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Showing posts with label my art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my art. Show all posts

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This weeks art: Wreathmaking

I have formulated an art concept that is going to take  up numerous panels, I think, and take ages to complete. I will try to get a panel done a week.

In the meantime, I created this wreath this week.  It started out as the small white wreath make with that deco mesh, and I decided it was too small.  So I went and made a bigger wreath out of Burlap, and I liked it, but not it was a little plain.

Finally I got some wire and attached the two wreaths.  I am happy with the outcome.


Enjoy.

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. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/25/the-14-teens-killed-by-cops-since-michael-brown.html  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.

Fergussen.

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 20, 2014

Let talented children be talented

sketch a day #27 - 10 minutes
Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Elaine Stritch, Casey Kasem, Robin Williams, Geoffrey Holder Joan Rivers, Oscar de la Renta, and many, many other deeply talented people died this year.  Mike Nichols, who died this last night influenced the last Seven decades of televisions and movies. His death had me thinking... who are we replacing these people with?

Kim K. West? Miley Cyrus? Justin Beiber?  Basically, we are replacing these talented, talented, icons with people who are just as infamous as they are famous. The media is more full of narcisists, and dysfunctional stars than talented ones. Sure each has something about them that makes people swoon, and some even have staying power, but they attract more idolatry and admiration. That is a problem.

As an artistic person, and as a parent of artistic people, I feel like my parents generation did us a disservice that we have to reverse. I distinctly remember my parents telling 13 year old me that black females won't get anywhere as architects, so I should keep my sketching as a hobby. They instead pointed me towards law.  It was interesting enough, but when I changed my major in college to art, I remember, a cousin who I respected being called on to brow-beat me into changing my mind. It didn't work, but it did nothing to my confidence as an artist. I feel like this is why I have stopped and started so many times over the years. When your parents don't support you as an artist, will the world? How will you know.

This is why I have always done my best to support my kids as artist. Even though the boy is now more into programming than art,
I believe that he should integrate his talents into whatever he wants to do, and praise his work whenever he cares to show it. So what, my daughter may never make it to the Broadway stage. She may never design a costume outside of community theatre. She may not write the next great novel. She may not get her work in a gallery.  But she might.  Who am I to discourage her, especially when it is clear that her work is very good. (This isn't just me speaking.  Do you know how hard it is to get A's in creative courses in college?  Near impossible.)

I pray homeschooling parents will continue to raise children in the way they should go, and not in the way that we parents envision them. Sure, their argumentative nature as children may have us dub them little lawyers. Sure, we would love for them to be doctors, or pastors.  But, God doesn't gift EVERYONE with talents. That is quite evident based on the "talents" put before us today by the media. If your kids are talented, encourage them to pursue it, in whatever way they can and don't discourage. You will never know what dreams you are breaking.

We need hope for a future where creative people are more positively influential then negatively, don't we?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Just a quick sketch

Sketch a day #25 - 10 minutes. 
This took about 10 minutes.  I plan to revisit this subject Viola Davis in a week or so when I got from doing a sketch a day to a full fledged finished piece a week.  She is a great actress and inspires me to be creative.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Homeschooling will not make your family happy

Homeschooling will not make your family happy. Having a happy family will make your family happy.

I realize this is a simplistic statement, but it must be said, especially in light of all of the negative media surrounding homeschooling these days. There are some young adults out there with an axe to grind where homeschooling is concerned.  Many of them have every right to be disgruntled because their parents... and therefor their homeschool experience sucked.

So, I was reading a post today about "the homeschool myth", where the writer says that they blame homeschooling for their less than stellar upbringing because "homeschooling made that $hit (the bad stuff that happened) seem natural. That because they did not have access to people outside the home... ever... that they didn't know that this kind of abuse was not normal. Furthermore, her abuse was intensified because her mother was egged on by other homeschoolers who counseled her on making her child less rebellious.  (Boy do I understand that... some of my mom's friends made my life a living hell!  I couldn't get away with anything!)

sketch a day #24 -20 min. 
I am not writing to discredit the story of this young woman and others who have a problem with homeschooling, conservative homeschooling, and last, but not least, the quiverfull movement.  I am writing this so that any family out there hoping to homeschooling will understand homeschooling is a tough job, and while it is also rewarding, anyone who expects perfection from themselves or their children might as well go ahead and pack it up now.

