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Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Where has the time gone, and where is it going?

Here is this morning's post from Facebook:

This kid is truly grown up and has 2-3 semesters left of college... if she chooses, she can sit out the last semester, because she would have met all the requirements to graduate... or she can relax and coast the last 2 semesters by taking the smallest work load as possible. There's also the option of turning her minor into a second major.

Here is what she looks like now:

She won't pose for photos anymore, so we rarely get full frontal face. We have to paparazzi her!

The man child is on his final full semester of college, then a couple of summer classes and done. College wasn't as easy for him, it took some work and growth, but his last two semesters were 4.0 so we feel like he's really got his legs under him now.  Oh you want a photo?  Let's see what I can dig up.

I lifted this from his Facebook page.  It is his self portrait... and with the exception of some beardage and the fact that he has changed his style of hat, this looks exactly like him. Including the annoyed gaze.

I'm excited to see what the future holds. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

So about NYC

We're supposed to be living the dream with our fancy schmancy apartment due to my husband's job in NYC... and in theory, it is going great, but the timing is wonky.  We don't want to sell he house in GA and we have dogs that we can't have in the apartment, so hubby is spending a lot of time alone in NY and I am spending a lot of time alone in GA.

I am managing to keep myself busy enough with the community theatre, but this distance is just difficult.  The fact that he's not exactly thrilled with his job does not help... so I am keeping an open mind about what might happen next because I certainly don't want him to stroke-out in order to make me happy with a little time in NY now and then.

I'm kind of frustrated. I need to try to enjoy my minutes in NY as much as I can while I am here because I don't know how long it will last.

Oh, and also, I am working on getting my homeschool book finished and my time in NY is the best time to work on it... so that's good thing.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Checking in with Adult homeschooled kids

So how are they doing?

They are OK, and maybe a bit too evolved for other people their age.  Seriously, they are doing just fine navigating the real world, but they are not necessarily in sync with their age mates around them.  And they are OK with that. And I am OK with that too.

Let's see if I can explain.

My 21 year old, seems very much like a normal 21 year old male.  He keeps his personal life close to his chest because that's "private".  He is very close to his family members, such as his sister and cousins, and honestly, that's how I get the 911 on my son.  But that thing that is most clearly apparent about him is that he doesn't have any patience for nonsense... by nonsense I mean bad behavior in general.  Rule breaking, lack of consideration, rudeness, meanness.  He lives on a college campus.  These things happen around him all the time.  He typically just avoids it and will not participate. My guess is that he was not desensitized to either put up with or ignore this behavior because he was homeschooled, so as an adult, when he sees bad behavior, he can be a bit judgmental.  At least he's typically quiet about it. Typically.

My daughter is similar but different. She is a rule bender and a rule breaker, if she thinks a rule needs breaking. She especially has a distaste for arbitrary rules that might be made up by an instructor, boss, or friend. No-can-do. If the rule does not sit well with her she will challenge it, or she will find a way to opt out of the situation that involves the rule. They may also be a side effect of homeschooling because we would also say "this..... does not work for me", and then move on. Whatever the thing was, whether it was curriculum, an extracurricular, a group, or a club, if it did not serve us in a positive way, we would remove ourselves from it. And we were OK with it.  But as a young adult, others might see her as a quitter or noncommittal because she's not just jumping on anyone's bandwagon.

At the same time, she is also kind of annoyed with the majority of people her age. Words she uses are entitled, impatient, and negative. She says that her generation is quicker to complain about something than to come up with a solution.  That is draining... especially when you are surrounded by it on a college campus.

Am I saying that my kids are more adult and evolved because they were homeschooled?  Maybe. They are certainly different, and did not learn a lot of the negative behaviors that were enforced in school and they so they don't and won't participate in them.

Besides that, they are normal, everyday, young adults. Who, unless someone points it out, no one would even know they were homeschooled... however, they would probably volunteer that information.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My first month in NYC

My cell phone camera is like a memory bank.  I don't use it so much to take photos of beautiful things I see... first, because I don't fancy myself a tourist.  Second, because everything is beautiful.  I can get caught up in the most fascinating textures of gritty places, and gleam of glass and steel buildings.  In NY, It's all art to me, but I digress.

