Monday, July 31, 2006

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Friday, July 28, 2006


In 2003, I participated in the Arts Education Collaborative's first Leadership Academy. Since that time, I've maintained a loose connection with them--mostly as it related to my professional experience in the arts education world. This week, the AEC is holding is fourth academy. I attended the morning workshop to help the new participants in writing their action plan(s).

It was exciting to see how energized, well networked, and driven the current group is--it felt different than the year I was there. The combination of the AEC's successful reputation attracting more highly motivated people and their continuous refining of the academy brought about a different kind of energy and participant than what was found in the first year.

At the end of the session, Sarah went around the room and asked each person in the room (participant or not) to use one word to describe what we were thinking. Of course all of the words were positive. Why wouldn't they be? It was a motivating week for everyone in which they found like-minded people who challenged and supported them as artists and teachers. When Sarah got to me, I said, "Motivated". FOR WHAT? I wish someone had asked the question. Rather, I'm glad no one asked the question. I found the energy of the group energizing. I found the places they are and hope to go exciting and motivating. But my answer reflected much more of what I saw than what I was experiencing myself.

Overwhelmed...Useless...Scared I'll never be motivated again...Unsure of my own competency...Convinced that I don't have the background or interest in pursuing a career in arts education. I believe in it strongly and want to support the people who are making it happen well--but not interested in doing it myself. And I think that's more about education than it is art. That is a better description of what I was feeling.

Its strange to participate in a professional development when you're not working, in a field you will doubtfully ever reenter. Our culture doesn't really understand why a capable person is not working. Why wouldn't you want to do something? Be something? Who are you without that?

My mom talks about when people ask what I am doing, she feels a need to answer with the very part-time work that I had been doing....even though she completely supports my decision to not work full time. I, however, never have an answer. And then the conversation is really awkward until I mention the consulting, the artwork, the commissions, and finally all of the health problems that led me here in the first place. The reason I don't have an answer as clean cut as, "teaching" is because this time is in part about not needing to be defined by what I am doing. But, I always feel like less of something. Even though I know this is right for me right now.

So, what was I motivated to do? (Besides come home, go to bed, lay on the couch watching TV, and lament the fact that I can't imagine what to "DO." ) I was motivated to open myself to new friends and experiences. I have two possible activities scheduled with two of the women I met. One being observing an art therapist in a group session. The other playing the studios at the Children's Museum. Maybe if I offer some of my bookmaking skills, they'll pass me some papermaking skills. I was motivated to find ways to validate my choice right now. I was motivated to consider school more seriously in the nearer future--read more and maybe study for the GRE to increase my intelligence exercises. Which reminds me, I wanted to start doing crossword puzzles.

My head is screaming "I KNOW" as my soul screams "Who cares what others think, you need this time--for so many reasons." And I do know, but it doesn't make it easier. That's always been my rub though--doing what I need to do, even when it is different from what others expect, but always feeling the emotional disappointment of not just being able to follow the norm.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

New Cut

I love the way this woman cuts hair. This is also as straight as it will be for a very long long time. I do not have the patience to spend more than a few minutes on my hair. I barely had the patience to sit there and wait for her to dry it this straight. But it is always fun to get my hair cut and that is why I allow myself to do this two whole times each year. Yes, I know it isn't drastic--there is only so much you can do to someone's hair if they refuse to do anything other than wash it. Even today, it was styled all nice and it still ended up back in a pony-tail. I always have been a comfort first kind of girl.

recap#2: From The Garden

We ate fresh from the garden daily. The garden was beautiful and inspiring. We picked blue berries twice--once at a farm and once at a friend's house. More on that later. Being in the mountainous country is completely different from being in the city row house in the summer.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

recap#1: First Days of Vacation

The whole family was together the first few days for my cousin's wedding.

Finding energy

For as long as I remember, when people talk about the energy rush they receive from exercise, I have had no idea what they're talking about. If I exercise hard--especially in the morning--I'm ready to go back to bed. And have, many times.

