Thursday, December 29, 2011

For 2012 - new thoughts

Well 2011 was a year of change and new directions.  I lost my job, developed severe mobility issues, graduated from college and started doing more artwork.  So some good and some not so good.  I hesitate to say bad because I think the actions aren't over and I feel like I don't entirely know the outcome.

I try to view change as not good or bad really.  Or rather I try to view it as potentially good.  I mean when I got laid off I really thought that suddenly My Life As I Knew It would drastically change and  we would be living in a cardboard box - three cats, the sweetie and me - and we still are (knock wood) where we started.    That's a great good thing to me.  I got to do interviews, apply for work and get around surprisingly well despite the pain and the feeling that I should be doing more.  But the pain is teaching me to look at what I have to do - if I can do it -  and it's teaching me to accept help graciously and with the idea that I have given to people and now get back. 

So 2012 is going to commence in a relatively short time.  Last years goals were somewhat met.  I had to go look them up and found  there were 4 and I re posted them here for me to think about.
       1. Pay more attention to my health and physical well-being.
       2. Work at doing art.
       3. Get my ETSY shop going.
       4. (the big one) Go to the Doctor and Dentist.

I did do 2 and 3 easily and I am paying more attention to my health - I started losing weight (20 pounds) and since I've become somewhat disabled I pay more attention to it so I guess I could say I did No 1.  No 4 was more difficult.  I've called my doctor and got referrals to two other doctors.  I will be calling them in 2012 and see what they say.  I think - while not totally perfect - I did my resolutions. 

GOLD STAR for me! 

So without further ado my resolutions for 2012

1. Do enough artwork to have a small show. 
2.  Go see the Orthopedic doctor
3. Get either some job/volunteer work to give myself more structure.
4. Lose 20 more pounds (I've lost 20 last year).
5. Get either an Illustration certification or going back to Texas State for the second part of my BFA.  (Or both!)
6. Work towards becoming retired. 
7. Go on some sort of vacation!

Check back with me throughout the year.  I have very positive thoughts on this. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

New photos

I bought myself an early Christmas present this year.  During taking my visual graphics class this semester, we were allowed to use the school cameras - handy little Fujifilm Finepix S3300.  I really liked them and since I opened my ETSY account had been using the little Nikkon Coolpix.  (That's a nice little camera as well)  So after consulting with the SO, I decided to spend a little cash and get it for me.  It was on sale and I can use it for shop photos. 
I just love it.  of course right after I bought it I was forced to stay indoors for th emost part because of the crutches and not being able to do a bunch in wet rainy weather with lots of cement walkways and such.

Today, however, was beautiful and I decided to try the back yard.  It's a blast.  So here are the backyard plants (who are doing quite well with all this nice slow steady rain we've been having)  and a trellis....

I think the shots turned out pretty good.  I need to practise more but the zoom is totally wonderful.  I'm going to take some of the jewelry I've been making and photograph it outside.  More shots later!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

On this the beginning of the year

Today is somewhat of a high point, I suppose.  Today or this morning at around 10:39 Pacific Standard Time I was born in a town near Los Angeles.  Not a big hoopla really for anyone but me but it did encourage me to become a little thoughtful and reflective (are these two different actions or one)

I don't remember much in terms of my young life.  I know I was born and spent my early days in Culver City near MGM studios where my father worked.  I was the youngest of three sibs.  Two older brothers. 
One of my earliest memories though is the Easter Bunny who I swear I saw one morning.  My bedroom was in the front of the house and I had a set of double french doors that led to the front or living room.  I remember waking up Easter morning early (before dawn) and seeing the Easter Bunny.  A rather tall fellow with a pink bow around his neck and was holding holding a basket.  The Bunny turned around and held its finger to its lips - telling me to be quiet.  His being there was out secret.  I remember this vividly the white fur, the little tail, the big pink bow...  Strangely, I didn't receive my basket in my bedroom - it was always on the breakfast table, but the bunny came to see me in the room.  That vision has never dimmed over the years.

I was told that when I was 4 or 5 I would get up early in the morning and sit on the curb in front of the house. (No mean feat - since the yard was long and our house sat back to the rear of the lot).  I would get up, sit on the curb and sit away - just singing the sun up.  To this day I still sing to myself, to cheer myself up, to express joy.  I'm not the most talented singer although I can sing and have a pleasant voice but it stays a really private gift to myself.  I do however sing more in the bath tub than the curb although I have been known to sing on the front porch.  I no longer get up at 5 in the morning to sing.  Age does bring wisdom.

I remember the time my brother ate grapes in front of me and wouldn't share.  I still don't eat grapes much although that is more to Caesar Chavez rather than my brother.  I remember trying to bury the duck in a hole.  This was totally by accident since we were originally trying to dig a duck pond fill it with water to give the duck a swimming hole.  No one told small children that they had to line the pond first - the resulting muddy hole caused the duck to almost succumb.  My mother rescued it and we got in a great deal of trouble. 
Holes and mud seem to figure prominently in my youth.  When older and at a different house we flooded the flower bed outside the bedroom window and took turns jumping out the window into the mud.  Totally killed the begonias and again raised my mother's ire.  I have lingering guilt about the horrid things we did to my mothers flowers.  She died when I was young so that may have encouraged that feeling of guilt. 

I remember learning to read and loving the whole process of reading.  My grandmother gave us politically incorrect Southern readers from the '20's to brush up or reading skills.  While the childrens names escape me - not Dick and Jane - I remember the books were illustrated with photos of the period.  Picking cotton looked fun to me . (I told you they were politically incorrect.)  Growing up in Southern California with a family based originally in Texas had it's charms.

So what then does 60 mean to me?  I'm not sure.  Mentally I don't feel 60, although my body is being difficult these days and not working it's best.  I have a strong interest in learning.  I love finding new things to keep me thinking and want to learn more.  I've learned to be comfortable with myself which I couldn't do when I was younger.  I've accepted my shortcomings and still try to resolve the issues they bring.  I try to understand myself and learn to forgive myself my flaws.  But I don't feel old except the rare times the bionic leg starts hurting more than usual or a twinge suddenly makes me long for younger bones.

But suddenly I am older - older than 59 and yet younger than 70.  With the exception of my mother, the women in my family are long lived so I hope that I will be the same way.  My grandmother died when 89, my one aunt in her '80's I think as did my great aunt. My other aunt is hale and hearty.  So I hope I live as long as they do.  I still have things I want to finish and times not waiting.