<<Here's my most used photo.... a reminder of when the ferry to IKEA runs.

It can be kind of hard to ignore social issues when you are in NY. Right now everything around here is rainbow colors in celebration of the right for gay people to marry.  People are literally celebrating in the streets, since there is an actual parade going on not too far from my apartment, and this week I went to Broadway sings for Pride, which was an AMAZING show and since the main goal was preventing young people

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

My first week in NYC

So I am coming to the end of my first few weeks in NYC, I am heading back to the suburbs of Atlanta in a few days, where I will be furiously working on a costuming project, spending time with the young adult kids, and then coming back here to finish setting up the apartment. I will bringing some stuff from the house like plates, and other stuff I have in triplicate to make the apartment more homey.

I am very lucky to have pen pal of sorts.  Writing to someone daily helped my chronicle my journey.

Here are some of the more "fun" occurrences as they happened:

I am on the bus to NY right now. I should be there In a few hours. I need a Xanax. I thought I was all hardy and such. I could rough it. I'm not above the bus. Ummm. Apparently I'm a delicate flower. First, the lack of communication. How dare I expect customer service and think my questions should be answered. This is the bus lady and it costs $50 round trip. Shut up and get in line. I climb onto the bus and I say "the floor is sticky". An older pretty well put together woman looks at me and says "and..." I. Other words, were you expecting caviar? I silence myself and settle in only to find that my seat was In The back of the bus. The front rows were reserved for the workers they were transporting to work. For real. So I'm the back of the damn bus with a bunch of folks that are neither aware of or give a darn about niceties. They brought aboard the most pungent smelling food and ate it noisily. When they were done they fell into sleep apnea filled slumbers. I wanted to get up And poke people to make sure they were breathing.
 And finally as I settled in and was comfortable with an adorable tattooed young male nestled into my shoulder, I saw a roach. I like to have died. Everyone else was like. Oh yes, a roach , let's call him Ivan. Me, I'm trying to get a photo of it for my online review while simultaneously calculating how far a walk it was from that point. And when I got up for our potty break, I saw thAt everyone had thrown their half eaten dinners in the floor. There were little sewAge streams on the bus. At least that told me I could take my butt back to sleep because the roach/es were not thinking about me. It had a virtual smorgasbord to enjoy. 
While I was on the bus, I got a phone call from my kids.  Son finally passed his road test.  Not

How far will you go to save money?

My current life's journey/adventure includes setting up a second home (an apartment) in NYC, which I will spend as much time as possible at, and which hubby will work from.  Being a very thrifty person, I am struggling with a lot of the costs of NYC.  Which brings me to the question, how far will you go to save money? 

When I first quit my working full time, while pregnant with my son (who is about to turn 21), I did some reading of a very popular series of books called the Cheapskate Gazette.  There were lots of tips and ideas for stretching money so a family could survive on one salary and even prosper.  Some of the ideas were great.  Buying in bulk, freezing meals, couponing, etc.  But some of the ideas were off the wall... for my sensibilities anyway.   I drew the line at the menstruation cup.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I stuck to sanitary napkins and tampons.  

Likewise, being here in NYC, my first impulse is to do things more thriftily to save money. For

Monday, June 08, 2015

Once a homeschooler, always a homeschooler

It's been over two years since we were active homeschoolers, and I still find it creeping into my thoughts, my conversations, and my life.

Take for instance, the young man who showed us our NYC apartment. He mentioned that he needed to get his kid out of public schools, and off the conversation went into the land of homeschooling.  Hubby, actually needed to be held back.  He really feels it is the only way to go.  I could tell however, that this young man and his wife were both working outside the home and neither were in a position to pull back and to deal with all the restrictions, rules, and regulations of a NYC homeschooler... I although I did mention that the laws were much more lax in Jersey, right across the river.

