Good morning friends and readers. March is really half over already and I am working feverishly on finishing my huge mural/project before April. I began this portion of the project mid January so I'd have plenty of time.
The project is the largest piece of art I have ever created, 8' by 4', and I have truly loved working on it. The problem is I don't feel like working on it every day...and if you don't feel like painting...it's not easy to paint.
I decided to forego the writing group so that I could use all those hours in the day (reading mostly) to do this. it was the right decision for me since I felt fine about completing the challenge last March. But I miss the 500WAD and all it entails....*
The project is called 'seeing different' and is all about how we see things and people and life. and different. It is basically a window. A window to look out. A window to look into.
The window is surrounded by bricks because bricks around windows are so beautiful and sort of old fashioned to me. My bricks are photographs. All of them relate to seeing different, some are double exposures, some are blurry. Some are more complicated, some are simple. All of them stir an emotion in me.
The window is sort of divided into 4 panes. When I started, I wanted to create a vision of what I like to see out of a window, to a certain extent anyway. It has changed naturally and is still evolving. But I am nearing the finish line. I will add wood pieces to partition the 4 panes and also a little wood shelf above the window, sort of a reverse window sill (on the top!)
I've written about the importance of art in my life and really in everyone's lives, so I won't go into that but I can honestly say I am proud of this piece and happy to have filled my winter with it. So here is the almost finished product in it's almost finished glory.
As always, thanks for reading. x
*The writers in the 500WAD are incredible. Reading every post became too time consuming right now and I must read every post cuz that's how I am.
I have the cutest coffee shop. My super cute, eclectic, artsy coffee shop sells used books and local art and fresh flowers and the sweetest little succulents in clay pots. Oh and coffee and tea which we serve in old china cups and hand made pottery mugs. It's called The Place. In the summer we sell locally grown herbs and some veggies. The music that plays changes all the time, not any one particular genre. I am blessed to have a few wonderful employees of all different ages who love working there so much they'd probably do it for free, but I pay them a living wage because the Place is a success. We have wi-fi and lots of places to sit and stare out the window, which is highly encouraged. There are amazing murals on the walls and one wall is covered with old postcards because old pc have the most beautiful artwork and sometimes graphics. We have a map of the world on part of one wall that you can stare at because people do forget how big the world is. Even the most loyal Starbucks addicts go out of their way to come to my shop because wonderful is wonderful, no matter what.
Is there a term for the time of life after adolescence but before full on adult? It's generally a short amount of time as one cannot halt the next phase really. Whenever I meet a young person of this age I am curious about what they want to do...what interests them. Only one of my own young people ended up doing exactly what we all knew he would.( i talked about him yesterday)
Most months of the year I work for a small company that grows and sells quality perennial plants wholesale. It is something that I know something about, so it is a comfortable position for the most part. I like my job. I work outdoors part of the time. I get to enjoy nature everyday. My boss, the sole owner, works literally a few feet from my space. (remember My Space??) The reality is that I do not want to be a business owner and that is reinforced to me pretty much daily. I am sure of this.
But once upon a time. Once upon a time I thought about having that coffee shop that sold all my favorite things. (it may have been called A Few of my Favorite Things instead of The Place). Someone wrote about how we aren't just what we do. But what we do is such an immense portion of our lives, isn't it.? I had no clear idea of what I wanted as a career for myself. What do you want to be- the proverbial question we were all asked as kids. I think if I could have had my 50 year old brain in my 20 year old self I would have made different choices. But ya never know.
Oh and sometimes David Byrne visits The Place because he sort of named it. x
Wow. January is almost over already.
I still need to do a bunch of things before the busy-ness of Spring and Summer take over my life! I better pick up the pace. :)
I've been somewhat obsessed with my Window Project which I've named 'Seeing Different'. It's hard to describe how much I LOVE this project. I've always wanted to paint on a wall. Paint large. It began as a (totally) different kind of Christmas tree.
I wanted to do ornaments on the wall. without an actual tree.. Lucky for me, Gregg accommodates my artistic endeavors (he's an enabler!:) He bought an 8 foot piece of underlayment at Home Depot and hung it up for me. I then painted it white. Decorating my tree was an utmost pleasure. Many years it is sort of a chore...mostly a chore... I realized this year that I desperately needed the challenge of something inspirational and innovative. I LOVED IT.
I was already thinking about what I would do after the tree came down.
I knew I wanted a window surrounded by bricks.
