that we need to use our heating system more, the other problem is that i need something to help me survive the school year physically and mentally. I realized that doing my triathlon activities during the winter months might be just what I need. What better way to fight off career lackluster than to stomp it out an a treadmill right? Haha. Even better, we have a punching bag in the basement!

So the school year is nine and a half months long, I will schedule about three triathlons during the year. The first will be In the fall, just a small beginners tri to get me going. The winter tri will be only slightly more intense but enough to keep me in shape during early snows. I might throw in a 5k or 10k during early spring, and this will end in April with the big tri. My birthday is April 30th, (the big golden 30!) and before then my winter fitness deluge must officially be over. Done. D. U. N. Senior trip will be the following week, and summer will start a week after that, then I am back to happiness, where I am right now! Ahh a teachers life revolves around summer, what else would keep us going? With this plan I will stay fit thru the winter, have stress release outlets from work, and be able to relax, party, and travel all summer long. The only thing that could ruin this plan might be financial obstacles, which I fear might be around the corner, but when that happens I will just happily brainstorm a new plan! What do ya guys think??

Summer travels

Rambles, sitting by the pool

I have been on summer vacation for five weeks and I am finally sitting by the pool, reading, writing, swimming. The cat is sleeping next to me on the deck, the ducks are eating bugs by the pond. Darrin bought a pond fountain that shoots twelve feet high and the sound of waterfall is so relaxing. This country home is just glorious. I recommend it to anyone that dreams of getting out of the city. I didn't know i would enjoy this house, actually did not expect to, and it's just great.

While I have avoided the pool I have been traveling. After the kc trip, I booked a flight to Boston to visit Kelly petree. Boston was another unexpectedly wonderful experience. The first day we joined the whole city in celebrating the local hockey teams winning of the Stanley cup. If you can imagine the chiefs winning the superbowl or the royals winning the world series, that's what it was like when the Boston bruins won the Stanley cup. We stood three hours at a sports bar before getting a table, our friends waited outside for two hours and never got in. After the game, crowds of people thronged the streets, and Kelly and i were right in the middle of it. I had never heard of the bruins before that day, but we were both hooping and hollering and high fiving people in cars, honking horns, and even climbing a building, hehe. We took our chances in the celebration riot then escaped out of there unharmed. Luckily ;)

The rest of Boston was good quality time with kel, court, their dogs, and the city. We drank beer at the cheers bar, ate at a dive college pizza bar, toured Harvard, museums, parks. Just an awesome trip.

So the other summer trip, Chicago! Darrin and my stepdad wanted to go to Illinois for the annual corvette car show. We planned it as a road trip and stayed in a shady hotel to save some cash :) so Saturday, my mom and I dropped off the boys and took off for downtown. We went straight to the art museum and I saw the most famous paintings I have ever seen. They truly had iconic images from any art history class, what some people might not realize is that these are the originals. You can actually stand face to face with the exact original brushstrokes of a famous Picasso, de kooning, Monet, etc. I got to stare, from inches away, at one of van gogh's bedroom paintings. It's very neat. The museum also has mummies, statues, etc.

After the art museum, mom and I took a cab to navy pier and boarded an architecture cruise. The most educated tour guide took us thru downtown by river, directly below the historic skyscrapers. Just an outstanding experience and we learned about Chicago history. We returned to the corvette show, picked up our boys, and enjoyed great family time with only a little road trip bickering.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Unfinished Painting: Blessed

Unfinished painting


My summer goal this year is to paint and build my artist collection. Last summer my goal was to complete in the big triathlon, i trained every day. So now, I need to spend a lot of time in the basement studio painting. Until a couple days ago, I had not even stepped foot into the studio. My time had been spent so far taking care of ducks, my mom, and doing some annual chores. I also spent one lovely night catching up with Tino, my true friend in KC. Tino and I both have summer career goals, and she was already well aware of my painting goal. When i said I had done nothing, Tino was let down. She gave me the best positive encouragement and advice to get me on track. She recommended allotting just four hours a day to my art, 10-2 pm. We also decided she can hold me accountable, and I will send her pictures and updates. I really needed her support and push!

Two days later, i grabbed all my ideas and combined them to create the first summer painting: Blessing. I sketched it, journaled, titled it, and the creative process has begun. The painting started with a sketch of a heart from two years ago, some color schemes from magazines, and the following mindset: I have every thing I could want, I am truly happy, and I need to do something with that. I love darrin, this house, this summer, my education, my job, family, friends, the ability to travel, learn, and relax. I love the nature around me, the animals and frogs and owls and deer. We have a freaking cherry tree! An apple tree, a peach tree, roses, berries, a pool, a giant hammock, I have an art studio, so much to be grateful for! So yes, this first painting is called Blessed. Pictures to come.


It's been a little while. I am in summer mode and loving it! I am in the middle of my third week of summer, and I hate to let a single minute of it go to waste. During the first week I inherited two teenaged ducks from my brother Jesse. They have melted my heart. They are so floppy, stupid, and cute. They are also happy, and I will be heartbroken when any trials come their way. Today was the first time I forgot to let them out of their pen in the morning. One time I forgot to shut them in at night, and I felt so guilty. So today I returned from the pool at one pm, and Darrin had just let them out. It was a cooler day so they were not hot, but they had knocked over their water.