You can expect a dirty house.  My youngest is well into her third semester of college and I am just now beginning to reclaim my house and to make it is as nice as I'd always hoped. I am just beginning, and I have a way to go. Think about it. The kids are home ALL THE TIME. Think summer, and multiply that by pi. That is your house. At one point, I hired a house keeper.  At another point, I paid the kids to clean.  I went on strike a couple of times. Finally, I threw my hands up and decided to wait them out. They had to leave eventually. You have to be OK with a TeePee in the living room, and unfolded laundry when you are homeschooling. There are many times when I was tempted to snatch a book from my kids hand and send them to clean, but how absurd is it to snatch a book?  And so, I learned to find a happy place in the mess and move on.

Expect to have arguments. You will argue with your kids. They will argue back. You will argue with your spouse. They will argue with each other. This is healthy. If only one person in the family is allowed to pitch a fit and leave everyone else cowering, there is a problem. Children need to be able to express anger and upset (without calling names of course), and adults need to. At the end of the discussions, everyone can have ice-cream... but if you are going to be the type of family that is together all the time, you have to give everyone an outlet to express themselves. That is only good and fair.

Expect to see your worse behaviors mirrored in your children. If you are angry all the time, your children will be angry. If you yell, they will yell.  If you curse, they will curse... ahem. No comment.  I will tell you that the best thing I ever did for myself was to homeschool. After telling off a few people in front of my children (I have been known to give a piece of my mind), I realized how it affected them, and learned to be more diplomatic.  I will also tell you that my kids saw me depressed for over a year after my brother died. My kids saw me try things and give up. My kids saw me angry and resentful. Fortunately, my kids were allowed to tell me about myself, and them bring me ice cream. So, if you are a raving lunatic, expect your kids to be raving lunatics too... or withdrawn and damaged.

Expect to be ridiculed and rejected.  You probably already expect for your family and friends to decide you are wacko and for some of them to even turn their backs on you... for a while at least. You should also expect some homeschoolers to do the same. Here is why. When you do something different or out of the norm, people take that as judgement upon them, that by doing things differently you are saying they are doing it wrong. So choose a different math program than your homeschool mentor, send your daughter to college when other homeschoolers around you won't, put academics before values (as other people see it) and people won't like it. They will tell you so, or they will freeze you out.  But here's the good news. If people object to the way you do things, you just might be doing them right.

Expect for there to be failures. Sometimes a homeschooling kid turns out just like the kid next door who went to the worst public school in the county. You will look up one day and they will be snippy, withdrawn, and may even get into trouble you can't get them out of.  You won't even see it coming. Sometimes it just happens.  You are going to have to love them anyway.  Things will come together. Remember even fairytales start out scary.

If I haven't scared you away from homeschooling yet, I will now add that it can be magical, and wonderful, and your kids can turn out great, but you will have to work at it. Keeping your kids at home and having 2 or 10 kids will not make your household perfect and magical in any way. But, being the kind of parent that kids want to be around... that guides, cajoles, hugs, and supports, will make your homeschooling family happy, and if you can do that, they won't be writing an angry blog about you in ten years.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Who's? What? Where? How not to test kids

Sketch a day #23 - 1 hr. Pen and ink
So clearly our society is obsessed with the size of people's butts.  Whether, you are all about that bass- no treble, or think silicone butts are Ew- EW.  They are everywhere!  And let's not talk about Kim K West's (no I'm not linking to it) latest magazine pics. The bigger the butt the better.

Pop culture has conversations about butts locked down.  So why-oh-why does Mecklenburg County NC have questions about butt size on exams used throughout the county?  Seriously.  Ew.


Here's my problem with the question:  


"LaShamanda (Who??? Lashamanda isn't a real name.  One can only assume that they were going for a stereotypically black name.  If you google Lashamanda, you will not find it has ever been used before.  Lashanda, or Shamanda would have been more appropriate.  Instead they chose to mock black names with this made up farce) has a heterozygous big bootie, (What?  are you referring to her behind?  Big bootie is a term used primarily in ebonics- slang... Both Oxford dictionaries and Webster dictionaries defines a bootie as a shoe worn by a baby.  If they meant booty.. well that is defined as a plunder won in war.  Urban dictionary, the worse source for a dictionary defines a bootie as "a woman with an --- that is healthy and fleshy from a bit of jiggle to firm but always tasty".  Is that the definition of bootie, they want kids to embrace?  How rude!) the dominant trait. Her man Fontavius (once again- who?  First, "her man" is a phrase not used in any dictionary, but is street for her husband or boyfriend, so by saying they were married was kind of redundant.  Second,  Fontavius is another name not found anywhere on Google.  Dontavious is a real African American name though, so way to go- mocking black names again!)has a small bootie (what? the term bootie is reserved for women, even in ebonics) which is recessive. They get married and have a baby named LaPrincess. (I actually found this name online, so ...OK.  still it is rare) What is the probability that LaPrincess will inherit her mama's (Merriam Webster says the word Mama is slang for mother) big bootie?" (Saying a baby or child has a big bootie is crass and inappropriate.  Like that time a man said my baby, who was six at the time, had a gadunk-adunk -and I almost slapped him.)


