January 2006 Archives

rainy days and tuesdays

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I am woefully effected by rain. Today it is raining. And it is tuesday which somehow doubles the woe. And to top that my house is a mess. Inclement weather has brought a number of recent power outages to our house. One which lasted four hours. Four hours seems like nothin unless everything you use to run your life tends to run on electricity. Business, cooking, entertainment, even housework is all subject to it to some degree. So last week I was mildly frustrated that my work week kept being interrupted by the pesky power-out. Now the power is on.

But it is tuesday.

And it is raining.

And I have the mental acuity of a blowfish.

Some of this particular emotional drag is about the rain, and some is probably my natural rhythm of creativity vs down time, and some of it is because I am female.

So even though the power is on, I can't seem to power-up. The day seems huge with too much catch-up to do so it is time to employ another tactic to tackle a day that might go to waste because I feel like I am in slow mo...

10 minute steps.

A lot of things take ten minutes. Loading and unloading the dishwasher for example, is roughly a ten minute chore. Focusing, truly focusing on just one thing and not worrying about the others takes me some discipline. And being a "J" (INTJ) I have a nagging need for closure. So today I will take 10 minutes at a time and celebrate that 10 minutes before moving onto the next. Until I feel like I don't blow...

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where he's at

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He puts things into words the way I hope I paint. Read another poetic expression of Daniel's spiritual journeyhere.

open door part two

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Trying to work yesterday until Daniel came home with "news" was kinda hard. Despite my reservations(mostly due to finances) I am actually excited about the possibility of MICA for Daniel, and I practically pounced on him when he walked through the door after school. What can I say..I'm his mother.

How did it go?...what did she say...was she impressed...what about the other students...tell me..TELL ME..TELL ME EVERYTHING! (all on the inside of course).

On the outside casually rotating in my chair to face the door as he enters..."how was your day? Did your MICA thing go well?"

So goes my take on what he said happened which is of course only a secondhand interpretation but here goes...

The experience with the MICA recruiter was a positive one but not a clear rubber stamp-"your in" type thing(ok so much for that). There were five students reviewed and Daniel being the last of the five got to listen to all the others reviewed and then have the recruiter to himself at the end(everyone else left after their turn). Not only did this give Daniel a broader view of what makes up a good portfolio, he also got to have that one-on-one as expected.

He noticed that while with him the recruiter's tone changed. It could be because he was the only student doing 9 foot canvas sculptural pieces. It could be that it was because he was the only one that was working in abstract expressionism. But I think it was because he opened his mouth.

He just has a way of saying things. Maybe it is the writer in him, I don't know, but the truth is he is just SO DEEP. And it is not just his mother who thinks that. Brian McClaren once told us that our son was a philosopher. Go figure.

So once this MICA recruiter started to listen to WHY he was painting abstract Rothko-like paintings there was a deepening of interest. I guess she may have expected an explanation that included things like "I liked the colors", but instead was given a mini lecture on the symbolism of the birth of the universe or (in one of his pieces) the symbolic resilience of the human heart after being split in two. He explained that some of the works are symbolic to a book that he is working on and she actually encouraged him to include some of his writing in his portfolio for formal application, which I thought was interesting. And she did say that his digital work was far beyond the HS level. But one thing that she said needed work was his observation studies(drawing from life), which in fact she told all of the students. All-in-all he was encouraged to apply and having the attention of one of the people who writes the acceptance letters can't be bad.

So for the next few weeks there will a strong focus on the MICA portfolio and application(deadline feb,14), along with some serious pursuits of financial aid. At least the 3000. scholarship that Daniel won back in August would be doubled by MICA if he were accepted. Let's see that will just about pay for books and art supplies...

sigh.

who knows...door number 1...door number 2....

perhaps clarity will come with a loud slamming sound.

the saga continues.

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a poem from Daniel

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we have only just begun

run across the desert sands, holding a walking stick to guide you pointed north.
if we take these steps, we take them for good;
there is no turning back.
so please, sun, lighten my hand,
moon, show my feet,
here is the offering:

Muse, guide my hand
reveal worlds inside.
dear God, find my soul to save:
father-god, find the child you built and teach him,
give him wisdom to follow the Word.
mother-god, love your son and give him fertile soil of chaos,
root his mind in windy Peace;

spirit, haunt me,
strings, touch me;
knowledge, caress me,
prayer, carry me
writing, free me
painting, show me
void, swallow me
heaven, comfort me
sound, awaken me
sun, shine on me
moon, still me
tribe, discipline me
nation, root me
peace, find me
contemplation, reveal in me
destiny, become me

while i walk desert sands.

¬ĚDaniel Anderson

drum roll please...