Here is where it gets interesting. . Darrin pulled out of the driveway for work, and I went to the ducks to apologize. They were happy and fine, so I checked their food and water. I lifted the lid to their covered section of the pen, and discovered a six foot long black snake! The snake and I both froze, just looking at each other. I wondered if the ducks had been scared, or even noticed? The snake was not going anywhere, and I am not afraid of snakes, so I ran to the car to get my phone, of all things, haha. I snapped a full set of photos as the snake slithered out of the pen and under the storage shed. I do kinda wish i had killed it, but I have never used a shotgun before. Time to practice. We also have two giant snapping turtles in the pond. At this point, I am only wanting to protect my helpless little ducks.

After the snake ordeal, we went to Columbia today, and bought a small kids swimming pool for the ducks while visiting ToysRus. Yes, they are my kids now ha. It's been a drought and the ducks are scared of the pond still. They had also been out all day while we traveled, and I wanted to get home ASAP to check on them. So we are driving . . . And it storms like crazy!! I imagined my poor ducks going thru their first ever thunderstorm. We got home, and they were having a heyday in a six inch puddle! They loved it! Hahaha. After plenty of playtime, we put them in their pen with fresh food and water. An hour ago I checked, and no snake, yet.

Pic of my ducks

Duck one and duck two

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

First week of summer

It's been a while. I am happy to say I am typing this on my new Ipad2 from home. I have some details to work out but so far this device is amazing.

Summer started a week ago, and I have been quite the nurse for the first week. I inherited two baby ducks, mom had full surgery, and darrin and I are taking care of cats and house projects. I can not say I have done much personal goals yet, but I have plenty on the list. The Annual chores are finished, as well as some house cleaning. I have also taken my car in for some much needed maintenance.

Now what? Party time! Ha. Swim in the pool, drink some beer, plan some camping or float trips, visit the gals in kc, etc etc. Art night should be at my house ASAP, and hope I get some projects started. Before then though, more nursing. Tomorrow I clean the duck pen and take mom to more doctor appointments.......hopefully a more exciting post in the next couple days!

Monday, May 2, 2011

catch 22

Boy am I getting old. I turned 29 on Saturday. I actually was happy about being 29 and am not worried about turning 30 next year. The birthday party was great both Friday and Saturday. My bro Danny visited Friday, along with some friends, and we partied. Saturday my bro Jesse and other family visited and we finally showed off our house and remodel projects. It was wonderful. So me feeling old is actually not related to my birthday or being 29. I just feel old and boring.

Part of me feeling old is that I keep getting mad. I get annoyed with people, bummed about gas prices, upset when people are late or inconsiderate, and just generally picky. I am anal about my time and don't like other people to waste it. I make assumptions, put my foot in my mouth, vent online. oops am I doing it again? But the problem is, I don't like myself being that way. Am I too centered in my own life and isolated from the rest of the world that I focus on tiny little inconveniences that much? Am I that bored in my career that I let little annoyances bring me down? Am I that old that my world starts to literally shrink??

The problem is, though, that I am upset because I care. I have career ambitions, which means that I am going to have a personal opinion about what happens around me professionally. I can no longer remain detached from my work environment or leave it when it becomes uncomfortable. I care a great deal about my home, my car, my family, my LIFE. This is it. This is what I want. The fact that I care, though, means that I have a stake now in how things go. Often they don't go as I wish. And when things are not right, I want them to be fixed. I care. I would rather be laid back, the girl that never gets uptight or upset. The girl that is care-free. She does not care. To some of my friends, I have always been that girl. It makes me sad that I feel stuck now and angry. Ugh.

Well I have defined my current catch-22, but I will stop here because I don't know what to do about it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

pardon my french

So I did finish my book on the artist De Kooning, and began reading Liar's Poker, by Michael Lewis. I loved my artist bio so now that I have moved on, I feel art withdraw. Liar's Poker is about working on Wall Street during the 1980's and getting rich. It's a humorous book but also a true story, wth a little bit of information on stocks, mortgages, etc. So I feel like I am learning something. What I do not like, though, is the french! Okay, I am not talking about cussing, which Liar's Poker is full of. I am literally talking about the french words thrown into books every once in a while to make the author look cool. This irritates me.

The problem is not that the author is trying to sound cool, because thats the whole book. The problem is that almost every book I read does this! I am not kidding! It happens at least twice in every book I read. I read non-fiction, and about ANY topic. I do NOT know French. Nor do I plan to. I know a little bit of Spanish, but none of the authors are throwing in Spanish words!

I am forced to try to assume the author's meaning by reading the word in context, and it often does not work. How many english speaking people actually know French, that are not from France? I truly do not think the general American public knows half of the French words thrown into text, especially text that is marketed solely to the American public! I just want to be able to understand what I am reading and not feel like a 3rd grader or have to learn another language. I also want writers to stop assuming their readers know what they are saying when they use French. We dont. And by the way, last week I was reading an article about fietsen that was absolutely wonderful.