The WHERE is that this was on a science test in a public school.

This is offensive in more ways that I can count. The most detrimental salacious phrases possible was used in this test question. It mocked African American names and culture. And the subject matter was inappropriate.  I will stop there. 


So when a parent complained, a teacher replied "I am sorry IF your child was offended".  Please. Bye Felicia.


Can we please stop trying to bend to the lowest common denominator and teach kids using subject matter that won't dumb them down and victimize them?  Where is the commons sense in this.  Makes me glad we homeschooled. 

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?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

The election is over, and I just don't care

sketch a day #14 - 15 minutes
I was done with elections before it even started.  Obvious lies on tv directed toward idiots who don't know any better (both sides).  Constant calls to my house, from both political parties (because I am not beholden to any group).  

And then there's the fact that I am an area manager for my county's elections.  They started us working on hiring and managing staff 3 months before the election, a month earlier than usual, and still we were short-staffed.  But the biggest problem is that the general public does not know if they are even registered to vote (if you think you are not, you probably aren't and should go ahead and do that) and those who are don't know where to vote.  The rest of the people have no idea WHERE they are supposed to vote, so we, the workers get yelled at because YOU showed up at the wrong location.   I blame this on the county. We used to get post cards before every election.  I haven't seen a post-card with voting location come to my home in years.  

Why?

Sure, you can go online and find out where you are supposed to go, but the elderly are the most active voters, and they don't even know how to do that... others don't have that kind of access to computers. It is very frustrating to have to try to explain to person after person why they should vote where they are registered, and why they can't just stop at any "vote here" sign and vote.  

I just did an extensive online search in an attempt to place a link that would explain to people why it is important they vote at their own precinct.  There was NO official information online at-all.  So, here's my simple explanation. (from my educated opinion)  You are registered to vote based on where you live. They make a concerted attempt to get you a voting location as close to your home as humanly possible.  They can't give you a precinct based on here you work or go to school, because that information will change.  If you show up to vote at just any location to vote, your name won't be in that locations computers.  There is no way to network these computers as the locations are temporary and not permanent, and the risks of having a temporary network to allow you to vote just anywhere are huge.. with hackers and all.  So... if you insist on voting where it is most convenient for you, either where you work, or just happen to pass by, that precinct will not be able to process your vote by computer, because you are not on their computer.  They can find your name and tell you where you should go (maybe) but they cannot process your vote.  If you want to vote there, you have to issue an old fashioned paper ballot.  Which by the way, may not have all the races you would vote on at your home precinct. It is a complicated and difficult process, and they have to make phone calls to get approval (for many reasons... one being that some people might try to vote at their home precinct, and then go somewhere else and vote. ) That have to look up your info and they approve your paper ballot... than there's all the paperwork... so be patient.  You made the decision to vote elsewhere. Be patient and let the workers do their due diligence.  It is for your protection and theirs.
sketch a day #15  10 minutes


And those people who come in there to vent their frustrations with the government, or even the voting process... that can't understand the phrase "you can't have that conversation in here", and think we are impeding their free speech.  I think we need humongous signs that say "it is a crime to discuss politics at a voting precinct"... BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL!

And then, there's the fact that I started working at 4:45 am, when I got my first call from one of my staff on election morning, and I stepped foot in my home at 11:30 pm.  Gives new meaning to Beyonce's line "I woke up like this. 




Monday, November 03, 2014

3 minute line drawing

Sketch a day #13 3 min
Detailed drawings that take hours to complete are a great way to relax and to practice all the techniques required in portraying a subject.

However, a quick 3 minute line drawing is a great way to capture the essence of an image.

This quick line drawing is my lunch.  You can see why I didn't want to spend hours drawing it... it wanted to eat it.

The drawing is of a glass of milk in a clear square-ish glass,  and a square glass saucer that holds my lunch... a Kind bar with peanut butter on top. I am trying to be good.


We might be too young to downsize

sketch a day 12 30min
This is for yesterday.  I missed a day.

Hubby and I spent the day looking at houses.  We would like to downsize. Our house is huge... frankly too big to really keep clean with only 2-3 people living in it 80% of the time. So we went looking at new home developments in the area, hoping there was something out there for middle aged folks who wanted something smaller, but nice.