We talked about successes, things I would differently if I had to do over, and so much more.  We ended up taking the appointment, but the conversation was all about homeschooling.  Go figure.

Then there's the fact that people ask me about my kids. I give ages, and most moms do.  Then I give years in college because people always want to know what young adults are up to... and then I have to explain why someone who is still 18 just completed her Sophomore year of college.  Homeschooling, of course.  I'm sure there are numerous other reasons, but in our case, the answer is homeschooling.

I test myself sometimes to see how long I can go without mentioning homeschooling. It amazes me how much education in general comes up in polite conversation! And then there's just the times that homeschooling just invades my mind and heart when I hear a story about some kind of school mistreatment. The parent who was arrested because her child had more sick days than allowed... the child how got handcuffed, for being a child.  The black boys who get suspended way more than the other kids for the same reason...  It breaks my heart. I know that homeschooling really is the answer to many of these atrocities, but poverty, and single parenthood, and other issues can make it near impossible.  My heart bleeds for these families.

There has got to be a way to help enable people who want to homeschool who can't.  My wheels are always turning.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Adventures in NYC Intro

I am blogging from an iPad which has its challenges.  Whenever I have computer access I will go back and fix typos and better format anything that looks wonky. I will also turn video links into embedded videos, please be patient.

I recorded a YouTube video today that talks a little more about where we are and what we are doing.

Setting up a new home definitely has it's challenges.  In NYC, the challenges are magnified. We supplied everything but blood samples to get into a doorman building in the financial district... But that is done. We picked out furniture and also got case goods from IKEA... done and done. We set up utilities, got into it with Time Warner (no surprise) cancelled and set up new utilities.

When the issue is played out, or settled, I will blog about it in full.. I will say this much now, don't let Con Edison set up your other utilities for you.. They are actually patching you into another company that may very well cause a great deal of confusion and stress.  this other company clearly gets paid by the utility companies, and I was steered toward using Time Warner and quoted the wrong price... By a longshot. Now I have to get Verizon In here who I should have had I the first place sInce their plan is more economical.

Other interesting issues I will blog about later... Being mistaken for the help, finding reasonably priced groceries, and getting around NYC prices. Oh, and the biggie...  Transportation in NYC.

til next time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Greetings from the Big Apple

I was in NYC last week, apartment hunting, as we are starting a bit of an adventure that I have been kind of talking about all year.  Hubby's job is out of NYC, but we are maintaining our Atlanta home for the meanwhile. Our kids are still in college and like to come home, plus this is hubby's dream home. In an ideal world we will pay off this home and retire to it.  In this unpredictable world, our NY adventure could be over in a couple of years, in which case we will settle back into our home full time... or, we may decide we LOVE NYC so much that we move entirely or just downsize to something much smaller here.

God is good.

Surely this process is scary and confusing, but we are able to do it without going broke.  Were not rich, but our needs and desires have been provided.

I made a youtube video for the first time in ages last week.  All the editing programs are different, and I have some learning to do... this video is rough.  And in two parts.  It is mostly about the incident that happened a couple weeks ago at a "homeschool-school" graduation, and how it also involves my family.

Part 1
Part 2

till next time.

Oh, by the way, I did find an apartment in NY.  It might be just a little bigger than my bedroom in the Atlanta area.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What I was going to do and why I didn't do it

I feel so unfocused lately.  I want more than anything to pick up the sketchbook and canvas again, but when you have this kind of adult distraction disorder (ADD - without the hyperactivity) It doesn't take much to remove your focus.

In short, I haven't done my art-a-day run because we are about to be dually located.  Hubby's job is moving him to NYC, but he wants to keep our home here as well.  I talked about this a little in the fall, then, that got changed, and now it is back on again.  Just when I thought I had let go of the dream of that happening (I really, really, really, really love NY) it became not just an offer, but an order.

The struggles of being a corporate employee's wife.... i.e. first world problems.  Waaaaah, I have to manage two homes... (but I get the HAVE two homes). So no more whining... but serious distractibility... for sure.

So in case you wondered... that's what's going on.