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My wonderful hubby has joined the world of blog. Although this actually happened at the beginning of Jan, I had woefully neglected the announcement. In contrast to my "art" blog, his is a musical one. Check it out here and make sure you listen to the cool podcasts of his recordings. My favorite is DrummerBoy because it features both my guys showing off their musical prowess, Daniel on Didj, and Bryan doing...well, everything else! Too cool.

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the open door

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It keeps coming up so there must be something too it. If not an actual opportunity then maybe some lesson to be learned, I don't know which. Daniel's teachers have persisted in their encouragement for him to go to art school. Ironic that me being the artist that I am may have blinders on to the possibilities here but far be it from me to slam a door that may be swinging open for my son. Although our sights have been set on university of maryland, the teachers continue to tout MICA and so this keeps coming up in our house. This little saga keeps unfolding in fits and starts and this week is an example. Two nights ago Daniel was assembling large chunks of painted canvas into a hanging sculptural piece with metal and chains and other such things to be hauled to school for photographing. Last night there was the discussion at dinner about MICA classes being offered at Daniel's HS for college credit starting next week. Teachers are saying Daniel must go...

And then there is this morning.

There is a MICA recruiter at Blake right this minute previewing portfolios. And because Daniel's work is so HUGE he apparently gets some one on one attention with this person, and teacher said that this preview can amount to on the spot acceptance to the illustrious school (still have to fill out all the forms, of course...don't be silly). So Daniel left this morning with his large paper printouts of his digital work, and rolls of giant canvas.

So at this very moment someone may be looking at his work and making a decision that effects his entire future.

These are the times when I think life is truly interesting. How our paths are directed by opportunities that may or may not present themselves has always fascinated me. Although I think that I am a practical person I also like to jump off a cliff now and then. So we will see later today what was said and how things play out. Could be nothing. But if a door flies open, we will need to take a peek through it to see what may be next.

sigh.

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pickled

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Saturday date with hubby after being away from him last weekend turned out to be one of those perfect discovery days. The morning started out by having all the necessary saturday components...

sleeping in.
cappuccino.
sex...(ok too much info for a blog. la la la la...)
going out for lunch and discovering this charming/eclectic deli buzzing with people with great food and...

pickles.

...all the pickles you can eat. Not that I have ever really had a desire to eat copious amounts of pickles but the notion of a "pickle bar" with barrels filled with pickles that you could just help yourself to was just one of those things that make you smile. There was a barrel of garlic pickles, vinegar spears, pickled tomatoes, butter pickles, and a couple of other kinds I can't recall. Bryan and I got a kick out of watching kids hauling the little plates heaped with pickles back to their tables. Bryan and I each joined in and I have to say, the garlic pickles were the best.

Hmmm...Dr. Freud might have a comment or two.

Ah well.

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and the other, oh so wonderful discovery was at one of our favorite discount places, Home Goods. We have been known to poke around all the trash and treasures there and find goodies that suit our house. Such was the case today.

A new cappuccino machine.

What a wonderful find it was too. A 600.00+ machine for 175 bucks was just perfect. The fact that our existing machine has been spitting and sputtering and on its last leg for about a month had sent Bryan on a hunt for its replacement. The cap machine is a very important appliance in our house. We don't just drag it out for company like the fondue maker, no. It gets used by each of us every day, and sometimes multiple times. Other than the fridge it is the most used appliance in our house. So when it started to act up that was cause for alarm. So the timing of finding this new one was perfect.

And it is so hip.

It is orange. Goes really well with our purple kitchen.

Too cool.

Pickles and cappuccino. What a perfect day.


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prickley pear

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thorn.jpg

It is a bit of a mind blower going from frozen north to valley of the sun in the space of a week. Such is life harvesting imagery for my art. Spending a week on my childhood soil of Arizona I am reminded (painfully so) how much I truly love warm weather. Spending one whole glorious day wandering in a desert park enabled me to soak up some sun. More importantly I was able to soak up some encouragement from fabulous women cohorts in ministry at a mini-conference and also spend some time with my own truly special mother and sister. Girls, girls, girls.

I guess it was sort of an estrogen trip.

I am still unpacking my brain from such a trip. This process is always a slow one for me like unwinding a tightly woven cord strand by strand to examine the fiber. As it unwinds I can hopefully blog on the experiences more-it always helps to write the thoughts and reflections down otherwise they eventually slide off my brain into oblivion.

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MONDO BEYONDO

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Here is my Mondo Beyondo list for 2006 (Thanks again to Andrea for a super idea)...

1. Continue to paint and have my new work in a gallery (somewhere) by the end of 2006. Having done the gallery thing with my metalsmithing years ago has given me a real sense of freedom in the journey of rejection that artists face. My new work was rejected by a gallery in chicago already (this December) and although that sounds like a negative thing, it is one step toward this goal.

