Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ready for a Vacation

What a week this has been! Full, full, full of goodness. I...
  • ran three times
  • painted Monday, Tuesday and Thursday
  • worked almost six hours on my Outside the Job Box course
  • went to my last sunrise yoga class
  • worked a busy week at the office
  • wrote a few blog posts
  • picked up most of my supplies for Squam Art Workshops in September
  • picked up an escape novel and two new Teach Yourself books for my upcoming week off (Film Studies and Sudoku)
  • picked up frames and ordered custom-cut mats for my paintings in preparation for a potential exhibit at my hair salon in September
  • returned two out of the four frames 'cause they didn't work with the paintings and picked up a 16x20 pane of glass 'cause I cracked the glass on one of the brand new frames I'd just picked up
  • perfectly timed several loads of pre-vacation laundry so we had enough space to hang everything to dry in rotation after the dryer crapped out on Tuesday
  • planned, prepped & packed almost everything for our week at the cottage
I haven't been on a cottage vacation since childhood; I look forward to it! I feel like I'm bringing a lot of stuff to do though, you know, just in case. Does anyone else do that?

After all, if I bring too many options from home, when do I get the chance to just be, or play cards, or sit by the fire, or go canoeing, or hiking, or swimming, or lounge in the sun and do sweet nothing?

Hm. Maybe I need to rethink my strategy.

Either way I'll be living by a lake for a week in a cottage with D. surrounded by trees, loons and stars. Sweet vacation, I am ready. As for you my dear friends, I'll catch you on the flip side.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Vision of Squam and #7 on The List

When I saw this picture I started crying. I was overwhelmed with feelings of joy, relief, validation, pride, belonging, recognition and disbelief.

My painting is the 5th one on the top row and it's on this poster, for an art show, at a real gallery, surrounded by artwork created by teachers and peers who attended
Squam Art Workshops in 2008. And it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb. It's a major personal achievement.

For those in or near the Rochester NH area, here are the specifics for a show that promises to be lovely all around thanks to a few very dedicated women with a grand vision:
  • Who: art by Squam 2008 teachers and attendees; show put together by visionary Liz, and Susan and Mary-Jo from artstream studios
  • What: A Vision of Squam art show
  • When: Sept. 1-30, 2009, official opening is Sept. 11 from 5pm-7pm
  • Where: artstream gallery, 56 North Main Street, Rochester, New Hampshire
  • Why: to celebrate the spirit of Squam Art Workshops
Local shmocal, I'm crossing #7 off my list.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Employ Your Mind

cool sign in Old Montreal
"Manage your attention properly. Instead of automatically worrying about what you don't want (a thought train that exacerbates problems and compounds images of what you fear), become intensely involved with your solutions. ... Your imagination is your faithful servant. Don't serve it by letting fear pictures control your emotions or your future. Employ your mind on your life's behalf."
- Marsha Sinetar, To Build the Life You Want, Create the Work You Love

How are you employing your mind on your life's behalf today?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I Dream of Acorns

Last night I had a dream. D. and I were potentially being displaced from our camping spot because of a drainage ditch at risk of overflowing. Experts were assessing the situation to let us - and the rest of the campers - know if we'd have to leave.

One woman stood out among the experts. There was nothing visually extraordinary about her, but when our eyes met I felt a connection. The connection was enhanced by an intangible third party - call it the Universe, call it God, call it what you will - manifested through a feeling of truth and knowing, and a strong bond to the soil on which we stood and the lush, green trees that towered above.

The woman proceeded to ask D. and I a question as part of the process to determine who would need to leave their campsite, but she only asked us, not the others.

The group of experts was leaving to mull over their assessment, leaving the rest of us waiting for direction. We were already mentally preparing to move. Suddenly the woman with whom I connected so deeply slipped away from the group and tapped me on the shoulder. She extended her hand and opened her palm to expose a handful of acorns. They were the colour of dark chocolate truffles, some with caps off, some whole, all of them seeming a bit dry and past their prime. She whispered, "They're ready. It's time."

My mind flashed back to a small chest I had at home full of similar treasures, most of them from the earth: pine cones, pebbles, the odd shiny bauble and amidst the mix, the odd acorn - same chocolate colour, same dry-looking finish. I looked backed at her extended palm with a doubtful expression and with a gentle smile on her face she repeated, "They're ready."

~end dream description~

Today I checked the meaning of acorn in an online dream dictionary, here's part of what I found:
To see acorns in your dream, symbolizes strength and durability. Seemingly small beginnings will have the greatest potential for growth. Don't underestimate your minor goals. You are about to enter a new phase in your life.
How lovely. Last night I dreamt of acorns.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Grateful Friday

What She Seeks

Because sometimes I need a gentle reminder, here are some beautiful and wonderful things in my life today...