The Rugrats will be home this weekend from college.  Then I am taking off to help find a place and get settled in.  The adult kids will need to manage the house (not destroy it) and take care of the geriatric dogs.. which are my biggest worry.  How will I get them proper and affordable care come fall when the kids are gone and I want or need to be in NYC.  I don't know.

Anyway, that's all for now.

Pray for my family, we've had some health scares this week, and like any life transition, this move is still scary.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Getting back to my creative space

I told a friend that I was planning to post and art piece a day again, now that my costuming project is over.  She suggested I include costuming too, so I will post an art piece or costume piece a day.  I hope.

I went to the thrift store yesterday to try to find some items to inspire me to make a costume out of my imagination... I found some things, but I also found some items that I put up on Ebay today because they were good quality and still had tags, except one which just did not need any changes at all.  They are uniform pieces and on Asian costume.  Nice stuff.  here are the links.

(auctions are over)

I am also considering joining an artists association or two.  I think.  We shall see.  I could use the inspiration, but am not quite sure I play well with others.

Until next time.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Y'all!

Needless to say my kids are home from college and I am enjoying them, so... no blogging.  I just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I'm looking forward to a year of personal growth, and creativity.  I wish you all the best of all things, for yourselves and your families.

See you in 2015.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

art and unrest

When I am quiet, it is because I have been thinking.

As a mother of a young black man, it is hard to ignore the feeling that young black men are literally being hunted. It use to just be that they were incarcerated at an alarming rate, or that they did not get into college, often both. But now they could be just going about their own business, meet up with the wrong person who perceives them as a threat, and game-over.

From Travon to Micheal Brown, to Eric Garner, the unrest in the streets matches the unrest in my heart, but is there any way to talk about it without seeming racist? I don't know.  How about we talk about the 14 teenagers killed by cops since Micheal Brown, some black, some white, many carrying nothing more than a BB Gun.  Too many cops act first, and then ask questions.   Yes, Body cameras on police are a good idea.  Will they fix the problem?  Probably not.

My art this week started out as a series of circles.  I then just scribbled out my pain on paper.  That's what if felt like.  The outcome is kind of dark.  Scary eyes and tentacles from an unknown sources controlling and/or torturing the faceless people.

So here is my piece. Here is how I feel right now. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving break

My kids are home and I am thankful. There are more dishes, and I have done a lot of laundry (I know they can do it themselves, but I didn't want my laundry room taken hostage for their entire visits).  I have cooked a bit, and I have driven a bit, but they add a great kind of energy to my home.

That is all I am thankful for though. I am mostly sad.

Bill Cosby.


Comments sections.

Politics in general.

I am very disappointed America.

After the break, I am going to start doing one piece of artwork each week.  The daily sketches were more to get me warmed up and to work on some techniques.  Sketchbooks can have some very bad days, and some very good days.  You have seen both. From now on I will be showing a piece that I have conceived, sketched, developed, and completed.  One a week.  Please help me stay motivated!

I am including some of my favorite pieces from my sketch a day series.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Involved as long as it affects my pocketbook

sketch a day # 21  20 min
I feel like I'm waffling here, about being hands on with the kids, then hands off with the kids, and it really is quite a balancing act.  In the case of things that affect my pocketbook, I am certainly hands on.

This week the issue was registering for next semester.  The girl did most of it on her own.  She chose her classes and more wisely in terms of not killing herself and letting college counselors pile on or overly influence.  I helped her out by doing a checklist to make sure she was meeting graduation requirements more than two years out, and trying to see how/if she could fit in a second minor which she sorely wanted.  The verdict was yes! Go for it! You could finish in four semesters granted you get all the classes you need, and fortunately, you have five.