HA! You have no idea what I just said do you? Good luck! Look it up I guess. As a matter of fact, its not even French. Technically, when I see the French words I am assuming they are French. It could be Hungarian for all I know. Well thanks for reading about my pet peeve anyway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Home sweet home, finally!

Our house looks amazing! The kitchen is painted green and gray. The deck is stained and looks absolutely wonderful! Darrin bought a beautiful patio set and a hammock. Our list of things to do this month is completely finished.

I can not wait to get home and look at it. We actually stand in the kitchen and just stare, and then we stand on the deck and stare, we are so proud! It took probably 25 hours this weekend to get it all finished, and my back is so sore.

I am completely ready for my friends and family to visit on my birthday weekend, the pool is even full so if the weather is hot enough maybe someone will jump in :) Our outdoor home is ready, and the indoor home is finally coming along.

This summer we are painting the house and the latice around the deck, staining the fence, and mowing etc. Before this winter we want to redo the living room with a dark color, crown molding, and wood floors. Its gonna be great. It also makes me scared someday I might have to leave this house because for once, I am becoming attached to it. Just another fear to throw in the larger bucket of fears anyway. I will find some peace with that irrational fear soon enough.

It has been worth all the work, and I will get some pictures up to show off soon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tea conquers all

My last post was extremely long, and I just wrote that for myself to hash through a mental debate. Read it if you truly have nothing else to do, ha. I also found the solution for my afternoon slumber and exhaustion: Drinking a strong cup of tea everyday at 3 pm. It worked yesterday! I was extremely productive with yardwork. I also ate a salad with my cup of tea for some energy.

Another part of my solution: Darrin and I have about 4 homeowner goals to accomplish before April 29th.
1. Pick up the yard so we can do our first mow of the season and plant flowers.
2. Paint the kitchen.
3. Stain the deck and purchase our lawn furniture.
4. Clean the pool and fill it.

So exciting! Having so many goals to complete is going to make me extremely productive. I also have to prove to Darrin that I can get the kitchen painted because he is doubtful that we can do all 4 things. I think we need to order our lawn furniture sooner than Darrin plans to, because we might have to wait a couple weeks for it to arrive and assemble.

Plan to come over to our house this spring! We will be proud to show it off.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dear Fitness Guru, or Life Guru

Dear Fitness Guru, or Life Guru:

Today I am confused. Not perplexed, just confused. I am getting fat. Probably the fattest I have been in a while. I am inching up from 145 to 150??? Scary!! I need help. I have not weighed this much since probably 2005, and then it was short term. I think I will list the causes, and the solution that I know would help, but is not possible. I need a new solution. I need you, fitness guru, to help.

So last summer I completed my ultimate fitness goal, the goal that I seemed to be working towards my whole life. I finished an ultra long triathlon. I started working out my senior year of high school and conquered an eating disorder within the nest two years. I gained, then lost, and over time worked up to a complete fitness level of great abilities. That all culminated in last summer's triathlon. So….the question is: Now what??? What the hell do I do? You could say I am burned out possibly. I love personal fitness, I still admire magazines physiques and workouts and healthy recipes, but the problem is that I can't do them anymore! I just don't have the desire. I have had this desire ever since I can remember so this is the first time where I don't look forward to exercising. I don't enjoy the process. I barely enjoy the after glow. It's like eating spinach suddenly. Actually it's more like I suddenly am disgusted with something that I have loved my whole life.

When the triathlon was over, I finally relaxed. I truly think I tested my body to its extreme, exercising 4 hours a day in summer heat. I went back to work in August and just stopped craving exercise.

Now let me pause here. I think we can combine two things so far: Completion of the ultimate fitness goal combined with a return to the 9 – 5 boring sluggish work routine. My second year of teaching was calm. It was peaceful. It was Boring. I dread the daily grind. The amount of boredom that it adds to my existence makes me feel exhausted. Teaching is easy, I am comfortable doing it, but at 3 pm I am exhausted. I don't feel like I am thriving, like I am living life to the fullest. I want to lay down and sleep after a very large meal. So I do.

Okay, the 3rd factor to my fatness: I have finally found happiness and love and what's more significant, a CALM and steady relationship. The previous year with Darrin was like walking on burning hot coals, or rowing a boat through a tsunami. I suffered mentally, physically, and emotionally, and it kept me thin. After the summer and the triathlon, our relationship is now thriving. We are happy, we love each other, we have mutual goals and encourage each other. Our wave pool has turned into a pond with barely a single ripple and we sit in our boat of calmness and admire the sunset. Its beautiful. And its making me fat.

What can I say? Marital bliss does that to people often right? I am no longer worried about being the hottest, aka thinnest, girl in the room. I can eat dinner without the sadness of eating alone – and let me say that was getting really depressing. I don't have to get in my car and go to a bar or friends house to find company. I don't have roaring silence when I am home alone. I like being home and don't need to leave anymore. I have a stack of books to read, a full pantry of things to cook, and Darrin next to me every night.

So does happiness make me fat? Maybe. I know that sadness makes me thin, as well as stress anxiety or depression. I do think along with happiness comes a dose of boredom, and does that make sense to everyone? Happiness and calmness vs. happiness and excitement might be two very different things.