The bricks are just wonderful, they are photographs (all taken with cameras, dare I say, I never dreamed I'd have a phone that took great pix....) They all have something to do with how we see. perception. actual sight and not actual sight. some are double exposures, some are blurry. some are heart-wrenching. some are hilarious. some are stupid. some are nostalgic. some are gorgeous. some are thought provoking. All are snapshots of life, moments in time. Similar to decorating The Tree, doing the bricks was so exciting and inspirational. Placing them and installing them in the distinct way I wanted them. I LOVED IT.
The window is now being developed. Im painting it slowly, changing things as they come. I really love the idea of seeing different ( both an adjective and a noun.)
I will keep you all updated.Stay tuned. Thank you for caring.
I LOVE IT.
Social media plights and pleasures. I'm sure glad my own kids weren't born on social media. This is something I've thought about (and probably said) a few times. Meaning that when they were little, I didn't have such things as social media sights to post pics of their (extremely adorable and worthy) everyday antics. Please don't think I'm judging you moms and dads of adorable littles... I'm not. It's just that, well, I think something is lost in the process. I love taking pictures. I love art. I love beauty and see it constantly. But when my own thoughts are 'what a perfect instagram post! gotta get this shot cuz I already have a cute and relatable quote/post to go with this'....rather than 'what a beauty. I wanna remember this perfect thing', well.... something is lost. For me.
Of course, I DO love Instagram because I can see so much ART and plants and books and so much incredible photography. But I don't love many other social sites these days.
We all know what 'stories' are, right? Those fairly common snippets of pics and videos proclaiming the fabulous moments we are in right now.? I recently spent some time with my youngest, and I realized that I deplore his 'stories' mostly. (sorry youngest)
Let me explain. I dont much care for the LetMeShowYouHowPerfectlyCrazyWonderfulPartyingMyLifeIsDontYouWannaBeMe?
First off, I don't believe most of them anyway. I doubt the reality of these posts. But on the other hand... they are called 'stories'... so I guess another way of seeing it is, It's a story. We have become a nation of storytellers.
When exactly did we decide everyone should know what we are doing and not doing and wish we were doing anyway?
When did that happen? I guess it was gradual. I see people posting everything from what they eat (obvious one..who hasn't?) to how their life literally sucks today because the dishwasher broke and the dog got out and the kid ate poop etc etc etc. Remember when we had all those experiences and more and didn't (couldnt) tell the social world in pictures and posts? Was it any less meaningful? Or is it actually advantageous to tell others so that we gain some empathy and love? Are we really just looking for love? Are we finding love this way? I have no idea.
I also believe the more social media active you are, the less social you become. Ironic, a bit.
In the past year or so, I have realized that scrolling through facebook left me feeling horrible and depressed far more often than it didn't. So I stopped. Mostly. Kinda. The only way to truly stop, I suppose is delete. But I have a business page...and I'm not ready to give that up yet. My goal is to get folks to visit THIS www instead, but this takes time and work on my part, and eventually I will get there. For now I'm looking for barnwords love in all the places. x
Day 28 all on a tuesday
sleeping. dozing. waking. drinking water. sweatpants. showering. teethbrushing. pour-over. texting. reading. writing in a journal. planning. checking things. clothing.
jeans. fave sweatshirt. hat?
clouds. sun. breeze. windchimes. cars going by. someone's dog barking. last years plants that need cutting back. gloves. clippers. glasses. tulips. daffs. allium. and so many things coming out of the ground (super exciting). loving. walking. observing. daydreaming. thinking. worrying. marveling.
coffee. water. chickensalad. radishes. tangerines. half a chocolate cookie. butternut squash. toast.
driving two different Hondas, the loaner and mine (yay! complete with new wheel bearings and no more weird noises.)
birds. bugs. two cats. one husband and one mother I took to one doctor in one office. one face time with one young kid.
one neighbor walking by with one grandchild who asked one question of me ('can I go in your house?'.... how much do I love that? A LOT but she was quickly scurried away by manner concious neighbor.)
reading. writing. typing. stretching. e-filing (twice because... rejection) talking. searching. hoping. wondering. waiting. e-mailing. straightening up. making appointments. yoga minute. wash dishes. feed cats. pet cats.
stereo. computer. television. phone. vacuum cleaner. barnwood. lost earring. found bracelet. hair brushing and lamenting.
open windows. closed windows. laundry. refrigerator clean out. (god I hate wasting food) light candle. enjoy smells.
muddy boots. favorite shoes. slippers. sox.
arguing. apologizing. debating. contemplating. chatting. more thinking. conscious breathing. more reading.
sore backs. advil. write two checks. mail one bill.(yes I still mail one or two bills....but only because it takes a little longer to clear than online...and only one or two anymore... throwbacks are us)
laugh. listen. shake hands. be nice. be sad. be stupid. be friendly. be tired. be thankful. be astounded. be disgusted. be patient. be hungry. be thirsty. be irritated. be happy. be surprised. be helpful. feel lucky. feel unlucky. don't gamble.