For the boy, I was forced to pay a fine for him getting locked out (boys) before he could register.  Then read the suggestions from his counselors which was bad because the classes were all conflicting with each other.  Then we had to figure out what else he needed and what he could register for because classes had to be taken in a certain order.  He only has programming classes left, but tons and tons.  Programming is a lot like math.. you can't skip around.  The verdict is that although he would love to be done in 3 semesters, it will take 4... but considering changing schools, then changing majors, twice, he's not doing bad.

sketch a day #22  30 min. 
I could have ignored them, both kids, and crossed my fingers and hoped for the best, but since the kids don't qualify for financial aid or anything, the onus to pay the college bills is on us.  But would he register on time?  Would she just take classes suggested for her and not look into what SHE wanted?  Would they not plan ahead and end up getting surprised when they apply for graduation?  Not chances I want to take!  I need to know what is going on, how long they will be there, and how much it is going to cost me in advance.  I am trying to avoid loans.  Wish me luck.

Todays sketches, I did two, are dedicated to the kids, a soft, contoured one for the girl, and a sharp edged architectural piece for the boy.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I didn't ask for these

sketch a day # 20 - 2 minutes
It started about a year ago.  About 6 different magazines started arriving at my door on regular circulation. They were all magazines I read in my youth.  Ebony, US, Essence, and similar magazines geared toward the black crowd.  I just shrugged, and tossed them in the recycle bin knowing that I did not order these rags and so I won't be paying for them when the bill came.  A lady at my gym (older Scottish lady) was getting the same magazines and kept trying to give them to me because, well, they were black magazines and I am black.  LOL!  I messed with her a little.  I scrunched my nose, and said "I don't read those", and suggested she give them out somewhere else.  I know, that was shady of me, but oh well.

I did some research and found that the magazine companies were sending out magazines to people who had never subscribed 1. to get them to consider subscribing and 2. To claim a bigger circulation than they had.

The magazine I really want
I guess since I didn't bite last time, this year it seems I have started receiving a higher level of subscription.  I got Vogue ya'll.  I have arrived!  Snore.  Vogue and the other handful of ritzy magazine I received are all perfume and shiny, and full of a bunch of girls who I will never be as skinny as, and full of ads for things I will never spend money on... perfume, watches, gilded furniture, and couture dresses.

Yeah, no.  I didn't ask for this.

But it did inspire todays' sketch.

So now, I have to actually look through a mailing I got today from my nephews school and see what magazine I actually want.  I can't say no to him, I will order one.  But it will be one that reflects my interest, not some demographic from a profile I have no control over.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

With practice, getting better, getting faster

sketch a day #19  2 minutes
I put the time on a lot of my drawings because I feel like it explains how quickly I did a drawing and why it is or isn't that detailed.  But as I practice and draw more and more, I feel like I am getting into the knack of it.  I am even getting used to holding the pencil differently, even though depending what I am doing, I may still hold it like I am writing.

Anyway, Here is today's drawing.  I did it in 2 minutes, but I feel like I was still able to capture the glass mug that was sitting on my desk.  There is a printer, an envelope, and a printer wire in the background.

I'd been going on about math lately, where I was insisting that some kids close to me who were struggling with math should spend more time on it.  Us homeschoolers like to say that kids will pick up some subjects in their own time and at their own pace, but if we let them, a lot of the kids will never get math, and reading might not happen before puberty.

Kids and they parents don't like to hear that two hours of math may be a necessity.  The good news is that just like am getting faster at representing an item on paper, more and more quickly, that with a lot of practice, they will also get faster at math, and not have to spend two hours a day on it.

The point is no pain-no gain. If you want to get good at something, spend time at it. Practice it even when you don't want to. Get someone else to help you if you need to as well.  In time, you will get better and faster.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hands off parents!

sketch a day #18   (scribbling on the road trip)
I visited with the kids this weekend.  Sort of. Our son wanted to come home for the weekend, and so went down and picked him up. (These kids will have car(s) by summer.)

Since we were there (they both go to college in the same city two hours from home) we stopped to see our daughter. In case you missed this, she goes to a women's college. I don't know if this is unique to Women's colleges or not, but there is clearly a hand-off vibe where parents are concerned. They love for parents to come out for parent designated events which are few and far apart... and they live it when we come to performances.... some performances, but just because it is weekend, does not mean it is mom and dad's time.  You are a college woman, and it is all college all the time.

