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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Walkin’ the Talk

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to talk than it is to walk that talk?

I’m a great talker. But sometimes I find it difficult to walk that talk.

Case in point. I know about healthy living. I am a vegetarian, and until I injured my back, I exercised regularly. I KNOW that being overweight is a health risk for many preventable diseases. I advocate regularly for taking personal responsibility for reducing health care costs, by living in a way that requires less consumption of health care. But while I’m doin’ all this talkin’ and SOME walkin’ I’m still overweight and taking my sweet time about doing anything about it. I am not walking my talk.

Now, I’m not beating myself up, although Lord knows I’m awfully good at doing that. If beating myself up was an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. But this is different. I understand the concept of loving ourselves in spite of our physical attributes or lack thereof. I know I am much more than the numbers on a scale. But by allowing myself to be comfortable with the “looks” of being overweight, I’m allowing myself to live an unhealthy lifestyle, and that’s not okay.

Not only that, I’m setting a bad example for my granddaughters. And I’m not requiring enough of myself.

I need to start walking my talk. For my health’s sake, not for my looks. But the fact that I’ll look better is a pretty good benefit, as well. I turn 60 this year. It isn’t going to get any easier. So, if not now, when?

So, I’m going to work on changing my walk ’till it matches my talk. I wonder how many other areas of my life need this realignment? I’m going to have to give this some thought.

Catch Up Saturday!

Almost a whole day to myself to spend catching up…yay!

I got my ATCs from my art group’s swap for April. The theme was “New Beginnings.” I love these tiny little pieces of art that come in my mailbox every month!

I spent some time photographing some of my canvases in “real world” settings. One of the bits of feedback I got from the peeps I asked to be candid with me about how I could improve my Etsy store was that my pics were too uniform, and I needed to do something different to mix them up.

It was kind of fun to see what different settings I could up with. These are just a few samples. You can visit the store to see more if you are interested. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Etsy. I love that I have an outlet for my work, as crowded of a platform as it is. But I hate how hard it is to be seen and the work it takes to stand out. I’m hoping that as time goes by I’ll find some shortcuts, and it will get easier!

I also got some studio time.

Hannah ordered a canvas a few weeks ago, and I thought I’d better get that done. She wanted mostly pink, and the saying about Brave, Strong and Smart. It turned out so cute. She gets the original, but I scanned it, so if there is a little girl in your world that could use this special message, the print will be available.

I can hardly wait to give it to her!

First Awakenings, Courtesy of YELP!

I like to think of myself as a bit of a foodie. It’s complicated by my vegetarianism, and that I lean toward healthy food with little fats and salt, but I just love gourmet food. The weirder the combinations, the more likely I am to love the dish.

I am not a fan of most chain restaurants. The majority seem to think that if your pour enough salt into it and add enough fat, you can make anything taste reasonably good. And it’s probably true. But, I can’t afford to waste calories on mundane or boring food. I’d rather just eat at home. Or do without.

But…when you’re away from home, you pretty much have to go out. We’ve discovered the joys of http://www.yelp.com, a rating site, and have come up with some pretty darn good restaurants by using it. It’s especially useful when you have dietary restrictions, as you can plug in “veg friendly.”

This past weekend we found a pretty decent Mexican restaurant one night, and a really good Indian one the next. But our best find of the weekend was “First Awakenings” for breakfast. YUMMO!

Their food was delish.  My eggs benedict – with avocado instead of ham – was great, as was Mr. Tattered’s breakfast skillet. And the girls had fabulous pancakes. Hannah had blueberry, complete with a blueberry compote to pour over it, and Bea had raspberry, coconut and granola, with warm maple syrup.

But in addition to great food, it was a COOL place. The decor was cute and artsy.

Unless you find yourself in Monterey, my find isn’t going to help you.

But wherever you are, try Yelp. You’ll love it.

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

It’s a horrible metaphor, especially when you’re a vegetarian, but it comes the closest as any I have heard to describe how to get yourself going when you’re stuck. On anything. The same way you eat an elephant…one bite at a time.

I’ve been reading and hearing a lot lately about people feeling overwhelmed to the point of inaction, and not being able to get past it.  I’ve even been feeling it a bit myself.  And yet it really is simple. You just have to cut the to do list into manageable bites, and start eating away at it.

This requires a bit of a plan, but planning can’t take the place of doing. There are times, when we allow ourselves to avoid the doing by telling ourselves that we have to wait until we get the plan right. It doesn’t have to be right, it just has to be a bit of a framework, as simple as a short to do list broken into small pieces that can be checked off the list as they are done. Clean the studio is too big…it needs to be little parts of it –

1. put away paint  2. organize stamps into new container   3. clean paint brushes

You get the idea.

So, this afternoon, I was feeling the clutter closing in on me, and started to shut down. But, fresh off a discussion on this very subject at lunch, I put together a quick list and started eating my elephant. I began with a corner of the living room, putting away everything that didn’t belong, and before I knew it, I had enough of my space clear to be able to think, and move on to the important stuff…

Which right now, is tackling my new project…

…working my way through “The Artist’s Way,” a book highly regarded by many of my creative friends. It’s a course in discovering /recovering your creative self. It fits right in with my creative journey, and I’m anxious to see what Julia Cameron’s insight can do to improve the quality of my experience.