  • a loving husband and a relationship that allows us to grow individually and as a couple
  • a loving Golden Retriever that almost never fails to greet me at the door after a full day at the office - tail wagging wildly, eyes sparkling with anticipation, usually with a dirty old squeaky toy in her mouth
  • a supportive network of family and friends with whom I can connect via phone, email and Facebook if not in person over dinner or tea
  • a home with a master bedroom that we've kept clean and tidy for almost a week now, one day at a time
  • an August harvest of fresh organic local veggies delivered to my door
  • a painting accepted into the Squam Art Show, in New Hampshire, starting September 1st
  • a chance to display my artwork at my hair salon that just happens to be listed on the Hintonburg Arts Map
  • Squam Art Workshops coming up in less than a month
  • a week booked at a cottage with D.
  • an accomplished goal of three runs this week
  • discovering the tranquility of early morning thanks to my sunrise yoga class
  • a four-day work week at the office
  • my car
  • my computer
  • my personal and neighbourhood libraries
  • life's potential - big and small
What are you grateful for today? What kind of goodness is happening in your world?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Process, Practice and Patience

"Trusting the process and accessing the energies of creative movement is a discipline. I liken it to the practice of sitting meditation. It is not simply a matter of surrendering to circumstances and external forces. The creative process requires the active participation of the artist over a period of time. People beginning to commit themselves to creativity have to realize that important results are not always immediate. Just as the meditator practices staying with the object of meditation no matter what thoughts, sensations or other distractions arise, the artist learns how to stay connected to the image being constructed and the process of creation, assimilating whatever occurs in to the creative act."
- Shaun McNiff, Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go
Whether creating a life, a paragraph or a painting it seems process, practice and patience are key. Damn.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coming Clean

In April I paid a few thousand dollars for an online class that had me giddy. Each time I read the description my heart would soar and the adrenalin ran so high that I had trouble sitting still in my seat.

I believe the course has great potential towards a transition to being my own boss and creating the work life I want. The marketing copy is well-written and tugs at wants that have been sitting with me for years, but even when I look beyond the copy, I believe the end result has merit. I think I'd be good at it and I think there's a viable market for it.

So why, pray tell, is the box of binders and CDs still sitting on my office floor? Why, pray tell, is it already mid-August and I've yet to engage in the course and the online support community that comes with it?

I opened the binders once or twice and even completed a few key exercises I've been avoiding all these years, but that's the most I've done.

So today I come clean: I spent good money on a course that has potential to move me towards the work life - no, toward the life - I want and I haven't started it yet. There. I've said it.

Now I will cut myself some slack and simply start. Here. Today.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Nod of Gratitude

I've been quiet here and elsewhere lately - as if I felt a need to retreat, but today I feel a need to express my gratitude for the big and not so big things present in my life:
  • sunshine and warm temperatures
  • August harvest with fresh, organic, heirloom vegetables delivered to my door: French Filet green beans, a plethora of salad greens, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, shallots, herbs, zucchinis, snow peas, garlic, mushrooms
  • a sense of place and comfort with D. and Cassie
  • a sense of belonging with friends and family
  • Lala and her generosity for taking care of Cassie this weekend
  • a weekend getaway to Montreal: train ride, hotel room upgrade, AC/DC concert, stairs up Mount Royal, chillin' under a tree at the park, a stop at the Sailors' Church, Old Montreal
  • wildlife spotted on my 7:30am train ride to Montreal: 2 cormorants, 2 herons, 1 hawk, 1 buck, 1 doe with her spotted fawn and 1 wild turkey
  • Squam Art Workshops coming up in September (36 sleeps!)
  • one of my pieces being accepted in the Squam Art Show
  • a home to come back to at the end of a workday
  • our Saturday afternoon errand routine
  • my car
  • my paints and art table
  • our wedding photos taken by super-photographer-friend-woman Kirsten
  • the cicada's song
Just a few things I thought deserved a nod of gratitude and appreciation on a Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Perfect Summer Weekend

I had an amazing weekend.

Saturday was a leisurely sunny morning followed by a leisurely afternoon walk around the neighbourhood for our routine errand run. It's a routine I've come to enjoy: library, farmer's market, bakery, meat shop and grocery store. Throw in the odd stop at our favourite coffee shop or thrift store and it's marvellous comfort. The day was topped with some chillin' and dinner on the deck: fresh corn on the cob, chipotle beef kebabs and a rock salt baguette. Stay tuned for a photo post of the day.

Sunday was another leisurely morning followed by a drive to the 1000 Islands region for a visit with D's brother and his wife. They live in the country and I always love hanging out there: nature's exquisite mix of silence and song, cool breezes, lots of room for Cassie to run in the back yard, cows in a neighbouring field and stars in the night sky. Add the chill company of N & L and you've got the perfect day. Plus they have a perfect living room to hijack and spend the night.

Today was waking up to a crisp morning breeze enhanced by birdsong coming through the living room window, cows mooing in the field and more playing with Cassie in the yard. A visit with D's parents, a new hike that involved snacks on a flat rock with views of the tree line, meandering in a wooded trail along the water and tasting wild dewberries for the first time. A blue-sky puffy-clouds drive back home, a soft ice cream treat and more fresh corn on the cob for dinner.

What a perfect summer weekend. I am grateful, while aching for more.