2. Trip to the bahamas. Not just for a vacation but to scout. My really MONDO BEYONDO idea is to begin the process of buying a piece of land that will ultimately become a retreat center for artists to come to and renew themselves. I have such a passion for this I can't tell you. It is one of those so irrational crazy ideas that makes you think, no way, which is the true spirit of the MB mentality. All things go against it, finances especially but still it remains a burning desire. Ok, now I've written it. The secret's out. Don't tell!

3. Double avisualplanet.com's subscription base and artist's community. This is a lofty one because frankly I don't know the steps to get there. But if I don't write it, it will never happen, so this is the start.

4. Start a project with avp that involves a whole new concept of video for churches. I can't say more, too hush hush.

5. See my son off to college. Although the hope is that he attends UMD locally, it is still a transitional milestone that I look forward to in 2006. Maybe not so Mondo Beyondo, but my realistic goals are mixing with my really big goals.

6. Adding a garage to our house. Getting the addition built that includes an apartment for young son if he goes to college locally. As a family it is also apparent that we desperately need larger creative space which this will hopefully incorporate. Wood turning for Bryan, More painting space for me. Ceramics and painting for Daniel (he recently did a nine foot canvas at school). Oh yea, and a place to park the car!

7. The continuation of an incredible spiritual journey. More study about history. A real focus on the person of Christ and his teachings in contrast to Paul and his teachings where the institutional church seems to be dwelling (IMHO). More exploration into contemplative practice and soul work that takes time (which our culture seems to have programmed out of the collective consciousness).

8. See my husband begin the process of getting his master's degree in Ethnomusicology. Ok maybe this shouldn't be on my MB list, but oh well...

9. Continue yoga, but add more advanced moves and some other aerobic exercise. More importantly not to focus so much on how I look, but how I feel. Having gained weight this year and becoming irrationally obsessed by how I look which is uncharacteristic for me, I need to re-calibrate the attitude.

10. Buy a red dress. Need I say more?

2005 recap

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It is part of my normal rhythm to look back at the year and access and then look forward to set new goals. It is something that I have done since I was twelve. Whether or not it makes a difference in what is accomplished in a given year, I am not sure, but I know the assessment at least makes me conscience of it. I have traditionally done an assessment on my birthday(end of Nov) and a goal setting in Jan. Somehow this year I am just getting to it now. I love how superhero journal looks at this process. Last year she shared the concept of the Mondo Beyondo list. This is not so much a goal setting list, but a really over the top, dream big list. Think "beyond"o your wildest dreams.

I love it.

So to help me look back at 2005 and forward to 2006 I will also employ the spirit of the Mondo Beyondo.

First the recap of 2005.

Things that were accomplished/experienced in 2005 that I am proud and excited about:

1. Unleashed the muse and started "thin places" series of paintings. Why I am so proud is they had no outside motivational factor like approval of others, professional gain or potential profit. They were simply pure expression from my soul.

2. Called myself an artist. After years of being one and making a living as one, I finally felt totally comfortable with the term. Weird.

3. Went to Europe. It is one thing to dream it, another to plan and execute. Months of meticulous planning paid off in the four week trip of a lifetime. And what is even better is what was gained that I could have never planned for, the expanding of myself in the whole process. While I may have "trophy" pictures to look at, they do not compare to the expanding of myself as a person in the experience.

4. Being really present for my family. This is something that I have been pretty consistent about over the years but it still deserves recognition because it is the easiest thing to let slide(I think). It involves creating the haven where my husband and son can flourish. Being fully engaged in those moments where transformation happens takes energy, but the fruit is so sweet when I view my son and the man he is becoming. A simple moment of encouragement like butterfly wings can change the course of a life.

5. Not giving into my darker side. This is the ongoing challenge that I think a lot of artists face. The good side is the place where my art, expression, power and accomplishment comes from. The darker side is the polar opposite that sometimes covers me like a black cloth threatening to suffocate. These are the days that I need to be most diligent in moving moment to moment. I think my father suffered from this and it ultimately led to self destruction. Recognizing this imbalance helps me to not give into it which would leave me frozen and useless.

6. Did yoga. Although I have not been consistent on a daily basis, I have been consistent enough to feel that I can claim it as a change in my lifestyle. I think because I did not make this an unrealistic goal, I was actually able to make incremental and gradual headway. Although I can still barely handle the triangle pose, I feel like I have learned something about the discipline of slowing down which is harder than you think in our culture!

7. I am excited about the nature of the Divine. I have to say that this has been a spark that was not something that I could engineer, but is the byproduct of a totally honest approach to my spiritual journey. The irony is that it HAD TO happen outside of the confines of the institutional church where my spiritual roots began. The spark went out years ago while inside the institution and I had simply accepted this as normal. Not so. This has been a major process that began with pain and doubt, but seemingly irrational honesty questioning myself, and the nature of god has lead me into a new place of hope.