Nick is one to think that the only real exercise is to go jogging. I'm pretty sure my body wasn't built to do that.

Over the last year though, I've learned that there are some forms of exercise that do energize me. Pilates and Yoga.
In the last couple of weeks, I've tried two new kinds of yoga, and continue to enjoy the challenge, relaxation and flexibility training.

In Boone, I went to a Bikram class for the first time. The description I found online says, "hot, hot, hot, so be prepared to sweat, sweat, sweat. " Exactly. They close the windows and crank up the heat. I was completely wet, but feeling great afterwards.

This morning, I joined Brooke for a 7am restorative yoga class. It was a day of inversions. Meaning, upside down for an hour and a half. It was challenging, vulnerable, but a quiet, reflective kind of way.

It was a nice way to start the day.

(I'm trying to get some pictures together from our summer trip. Coming soon as the computer and camera cooperate.)

Friday, July 21, 2006


Last week, in Boone, we relaxed. A lot. I enjoyed plenty of time reading on the front porch.

My cousins had borrowed "Freakonomics" from the library and I got the first 6 pages. Have you read this book? It's fascinating. A quick and interesting read.

Check out the website to learn more:

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I think I actually enjoy this.

This morning, I made Lemon Bars for the first time. Over the last couple of years, I RARELY cooked at all. And baking just did not happen. First of all, I do not really have a sweet tooth--although it seems to be emerging a bit lately. Secondly, I was just too damn tired to actually go into the kitchen.

Since I have been feeling better, and not working full time, I actually have started to like cooking. What I'm about to say now may provoke a small amount of nausea for some, but I find great satisfaction in creating a meal that Nick really enjoys. Ah, how my life goals have simplified.

Over the last couple of months, I've finally had time and enery to track down and try some of the recipes I have enjoyed from others. Lemon Bars is one of them. And they're really easy. Nothing makes a cooking/baking experience like ease. Butternut Squash Lasagna is another. The original recipe is fairly complicated, but I think I've found a way to make less so. Cake Mix Cookies are about as easy as it gets. And all are delicious. And happening today.

Tomorrow we leave for North Carolina. A cousin of mine is getting married and then Nick and I, along with some other cousins, are hanging out for the next week. I'm getting food together so that we don't by default end up eating on their dime all week. AND, Jonathan and Kaethe--our neighbors across the street--just had a baby. So it is double batches on all fronts today.

I never thought that I would be the kind of person who would see a day of food preparation as a great day. But it offers a sense of accomplishment that makes things good. So, today just might be one of those days.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I think I'd enjoy them more if I was deaf.

On Friday night, Lancaster City had their big fireworks show. My parents live in downtown Lancaster, and so they are very very close.

When the show began, I was washing my face in the bathroom. Not knowing that the holiday fireworks were scheduled to happen the last day of June this year, I was scared shitless when they began, and I nearly fell into the sink.

Several years now, I have managed to be at their house for the annual fourth of July fireworks. I am able to lie in bed on their third floor and see it all. Its very beautiful actually, but I really hate it. It is so loud. And I am able to feel each explosion throughout my entire body.

As I watched the fireworks on Friday, I thought, "I'd enjoy this more if I was deaf." Seriously. I'd be able to see the beautiful lights. I'd even be able to feel the vibrations--suggesting the grandness of it all. But, I would not have to hear the sounds of explosions and be reminded of the people who lie in bed listening to the bombs exploding around their homes, stiff with fear.

I find it disturbing that the sound of bombs that our country uses to celebrate our freedom are the very same noises that many people hear, knowing that they are anything but free.

(It's a great picture...but it isn't mine.)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Down By The Bay...

Red Point Beach

The cottage with a view of the bay--where I stayed last week.

the old outhouse

It rained....

and rained...

... the tide was high.


Me and Em