Notice how I have a stack here. In my typical fashion, I can’t do anything half way…I got the original book, another book of daily prompts, a journal, and workbook. I have my work cut out for me, but I’m not going to let it get in the way of actually making art!

What’s your elephant? And do you have a plan for how you’re going to eat it?

We Have It SOOOOO Good!

We have some wonderful Indian (as in from India) friends in our neighborhood. We are at similar places in our lives in terms of age, and efforts to aid our children in caring for their kids. We watch our grandchildren, they watch theirs. She is a wonderful cook, and we are often the beneficiaries of their “leftovers!” Over the few years we have lived here, we have become fast friends. We have learned much about the Indian culture from them.

He called the other night to tell us about an Oprah Special on her visit to India that he thought we might enjoy, so we DVRd it, and watched it yesterday.

I have been seriously unable to think about much else since then. The tape is running in the back of my mind no matter what else I am doing.

The show began with a visit to a family in the slums of Mumbai. A man, his wife and three daughters live in a room the size of a large walk-in closet (10’x10′)…smaller than our master bathroom, where he had lived his whole life. There was a small kitchen area, and all their personal possessions, including clothing, are stored in small closet above the stove. In their living complex 60 people share a common shower “area” (no shower, water was brought into the room in buckets) and 4 restroom spaces, no running water – you use the facility, basically a hole in the floor, and pour water into it. The 5 of them sleep curled beside each other on the floor, taking up the whole of the available floor space in the unit. There is no furniture whatsoever.

The mother cared for her family, and a part of her everyday job was to haul buckets of water from a hose down the street that only flowed two hours a day, back for their daily use.

The father is employed, but wages are so low, that 1/3 of his total income goes to send the children to school. He takes them to school every morning on his way to work, the 4 of them piled onto a motor scooter. The 3 children all speak English, the eldest fluently. She is a remarkably poised young lady, happy, and grateful for all she has. She takes her schooling seriously, appreciating what the family sacrifices to educate her. She looks forward to the future, when she hopes to go to University in London and become a teacher.

The program went on to show the other side of Indian life, the affluence, and the contrast could not have been more stark. But it was this family that has stayed with me. They obviously love each other very much, and although the father broke down and wept for a moment in shame that he could not provide better for his family (he makes $200 a month working for a security firm,) they seemed happy in spite of their circumstance. I was extremely impressed with their courage, and ability to make a happy home in the face of such poverty.

I know I am a bleeding heart liberal. I feel a great deal of distress at the gap between the haves and the have nots, here as well as in the rest of the world. I do not understand why some work is valued so much more highly than other work. Why manual labor, the hardest work, produces a subsistence living, while being a movie star or a banker allows you a life of luxury.

I like to think that I don’t take my abundance for granted. I feel, as well as voice,  gratitude for all I have in my life. But I don’t do enough to help those who do not have it so good. I don’t know what I’m going to do about it, but I feel the need to do something. Existing should not be so hard. It just shouldn’t.

***LATE PROGRAMMING NOTE: For those who missed it the first time, it looks like part one will replay Sunday night at 8pm, followed by part two at 9pm.

I Promised Myself a Play Day!

…and I even got about half of one!

Sometime in the midst of high-fiving myself for getting my e-mail out, I realized I had 3 fewer actual e-mails sent than I had people signed up, so I spent a portion of the morning figuring out who was missing, and decided to improve my data base a bit.

In keeping with my “play day,” I played with the flowers we received from family visiting Maui. It’s funny how what once was part of my work, now qualifies as playing!

Then this afternoon I got back into the studio and prepped 6 more canvases…it was heavenly, and definitely qualified as playing. I need to find a way to get in there for a short time every day. It makes such a difference in my well-being.

But for play in the purest sense of the word, I got out the Bananagram game and played a little solitaire.

Oh, yeah…today was a play day.

Trials and Tribulations

Wow! What an exhausting day.

The net result was I got the e-mail for Kelly Rae out, but it was not w/o a great deal of frustration.

It started out pretty good. I had loaded a free trial of Constant Contact, an e-mail distribution program that lets you send out a bunch of e-mails at the same time, unlike Yahoo, who thinks you are a spammer and shuts you down. I was all jazzed in the beginning, but that love fest ended pretty quickly.

After spending about three hours logging all the e-mail addresses one by one, I was ready to go, until they told me I could only load 99 of the 196 on a free account. So I signed up for the pay account, only to discover they had dumped all my work, and there was no way to get it back. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

So, I started all over again. BUT, I had learned a LOT of shortcuts the first time, and was on a serious roll when my computer started acting up. I don’t know why I just kept plugging along at a glacial speed, but I did. For about an hour, anyway, until I was ready to throw the stupid thing out the window. A lesser woman would have thrown in the towel long before.

I finally decided to just shut the whole thing down and start fresh. Turned out to be a good idea, because from then on it was kick booty fast and I finished up in a snap. Tired, but VERY glad to be done, I hit send, and it worked.

One thing checked off my to do list. I think I’m going to treat myself and play a little tomorrow! I deserve it!

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