Consider this painting I did at the end of 2004.(a mammoth canvas after an illustration of the same thing I did in 2001)

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Compared to this...

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Interesting to think about how the mind works. I believe there is deep significance in the contrast of these and how it reflects my soul.

Both paintings depict me. In the first I am boxed in (squished) naked and vulnerable. Peering through a hole that leads nowhere. The second painting I am dressed in red which is significant because I own no red clothing but have heard that it is a "power color" (whatever that means). I am dancing for joy outside of the confines of the portals which have now become "thin places". My hair is red which reflects some of the transformation that is happening. In reality I had died my hair an auburn color. A radical outward example of what I think was going on inside. Whether or not it was a good idea for my appearance seems less of an issue in hindsight. I am blonde again now, but the act of changing my hair color was obviously part of my process. In the first painting I am stuck, immobile and stagnant (but desperately peering out). In the second I am dancing wildly for joy, unconfined and free.

Hmmm...

and finally last on the list but in no particular order, and already mentioned in the previous number...

8. Died my hair red(auburn). Something I just wanted to do. Sort of shock therapy meets vogue. If you have never arbitrarily changed you hair color, I highly recommend it as a tool for self awareness. Ignore what your friends might say (mine were very kind and diplomatic) it isn't about them anyway. I did return after the exercise to the relief of my husband that although was quite supportive really does prefer blondes.

recovering and then off

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I feel like I have been through a time tunnel that has totally knocked me off my center. December 23rd I was celebrating a lovely creativity infused christmas of art and music with my little family and now I am recovering from some sort of cold/stomach ache bug. In between was the trip to Alberta, full of other family dynamics that left me stripped bare emotionally as well as physically. I guess I should have known that reading Dance of the Dissident Daughter while visiting the buckle of the bible belt would be a little over the top, but I don't claim to be a wise woman. Lots of chatting with numerous people with little time for reflection leaves me with an exhausted hollow feeling. At any rate, I must now collect myself so that I can at least appear sane as I plunge into the next extraverted activity which I leave for on Sunday.

This one I am really looking forward to.

Off I go to Arizona Conversations, a small somewhat unpretentious gathering of women lead by my friend Sally Morganthaller. All women in leadership positions the purpose is to gather and gain wisdom from each other without the typical pecking order hierarchy that exists in most male orchestrated conferences. When it comes to those settings I tend to find that my behavior polarizes to either very assertive in order to be heard which later makes me feel utterly foolish, or completely fading into the wallpaper because everyone else seems smarter than me or has more clout so "who am I" which leaves me very frustrated afterward that I didn't pipe up and speak my mind-I have something to say dammit!

Both of these states leave me unsettled in my own skin, and emotionally depleted. I think that is what top down hierarchical models foster. That is why I am really looking forward to this trip. It is intentionally different. This gathering there is the assumption that every woman is valued and therefore there is no need for posturing. So I don't feel the need to "ramp up". In fact, I anticipate coming back refreshed and bolstered for all the decisions that lay ahead in 2006. I hope to gain the momentum found in confidence that equips you to make those choices without hesitation.

But for this moment I must simply recover from the last trip, get well, and feel like myself again. Which means that today even though there is oodles of work to do, artists work to upload, collections to finish, and an article deadline that has already passed, I will be spending some much needed time in reflection to center myself.

Then I am off.

cracking

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walking on the lake in alberta

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Trip photos. One thing about the great white north that never disappoints is it's great and white. Even with a snowless christmas we were able to get some good shots of ice. Here is Daniel standing on the lake. A rare day it was with the sun blazing. Although entirely safe was the frozen lake, it was still a little disconcerting when you could feel (and hear) the cracking of the large slabs of ice.

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Bryan and I sitting on the giant block of ice.

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filming ice

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Here is my beloved filming the frozen horizon. It is hard to believe he grew up here. There is an ice fishing hut in the distance. Brrrr....

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back at my desk

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Back from the holiday, back at my desk, back to work, back home. I can't believe how December just sort of vaporized but here I am.

This year we headed north to spend some quality time with Bryan's parents and company getting the chance to see family and all that means. Seeing the changes in everyone (including us!) is always fun. The cycle of life was very present on christmas day. We laughed at the newest additions to the family, Bryans brother and sister-in-law's four month old twin boys bouncing in tandem in their jolly jumpers. While on the other side of the living room sat Bryan's aged grandfather who struggled to remember our names. It was bittersweet having so much joy and yet looming sorrow in the same room. It was a week of feasts and chatter, gifts and catching up on who got married, who got divorced, who was born and who died. Being all to overwhelmed by crowds of any kind I totally zoned out on taking pictures, and am astonished at how few I have arriving home.

Now I am decompressing. And I have a cold, which isn't surprising.

It is good to be home.

a picture of the twins taken by their father Brent.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2005 is the previous archive.

February 2006 is the next archive.

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