Monday, August 31, 2015

Slow and Steady

Creativity comes in bursts for me. And sometimes I am too busy with regular, mundane, life stuff to be able to feel it, or act on it.

But a deadline is always helpful. Turns out a wedding deadline is even more helpful.

Last year my cousin asked me to paint him a picture of a clown, "whenever the creative inspiration hits you". That's it. No other specifications, no timeline. It was the most nerve-wracking and inspiring commission!

I just wasn't feeling the "creative inspiration " for any painting for a long time. And then about a month before their wedding, I thought, "Hey! Wouldn't this be a great wedding present?! I should get going!!"

So I bought a big canvas (my favourite...) and let it sit in my hallway for a couple of weeks. And then apparently I was struck by this colour combination, and started as I always start: with a messy background.

And then I sketched out the rough clown. And then a bunch more steps happened that I didn't take photos of!

More details... These flowers are my favourite.

 I am really excited at how this one turned out! And it sounds like the new owners love it!

I took two other commissions from another cousin this year. Stay tuned for those pictures!

I am much a much happier painter than scrapbooker...

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kercher v Kercher

I have finally participated in the separated ladies right of passage. I asked my divorced girlfriends for a divorce lawyer recommendation.

And I have felt like throwing up everyday since.

It's so weird this feeling. Of knowing that this is what I wanted, but being so unprepared for the actuality of it. The doing part. The calling a lawyer, and filling out forms, and figuring out life stuff (which I am traditionally woefully unsuited for).

And being the one that didn't initiate this part of things.

But this is sort of the natural course of these things, right? Move out. Stay moved out. Wait 1.5 years...

And so I have reached this place. And I will make the best of it. And I will enjoy these days. And I will laugh, and reminisce, and try to remember to call my lawyer (right now! call her! you forgot again!) And I will try to tell people in person that this is happening (ha ha ha!).

But I'm good. I'm where I wanted to be, where I need to be.

It's still weird though. It's at the very least "weird".

That grey fuzzy path into the future that my moving out generated last year, is now becoming solid.

And it isn't what I thought it would look like.

Friday, July 10, 2015

SIMPLIFY : The Summer of The Disappearing Weekend

There is no time of year quite like an Edmonton summer, where the "Disappearing Weekend" is most readily and frantically felt. Russel and I sat down the other day to go over our schedules for the next few months, and it didn't take very long for us to see that the three of us are going to be stretched very tight, and very thin. There are lots of complicated juggling maneuvers that will be taking place in order for everyone to get all their good times in.

And being that we parents work a standard 8-5, Monday through Friday, there just aren't "enough" weekends to squeeze all that good stuff into, taking advantage of the no school-hot weather combo that is over in September.

But I have devised two steps to combat the Disappearing Weekend Syndrome. It's all about SIMPLIFYING things around here these days. And stress and complications create a nasty circle that's tough to shirk. And so...

1. Do NOT count the weekends until school starts and then post it on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Blog of anywhere else someone can see it. This includes a calendar at home. No matter the number - it usually seems unbelievable small - this is depressing. This will make it feel like you have a deadline, and you will start to feel the "Disappearing Weekend" press down upon you, smothering your incentive to try to do anything because "why bother? there are so few days left..."

2. Do NOT pre-book yourself for all of those weekends, the official number of which we are blissfully unaware. Trust me in that you require at least one of those weekends to be filled with such activities as: "sit on deck and drink beer." Please note: "Deck" and "beer" can be substituted for your location and drink of choice. Sometimes, those lazy summer weekends are the best ever! Ultimately, I live in a very amazing city and we definitely know how to take advantage of our summer weekends, and sometimes we take too much advantage, and we get carried away, and we put undue pressure on ourselves to SEE EVERY SHOW, and ATTEND EVERY FESTIVAL, and VISIT EVERY SPLASH PARK and that's just unsustainable.

Take a breath, take a breather, put your feet in a kiddie pool for a couple of hours and turn your face to the sun, or the next book on your nightstand. It's okay. Summer won't mind. Summer loves you just the way you are.

3. That being said, try to take advantage of those special summer-only events in your home town! Edmonton is kind of known as the "Festival City" around these parts. You can find a festival to attend pretty much every day from June through August. So pick one or two. An old favourite, something new. Grab a friend, and make a day of it. No pressure. Just go and enjoy yourself. But don't forget your cash, sunscreen, water bottle, and appropriate footwear. (Love Mom)

And that's it! Those are the rules!

I have a lovely, easy, simple Summer Adventures List I am going to pick from. And otherwise I think I'll just wing it.

Sorry about the long post...I got excited.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

SIMPLIFY : Everything [is Overwhelming]

I went on holidays not too long ago. We rented a teensy little cabin from the founders of the company I work for. It was rustic. It was bare bones. It was perfection.

And then I come home to my small home, and I immediately start tripping over things, and shifting piles so I can get at other piles, and trying to finds things, and giving up. And I am frustrated. And I long not only for the beach from my recent vacation, but for the simplicity of my lodgings there as well. The simplicity of my life.

This memory, this longing, this remembered calm has created in me a new urgency, and new inspiration to GET MY SHIT IN ORDER!

This does not come easy for me. This is a lifelong lesson.

And I realize that life can not resemble a vacation at all times. But if I can capture even a smidgen of that feeling of peace, and calm, and simplicity...then my life will be so much better for it.

And there is hope! I was able to clean and organize my desk before I left. This is the cleanest my desk has been since I started at this job in 2013. In fact, my coworker wondered (jokingly) if I was planning on coming back!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Halfway There!

I reached the halfway point to my 2015 Reading Goal of 52 Books back in June! In fact, I was slightly ahead of schedule, and managed to sneak in a couple more before the month was up.

I have been posting my reads on Instagram, with a teensy opinion. Pretty much just a "yay" or "nay" at this point. I have never been good at writing reviews, and at this point I have no desire to try a little harder. Doesn't feel worth my time. That sounds really lazy...but it's the truth.

Reading only lady authors is the best reading decision I've made in a long time. And once I made a conscious effort to seek out new life and new civilizations, I mean, more lady authors, I found SO MANY GEMS! I found characters I could actually CONNECT with, stories and emotions, and worlds that I had only imagined existed before.

I couldn't sleep the other night so I thought I would take the time and sort through my meager bookshelves. I have already been trying to whittle it down, and as more time passes my emotional connections to books feels less like an obligation and more like something I have control over. I pulled out a bunch to get rid of, and I also started sorting my lady authors out, so they could have a space of their own. And that space was admittedly small. But I didn't feel so bad. Because while I don't buy new books anymore (hello free books from the library!), I feel that all those borrowed books I am reading will still make an impact with my library in terms of which books are more popular and need to be ordered, which impacts booksellers and publishers, and hopefully will eventually impact the types of books that are promoted in bookstores.

It's all about representation people. It's a popularity contest, and it's a circular system, and it's "tradition" and lady authors tend to get screwed in this system.

tl;dr Reading lady authors makes me good about myself, and makes me feel good about lady authors.

Book List 2015