So I give myself this birthday wish and that is to be happy and accomplish something this year and the year after and the year after that.  To not be idle and to keep going.   Happy Birthday to me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

I've been finding stray bits of information here and there about Thanksgiving - or giving Thanks or Gathering Day.  It seems that everyone seems to have a day of Thanksgiving which I find positive.  Generally I get a random thought and then things start popping up - what Carl Jung called synchronicity. Because of all the thoughts on giving Thanks I found myself wandering around getting distracted from actual artwork this week.

 I started rereading some poetry which is actually slow going for me. Often I get lost in the rhythm and rhyme of the thing and lose the trains of thought.  (It's why I read them out loud in the bathtub - I do better hearing it.) One of the poems I thought to include here today even though it's not particularly a Thanksgiving poem.  (Well, I think for me it is.)

It's by Gerald Manley Hopkins,(1844-1889) a British poet who converted to Roman Catholicism, studying to become  a Jesuit priest which caused him a considerable amount of conflicting feelings about his poetry, himself and his beliefs. After reading of the death of 5 nuns aboard a ship he began writing again but his poems weren't released until after his death in 1889.  He is most famous for what is called sprung rhythm.

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.


He's unique in that he's considered a modern poet because of this sprung rhythm which is closer to Anglo-Saxon and early English poetry rather than the structured meter in regular poetry.  It has to do with the stress of the first syllable of a foot.  Hopkins was strongly attracted to language and studied Old English, considering it a vast improvement to the more modern polyglot language.  He also was influenced by Welsh poetry with it's use of similar sounds, the same sound repeating several times in a line.  His poetry is best when read out loud (great bath tub reading for me).

Most of Hopkins work was published after his dead by his best friend Robert Bridges, who was poet laureate of England.  The few poems that exist before the Jesuit days seemed to have been saved by Bridges.  Hopkins had sent them to him. 
So that is my Thanksgiving gift to you - May you find joy in what is around you.

Friday, November 4, 2011


I'm making myself get out to exercise in small doses.  So today I picked up the camera and went looking in the backyard to see what survived the drought and neglect.  I used to have a garden.  Somewhat chaotic - like me.  Squirrels would tear out the little tomatoes, take a bite and decide green tomatoes just weren't tasty.  Everything ate the chard.  The herbs did well until the heat and then they sank into maintenance. 

sage - close up
So I wasn't expecting a single thing.  Surprise, surprise!  Nature is hardy.  My garden or culinary sage is going great guns!  I think it's the Biedermeister variety.  Large leafed and tolerant of the high heat, high humidity we have in the summer.  It's thriving.   A tiny bit of it got sacrificed for dinner tonight but I think it will survive.

Then the rosemary (three different kinds) is also thriving.  It's happy as pie in what I used to call the Mediterranean garden since it rarely got watered was somewhat rocky and very sunny.  Someone once told me that the Texas Hill Country is very similar to the Mediterranean area.  I can agree based on the herbs here.  The rosemary and the sage grow side by side.  I also found a tiny plant of Salvia Greggii - which isn't a bit culinary but has nice flowers.  It didn't do so well but I found it and some remains of the German Irises still holding on. 

I think Rosemary remains my favorite herb.  I really love it.  Earlier this summer, I had cut some for cooking and left it in a cup of water on the sink and it seems to have rooted.  I'm going to try to transplant it into a pot and see if it grows.  The whole yard could fill with rosemary and I wouldn't mind in the slightest (The bees would like it as well)      Besides these leftovers I had various introduced plants... or what I I could refer to as the birds garden.  Most of these have come from seeds left by the birds.      I love the lantana and it will bloom until the very last minute.  Somewhere I have the paler variety but I love the brightness of the blooms so much.    

  We also have a wild grape that a neighbor shares with us.  It's never produced grapes but does have blooms.  This year I really thought it had died but no I found small branches with grape leaves growing.  It trails along one of the fallen trees we've never cut down.  I was sitting on one when the resident woodpecker started complaining I was out and about.  I hadn't seen him be so active and quite so vocal before. 
Among plants I didn't find a good place to snap a photo were Wild petunias and Pigeonberry which does very well in our yard.  Pigeon berry reminds me of dock just smaller and tinier. 
I did find a really nice set of tiny little amaranth - I am not certain what kind it is but the sun really lit it's spire.  I found several small colonies.  When I plant garden amaranth it just won't grow but the wild variety does well in my yard.  Not certain exactly why.         

wild amaranth

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Queen's Wreath and Cactus

I decided to walk a bit outside today as I was becoming stir crazy and I hadn't yet been on crutches outside.  Hopefully the crutches won't be around too terribly long but the pain in the bionic leg was getting a little strong. (Hence the slightly crabby entry about unemployment from a few days ago)  I decided to take my little digital camera and wandered across the street to take photos of the neighbors cochineal-ridden cactus and Queen's Wreath. 

I hadn't seen Queen's Wreath until I moved to San Antonio when a teenager.  There is was called Queen's Crown, which seems to be either a family thing or a local thing (It appears to be more local, as one of the web sites I looked at had people from San Antonio and Sequin calling it that).   Up here it's and from what I could find on the Internet it's called Queen's Wreath or Coral Vine.  The Latin name of it is Antigonon leptopus.   It's a beautiful vine covers everything and is pretty drought tolerant.  I'm going to try to take some cuttings and root them for our fence over here.  Bees love it as well as butterflies.  The tubers are supposed to be edible which I'd be willing to try if I could dig right now.  It's got a bunch of other names and in some states is considered an invasive weed.  Since it's a native of Mexico I imagine it crept up here on it's own or people planted it and it naturalized.  I've only seen it in older neighborhoods but not in the wild.   On a side note, a relative of this plant shows up in a Miss Marple story by Agatha Christie.  The name of the exact mystery escapes me.

The white fuzzy stuff on the cactus isn't mold as one of my neighbor thought.  It's a Cochineal bug see this link
It makes a really nice red dye.  I'm gonna go ask to get some.  I've dyed with it before.  It makes a really intense red dye on the blue side.  (Not a tomato red but more of a magenta red.  You have to be careful when picking it off some cactus.  It the cactus seems to have thorns they hurt when they stab you. (Personal experience).  There is a related bug that is used for the same purpose in Europe called kermes.  The bug makes a cottony spot to hide or keep cool but generally people think the cactus is moldy. 