So here is what excites me: traveling around the world. I have not found a single thing that matches the excitement of traveling. I have also not successfully turned my relationship with Darrin into a traveling existence . . because that's completely unrealistic. We have to work, pay our bills, save for retirement, paint the house, buy a car, pay off debt debt debt. Ughhh debt.

I also know that when I am single I am usually fit. I eat less, I exercise often. I have more access to the gym or pool and I am more mobile. I socialize and bounce ideas off the people around me. I learn from others. I have not found a way to do that as much when I am in a full time relationship. Or have I?

So how can I be happy, maintain a healthy relationship, and renew my fitness routine? All while bearing the burden of taxes, debt, insurance, medical bills, the public school system, and a fixer upper home in the country with limited access to the outside world. How?

How can I find that energized, desperate, motivated, traveling, single gal within, without being single? I want the best of both worlds dammit. Not the dating life at all, not the sleeping and eating alone life, just the motivation to do things. I don't want to come home tired and eat then sleep. I don't want to feel bored and trapped in my career. I want more things than I currently have, and I am furiously trying to figure out how to attain all that I want without having to compromise what's made me happy. SO, dear fitness guru – what's your answer? Eat spinach and gag? Sit on the couch and be grateful for my warm bed? Ride out this 150 pound scale reading by typing blogs to vent? Pray that I can fit into my jeans tomorrow? Please don't tell me to sign up for an aerobics class, I hope you can tell that's not my style even when I was my fittest. Of all this talk about being alone, exercise I do prefer solo. It helps my mind to shrink up inside my brain while swimming or running.

Maybe I will have to just ride out this weight gain as I learn to deal with the changes in my life, just like I did when I was 19 years old. I am getting older, I have obligations, and I am tempted to be sedentary. At the same time, my goals have simply changed from fitness to more career oriented aspirations like being an artist, professor, homeowner. But while I figure things out, I hope I don't balloon up anymore than I already have. Just relax, I tell myself. Take a deep breath and relax. My goals will unfold naturally and hopefully my self image will not suffer too much in the meantime.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My new summer Goal

Today I created an artist business card. I picked a simple black and white design and used an image of one of my pencil sketches. The sketch is one of the "bedroom" painting sketches which I thought was more interesting than an image of the actual painting. It looks okay......I will show it to Darrin and see what he thinks. I like the idea of having a career business card, although I am not sure which contact info I wanted to include. I am still unsure about this blog too, but as of now its included.

At one of the conferences, a teacher asked me if I had a card, and thats what got me thinking. Why not? Its just a quick way to give out contact info to anyone I befriend that is a teacher, artist, professor, friend, colleague, etc. I am also thinking about my summer goals. What will happen if I put my personal quest in art as my summer priority? My De Kooning book is inspiring (still reading this huge book!) as well as the personal artist seminars I attended. I even got to thinking about last summer's goal of doing the triathlons and how that is technically off the bucket list now, and this summer needs a new goal. So, ART it is! How exciting! The other summer goals include things like royals games, float trips, and afternoons at the pool, hehhe. Lets see how productive I end up being.

I might do one triathlon May 15th in St. Genevieve, Mo. It would be a nice road trip for Darrin and I and its one hour away from Elephant Rock State Park. I think I will just keep this triathlon low key and a personal solo goal rather than inviting all of friends and family to join me. One other note, LIfe is good! I truly love life right now! Thanks to Darrin and loving friends and family for making it that way :) and happy birthday to my bros!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Education Factory

After the No Child Left Behind legislation in public schools, education became a national debate. I learned a lot about this legislation and the events leading up to it in a couple of my Master's degree courses. Part of the cause is the comparison of student test scores to student test scores from other countries. Of course, we want our kids to score the highest. But why? If we score average, or just below average compared to China in math, or compared to Europe in language arts, how directly does that hurt the lives of our citizens? I am not saying to give up, I am just saying before we fight for something, lets figure out why we should.

On another note, My developing thought is this: When discussing the failures of public education in the U.S. lets look at our history. We have come a long way since the little red schoolhouse haven't we? I think the advances we have made can also be our pitfalls. For instance, every citizen in America is now required to get an education. Whether a child wants to or not, and whether their parents want them to or not, every kid will attend school until they reach 17 years of age. Not just the wealthy, or the educated, every kid. To accommodate our growing population we have public school transportation, public free meals for half our kids, and a huge growth in the profession of teaching. Teachers are required to have a bachelors degree (and now a masters degree) yet our credibility is under scrutiny. Why? Because we produce crap, supposedly. The way I see it, though, the crap is a result of the growth and expansion of education along with the growth of population. We teach hundreds of kids daily. If I tried to have a five minute conversation with each kid that I will see on Monday it would be impossible under the current system. On Monday I will see 102 kids. On Tuesday I will see 56 kids that I did not see the day before. I think the answer lies in the numbers. It is as simple as that. A thorough education will be more individualized, more attention, more conversation, more one on one time for growth. Here is my analogy: Our current education system is a massive factory. Students are pushed through at rapid speed on an assembly line. Teachers dump knowledge on each student as they pass through on the conveyor belt of public education, half of that knowledge spills off and falls to the floor because it is too much too fast, with no time to stop and think. We don't know the students and they don't know us. Teachers work that assembly line and get exhausted. Kids are bored. Overall, what we produce in that factory is CHEAP. Blame the teachers? I don't think so at all. Blame our current public education system? YES. So………when can I set up that little red schoolhouse again? I would love to teach and mentor the same 12 kids every day. Kids that want to be there, feel privileged to get an education, and have time to learn.