We arrived Thursday evening and stopped at the girl's college to bring her some things she asked for. She was busy with Theatre rehearsals, as she is stage manager for this particular show, and so we dutifully waited behind the theatre building for her to come out.  She came out and had enough time for some big hugs and a few rushed words.  She said, "the professor said WHY ARE YOUR PARENTS HERE!?"  She relayed that is a way that meant, "this is not the time for mom and dad".  She told her why we were here and was granted a few minutes to meet with us.

We returned on Sunday and got a couple of hours with her.  We had enough time for some lunch and some shopping (two sweaters and a batman letter-jacket/sweatshirt) and some cleaning supplies, and dropped her off in time for another rehearsal.

When I was in college, I remember having time on the weekends to hang out and to work, and maybe go to some parties.  My girls experience is nothing like this.  When she is not working, she is working... and parents are just a distraction.

If I sound upset, I am not.

Her college is high stress, and they are keeping her very busy.  No time for shenanigans.  She is handling it like a champ.  It is no wonder such a large percentage of their graduates end up in elite graduate programs.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

An exercise in frustration

So there's this art exercise where you scribble on the paper, and then try to turn that scribble into a work of art.  I am not good at it, but I spend a good deal of time on that exercise today.  Here are my attempts.  I'm only counting one of them today... the one that I liked.

This is one type of an exercise in frustration.  Most often, an exercise in frustration is when you are doing something over and over again, and expecting a different result.  Wait.  Isn't that also a definition for insanity?  

You know, you deal with the same person, day in and day out and pray for a different result when the conversation and motivations don't change.  It's kind of a why bother type of thing.  

sketch a day #17  45 min
In this case, I hope that by doing this exercise over and over, I can develop the more creative part of my brain and embrace some kind of uniqueness in my art that is unique to me, but developed.  I hate the process of this type of exercise, but I can see where it is useful.  Hopefully, I will get past the point of frustration in this exercise and make some kind of progress or breakthrough. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

Walking in other people's shoes

sketch a day #16 -30 min
I read a couple of stories today that I found terribly disappointing. 

 First, a young man of 16 years was accused by someone he had never met of stealing the person's backpack.  He was arrested and placed in Rikers Island because his family could not come up with $10,000 bail. He stayed there for 3 years without a trial.  He attempted suicide several times but was unsuccessful, and received beatings from the guards for his attempts.  Soon before being released he was brought before a judge who told him if he pled guilty, he could go home with time served.  He refused. He was not going to take the rap for something he had not done.  Soon after all charges were mysteriously dropped.  He is suing.  I hope he wins. 

I don't know what the young man's personality was.  I don't know what his track record was. I don't know anything about him except what I have seen on TV.  He is 21, meek, mild, and broken.

Personally, as a parent, I would have found the bail money somewhere, but I don't live in the Bronx, and I don't know the position of his parents. So while I cannot understand that he was left in jail for 3 years without a trial, I can step into his shoes long enough to believe that a young black man can and will be railroaded by the justice system and then kept in jail even though the district attorney was repeatedly "not ready" to try him.  Stuff like this makes me worry about my own children.

A parent laments on how he thought he did everything right with his kids. Raised them in as an elite environment as he could afford. Taught him diction and rules for a black man behaving in a not so black society.  The kid excelled and was doing fine.  All of that was broken with one word, heard at the age 16 while studying at an elite summer program. "Nigger." He realized that all the hard work he had done would not protect his kids from prejudice and injustice. I made this same realization a couple years ago when young black men started getting shot because someone was "afraid of them".  Not because of what they did, but of what someone thought they might do. These are my shoes. I pray someone will try to step into them and see things from my perspective.  My son is HUGE, and meek and mild. I've taught him to clear his throat when he was walking up on someone and to never surprise anyone.  To look people in the eye and speak, and to always be a gentleman. But I have this nagging fear about his safety when he is away from me.

This is difficult and this is sad.  Is this why I wear out my shoes so fast?