The last picture is a cactus tuna or fruit.  They also can be eaten or turned into a dye.  You get a pretty tasteless pink jelly that is very sweet (from the sugar more than anything).  I don't particularly care for the jelly.  I have never eaten it fresh.  you have to be really careful when pulling them off since the tunas have tiny blond prickles that hurt like crap if you get them on you.  A lot of people singe them off over a gas burner or put them in a colander and rise the hell out of them.  Prickly pears are also called Opuntia and there are a lot of varieties of them.  This particular one is the more ornamental spineless variety but it still has the tiny prickles. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Randy, my grandfather or is he Sam...

I guess with Autumn approaching, I started thinking about how I celebrated holidays in the past and my family.  Here I've written about both my grandmothers and my great grandmother on my grandfathers side but nothing about the men in my past,. LOL.  That sounds wrong but I did start thinking about my dad and his dad, Samuel Randall.

 I have only one photo of Sam - taken at my mom's sister Virginia's backyard.  It was sent to me by a cousin, whom I didn't know until a few years back.  I don't know much about Sam at all except what a few family members have told me and what information I have found online.  The online info is mostly dry and factual.

He was born Samuel Randall Wederstrandt, although his brother Herndon said his full name was Samuel Jackson Randall Wederstrandt. (Samuel Jackson Randall was a pretty famous national politician - look him up.)   I got this from a letter I found in the Louisiana State University archives. (Marsden papers)  It was in the last box and was written in pencil explaining the genealogy for the Randall -Wederstrandts.  His father was Robert Carroll W. and his mother was Ida Loula Williams.  From another cousin who sent me a note, it was a rather happy family, she had been raised in the household.  Ida died about 1901 (Sam was about 10) and it looks like Herminia, Robert C.'s sister came to live with them).  I found evidence of this from various census. 
Sam was known as Randy during this time, Samuel is not a normal family name - we tend to do Robert, Charles, John, Herndon, Blake and Randall more.  

Sometime around 1914 (could be earlier) Randy met a young German girl somewhere and they married.  I assume Louisiana since dad was born in New Orleans. I have a copy of the birth certificate.   They went on to have two other boys and here's where the trail gets odd.  Since th elast boy was born in 1918, I assumed Sam got into the Army and was out in 1918.  I found references to them in a 1920's census for Dallas where they were living and working.  I also found a census for the three boys in New Orleans at the Protestant Orphans Children's Home for the same year so whatever happened happened fast.  Story goes that Frieda put the boys in the home and left, and Sam followed her.  He went to Los Angeles, California and I found him listed in the 1922 directory where he was working as a waiter. (Frieda dissappears all together).  He surfaces in directories and one odd news story I found in a newspaper log where a movie director who is drunk runs into him with his car.  He has minor cuts and bruises and his car is bumped up badly.  Sam dies in 1947 and is buried in the Los Angeles Veteran's Cemetery.

My family stories take over here.  My grandmother (the fount of all knowledge of this time) told me he was an unpleasant alcoholic who was mean to my mom.  She and Dad had to live with him when they moved to California.  I know he took great care of his house, his garden, with roses and a nice lawn.  Grandmother took me by this house on Patricia and showed it to me and  told me the story of how he broke is plate glass picture window one night by throwing a bottle through it.  It's a nice house.  I know my grandfather was an electrician at a movie studio and got my dad hired to do the same.  I know he's buried in the Los Angeles Veteran Cemetery as a Vet so he served in World War I and I have the unit listed somewhere. (My grandmother took me to his grave when I was living with her.)   But I have no other bits of info.  My dad never spoke of him but then he never spoke of anyone in his family.  My grandmother always called him Sam so I think somewhere he went from Randy to Sam.  Maybe when he became disillusioned with his life.  (Was it the War?  Did he experience something horrible in the war? Or was it Frieda who was German, maybe he never forgave her after the War for being German.) 

So who knows.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Update on being unemployed.

So I still am.  That sucks in some ways.  I learned that I really, really like having the structure of the 8-5 go somewhere and do things routine.  I don't think I used to like it but I've grown accustomed to it.  The first few weeks were really chaotic.  I had nothing to do so I invented some (limited) structure.  I filed and started receiving unemployment - filling out tons of applications and going to Unemployment meetings.  July finished and no interviews, August happened and no interviews although with the 100 plus degrees weather I was a little glad.  By now, I was feeling a little despondent - I thought I had marketable skills.  Plus my leg (the one with the bionic hip), started acting up and I began having problems walking.  I no longer had medical so that became a challenge,

Still I started as positive as I could get.  No interviews in 106 degree weather was a positive thing.  The time allowed me to open up the ETSY shop and start working on being self - sufficient.  The bum leg made me realise that I needed to lose weight and I started that.  I did more artwork which also was a positive step.  This week I'm going to train to do some volunteer work entering data for an archivist at the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. 

I spent time refining my resume. I learned how to do cover letters and really tell people how wonderful I truly was.  I stayed social and made inroads on being friends with people I promised myself I'd stay in contact with.  One of those friends helped me get an interview at the University - my first since being laid off.  That helped a lot and although they didn't hire me seemed to be a crack in the door.  I started getting interviews at uniquely odd and interesting places.  I learned how to answer questions I find hard and somewhat too personal.  I learned how to manage walking with a cane (due to go to crutches this week) and do time management.

I also learned alot - because I went looking - at the unemployment situation here in Texas, if not the US.  How the unemployment rate for disabled people (regardless of what people tell you) is 30%.  No one wants to hire a person who has a disability even though people will tell you that it's against the law.  It takes a unique company to do so.  I learned that everyone has a separate set of statistics about how many people are unemployed and even then - no matter how accurate the statistics are, it doesn't include the people who have given up or run out of unemployment.  I've learned that state agencies are as different as night and day from each other.  That being said, I have met some very nice people who are friendly and encouraging and I've met people that I was glad didn't offer me a job. I've now read that if you are over 55 the odds of getting a good job is also difficult - so if you put that with a gimpy woman, it makes the odds even more of a challenge.