Big Ideas from Seattle

I said I would blog more about what I learned in Seattle and here it is.

1. My first session: How to Get Hired in Higher Education. This session was focused solely on the application process and how to conduct yourself through the extremely intense screenings that universities put educators through. Personally, I am still bouncing around ideas about what it would be like to teach a college course and which kinds of courses I would be interested in. I have not decided to pursue a Phd so this session was a little interesting, but not needed at this point in my career.

2. Fashion Design for High School, and 3. - - both very fun and things I hope to implement.

4. talking to my roommate Clare for the weekend, I learned a lot from her. She recommended a few things: the movie Beautiful Losers, a teachers blog who teaches with experimentation (I think), and some info about some Art programs and institutes in San Francisco.

5. Being an Artist while Teaching. I went to about 3 sessions on this topic. It's a popular topic for art teachers (most session rooms were filled to standing room only). We love art, live art, yet have no energy, after teaching 200 kids every day, to make our own art. I have been lucky enough to make about 3 projects this entire year. I have ideas though about creating a studio, keeping project ideas stored in writing, etc etc. I also realized if I am not an artist myself I would not know how to help students pursue the same career.

6. Robert Root-Bernstein. The absolute highlight of the weekend! This man has spent years researching how scientists have used artistic experimentation and art processes within their research. The list of examples was never ending, and fascinating. I wore my hand out writing as many notes as I could, and I am waiting for his book to arrive in the mail. I think his research will affect my teaching more than any other of the big ideas. More on him later and his book is called Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools……

7. 4 elementary lessons I can teach: robot printmaking, Islands using google earth, architecture design and floorplans, and pinch pot fish. I already have 3rd graders making the pinch pot fish. They are adorable!

8. Dr. Rex Jung. Not as remarkable as the other keynote speaker, but worth following up on as well. Jung researched what parts of the brain are active during the creative process. It's very interesting that to be creative, you have to be less inhibited. A person with frontal dementia has less inhibition because their frontal lobe is not telling them to be careful, to stay out of trouble, or that they should not do something. Basically they are crazy, and to be creative you also have to be a little crazy. Hehe, an interesting research finding. So how do you measure creativity? Give people creative tests. Then appoint judges to decide which response to the tests are the most creative ideas, and after he described the testing it sounded measured, accurate, and fun! Jung's research is fascinating, but he had not yet figured out what to do with the research, especially in the classroom.

9.Quiet. You Have The Right to Remain Silent. Ohhhhhhh how I love a quiet classroom!

10. Are Blogs the New Sketchbook? I am realizing that many truly advanced art programs include blogs, websites, and online showing of student artwork. Many high schools teach kids how to describe their own artwork by having them post their descriptions online. Of course! That's what an artist would do too. I checked out a few and they are underdeveloped of course, since they are a graded assignment and not a professional career, but there must be many many things a student can learn about sharing their creative process and their ideas online.

11. How to Get Published. Awesome session! What I learned from the people at this session will help my career so much. I am ready to work extra hours each week submitting articles, lessons, and ideas to magazines etc.

Well, a long post, but I wanted to cover some of the best sessions I attended at National Convention. Enjoy!

Chicks in Movies

So I am looking out the glass doors at our snow covered back yard and it's very pretty. The farmer's almanac said we would have a blizzard this weekend, the weather forecast said chance of snow with no accumulation, and in actuality we have about 3 inches.

Darrin and I spent the weekend at home mostly and going to bed early. Yesterday we took mom and Tim to Menards and bought tons of spring flowers to plant around the house. We picked out house paint colors as well as deck stains and lawn furniture. Once home Darrin made some amazing Tortilla soup and we rented The Fighter on tv. The Fighter is a great movie! Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams. You would not know Amy Adams is in the movie of course by looking at the cover or reading the info on tv. I have a thing about chicks in movies, especially in "man" movies. If the man movie does not have any chicks at all then I find it completely uninteresting. Well, some are a little interesting but just add one girl to the cast and that's all I need to help me through. In The Fighter, I asked "I wonder who the chick is going to be?" Darrin of course cracked a joke that nobody cares, and I was truly thrilled when Amy Adams showed up on screen in an eighties halter top, daisy dukes, and taking no crap from anybody. Another great part of The Fighter was the soundtrack and eighties clothing – just hilarious at points. The absence of cell phones (Amy wrote her number down on a napkin for Mark) and the general feel of the eighties made me want to go back! Haha. Next movie on the list? Sucker Punch. I hate scifi but this movie is full of hot chicks kicking butt J Maybe it will motivate me to jog on the treadmill and do some pushups.

Friday, March 25, 2011

revisiting my purpose....

I love this blog. I wish I had comments and knew that people were reading it. During my high points and my low points I like being able to write and share. It feels great.