check weather in shanghai. check weather in los angeles. experience weather in illinois. wonder about weather this weekend. wonder about weather in general. wonder about this weekend in general. wonder about money. wonder about sales. wonder about work. wonder about them. wonder about us. wonder about this old house. wonder about WAD people.
write 500 WAD. sick of it. gonna miss it.
stare at a world map. stare at pictures above computer. stare into space.
drink beer. drink water. drink tea. drink it all in.
notice light on trees. notice things. notice oven timer going off.
hope i don't have heartburn tonight. hope i sleep a nice solid bit tonight. hope kids on spring break are safe tonight. hope hubby feels better tomorrow. hope my kids are happy. hope our world survives this piece of time. hope i wake up feeling great on wednesday.
The last day of the year.
Every year it seems I say WOW SURE GLAD THAT YEARS OVER. but honestly I do not feel this way currently. I've decided, consciously to not hurry any year along. I am almost 60 years old. That realization has been front and center in my mind. (Hey this year my YMCA membership goes waaaaay down because of it.) Growing older is also such a current subject in my life, as my mom is 91 and still lives alone in her apartment, due entirely to the fact that my sister and I are so willing to care. My younger brothers are so absent in this arena, that it’s actually ridiculous. My mom is a difficult person, very unhappy and miserable. She makes sure you know it too. I’ve gotten adept at ignoring her rude comments over the years and letting shit roll off my shoulders...but man. I do feel bad for her.
I didn’t really want to write about my mom. I’ve written about her before…multiple times during the 500 words a day exercise and I even wrote a letter THE LETTER to my completely absent brothers, in frustration last year when mom was hospitalized for 3 weeks recovering from a stroke and neither of them even called her once.. This caused them to stop speaking to me. It’s a shame but I'm not sorry I sent THE LETTER. It just reinforces the fact that no one really knows anyone else. I cannot ever know why they wont give her a call a few times a year, or (gasp) visit her. I can pretty much guess why they stopped talking to me though.
I’m a mom. I can tell you that if my kids NEVER attempted to see or talk to me….well. I’d not care to live either.
As our parents age and we age, I think we change.
As for my own kids….
Ian was home for a very few days around Christmas. I am still worried about him, but it is better than it was. Lots of money worries and responsibility (loan repayment) issues. I also worry about his health. But I’m not one to talk. Those habits. Ugggh.
Still I loved having him home. He is fun. Lots of laughing and games. Family joy. Also we barely had a fight this visit. :)
(it was about social media)
Miles and Jessi are officially engaged to be married. I had sorta forgotten they weren't married already. Ha. They are truly amazing. Not perfect, no, but so amazing. Sometime I'll write an essay on them. We had some great laughs together playing board games. Whoda thunk?
Garth is still in Shanghai. He is on his 3rd contract with Punchdrunk. Doing some new work, Rehearsal director and the new role. I think it is very good for him! He made a wise choice to stay, hard as it was. Missed him again for the Holiday. Ingrid left and that is a sad and huge change for him there, but it's life. Also, he is making music which he truly LOVES doing.
Its really cold outside and my heart aches for Angelo, the cat that lives at Intrinsic. All cats that LIVE outdoors really. It’s tough at negative degrees.
End of the year. I have a new planner for 2018. A Passion Planner. It's a beauty and I intend to use the heck out of it. I love planners. Must be my neverending goal to be organized….
Here we are. End of the year. So many things this year....
Life and death. Happy and sad. Good and bad.
I went into the archives over there on the right, and read my End-of-the-year post from 2016. I wanted to see if I achieved many (any) of my goals. so now let's review. Here they are. (current comment in this color)
1. make more art.
( I most def. did!)
2. write more. and read more books. (learn more stuff)
(YES! I'M 2 FOR 2 )
3. take more classes at my Y. perhaps even swim...(however, this will involve buying a bathing suit...)
4. eat healthier for real.
(Hmmmm. I really don't think I did. But I still can do this....)
5. organize my work space better. (who wants a piano? I will get rid of the piano this year)
6. be more open to other ideas. (I tend to like mine)
7. visit friends that live in other states.
(ok. I reserve the right to transfer this one to 2018. )
8. go to museums ( including art institute!)
(yes, but DEF can improve on this)
9. give stuff away.
10. fix the yard.
(reserving the right to transfer this one too. although I DID pick out plants and think about planting them... Unfortunately, it was in October.)
11. be more patient with my mum.