I'm not saying this so you - invisible interested reader -  will feel sorry for me.  Honestly, except some brief frustration with pain and not being able to walk much I'm actually doing well.  But I ask you to reflect on the nature of this country and how invisible people have become.  On my facebook page I have listed "I am one of the 99" and I now feel like no one who is in government or business cares what happens to me.  If our money runs out I could have to move - living with friends or worse living at the Salvation Army or becoming a street person.  But I'm not alone in this and I certainly won't go down gracefully.  Perhaps I will find a place in Rick Perry's yard and become a squatter.  Or sit for hours in the Student Union at UT. 

In December I turn 60 and have decided that if unemployed with no health insurance I will apply for early benefits for retirement.  I will lose money because of it but it comes with health insurance and I will be able to get the old bionic leg (or whatever) fixed and working again.  I will find a job doing something profoundly menial and take pride in it.  I will do artwork and we will survive.  And that perhaps makes me feel like there is always a solution.  As long as I can figure out a solution then I will stay positive and keep going. 

Maybe the country should take a tip from me. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why it took so long.

It came in the mail Thursday.  I thought what junk mail was sent to me in the big plain white envelope.  Then I saw it was from my junior college and opened it to reveal my hard earned diploma in an thinner white envelope inside.  Pretty fancy.  It's my free one. (You get one free one cheerfully provided by the college, After that you pay out for duplicates).  Still I admired it since it's a hard earned piece of paper.  I'd been working towards any college degree since 1969.

I'm afraid I was one of those dreadful underachievers when young (still am) and college started out doomed for failure.   I majored in doing nothing and not figuring out if you don't drop courses they really affect your GPA.  I think I was down to a negative 1.5 GPA when the big enlightenment happened.  So I started the slow path to getting it higher.  I repeated every course - one class a semester, sometimes not being able to afford my one class a semester so there were gaps - until I made at least a C or better (except Chemistry).  I got it to a respectable 2.3 by the time I moved to Austin in 1980.  Making inroads, I started at ACC (see photo above) with a side trip to Texas State for a few semesters. I majored in art - realising that this degree would be for my personal pleasure more than anything and I happen to really love Art.

So this past summer, I finally made it.  I completed school and (surprise) with an overall GPA of 3.72! 

I regret I didn't get a clue about the importance of working towards a degree before I totally had hit bottom on the school route.  It would have helped me a lot in life - it would have shown me that I could finish something I started.  It's a lesson I would gladly give people who think degrees aren't valuable.  If for nothing else, it would have shown me that I was smart enough to make it out of college (and in this case, talented enough) and that I could finish something I started.  A lot of people just really don't understand why I'm proud of this here piece of paper.

The power of a degree lies not so much  in what it can get you or what you majored in.  It shows you  that you can. One of my personal heroines is a woman by the name of Nola Ochs who at the age of 95 received her bachelors degree at the age of 95.  I might barely get there before her but I have dreams.  Texas State isn't that far away.  I'm figuring out the how to get there right now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Impermanence of Things

              First I truly wish I could spell before I have coffee in the morning.

I started thinking about the concept of anicca or impermanence. This all started because my leg was hurting Friday morning and I started thinking about the Buddhist concept of suffering. Sometimes, I get quite literal in the concept of suffering. I hurt - from bad joints and bad legs - and that causes me to feel badly from the pain. Hence, I think - is this what suffering is about? I know that the term suffering is really more complex than waking up with achey joints and in a funny way, by thinking like that, I try to go past the leg pain. So for a brief moment, I recognize suffering, I acknowledge it and then I try to go past it. Practical buddhism for me. (Before you think how enlightened I am - I generally just get whiney about the pain and feel sorry for myself.)
All this led me to think about how pain stops so it's not continous - at least in my joints. So then I thought - aha- pain and suffering is impermanent and so can be overcome. This thought started me thinking about how much in our life is impermanent (actually everything I can think of is impermanent).

So when I got to the printmaking studio and was walking down the loading dock to the door, I noticed this rust stain running down below a crack in the concrete. I thought how beautiful impermanent things can sometimes be and decided to take some photos of it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thoughts on Having Free Time

Since the 5th of July I began living a life of reduced means - a very polite way of saying I have no job.  This was fairly new to me.  The last time I had no employment was slightly over 20 years ago.  It was a jolt.  I spent the first few weeks, sleeping, laying around looking at bad TV (we have no cable which means it's really awful during the day except for PBS and the weather channel) and feeling like I was totally worthless.  Anger issues also became the norm and I tended to play quite a lot of video games.  So after week one, I went and applied (online) for unemployment and began that round of total chaos.  Since Austin faced weather that was dry and over 100 degrees everyday, I was less inclined to go out for any reason. 

After the second week, which I spent trying to understand what the Workforce group expected of me (and that's a simple sounding prospect - not) I started applying online.  Surely, as everyone at work told me before I left, I was a valuable employee with much to offer - I could get a job easy.  The unemployment people told me I would get a job because Rick Perry had created so many wonderful jobs for us "dislocated" workers,  And while officially I was  to do a minimum  of 5 job related searches a week, in reality they expected me to do 5-10 a day.  Ummm, okay.   I spent hours rewriting my resume - making sure I didn't leave my customary grammar accidents, mispelled words and archaic sentence arrangement in places where people champing at the bit to hire me could see.  I realised that hiring practises had changed and to get consideration for an entry level job, I had to write resumes, applications and cover letters selling myself.  I hadn't realised how much you have to pimp yourself for a job these days.  After all, when I got hired the first time at the University the big question that was asked was "Do you know the alphabet..." Now I get asked deep probing behavorial for instances...... "how would you handle an irate student who thought you had cheated him out of a seat in a class..."  But I'm digressing (send me an e-mail for more horror stories on the modern job search....) Suffice it to say that out of the 70 odd applications I sent out (including a number at the University - I failed to get any interview)  I was totally unwanted.  How could anyone not want to hire a gimpy, overweight 59 year old woman. They had no clue what an amazing person they were missing....

So I have the daily chore of looking for jobs which gave me structure but wasn't particularly rewarding emotionally.  I did start reading the giant mound of books I had bought and never got around to reading. 

But then I realised that three things could occur to jar me out of couch potatoism.  One, I could start doing art and use up the vast quantities of supplies I had laid in waiting.  and Two I could open up the ETSY account I had been avoiding (fear of taxes) for over a year.  The third thing and possibly the hardest was to keep in contact with people not family(i.e.  not just Gene, Hal and Paul.)