When I started this blog (if you read the very first entry) it was to reveal myself in an open and honest way to the people that I love and care about. It was also to just have fun. Now here is my problem: I am feeling constrained by invisible ties. There is such a pressure to not reveal your personal life, or to not reveal your professional life. With internet of course we all know that personal and professional lives are moving closer and closer together - whether people want that to happen or not. What do I want? I want to be myself!! I dont think there should be any problem with me having a personal life in current society, and that personal life is viewable in our current society. Thanks to facebook, blogs, personal or career websites, etc you can look a person up and learn tons of things about them! You can look up my school website and learn about my school as well. I have no problem with that, but FEAR is constraining me.

I want to blog about relationships, teaching, health and fitness, art trends, education, but not in some vague way. I want to write about my personal experiences and thoughts. If I cant do that, then I can not be myself and I can not be honest. I will be thrilled when internet freedom becomes a new addition to our list of freedoms...........then I might feel safe. Until then, should my blog be privatized? Maybe then I can just write write write without having to constantly censor what I am "thinking."

Seattle Washington

Seattle was gorgeous. I feel alive, nourished, and intelligent. I have a million things I want to blog about. I journaled, kept notes, have read books, so many ideas!!! I also made friends with three wonderful girls that I shared a room with in my hostel. I will tell some of the small high lights of the trip in this post, and get into big ideas in other posts.
The gals that I roomed with: Kate from England, Clare and Rachel from San Francisco. Kate is a lawyer visiting her son that works in the States. Clare and Rachel are both art teachers who were also attending the conference in Seattle. All the gals were funloving and we had a great night out in Seattle our last night, eating Vietnamese and visiting a martini bar.
The weather was great, I walked everywhere, I loved the monorail, the space needle viewing deck, and Olympic Sculpture park. Pike Place fish market was not as good as my childhood memories, it is very covered and a single aisle strip with no direct view of the ocean or docks. I remember it being much better 20 years ago.
I did not get to leave Seattle and visit the National Park, bummer! Not enough time and too many good conference topics that I did not want to miss. I also took some wise advice about enjoying it with someone special and spending a quality amount of time there.
I broke my suitcase handle and the wheel fell off - time for new luggage.
At one point during my arrival, I was surrounded by middle aged art teachers. They were loud, anxious, and stressed about our poor shuttle service. Thats what happens I guess when you put thousands of women together trying to go to the same place. On the shuttle with 7 of them, I realized this was not the crowd I wanted to surround myself with during the trip. Thank god for rachel, clare, and kate!
The hostel was OUTSTANDING. If you are scared of hostels, its because you dont know what they are and have not been to one. I sat in the hot tub each night, the place was spotless and had an awesome free breakfast, internet room, game room, etc etc. A hostel is a combination of a dorm, bed and breakfast, and even hotel amenities, all with a group of friendly people that are taking good care of their neighbors.
Olympic National Park is now on my bucket list: Just look up a photo of second beach, or the waterfalls inside the park.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Art Conference #1

Look at two of my neat art pieces from the Art Conference (Springfield). The metal rose was made from construction metal and barbed wire. The ceramic tiles were created with high quality glaze and strings for texture. I made both of these examples in workshops on Friday evening. They were back to back, then I rushed off to the "Life" drawing at Brick City in Springfield. All in all, Friday was the best day of the conference. Thursday's two art sessions were fun, especially to see clay printmaking and plaster. Saturday was kind of a boring end compared to Friday so I left early and headed home before lunch. I was exhausted! I slept for 13 hours on Sat night!
I think it would be great to paint ceramic tiles in my painting class! What a neat way to incorporate some clay in with painting. Adding clay printmaking is also an option. Personally, I have a lot of ideas that I can not only teach, but experiment with myself. I was already planning to use the rest of my red clay for tiles and painting, which I would like to give a few away as gifts. The conference also taught me some broader ideas for helping build my district art department and ways to show student work online. The future is bright :) I have the most incredible opportunity to expand some of those ideas in Seattle and ask questions. Only a few days left.........

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Springfield and Seattle here I come :)

So this week I am combining two of my absolute favorite things: Art and Travel!!!! First I spend this weekend in Springfield, MO at the MAEA Art Conference. I stay with my cousin Ashley, thanks Ash! Thursday I go to two workshops, one on printmaking with clay and the other on plaster in the classroom. Friday's schedule is packed starting at 8 am with more art sessions and workshops, including a nude drawing session.....Yes! hahaha just like on tv, maybe it will be Will Ferrell style :) (Sat night live reference). Friday night I get to meet up with some old college galpals for dinner and for the First Friday artwalk. I cant wait! I def need these trips in March.

My second trip is two weeks later, the National Art Conference in Seattle. Much more of the same but with a thriving new experience and location. I am staying at the City Hostel Seattle which features murals and an art gallery within. It is also walking distance to the Space Needle and bus stop which will take me to all the local museums. The amount of art conference sessions just on the first day in Seattle is overwhelming. I have hundreds to choose from daily. I have a feeling these two conferences will boost my career in an unimaginable way. I will probably bring a million ideas home to my classroom and school Art department, and also to enliven my career. There is a small tinge of sadness when I think of all the ideas it will bring to my classroom; because the school admin refused to help assist in any way of the costs. Not even the two hundred dollar registration fee..... But I should not complain here, perhaps this is not the place. At the same time, I am never one to sit and smolder silently forever. I need explanation, information, and hope for the future; which I will find on my own if I have to :)

There should be tons of ideas, pictures, and great stories to come after these two great oppportunities....

