Where Has All the Art Gone?

20170329_192616I realized the other day that my summer has been so hectic that I have not been sketching or doing any sort of art.  And guess what?  I’ve been a little more anxious lately.   I truly do find art to be a sort of therapy.  Granted, life has been full of a lot of changes and responsibilities and stress.  So my anxiety is definitely warranted, but still….  I can’t help but wonder if I were doing art if I would be handling it better.

I think I should be trying to spend just a little time each day with my sketch book.

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How to Shop Successfully at Costco

I think it was about 7 or 8 years ago that I first bought a membership to Costco.  I remember taking the family for the first time on a Sunday evening.  We were so excited to try all the samples that everyone had been telling us about.  Alas, anyone who shops at Costco knows that by evening there are usually no samples.  That was our first lesson in shopping at Costco.  If you want samples, don’t go on a Sunday evening.

The next lesson is one that I didn’t learn until a few months ago.  Toilet paper is actually a better deal at Costco.  That may not seem like a lesson to most people.  But seriously, I just figured that it wasn’t actually a good deal.  Everyone buys their bulky toilet paper at Costco just because…   However, I finally compared the price and the amount of toilet paper to the toilet paper I would buy weekly at Target & I realized, uh, yeah, DUH!   Even if you compare rolls and prices and they are similar, if you look at the toilet paper itself, Costco’s Kirkland brand of toilet paper is a bigger roll.  Now when I buy toilet paper, it actually lasts longer.  I’m definitely saving money on toilet paper… It only took me 7 or 8 years to learn that one….

Another thing to know about shopping successfully at Costco is if you do want samples, noonish to three-ish is the best time for the most samples.   Oh and going the week before a holiday you are certain to hit the jackpot.    My kids still talk about the time we went the week before Superbowl Sunday and they got an entire drumstick for a sample, along with a bunch of other party foods.     And I’m not ashamed to admit that I do love the samples.

Which brings me to another tip, be careful of the samples…  I’ve made mistakes through the years after trying a sample.  Oh yes, this marketing ploy works.  I buy stuff.  Stuff I don’t need.  That’s not necessarily bad for some folks, but we are on a tight budget.  And I really need to watch my grocery bill.  Another downside to the impulse purchase of the sample is it often leads to waste which leads me to my next point.

Evaluate the size of the item and determine if your family will actually finish it before it spoils.  I can think of two things off the top of my head that I don’t buy (anymore) at Costco.  The first was a sample that we all loved, some dip of sorts, I believe it was spinach artichoke.  Everyone loved it.  So I bought it.  Guess what… Kids get sick of it about halfway through the container.  Bam, waste.   Second, hummus.  My kids love hummus.  So when I saw the very budget friendly container of hummus, you can bet I bought it.  But again, bam, halfway through the kids were sick of it.  More waste.   Some of those big containers will definitely be finished by my family, but others will not.  So this is a learning game that will vary family to family, person to person.

Coupons.  Those monthly coupons, which thankfully, you don’t have to actually take to the store, should help determine what you buy each month at Costco.  I’m not saying to buy things you don’t need or like.  However, if you are like me, and surely someone is like me, then it can help you decide between similar items.   For example, granola bars.  I like to eat a granola bar for breakfast.  I love to buy their big boxes of 36-48 granola bars. It seems like often one of them is on sale for the month.  As long as this is one I like, that is the one I will get.  Period.   I’ll also try to get things we use like mouthwash and hand soap when they happen to have the coupon.  We use a lot of paper plates.  I usually check which paper/plastic plate is on sale when I visit & those are the ones we get.   Coupons may not sound like a big learning thing, but it does help to plan for your family.

Another big thing, I try not to walk down the snack-foods section unless I need something specific, especially if I am hungry.  This is where many of my impulse buys have come in…  Let’s see, there was the coconut cookies, the lemon cookies, the everything crackers, jelly bellies, chocolate covered raisins.  I could go on.  But I won’t.  Just avoid this section or enter at your own risk.

Fresh spinach….  great price, big bag…  Shopping hint:  pull off the bottom shelf.  Nothing annoys me more when I go to buy my huge bag of spinach than when it only has 2 days left till it’s out of date.  My family will use a lot of fresh spinach, but not past its date.

You’ll find your things you love.  Certain things are just good deals:  40 water bottles for $2.99!  Plastic flatware is so cheap.  Milk is obviously a good deal, as is butter and half and half.   Ibuprofen, the price can’t be beat.  Oh and their tortilla chips are such a good deal!    Oh and of course, if you feel hungry, their little restaurant with pizza and hot dogs are a great idea!