So I pulled out the tubes of paint, pencils and canvas and began working.  I felt a sense of satisfaction.  I signed up for a class on an Intro to Illustrator, Photoshop et al.  (Which is truly wonderful for the Neo-Luddite (more later) that I am).  I opened the ETSY account and for the month of August had 4 sales.  and a great deal of OCD trying to make it look good. 

In short, I find myself truly enjoying not working.  There are days when not having money starts pulling at  the Anxiety problem I deal with generally... but overall I have found contentment in not working.  So below I have listed my rules for peaceful co-existence with no cash. These are my rules but hopefully you can see the idea for yourself. 

1. It's okay to be depressed and angry but don't let it be your main thing you do.  Jerry Springer and Maury Povich are only good for less than a week - actually one day did it for me.
2. Read - everyone has something they have been meaning to read and never had time.  After you read it sell it to 1/2 price books, donate it or give it to a friend.
3. See someone outside of your normal people.  Send notes to ex-co-workers you tearfully said you'd keep in touch.  Use facebook and other forms of "social media" to recontact old friends you wished you hadn't lost. 
4. Get rid of things you were saving for later..... a task I call de- crowing.... You find things you always meant to do.  That scarf you were going to crochet.  The mandolin you were going to fix. (me and musical instruments are another story.) You find alot that you realise you don't want to do and can move them along. (Go to a friend who has cable and watch "Hoarders"  - I do and it never fails to make me throw something out or give away).
5. Do art, listen to music, garden or watch birds.  Now is your chance to pretend to be rich.
6.  Never refuse to make a little money on the side.  You suddenly find yourself doing odd things to get bits of money which is good. 
7. Find humor in everything you do.  Humor is the glue that makes it all easier.
8. Exercise so you don't get gimpier.
9. Always start the day with good coffee.

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Cat is snoring.....

She sleeping in the clutter I'm trying to clean up and she's snoring so loud it's unreal.  At night she snores so loud we can hear her in the bedroom and she's in the living room!  So here is my cat snoring while I try to pick up my clutter and sweep.  I have to wait until she's awake to finish......

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Up-cycling and Zero Landfill - Austin

So this morning we got up and remembered that this was the first weekend of ZeroLandFill - Austin free giveaway.  No knowing what to expect we wandered over to see.  (me forgetting my camera).  At first I promised myself that I would be good and only pick up a couple of things since it was for school people and artists.)  I still think of myself as a beginner when it comes to art....

So anyway, we got there and had just a blast.  Looking at stuff, seeing what was out there and talking to tthe other people as well as the volunteers.  They were so nice - they even got me a chair to sit in when I pooped out..  We would dig around in boxes and boxes of stuff for all kind of projects.  So I took some pictures along with my trusty assistant Niobe, who had to micro-manage.  It's on for two more weekends so we will go back and I will take photos of the place.  Gene decided to think about making chess boards with some of his pieces and I've thinking about all sorts of stuff.  Now to get moving.

We took a few more of the other pile of stuff for the chessboards.   That's Niobe helping again.  She finally wore out during the last round of
photos and is now taking a nap. 

Recycle or rather up-cycle!

In case anyone reads this, the next two weekends in August (the 20th and 27th) are also on schedule for the ZeroLandfill.  They say they have more stuff coming.  We're returning stuff back so we might see you there. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unknown flowers

First off - I love wildflowers.  One of the first books I ever bought myself was a book on California Wildflowers.  I used my allowance to pay the bookstore off and bought that book and a book about animals.  I was 10 maybe.  I was so proud of buying my own books.  I still have them.  So as I've moved and grown, this love of wild plants has pretty much stayed with me.  I have to know what they are and if they could be useful.  Included in my job list is working with a friend who would wild food forage and I would usually go along.  So I know bull cane is edible at certain times a year and where to pick mustang grapes, how to make agarita jelly and buffalo plums (which are actually legumes). 

So when i was helping Blinda - my landlady with her community garden I found a plant that I just can't identify.  It's slowly driving me nuts.  It's either wild or an excaped variety of sunflower.  I can't seem to get a good picture of it and I cannot identify it.  I know there has to be a picture somewhere but who knows. 
If anyone reads this and knows what it is please let me know.

It is a Cowpen Daisy.  I was happy I figured it out finally.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Greener times

I found this photo I took in the spring and marveled at the greenness of it.  It's a Ten Petaled Anemone or a Texas Anemone (Anemone berlandieri ) which I happen to love but many people consider it a weed.  It comes in a blueish color as well as this white but I think they are so very special.  Right now the area where it lives in my back yard is brown and crispy.  Nothing alive there thanks to the over 100 degree weather and the drought.  I snuck a dribble of water in the area since my sage and my rosemary were looking peaked.  Hopefully we can get water and things will green up.  I always marvel at how quickly weeds bounce back.  As I look outside my window I see tiny wild petunias blooming with no additional moisture.  I'm always amazed at how no matter how stressed or horrible we think something is...nature seems to be able to produce beauty from it.  . 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Watermelon Summer

One of my favorite foods n the summer is watermelon.  How could anyone not enjoy the cool watery fruit especially now that the seeds are missing from it.  (Although we shouldn't dismiss the childish practise of spitting watermelon seeds at siblings).  My brother and I often had seed spitting contests and would manage to spit a great many at each other until my grandmother would catch us.  We were being vulgar -- one of her favorite words to denote lowness of character.  As children we ate the rattlesnake watermelons with the highly attractive green and white zig-zaggy stripes on them or the dar green it was almost black with a yellow spot on the bottom variety..  Now we eat the roundish seedless variety.  I've always wanted to grow them but they take a good deal of moisture to grow them and these days it's probably better to buy them from someone who grew them to keep the bills paid.  They never tell you the names of what you buy in the store - not like the apples or the pranges.  Everything is just watermelon-- seedless or seeded.  
Watermelon is also one of the fruits my SO will eat on a regular basis.  He even cuts up chunks for the fridge so they stay nice and icy. The rind that's left he takes and tosses it outside so the squirrels and the birds get some extra moisture.  The backyard squirrels hold and eat it like corn on the cob.  We find the dried up tough skins lying about the dead weeds in the back.    It's been so hot and rainless both of us worry about the outside wildlife.  We have bowls of water out, which unfortunately, the grackles view as a public toilet so they crap in it all the time.  We're constantly cleaning it out.  The other day I found a small headless bird floating in the water which makes me wonder if we have a serial killer of some sort.  I dumped the body out and when I went back to clean it up, it had mysteriously vanished.  (dun, dun, dun.) 
   It's been so hot the various small birds sit around with their mouths open panting (birds don't sweat so they pant.)  Well Gene couldn't stand it anymore and bought a cheap little circular sprinkler.  We hooked it up to the hose and hang it from the bushes around the house, dribbling enough to make a small waterfall for the birds.)  They love the shower - the cardinals especially.  I've been trying to catch one of them for a risque shower shot but they see me coming with the camera and run away.  I guess no one wants a picture of them in the shower.  I did manage to get a shot of the sprinkler in the bush.  I knew we have to be careful about water usage but we only water the bushes and that's only because our landlady is so proud of them.   If it helps the various birds - warblers, wrens, cardinals and the blue jay family - then I hope no one begrudges it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Becoming a Sharecropper!