Friday, February 18, 2011

sunny days

The world is warm, sunny, and full of opportunity - and I am at school dwelling on imperfections and complaining to a coworker. What a negative nancy right?? The truth is though, nothing is perfect, and sometimes things are unfair. This job has made me extremely happy and my solution is to tell myself that it will be different next year. Why? Because the things that are unfair must change and I have trust that they will. I also tell myself to not be a pushover, because sometimes its my own fault for not standing up for myself. All that said, I can not fix these things today or tomorrow or next week, I have to deal with it next year. Bleh, so thats why I complain......and then I feel worse.

Back to the sunny days! Tomorrow I am watching Olympic swimmers with Jessie and Katie! How cool is that?? Some other highlights right now are that I am going to Seattle for sure in a month. My flight and lodging are reserved. I absolutely can not wait to see this city! It is full of art, culture, museums, and sights. It is also full of thousands of fellow art teachers for the art conference. I looked at the list of sessions for the first day, probably over 200 sessions, and picked out about ten I would like.

Other thoughts, I wondered to myself the other day, Who knows the most about diet and nutrition and in an educated healthy sense? A dietitician or nutritionist! And I decided that I want to know what they know so I bought a book for beginners. I am learning about calories, grams, portions, etc. I dont want to read about any trends, just the basic nutrition facts that someone educated would know. Its helping me tons already. I have easily been able to pack lunches, resist junk food, and might know a little about what I am eating. refreshing! Eventually I might know as much about diet as I do about fitness.

More updates later .....

Monday, February 7, 2011

back in the game!

I am finally making art! I found my old college sketchbook from drawing class and was so inspired. In one day I reorganized my art supplies, did the fruit sketch, and began the "bedroom" painting. It feels great, and makes me want to do much more!

The fruit sketch was inspired after browsing my sketchbook and realizing that I wasnt a bad drawer after all. My portraits were especially surprising so now I want to draw Darrin (portrait means from the neck up by the way!). The bedroom painting was inspired by different fabrics and colors in the bedroom. It has been getting more eclectic in the bedroom and I think a painting might bring it all together and make things match more.

The painting is the most fulfilling - I even bought 20 dollars worth of painting supplies to finish it. Now that school is back in session I just have to paint in the evenings....bummer. Take a look at the pics I will post more in the future.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

herbal remedies

So if you have known me very well for the past five years, you will know of a couple times that I have been in the hospital. The first hospitalization was definitely the most severe. In the summer of 2008 I noticed a "lump" in my abdomen. Yes I ignored that lump too, because it did not hurt, because I naively throught it would just go away, and because I was uninsured. I will come back to the "lump" story later.

The second time I visited the hospital was just this past October for a week long migraine which eventually healed on its own, although not before racking up an $1800 hospital bill.

So the reason these two hospital instances are on my mind are because I have an idea on what caused both illnesses, although both times the doctors involved thought nothing of what I considered to be the potential cause. I mentioned what I thought they should know in each case and was told that my concern was not related.

So here goes my idea (however crazy it might be): I think both sicknesses were caused by an over the counter herb.

Sickness number one "The Lump": So after a couple yeast infections, a friend told me about Acidophilus, an herb that prevents yeast infection. I researched and she was right; Acidophilus is frequently prescribed to balance good and bad bacteria and prevent yeast infections in women. Guys if you dont know what a yeast infection is, look it up :) Usually you take 1 pill a day to balance the bacteria. So I went to the store, either walgreens or walmart, and bought a bottle of Acidophilus. I read all the info on the bottle, and noticed it said it was intended to balance the intestinal bacteria of the elderly. I looked for any other bottle more specifically geared for women, and it was the only bottle that specifically said Acidophilus, so I took a pill a day for a month. Within that month, I experienced the most painful abdominal gas ever, which for me was really my first experience with abdominal gas. When I linked the gas to the Acidophilus, I immediately stopped taking the pills, and the gas cleared up within a week. whew!!

So two months pass where my tummy hurts from time to time unnoticably, then the lump appears, and less than thirty days later they cut out the "lump." The surgeon is perplexed; I have either Crohns disease or a rare form of appendicitis. He goes with Crohns disease, although I never had symptoms of Crohns and it is genetically linked to Nobody in my family history. hmmpf. Since the surgery I have had no significant problems,

The other medical instance - weeklong migraine: This story is not as crazy, or funny even, but I will explain. During last summer I was very depressed and opened up to a good friend. She told me about 5htp, an over the counter herb that helps boost mood and fight mild depression. I researched and noticed 5htp is used in European antidepressants, but is more flexible and available here in the U.S. It works like all other antidepressants by increasing the amount of seratonin in the brain. I started with a very low dose (half dose) for a couple weeks and felt better. I took a regular dose for another 4 weeks probably, then reduced again to the half dose for 2 weeks, then stopped because I was no longer depressed. All in all, I took 5htp for no more than 8 weeks. My headache began during the 8th week, and became severe during the week after 5htp. Once again, I brought the bottle when I spoke with the doctor and he viewed it as unimportant. He had a couple other ideas of the possible cause, but as the week progressed the migraine peaked and then went away. And believe me, this migraine was serious: the migraine shot at the ER only weakened it for 2 hours.