No-siree...there wasn't.  Based on what we found, I have come to realize that in our suburban area if we want to downsize will will either have to buy something in a less desirable area of town or wait 9 years.  Apparently we are too young to downsize.

The the two-3 bedroom houses with nice finishes are reserved for 55 and older communities!  Sure there are starter houses here and there but they are finished with poorly done laminate countertops and linoleum floors. This is not the kind of thing that 40-something year olds is looking to move into.  Our best bet would be to go to an area closer to the city that is gentrifying, and buy something old and redo it.  That is not my idea of a good time either. Unless, I could find something that wasn't really built to be a house that I could transform into one.

The sketch above is of a neighborhood association club house that I have redrawn as a home.  (I turned the sitting and storage areas into bedrooms. When I go smaller, I don't want to move into a bunch of tiny cramped rooms.  Instead, I want fewer large rooms.  Still that would include less square feet, but unless I am living in NYC... (long story) I don't want to live in a closet.

It seems to me that because houses are built so large in the Atlanta area, it is hard for homebuilders to fathom that homeowners might want something more reasonably sized.  But even those huge houses are built poorly. In one house we looked in, the bedrooms were too small, and the closets would literally hold 10 outfits max!  And that would be if the closets were packed full!  Who does that?

One that I did like costs $70,000 more than what I already have and had a third floor.  That would just be taking my basement space which I don't use and stacking it on top of the house... Still it was nice, but that would not be downsizing, it would be the opposite.

I don't know what we are going to do... .about a lot of things. A job assignment that would take us to New York has been put on hold.  This started the whole conversation about getting a smaller house here, and getting a little tiny nest in NY.  Regardless of what happens, we know that we want to downsize, but in order to do that, we will have to get a lot closer to the city to find something acceptible and then we will have to gut it to get what we need.

Saturday, November 01, 2014

A pain in the head

Sketch a day #11 - 15 minutes. 
No matter how many times it has happened to you, you still don't see it coming.  It starts with something small that creates tension in your body, and then you feel little explosions in your brain and sometimes pretty colors and still you ignore it.

Day two, you realize what is going on, but now the medicine won't work.  You should have taken it yesterday.

Day three, people are trying to drag you off to the emergency room, but you know that they will tell you the same thing as last time, and you promise that it if is still going on tomorrow, you will go.

Fortunately, there's a guy at the mall that knows what to do.  You drag yourself there with one eye open.  You grunt and point, and mumble, "20 minutes" and while what he is doing seems torturous at the moment, and you pray to God that he doesn't actually paralyze you with his gyrations, you leave feeling a bit lighter, and after a nice long nap and a ton of water, you merely feel nauseous.

You've survived another migraine!  Technically, I think mine are tension headaches that turn into cluster headaches... but they are no fun at all.

It makes me sad to know that my son had these his entire childhood.  I am so glad that he rarely ever gets them anymore.  If it weren't for homeschooling though, he would have never been successful because they could derail an entire day of school, but at home, I could put him in bed at the first sign, rub his back, and administer medicine... he could catch up later, or perhaps later in the afternoon depended on when we caught it.

Till next time.

Friday, October 31, 2014

It's Halloween. No candy for you.

Sketch a day #10 - 10min
Today is Halloween, and as usual, I will be following my tradition of busying myself with a movie or a project and ignoring the ringing doorbell.  No, my house doesn't get egged or papered, thank goodness, either my husband or one of my kids has given out candy in the past.  I just don't like to do it.

I am just a non-conformist like that. It bugs me that the same kids who rolled their eyes at me, or harassed my dogs, or left dog poop in my yard when they thought I was not looking will be ringing my bell expecting candy from me.

If it were up to me, I would buy 3 HUGE peices of candy, and a big bag of the most generic stuff I could find, and give most everyone the generic stuff, but then the few kids that are actually well behaved and kind came to my door, I would reward them with a honking big piece of candy in front of everyone else!  That would learn'em.

But hubby's got it.  He got some big bags of candy, and a big friendly smile ready to go.  And tomorrow, he can pick up the dog poop that the same kids left in our yard, or he can deal with them riding their bikes down the center of the street while he tries to wait patiently for them to move over so he can get wherever he is going.

Yes, I am a Halloween scrooge!

And don't even get me started on the SEXY costumes!