In my search to find new meaning in my life (ALO-after lay-off) I was paying rent to my landlady who happened to mention that she had a community garden plot that she was behind on and had received a warning that she needed to weed it.  I jokingly offered to make a deal with her and suddenly find myself with a farming job.

She wants tomatoes and peppers and I want some way of making sure I can continue living as long as possible at the house.  Plus I'm sure I could get peppers and tomatoes as well as other stuff.  So this afternoon I'm traveling with her to the spot to see what's up and will weed and water to my hearts content.  Maybe it will help me lose weight and get going on stuff.
Of course I could do it when it's in the cool of the evening.  We'll see.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Growing potatoes

Well my friend Hal had these potatoes in his vegie basket and he was going to toss them out.  I couldn't bear for the poor things to die trying to grow so I took them home and planted them in pots (two potatoes to a pot)..  I started slow and mounded dirt on top everytime they showed their heads.  I have no idea if I will get potatoes but it's fun thinking about it.  I need a bigger pot - or at least a taller one.
Here's a photo of one of them . I'm hoping I get at least one baby potato out of three pots.  I grow almost anything but have to admit I'm a somewhat lazy gardener and will forget them.  I used to be better at it but age and creaky joints are slowing me down a tad.  My avocado I raised from seed is starting to send out side branches and is looking good despite the Kitty Girls and Minerva eating the leaves when's the tree is inside over the winter.  Gene, my crazy SO bought a weird pepper from Fiesta and decided to grow it so after he ate it he planted the seeds in a pot nearby.  Yesterday I noticed that a few seedlings were coming up.  I have a sweet potato that hung around so long it sprouted (It ran away to behind the microwave which we never use).  I'm thinking about planting it. It's sorta fun to see what happens.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tomorrow is camera day....

I decided once a week to take my camera with me for a day and take photos to inspire me.  I'm sorta excited.  You never know what lies in wait for the amateur photographer who is trying to teach herself composition - something I'm ashamed of saying I suck at in my artwork.  Why paint three figures when one will work.  Still I think this will be a great good thing. So here is s photo of a steam vent in the back or back side of my building.  Not the most interesting but I liked the steam coming out of  it.   I took some others but they were pretty blah. 

Everyday when I come home from the bus I see this hole in the road.  It really looks like a heart so I had to take a snap. I want to sneak out and paint a heart in it for fun and see what happens. Right after I took it we had a rainstorm and the hole filled with water.  I'm going to run down and take another when it happens it was pretty nice looking. Camera Day is going to stick around - if for no other reason than to make me think of painting ideas.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On becoming jobless

So Tuesday I found out eight of us at work would be made redundant.  I was the only one from my section but honestly I knew it was coming.  How could I not.... even though they were trying so hard to be clever.  It's not hard when you and your new boss have totally opposite beliefs on compassion and such.  This blog stands in good evidence how disorganized and scattered I can be.  I've been here at the University for 15 years and am due to get my 15 year pin next week.  I think - to be fair to myself and to the others - I will miss that meeting.  I don't want to find myself shaking hands with one of the people who signed my dismissal paper.  Technically it's for restructuring the School, which is a fancy way of cutting back, keeping people who feel ideologically similar to the current bosses. I'm not angry at any one person in particular just the fact that they didn't try to keep us on somehow. That it was easy to let us go... that hurt... after 15 years told I wasn't needed or important enough to be kept on somehow.  Since then I've had instructors and co-workers go out of their way to check on me or let me know how much they will miss me. More than I thought would say things. LARGE EDITOR"S NOTE: I thought I'd stick this in... the above mentioned feelings as one could guess was based shortly thereafter my termination note. I want to add in that I was totally wrong about my supervisor.  We still think totally opposite from each other about some things (and I could be the one who needs to grow) but she was really supportative and compassionate about stuff.  She went out of her way to help me which I am really grateful. OKAY, so I make mistakes but I at least can admit them.

I do love my work.  I love the people I mostly work with.... students, faculty and staff.  (A few exceptions there.)  So now I'm a lame duck - so to speak since they are giving us dispossessed 60 days to find another job.  The University is trying to help it's dismissed population find new roots.  I attended a meeting on my rights and choices.  I can get help from them on resume writing, interviewing tricks and a slight hire preference request.  I'm working on my resume, my personal and professional references and trying to get going.

I'm choosing to view this in a positive way.  To think that an almost 60 struggling artist can be recognized for the skills and enthusiasms that keep her young and keep people happy to visit and will find a new job quickly and easily.  I will  miss learning the obscure knowledge of science, (hard since I'm an art major).  Early on, working in the Biological Sciences taught me that art and science are similar and satisfy the same need to create.  (I once did an art show with all the people in my section donating a piece of artwork they did for fun.  We had over 50 pieces)  I was amazed that so many scientists could do such beautiful and haunting work.  They were too.

Hopefully I will continue at the University in some other department and find new interests and new conversations.  I miss the people I found a bond with and hope to continue that friendship.  I will learn to forgive the people who thought my contributions weren't good enough to keep.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

More on Freda, the mysterious grandmother.

As I posted much earlier, I have this grandmother named Freda who is a difficult hurdle in my genealogy.  Well I found an update on her and now I have to figure out how to get the info.  I might ask one of my Louisiana cousins who I have never met but seems friendly.
Anyway, I found a criminal court agenda from New Orleans from 1880-1918 and there on it were two cases against a Freda Wederstrand.  I couldn't find a date but since my dad was born in 1914 and put into the orphanage by 1920 I figured out that she had these cases from sometime between 1914 to 1918.  (Keeping in mind the cut-off on the list).  Anyway she's listed as having been pulled in (Freda Wederstrand et all) for having a bawdy house and /or a house of disorderly people.
I can't wait to find out.  What kind was it... I mean it could have been a saloon since Prohibition could have been going on.  She could have a honest story.  But I think she was a someone driven woman with a shadowy past.