Now that I have learned the tricks, I don’t think I waste nearly as much money as I did that first year I joined.  As someone without a lot disposable income, this is very important!

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Titles….

Can I honestly call myself a writer?  Am I truly a photographer?  What about an artist?  Does the mere fact that I want to be these things make me these things?

I write.  I write and write and write.  I write blog posts.  I write big long social media posts.  I write ideas inside my head.  I have ideas for books.  But… I’ve never been published.  i’ve never put myself out there, sent off an article and HOPED for an acceptance letter.   I’ve written for paid blogging sites.  In fact, there was one that I earned quite a bit of income from back in 2014.  However, there were no guidelines.  I didn’t have to be a talented writer to earn income.  Am I truly a writer?

Photographer.  I have an eye for the artistic photograph.  I take many, many photos, mostly with my android phone.  I have a pretty nice SLR digital camera that I use sometimes.  However, I am a busy mom.  I don’t get out there and snap the photos that I have inside my head.  I have never been paid to take a photo.  Am I truly a photographer?

Artist.  I’ve recently started sketching.  I’m learning.  I’m a beginner.  It’s not natural yet.  I don’t know that you could even say I have talent.  Of course, there are some paid artists whom some would argue have no talent.   Can I call myself an artist simply because I want to be?

How do I think of myself?   I know I’m a mother.  i know I’m a wife.  I know I’m a yogini.  I know I’m a teacher.  What else am I?  What should I call myself?

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Art Therapy

I realized recently that practicing art helps relax me.  I suffer from anxiety.  So finding things that help me to relax is a good thing.   After I found this out, I invested in some art supplies including a sketch book, pencils, charcoals, chalks, oil pastels, markers, colored pencils.

Many years ago, I bought my children a book called Drawing with Children which introduces some basic concepts for learning to draw.  Before reading through this book, I could only draw stick figures.  I always just said, “I have no talent whatsoever.”  I’m not saying I have talent now, but the book has made me realize that anyone can learn to draw.  Maybe I will never be a great talent, but I can at least draw a decent picture, one that makes me proud.

I think if you want to try to learn to do some art, just go for it.  Between books, websites, videos, etc., there are ways to learn some basics.

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Sitting

I sit my soft rump upon the sagging sofa in the untidy room.  As I look across the small space at my loud children, I cannot help but notice the clutter upon the floor.  My energy level is low.  I look at the junk and attempt to will it away into its appropriate space.  I look at the shoes that are beneath the piano bench, the books scattered on the carpet, and the toys.  I see paper products in the corner, thanks to our disobedient dog who likes to dig in the trash.   I wonder where my energy is.  I wonder why I feel lazy.  I wonder.

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The Downside of Motherhood

We put our all into raising our children with the hopes that they will be independent, successful, happy adults.  If we manage to succeed, our children leave us.   Some of us, like myself, leave good jobs, good careers, to raise our children.   18-25 years later, what do we have to show for it?

Yes, yes, our children.

But now?  We are home… we are alone.  We no longer have a career.  We no longer have children upon which to focus our energy.

I’m at a crossroads lately.  My youngest is in kindergarten.  I need to work, but haven’t successfully found something that is flexible enough to work around my kids schedules.  I have a dream of teaching yoga, but am unable to come up with the money for certification.   I think the yoga would be perfect because I’m passionate about it.  It’s flexible.

Writing a Book

I mentioned, in passing, to an acquaintance that I would love to write a book.  It’s been a dream for many, many, many years.  She said, “Why don’t you?”

I was thinking of my inability to find the time and the energy and the focus to write.  For awhile, I was blogging regularly which I figured was helping to hone my writing skills.   I’ve stopped writing as much because life is quite busy.

Will I ever find that time?  I know I have ideas floating around inside my brain, stories waiting to be told.  I have the desire.

I don’t know that I have enough motivation though, not right at this moment.  Perhaps it will arrive and push me into that mode that I believe is buried within me somewhere.

 

Post Election Day

If you look at the numbers, our nation was pretty much split down the middle as to how we voted. Those of you spewing out hateful blanket statements about ignorant racist people… do you realize you are calling your friends, your family, your former teachers, your former business associates, your neighbors, your current teachers, your current business associates, etc those hateful names?
 