( I think I surpassed all expectations of myself on this one :)
12. save some money for a trip. (I'm such a bad saver)
13. sell my signs. (alllll of them, then I can do #12)
(still a goal)
14. go on another epic adventure. (This was a highlight of 2016 for me...short trip to NY with an old friend)
(NEED TO DO)
15. work on the upstairs bedrooms.... BIG job.
16. be nicer. yeah I'm pretty nice already. But I could be so much nicer.
(yeah. I might have been nicer.:)
17. get a passport.
SO THERE. :)
Happy NEW year, friends. I am eternally grateful to people who buy my art.
More writing this coming year. x
Hi friends. I have been working on some different things. This is a collaged barnwords. I love random collaging. Not exactly sure how I feel about this though. It's not for everybody...but if you're looking for an artsy, just a little bit weird welcome sign...
I'm your gal. :) and it's a work in progress... I actually began it months ago, and then put it aside.
We will be having a quiet Thanksgiving, as everybody is somewhere else, and oddly I am fine with it. I guess I like different.
Friday, the day after, I'll be up at Northwind perennial farm in Burlington, WI working the day with my dear old pals. Should be a blast, I had a lot of fun last year. ALSO I will have barnwordsx ornaments for sale! So locals, cmon up Friday and see Northwind Christmas, always a treat.
The Bob Marley musical chair is still for sale. Do you know a Bob super fan? Send 'em over. so to speak. (pix on the photo page) Great gift, right? Speaking of Christmas gifts, last year was the first year we decided (and stuck to it) NOT to do gifts. It was so wonderful and relieving, not to have that pressure and decision-making... uggh. We all just enjoyed being together!
(I should mention I give my kids gifts all the time) LOL. just not on Dec 25. unless it's homemade! That's the exception. Hand made gifts are welcome.
See ya soon everybody! Have a great Turkey day!
I am observing something here. I used to have 2 tables for working.... well actually 3 if you count the desk which I keep for REAL stuff like paying bills and growing succulents... Then I acquired a third awesome table and THIS is the Sunday current state of all 3. NOT including the real-life-desk. So does this mean that if I had a 4th table.... OH NEVERMIND.
I do like working with stuff around me, I am not one of those who needs everything clean and cleared to think straight...prob the opposite. Today is rainy. I made some beef stew and a bunch of barnwordsx ornaments! There are still not enough hours in a Sunday though. Whats everybody else doing?
Day 14. The twenty dollar french fries.
So I debate whether to write about this ,as you will surely all think I am stupid (I'm not!) but here it is. I love french fries. I do not eat them all the time but I probably would if I could. A few days ago I was out doing a few things and I really wanted fries. Sometimes it comes upon me like that, especially when I'm hungry. I decide to treat myself at Culvers ,since I am already driving by it anyway...why not drive thru it? The total is $2.10...not bad for a satisfying 5 minutes and hell, I deserve it with all the bs Ive been dealing with lately. I give the girl a twenty and a dime. The dime falls to the ground and we both laugh and I rummage through the change pile (do we all have ridiculous sized change piles in our cars or just me?) and give her another ten cents. Being a frugal gal, I even attempt to see if i can SEE the dime and pick it up... no luck. No big deal. We exchange pleasantries and she gives me the fries and my water and.... I drive away. Um. I did. Ate the delicious fries on my way home. So many things on my mind. It is two days before I realize I dont have 18.00 anywhere. Check all possible places...car, purse, pockets, even ridiculous change pile. Nope. So then I try hard to remember IF she gave me the 18.00 or not and I come to the conclusion that she did not. In retrospect, I can understand the mistake. 2.10. 20.10. the dime drop/distraction. I am sure it was not a deliberate over site but even more unsettling- I drove away without even realizing it. (Still Alice??) I'm so mad at myself and quite disgusted as $18.00 is still a lot of cash to me.
I debated calling Culvers. What will I say? "hi yeah, two days ago, I wonder if your drive-up cash drawer was $18.00 over at the end of the day? Yes, That is mine. mmmhmmm." The stupidity of ME leaving without my change prevents me from making this call.
So there you have it. The twenty dollar french fry episode.
I once read somewhere that the human brain can only think of one thing at a time. Since we do about 350 things concurrently at any given moment...this is amazing. Eventually, somethings gotta suffer. A shame it was at the expense of my 18.00, but I've learned something and I will never leave without my change again, I'm sure of that! Humans. We are so amazing and complicated and yet, Twenty dollar fries. Actually twenty dollars and twenty cents to be exact. Jeeeeez.
Today I'm making vegetarian split pea soup. Just so you don't picture me as a stupid fry guzzling Alice. x #500wordsaday