Only time will tell.  But it's a little more history on her.

Monday, April 25, 2011

One man's weed...

Found growing in my yard.  We hesitated to cut it down although we knew it was a weed and it was prickly and almost in the way.  We rarely cut down plants until we know what they are and mostly wait until they bloom.  I went searching and found it's a Milk Thistle.  Not only is it used in bird food but it's been used medicinally for about 2000 years. Originally it was a Mediterranean plant, used for liver problems and based on current studies might actually help our poor abused livers. They are also now studying it as a cancer remedy for helping control liver damage form chemo especially in children. It's also good at protecting you from certain kinds of mushroom poisoning.   It's supposed to be edible but honestly it's so prickly I really didn't want to try it.   Ours isn't as tall as most of them - mainly because we walked over it, didn't water it and it was growing in fairly horrible soil.   I'm going to try to collect the seeds and share them with out resident birds and try to encourage the plant to grow in a regular bed.  
Volunteer plants are truly fun.  I've had a number of them in the back yard - not quite as deadly as the milk thistle.  I also, em, help volunteers by collecting seeds in the flower beds at work or near bus stops.  I always follow the gathering rule which is take a few and leave many.  I never strip a plant.  I like to think I encourage plants to reclaim parts of my back yard and of course the birds help. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Being Poor.

I am poor.  I admit it. But I don't live in poverty which is a vastly different feeling.  I have lived in poverty... I spent 9 months of my life when young living in the back of a 1967 Ford Mustang.  It was kinda olive green and had bucket front seats.  Michael and I would switch sleeping one night in the front and one night in the back.  During the day we tried to ear money and find food without going to the Salvation Army.  Looking back it was a thing one did in your youth..... we took a car to San Francisco and knew we were going to make it rich.  Landing in SF, we lived well for like a week in a tiny hotel near Chinatown  only to come down to the car one morning and found it broken into and almost everything stolen.  (they left one shoe which still puzzles me and a paint brush from my back pack full of art supplies).  After the hotel we drifted to car living.   We had two spots - in the parking lot of a police storage area and a roadstop in Pacifica.  After almost being killed at the one in Pacifica we realized we needed to come home. 

We couldn't find jobs.  We had no permanent addresses and at that time it was really a death knell to getting established.  (You have to understand that we were a few years after the Summer of Love and the Haight-Ashbury district was suffering from the remains of the whole phenomenon). And both of us we very private and shy people so panhandling, living at shelter and such was not even in the equation.   Michael found a very bad job delivering circulars door to door and I tried to find a job of some sort with no luck. We finally found work picking bell peppers in the farms closer to Santa Cruz which led into our experiences as migrant farm workers.
After that we raised enough money to come back to San Antonio and knowledge of how to get going again. 

As I grew older I always lived between the edge of poor and poverty.  i think that is where a vast number of students live.... You learn to make due on very little and all your friends do anyway so it's normal.  Plus you learn to share.   When I moved to Austin, one late night escaping all the shadows in San Antonio that i had created.... I got real jobs that paid for rents and food and extra - I became more spoiled.  A friend encouraged me to get a credit card and I rapidly fell into debt. It was so easy and I am so easily bequiled by thinking life is simple -- that little card that lets you get things for free.  (And eventually I realised it wasn't really free).  It took me awhile to clear off that debt and while I still have a credit card, it's severely limited and I rarely use it. So now heading to my 'golden years" (as someone once said although I can't imagine why) we (me and my SO) live much more simply. We live on our earnings as much as possible even though the SO thinks he could be the Big Lebowski and could get rich on a quick scheme or two.   I don't normally regret it except I never bought a house which I think I would like and I constantly am trying to figure out where I will be when I truly get old and feeble.

But I don't regret being poor and living simply. After Gene's mom died, we've become better at getting rid of things that clutter our physical house. (Both of us while not officially hoarders can be considered pack rats.) I truly think that as we declutter our house we are decluttering our inner selves as well.  I like that.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Road Trips

During Spring Break we went on one of my favorite things -- a road trip.  Texas is full of interesting nooks and crannies and Austin is right in the middle of a diverse geographical area.  Lots of small towns with odd histories and little facts.  Normally we head out into the Hill Country but this time we chose to wander east towards Shiner.  Shiner is where they make Shiner Bock and all it's relatives.  I'm not a big beer drinker but Shiner Bock is a pretty good dark "chewy" beer. 

I always bring my camera but I never just get around to taking photos.  This time I actually took some on the way home.  We meandered down a dirt road to the Sam Houston Oak. The oak tree is famous because in 1836, Sam Houston and his army camped out under it after they set fire to Gonzales (the then capital of the Region of Texas) .  They were in rebellion from Mexico and following the Fight at Goliad and the Battle of the Alamo, the Separatists (as the Texians were called) fled.  They first torched their capital Gonzales and fled to stay at their first camp under this tree.  Eventually they were cornered by Santa Ana and the resulting Battle of San Jacinto occured... establishing The Republic of Texas.  (apologies to the shortened form of history here.) 
The tree is atill alive.  It's a southern live oak, Quercus virginia,  and they tend to be long lived trees.  After live oaks get large enough their branches tend to drop and run along the ground.  They also keep their leaves during the winter making them what's considered an evergreen oak. 
   The oak is on the grounds of what used to be the Braches Plantation.  The two story house is still standing and is quite nice.  Since it's on private property and you were supposed to call ahead to see it we looked across the fence.  The home was built in the 1840's or '50's and was a cultural mecca in teas during that time.  It's actually the McClure-Braches House.  I told my friend Hal, who I consider my big historian and he said the house was also used for the filming of True Women, which was about Texas women. 
You can't help but learn about things when you go driving.  Our history bit bible, so to speak, is a guide book called Hill Country by Richard Zelade.  I've worn out two other earlier copies of it.  I have another book on order and am curious to see what they have in them.
  We saw a ton of buzzards, hawks and a wild turkey this trip. The wild turkey was a bonus. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Kitty Girls

I'm always impressed by my cats abilities to sleep in amazing places, especially the Girls, which is what we call Luna and Niobe.  They are a happy pair of sibs, found by Gene when he went for his regular haircut.  At first he was going to bring home just one but how could you separate such cute sisters.  My old cat, Minerva, had just gotten used to being an "only" cat. (Uther,my 18 year old Manx having died about 6 months before.) So she was not happy about the wild Kitty Girls who ran  crazily in the house, playing and generally getting into mischief.  She has reluctantly allowed them to live with her but there are rules.  Luna may lick her head but Niobe never can. We will still have the week-long -"we are not amused" hissing for some unknown (to us non felines) rule breakage or behaviorial issue but generally some sort of truce is maintained.

