Observations on life & art and the inspirations I see around me

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blessings of the Season

The week started off a bit rough.  We left home on Monday going to Austin and then left there on Tuesday for 2 days of hard travel to get to Ridgway, Colorado.

Coming over the passes between Durango & Ouray Wed. afternoon, I kept thinking of the carol, "In the Bleak Midwinter", "Snow on snow".  I felt more than a bit of panic as we slipped around on ice.  Thankfully we arrived safely & our exhaustion vanished with Karlie's giggly greeting.  

We jumped right in with 2 days of intense cooking and prep.  Wanting it to "look" like Christmas we managed a few lights on the porch & a small tree with "16 month old proof" ornaments.  This is different from my years of  Griswaldesque decor but I keep thinking there's a lesson here.  It seems that the holiday celebration goes along with the tempo of the year.

Different can be good and today was marvelous proof.  Karlie didn't really understand Christmas but she completely enjoyed the gifts & wrappings.  After a while she was ready for a break so she & I walked to the park in beautiful sunshine. She explored all the playground equipment with complete abandonment & delight and watching her gives me hope for the future.

The day culminated with good food & celebration with Karlie, her parents & friends, followed by football and dessert.  It was hard that Ashley & Frank weren't with us in person but they were with us in the spirit of the day.

Next week we will welcome a new year.  I'm hoping it is full of creative possibilities, peace & hope for everyone.  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Soltice Marathon

Some people run and some ride and some swim great distances.  My marathon is about baking and it's one I usually only due this time of year.  Ashley came up Friday and we baked & baked & baked - into the night and more on Sat..  Hop over to her blog for the full report with pictures and some recipes.  I'm not being lazy; I don't have the pictures here (on borrowed computer). It is doubtful I could add to what she's shared so well.

Some of the bounty has been & will be shared as gifts; some was shared yesterday during our "trunk" sale at Robin's (Thanks, Dear, for being such a good hostess.  It was a good sale).  Some will travel with Karl & I to Colorado and some stays at Ashley's as she & Frank celebrate Christmas in Ft. Worth.  It's the most holiday thing she and I had done to date and it was great fun while more than a bit exhausting.

As we worked I felt a bit nostalgic remembering doing this with my mother and then Ashley and wondering where we will be when we repeat the tradition next year.  I am not willing to think of giving it up yet and look forward to bringing Karlie & Celeste into the fun.

Karl & I are in Austin tonight helping Celeste and Karlie get ready to fly to Colorado tomorrow.  We will take them to the airport and then drive with the car full of gifts and extra winter wear as their time in the mountains will be fairly long.  I'll use the hours in the car to enjoy early Santa gifts -  new art & quilt books & sketchbook.  I hope to have some new ideas & plans for 2011 creations.

We'll arrive by Thurs. taking time for a relaxed drive thru New Mexico.  We count on it being much cooler than the expected 80 degrees here. I'm excited at the prospect of a white Christmas and enjoying Karlie experience the holiday & the snow.

I don't know if I'll be able to post while gone so I'll say Merry Christmas and hope you get to celebrate with those you love.  I pray for a New Year filled with hope & peace & creative solutions.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ponder This

This is a shot of the booth at Cherrywood Art Fair last weekend where Ashley & I showed our work.  It is a very good and I hope we can do more together.  I really enjoy working with Ashley but I am tired and I've jumped right in  to rushing helter skelter getting ready for Christmas.  Because we will be traveling every thing has to be finished by Monday.  I am tired and frustrated because I don't have the energy I had when I was younger and my feelings about this LIMBO year are definitely effecting my state of mind.  Not only is all the art packed away but also all the Christmas decorations and that has made it difficult to feel festive.  

How is it that we can know rationally what is important and still not grasp it on a day to day basis? The following came today and is a good reminder of what really is important. I am now going to stop, count my blessings, and slow down.

Lesley Riley, The Artist Success Expert, is the founder of Artist Success, Solutions for the Struggling Artist. To receive her bi-weekly articles on creating your own success as an artist, visit http://www.artistsuccess.com/.  The following is Leslie's story but I think many of us will identify with it.  I am working on slowing down.  I will probably accomplish more that way and I am sure I will enjoy the days more. 

A Bedtime Story
Leslie Riley

The flu took me unawares this month, landing me unexpectedly in bed for a full week without the energy or, more surprising, the interest in anything except rest. I have been sick before but it rarely kept me out of commission for more than a couple of days or, more to the point, away from the computer.

BF (before flu) I spent my days hurrying from one task to the next, juggling my time between my business, my family and my household, trying hard to get all the many important and necessary things taken care of each day. At least I thought they were important. Turns out, much to my surprise, they weren’t all that important and many certainly were not necessary. Nothing stopped working, nothing fell apart and I got along fine not reading the flood of emails that land in my inbox everyday.

What I realized is that all of this urgency and importance that I lived by existed only in my head - it was all self-imposed. To make a seasonally appropriate analogy, I think I may have started out each day as a tiny ball of snow - one that was on a downhill course, picking up uncontrollable speed and momentum and in danger of running out of control. More than anything, I think the flu (and I have my doubts it was a true flu), was a blessing.

I am actually thankful for that bed-time. I came through it a calmer, wiser woman. Here are the changes I have made so far:

Unsubscribed from dozens of emails – things I thought I needed to know in order to go about my days. I don’t miss them.

Meditate daily – spend 30 minutes unplugged. I have learned to love the stillness.

Move at a slower pace – no need to run up and down stairs anymore.

Don't beat myself up if something doesn’t get done. EVERYTHING can wait till tomorrow.

Stopped worrying. That’s a big one. To stop worrying also means to live in the moment. Qué será, sera. Whatever will be, will be. (Remember Doris Day? I used to sing that song all the time when I was little.)

Lesson learned? Life was not speeding by, I was speeding through life! My engine was revving and I didn’t even know it. I thought it was normal. I’ll admit, I knew it was happening, but never to the extent that I am aware of it now.

So what’s this got to do with you? You tell me. How many things are you involved in that you feel can’t (or won’t) function without you? Are you always hurrying from one thing to the next? Do you feel you can never quite catch up with your life? I place myself here at Artist Success s as an expert and a role model and yet I have lived a life I would not recommend for anyone. Let me recommend this AF (after flu) one now. Let this be a bedtime story for you to ponder.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What I've Been Doing & Where I'm Going

The weekend after Thanksgiving we stayed in San Marcos for the Eye of the Dog Art Center Holiday Sale.  We were part of Ashley's support team.  I didn't show as I'd been out of pocket so much during the fall.  Friday night was COLD but the weekend was bright and beautiful and the place is fun & festive.  If you want to  buy great ceramic or mixed media art or take a class from great teachers in San Marcos, this is the place.  Billy Ray & Beverly are not only talented but warm and friendly and I think they are creating a "Destination". 
I came home to get BUSY at the machine.  Ashley & I both will be at Cherrywood  this weekend.  We did the show together last year and are excited to be going back.  If you're in the Austin area come see us and shop for original gifts.  Below are a few of the things I'll have there. Now I'd better get back to the machine.