Do you realize that there are most likely just as many uneducated people on both sides of the political spectrum?
 
Does someone disagreeing with you politically mean they are stupid?
 
Many people were not happy with Donald Trump as their republican choice. However, they made the educated decision to vote for him because he stood more for what they value than the opponent.
 
Does wanting less government and lower taxes make you uneducated? I’ll be honest, I never paid any attention to that when I was uneducated… It was once I because educated that I started reading about where my money was being wasted. It was when I started earning a nice paycheck that I noticed how much went to someone other than me. Does that mean I’m uneducated?
 
Does someone who can’t support a candidate who supports abortion because a) they love children and b) they’ve seen horrific, graphic videos of 2nd trimester abortions mean they are racist and uneducated?
 
Do I think Donald Trump is the best role model for my kids? No, but no one is perfect. If everything I have ever said or done was made public, I wouldn’t be considered the best role model for my kids either. I guarantee that there have been other presidents who have said just as terrible of things… they were just lucky enough to NOT be recorded saying. I’ve told my kids in the past that they may work for someone who is a jerk, they may have a teacher who is a jerk…. But they still have to learn to work with those sorts of people because that’s life.
I’m posting this here right now to save it… I’m not done with my thoughts….

Election Day Thoughts

This isn’t meant to be a political post, well, maybe sort of, but hopefully a bipartisan one…
 
It’s just an observation really. I’ve seen people who are saying they never dreamed there would be a woman president in the US in their lifetime or that they never dared to dream that they could be themselves.
 
I just find that odd because, personally, I never felt EVER like I couldn’t become the president of the United States. If I had wanted to do so, I would have tried! (oh but the skeletons the other side would have dug up!!!) I’m 46 years old. In my lifetime, I’ve seen many women in leadership positions, including governments, large corporations, universities, small companies, etc. I grew up in a small, rural, Kansas town where some would argue people were backward, behind the times, etc. But I always felt the power to go for my dreams… I always felt the power to be what I wanted, who I wanted. Never for one minute did I think that being a woman was a hindrance. Not one single teacher, male or female, ever made me doubt that I could do what I set my mind to doing….
 
I don’t know. It just struck me a time or two that I never encountered anything like that.
 
Now.. perhaps someone my mom’s age is a different story. They grew up in a different time. But women of my age and younger? I think we’ve always had the chance to achieve such dreams and more.
 
I’m really not trying to stir the pot…. those who know me know I’m not a fan of stirring the pot…. I just was surprised to read such statements in the last couple of weeks. And I felt like sharing my own personal thoughts on it…..13521931_10154239777962278_7446062726594181755_n-213521931_10154239777962278_7446062726594181755_n-2

Lack of Willpower versus Alcoholism

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I was thinking today about my drinking problem.  I don’t actually have a drinking problem (no, this is not DENIAL).  What I have is a willpower problem.  (I also have a laziness problem, but that is a whole other post)

I enjoy an adult beverage.  I also enjoy coffee.  I love tacos or anything other mexican food. Pasta, chocolate, and Jelly bellies are a few of my other weaknesses.

And that’s what these things are for me:  weakness.  Indulgence.

And I have a willpower problem.

In the summertime, moreso than in the spring, I crave a glass of wine in the evenings.  There’s something about the hot summer weather that makes white wine (especially bubbly white wine) sound so appealing.  Come fall, I’ll be too busy with kids’ activities to even think about having a glass or two (or three) of wine every evening.

Then the holidays will hit and I’ll start craving again.  That usually lasts through Christmas or New Years depending upon the year.

Then, once again, kids’ activities will reign supreme and I won’t have time to indulge in adult beverages.

I always manage to find time to indulge in tacos, chocolate, pasta, and coffee.

But I was really contemplating on my lack of willpower today.  And I was thinking of those who are alcoholics.  And I wonder when that fine line is crossed.  I’m thinking I was probably pretty close after my son died.  I was definitely using alcohol to escape during that time.  I was definitely getting close to a point of NEEDING the alcohol every night.  I was close.  I know I was close to that line.

Thankfully, I stepped away from the line.  I think how easily I could have crossed that line into a different messed up world.   Now I simply live the life of a busy mom who often gives into her cravings, be they tacos or wine, when she has time for them….

I would love to have more willpower.  I’m not gonna lie to you.  Perhaps I could shed these pesky pounds that seem to stick to me like super glue if I didn’t drink wine, eat chocolate, inhale tacos.

Perhaps.

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