Oh the Kitty Girls are a wild bunch.  They managed to break out of every screen in the house and then hated the outside world hiding under the ancient and decrepit house, until we managed to lure them out with a cat of cat food.  They are extremely picky about what they eat (not a bit like Minerva who will happily eat anything including cobwebs).  They wake up us almost everyday and Luna, in particular, nags us about time.  She's a very linear thinking cat.  Niobe is much more polite but has the need to make everything a toy and absolutely loves to be stroked with the broom.  Luna just runs and hides for a bit. Still they enliven the house alot and are sweet and loving and I wouldn't trade the Girls for anything.  Niobe tends to like being with us for her naps and doesn't mind sharing the space with work or clutter.  It's more fun that way to her. 
Minerva, as befits her more elderly and hefty size, tends to find more comfortable places though she prefers spots that are sometimes hard for us to understand.  A week was spent napping in the middle of the path to the kitchen and occasionally she will take to sleeping under the table, glowering at anyone who comes near.  Her recent favorite is to come between us and sleep on the sofa.  She manages to drive one or both of us away as she has a terrible snore.  Some nights I can hear her from the bedroom.  I was just informed she has found a box to sleep in - it's about a quarter of her size but she seems to have squeezed herself into it..

Update:  The kitty girls managed to push out another screen (we now have a nice hole) and made the Great Escape.  Niobe tired quickly but Luna went under the house and wouldn't come back.  She ignored food, the food clicker, and the laser mouse.  She finally decided Under the House was boring and came out after a frustrating (for us) wait of 2 hours. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

The sun in hiding.

Hide and Go Seek

The Departure of Trees

Monday night when the storm hit our area one of our trees came crashing down at 4:00 in the morning. It wasn't our first tree to have fallen or to be removed.  We had two taken down because of disease but they were bordering a neighbors yard and we knew they would have damaged property.  The ones in the back yard were old ash trees and slowly were dying, becoming  home to families of woodpeckers, squirrels and we think a small owl.  So when some random large branch fell we would try to leave them to decay naturally and give a home or favorite play area to something. 
   The neighbor behind us told me how he and his wife liked to watch the squirrels playing on the one enormous dead branch now totally devoid of bark. It arches over the far back part where we don't water.  It has been taken over by the bindweed and the wild grape that manages to hold on between Kay's yard and ours (Kay is our wonderful next-door neighbor).  I secretly call it the "Arch" and think about encouraging the grape vine as well as the weedy little bindweed growing wild every year into covering it  a bit more.  In reality I know it will have to go away soon as the remaining part of it looks more and more like it will fall on our storage shed of dubious quality.  I check on it regularly and had checked on both trees early Sunday morning, when I became fearful of the quality of the root system of the now fallen ash. 
 On Thursday night we had snow so Friday the University was closed, allowing me an extra day off to do something - ideally work on sleeves for a costume, work on art or generally straighten the house.  Instead I prowled out in the back yard and looked at my fallen friend.  I hadn't realized how hollow it was.  From the ground up to slightly below where it broke was a tunnel.  I'm curious if it got used by anyone - the random squirrel, the wayward opossum, a group of trooping fairies going through the neighborhood  When I was young I would have been sure and left offerings to the tiny spirits that lived in it.   I will miss it - not for the shade but for the inhabitants and visitors that would use its branches to share the back area of our house.  I will miss my friend, he greatly enriched my life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Kindle!

I admit I'm a luddite or at the very least I should be a Luddite.  I find technology is first somewhat daunting and second sometimes unnecessary. I have a cell phone but rarely use it and often let it get discharged.  I use my computer but honestly still don't know what RAM means, what the difference between a worm and a virus (and don't care).  Still I'm not such a complete Luddite that I don't recognize the value of modern technology... rather I think people over use it.

So I'm not certain why I became enamored with Amazon's Kindle.  The idea of being able to take a book in my already over weighted bag that serves as book bag, lunch box and purse, without adding extra poundage is very appealing.  So after considerable thought and encouragement from my Significant Other, I bought one.

I have to say I'm enjoying it very much.  Currently I'm plowing through the free books you can find.  I'm reading (for the first time) The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling and plan on several other books I seemed to have missed.  Who knows where it will lead to (not that I don't read alot anyway.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Changing me - or New Year's Resolutions

Everything changes.  One of my friends told me once that you could either control the changes around you (and that includes being aware and learning to accept change) or resist it and let change overwhelm you and defeat you.  Either way, change happens and it's up to you whether or not you accept the change and roll with it.  I try to be in control of change and slowly I'm learning to accept it when it's imposed on me from outside. It's hard and especially since I'm an impatient person who has trouble being active.

This January, I'm facing multiple changes at work - a new office building we moved into late December and we're now transitioning to a new Supervisor.  One of my co-workers is replacing my current boss.  Their style of operating is vastly different from each other so it will be an unsettling time especially since I spent over 10 years with my current Supervisor.  Along with my added insecurity of myself... I suspect it will be difficult.  So I'm trying to focus on how I can adapt and accept the bits I can't change --i.e. change myself to be a little more fluid at work. 

Along with that, it being January and the New Year -- I have decided to adopt a couple of Resolutions to further this new creation of me.

1. Pay more attention to my health and physical well-being.  I suspect by doing this I will affect my mental well-being as well.  I am, at best an indifferent athlete and at worse a devoted couch potato.  So I've begun eliminating "bad" or unhealthy amounts of things from my diet.  I'm also trying to do more physical exercise of some sort. 

2. Work at doing art.  Everyday - somehow no matter how small the amount.  The more you do the more you do more.  I'm happier when I do art so it stands to reason doing more or more consistantly will be advantageous to my well-being.

3. Get my ETSY shop going.

And 4. (the big one)  Go to the Doctor and Dentist.

Just 4 and we'll see how well I will do.