Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Bright Spot in the Memory

It is a rainy day. I wanted something pleasant and jubilant to look at before going to sleep for the day. Browsing through the miles of our photograph files I stumbled into our Chicago vacation from last September. We fell in love with the city and plan to return again this year with my sister and her boyfriend. One of the most amazing art exhibits we have ever encountered was the sculpture work of Niki de Saint Phalle. Such fantastic design, texture and color---with adoring attention to exacting detail. Her work moved me. And on this rainy day it still does.

Friday, June 13, 2008

How Does the Garden Grow

We live in the top half of an old house (built in the 19teens). I wish the house was my very own. I would update and fix things to return it to its deserved glory. Since we rent my summer flower passion is limited to pots on the front porch (and some hosta plants living by the foot of the steps). I went a little crazy with all the flower flats (and had to share with my mother and sister). The only days I had off from work were cool rain riddled days. I was not deterred. I planted the flowers while a spring storm was brewing all around. It has been a month since the flowers found a home on the front porch,,,and for the most part they are thriving. Secret: I love to drive past our house very slow and pretend as if I am seeing it for the first time (trying to imagine what the neighbors think).

Mission One: Rooms for Change

These rooms are inspiration headquarters. One is the library and the other my tiny tiny studio. As you can tell both are jammed with stuff. And they both seem organized in and "I am in high school" fashion (IE things and more things everywhere). Part of my new dedication to art has been "The Escape Plan". A To-Do list of missions I have set for myself (and the spouse) to aid and abet my emancipation from the business machine. Next week I have my first real stretch of days off from overnights. The challenge of this mission will be to swap, reorganize, and beautify these two rooms...creating a studio where I can sew, paint, blog, and roll in the art.

Rebels in the Family (or how to rebel at 18 + 10 years)

For the most part I was the rebel of my little family---or so I thought. I left the little suffocating town I was raised in and went to college in D.C. Two years later the college asked me to leave. That was okay. I had a nose ring and purple in my hair. And now my brother and sister have made jumps in their life---not at the age of 18---but at 28. My brother joined the Army and my sister just had her nose pierced! I know my mother is proud of my brother, but I wonder her response to my sister's new piece of jewelry. I love my twenty-something rebel siblings.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Husband Matters

He looked so lovely this day I have to share it with the world. The right husband makes life better.

The Sweetest Thing

We attended the wedding of Todd and Jennifer this past weekend in Athens, Ohio.

Todd has been a friend of George's since their youth. He met his new bride at college. And I must say it was the sweetest wedding we have ever had the pleasure of attending. It was personal and simple...and thought provoking. It was an inspirational day. Oh, and it was also an extemely hot and humid day.

Rainbow in a box

Ah. What a long night. I worked four pallets or so of household chemicals. Such a nice thing for me to have done. As a manager I could have, should have, barked order for others to get the job done. Alas, I always try to prove my affection for others by working insane hours and stretching my self thin. The power of "no"?
Thus I arrived home dirty and disgruntled (because as I was sweating away working freight so my people could focus on their area----I discovered they were having a breezy evening chit chatting with each other just a few aisles over. An old store manager used to refer to me as the "Hammer". I dislike feeling like the "Hammer"---it can be so negative. But the hammer is coming tomorrow night. I will work---but I will also be respected.
After all the I finally find my way home. And there on the kitchen table is a postal box for me. A week or so ago I ordered a stash of felt squares. Lame, you say? Well as a woman that has lusted to be a serious artist I have shied away from the "crafty" side of things. Such as painted ceramic bears, vest with seasonal appliques (the kind teachers have for every holiday), and dolls with yarn for hair. What I refer to as "country crafty crap." I swore I would never sew or ever use something lovely like felt in my work.
Aging is funny. Ten years ago I would not eat a mushroom to save my life or own a piece of felt. Now I adore portebella sandwiches and love dear (home of the DIY crafter movement).
I want to join the handmade revolution! So I am learning to sew and I am using felt.
Oh felt! How I love thee---but how difficult to find a variety of color outside the basic 8 crayon colors. Enter Etsy. A seller had a slew of colors---and I ordered them.
They arrived to day---and when I open the box---even though I knew the content---it was a rainbow in a box. A rainbow that pointed to possibilities and, with hope, a way out of the machine.
Yeah for felt!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Retirement in 32 + years...

It was a revelation. The other day I received my 401K update in the mail. Among other things I realized that I would have to work the rest of my life---just like most of America. And then *BAM*! My head started to swim. I am 33. I have been with my employer for 13 years. I have had my position for almost three years---with no desire to move up anytime soon (trying to hold on to my soul a little longer). Panic. Is this what I want to do with my life---for another 33 years (the span of my current lifetime). Uhg. What a dismal prospect. Even if I move up an up and up and up---I cannot fathom another lifetime worrying about the mundane of retail life. This cannot possibly be the purpose I am on this planet.

I came to the business because no one else would hire me. I stayed and worked my way through college---full time student and worker--graduated with honors (in the field of art education). I planned to teach---to paint. To move on. Jobs were slim and the bills came (college loans and bills from an emergency operation). I stayed and was promoted.

My ancestors worked in mines and steel mills. Long days. Dangerous. And little pay. They supported an education. They worked hard so their children and their children's children could do other things other than work for the machine.

I am not to proud to keep my job to pay for my living. But I do feel shame that I am not where my family and myself thought I would be.

This first journal entry marks the first night that I start working overnights for six months. It also marks the completion of my first proto-felt-elephant (for a felt book project). It felt wonderful sewing the last stitch. And it felt dismal when work called and told me I had to some in at 2AM to cover a shift.

I wish I could quit the corporate. I don't think I can stand to be a cog much longer.