So, am I making connections out of nothing? I dont think so, although the doctors might disagree. My conclusion is to stay away from anything over the counter except for cough drops :)

home sweet home

It is the end of snow day #1 of the superstorm and I have done very well. Today I cleaned the house quite a bit and feel like I can definitely be stuck here some more. When all was scrubbed and cleaned, it really makes me like this small country home a little. It also makes me wish I could revamp it some more. I have a couple things in mind: First idea is to lighten up our narrow and very dark hallway by using paneling paint. Of course, nobody likes wood paneling, especially how it has been used in our poor little hallway. The other idea is, of course, to paint the kitchen. The actual painted wall space is not that large because the kitchen has a couple walls that would not get painted. Currently, the kitchen is splatter paint and roosters. Yes, I said SPLATTER PAINT AND ROOSTERS. Really, that should mean "enough said". But alas, Darrin has somehow become attached to the kitchen for one simple reason: He is resistant to change. He has to be convinced that change is good, Geez he is old :) haha. I also have to convince him that painting a couple walls will not put our lives in chaotic disarray, it will not be terribly expensive, and it will feel AWESOME when it is finished, which wont take that long to be finished either. Most importantly, it will become Home. Right now, this house still belongs to the previous owners and I am staring at their creation every day. It is unsettling to me to not feel like I am home, and not be proud to show off our own creation to visitors. Until then I continue to wait and just clean clean clean. maybe the snow day made me more neurotic than I thought.

Monday, January 31, 2011

feeling unemployed

Okay, so I love being a teacher but now I just feel unemployed. I finally was getting caught up at work and into the groove, and the winter storm of this year is rolling in. We had school today (Monday) for half a day, and were then dismissed to drive home in nothing but cold rain. I am glad that the safety of children is the primary concern, but believe me I am worried about the impending boredom!
So......I must create a list of things to do while possibly snowed in to feel like a working citizen. I have 4 books to read and an at home gym. I brought home my lesson plan book to get some work done. And the exciting goal?? To paint. I think I will set up a mini studio in the basement (its somewhat heated) and try to push myself and find my painting groove. Although I have done SOME painting since college, I am interested to see what direction I go in. If only I had internet !!!! I want to do some artist research....bah humbug I say! Boo to living out in the country, getting snowed in, and not having internet.

Along with winter I am experienced the travel bug. It has been too long since I traveled! I applied for a work trip to Seattle for an art teacher conference, and my chance of getting that funded completely is slim. However, I have my hopes up for a partial funding of the trip at the least. Wouldnt it be neat to go to Seattle?? I would attend a HUGE art conference, listen to artists and speakers talk about things like the relationship between intelligence and creativity, and visit museums and galleries. It would motivate me in teaching for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed! But they can't do anything about it if we dont even go to work! Snow go away.....

Finally, I want to mention that Danny's wedding was an enjoyable success . . Congrats to the newlyweds who truly did everything right! Great times for all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow days

School has been cancelled for three days in a row now. I have been getting a little stir crazy, so for tomorrow I have decided that I might just swim no matter what the cost. I would have to drive to a fitness center in a nearby town, either Marshall or Warrensburg, and pay the fee for a one day pass. I get frustrated over Sedalia's lack of aquatic opportunties all the time. There are enough swim programs for children, but adult access to the pools is very limited. Why do I live here again?? Oh yeah, for Darrin, my friends, my mother, small town convenience, and my career. I would be perfectly happy if Darrin ever decided to move to a larger town with a Ymca, or better yet, a 24 hour fitness.

So how can I keep this blog from turning into a fitness log? Some other things.....

I am reading an extensive biography on the artist De Kooning. He was a painter with an interesting life. It makes me wish I lived in an artsy village where I also happened to be talented enough to get a more artsy job. What the heck though, I teach art! Isnt there any way I can feel as if I am also an artist myself? The book centers on Modern Art, artists like Matisse, the surrealists, Mondrian. Those are artists that I viewed as modern, and heck, they lived and became famous before the 1920's! How is it that they are still the striking images that I was influenced by in my studies, the artists that I viewed as "new." It seems like artists now have such a large world thru internet and such a broad competition that we are all mediocre? Where do you go to see the real "new" trends? And why would I ever want to join the artists arena when the people that came to my college campuses specialized in the use of things like human hair, or animal intestines. Yuck! Do you have to go that far to be unique? And why are people really still debating whether abstract art is real art? Picasso lived in the 1800's. When will we move past that age old argument? My opinion is, if you want it perfectly realistic, take a dam picture :) hehehe. Anyway, I tell myself now that when it warms up I can paint in the garage or basement. Will I really stick to that? I do have the summer off work, and I guess I could save up some money for canvases, or learn how to mount them again, I knew that once. I also have 4 acres of natural outdoors to collect and include in my art............ i am thinking......

On that note, I want to mention that summer is now 4 months away. We teachers live in phases and are always counting down to our next vacation :) It sure makes time fly.
Till next time-