Anyway, here's a pumpkin for you!  No, I was too lazy to carve it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Why small businesses are losing to big businesses

Sketch a day #9  - 45 min.
This is a sketch of my upper window in my greatroom.  The room is two stories high, so there are upper and lower windows in the room.  You see a bannister in the foreground, because I am actually sitting in a room on the second floor to draw it.  The house is three stories high in the back, so in order for a ladder to be outside this window, it has got to be pretty tall.  Fire-fighter tall.  It is still not tall enough for the guy repairing the woodpecker holed trim to get where he needs to reach, so he is also propelling down from the roof to get to a certain area.

This job is driving me nuts! First, tomorrow will be two weeks since he quoted the job. Second he said it would be done by Tuesday... last Tuesday... It is now Thursday of the week after. Finally, as is true with most jobs, he didn't stick with the original quote.  As of right now, $400 to replace two pieces of trim 30-ish foot high from chimney top to ground has turned into $627.  In his defense, hubby added a small job of fixing some rotted wood on a door frame... but based on his quote for the big job, he charged an exorbitant amount for the smaller job comparatively.

My biggest problem is that I feel tied to the house for the duration of his "job".  While I may have said "OK" if he had quoted $500 or $600 dollars for the job, because it is a scary and difficult job, I would not have said OK to "I'm gonna come and go over the course of two weeks.  I will tell you I will be back tomorrow, but I'm going to leave this tall ladder leaning against your house for days on end, and when I feel like finishing, I will.  I would have said.. OK, I will call you... and then I would not call.  Seriously.

Appropriate book choice
I feel like too many people do bad business. They under-quote jobs and then raise the price because they want to make sure they get in... but I would have gladly paid the higher amount or a little more for a proper quote and the person sticking to it. If something unexpected had come up like termite damage, or a bees nest (which was my fear), then I would understand them telling me that they need to give me a secondary quote, of which I would have also gotten a second opinion, but this kind of bad business is stupid because it means you won't be called back.

And this is why mom and pop businesses are losing dollars to the big box businesses.  I have more work to do around the house.  I need to have my garage door repaired.  I also need the gutters repaired and have screens put in them, but chances are, I will now have Home Depot come do the work and not this guy.  Sure they will cost me more, with all the Home Depot overhead and all, but I want a quote that the contractor will stick by and I also want the work done in a timely manner, is that too much to ask?


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Through our own lenses

sketch a day - day 8 -30min
Today I sketched my eyeglasses.  They are sitting on my pencil case. They are cute but uncomfortable and I don't wear them like I should. One lens is thicker than the other, and so in those lightweight wire frames, they don't really sit right.  Since my eyesight out of the other eye is pretty good, I can get away without the glasses at all, but the other eye compensates. I have to hunt down my glasses and put them on when my eye starts twitching or when I get a headache from not wearing them as it causes eyestrain.  I have been warned that if I don't start wearing them all the time my lazy eye will become more and more apparent and even lazier, but I still don't.  I am planning on getting a new pair with a better weight balance...  Don't know how they will do it, but it is what I will ask for.

I chose eyeglasses for my image today because after yesterday's encounter with the cashier I began thinking about how we view others. You know that old saying about there is always three sides to a story?  His, hers, and the truth? I have decided to apply that information to yesterday's circumstance.

If I think about it she may be viewing me through the lens of someone who has to be wise about every cent she spends, and based on her overall look and apparent level of classiness... maybe even newly divorced, this may even be new to her. Maybe she has embraced a level of thriftiness for survival sakes... and she wants to share this with me to help me do better.
an appropriate book suggestion

There's also the possibility of her just viewing me through the lenses of a cashier. Perhaps she sees so many people that look like me day in and day out using government assistance that my deviation from the norm threw her off?

I may be viewing her "helpfulness" through the lens of someone who people OFTEN assume needs a handout, or help of some kind... even though that is not my experience. After so many years of people offering me work as ... a maid, a cashier, a secretary, etc, because "I seem like such a nice person", I have become weary of all the lowly offerings (not to disregard anyone with those jobs) but why not ask me what I am capable of doing, or my education, and offering a commensurate job?  People always assume I have no experience, or no... anything, and offer to help me based on low expectations. So yes, I am defensive.  And then they seem offended when I inform them that I need NONE of those things.

Based on the way she greeted me when I swept through the grocery store this morning, for just a couple of items, the truth might just be that she was trying to be friendly. Based on the "heeeeyyyy Gurrrrlll", that she directed at me, there is something about me that she likes, but has no idea how to approach me correctly.  And for me, perhaps, I need to find a way to correct the unwarranted comments in a gentle and instructional manner so that we can embrace instead of butting heads.

But sometimes... you just want to leave in a huff... foggy lenses and all!