"Coco" has become a semi-frequent guest at our house on our inevitable path to dogdom.
Trying something different in May, a spin on daily concepts we have talked about many times. I am curious to see how the month will take shape and am hoping this will rekindle something approximating the kind of "daily" that was, for a while, such a big part of me.
When I posted earlier this week about 'threes,' I was only halfway serious. I was poking fun at myself and the seemingly unrelated string of odd events all in rapid succession. Maybe it is my way of standing up and roaring to the ether that I am still here, still standing, and still fighting even in the silence, even as untethered and as alone as things feel.
I fell off a skateboard on Sunday. (Yeah, umm, okay... we could talk about why I was on a skateboard. Not a lot of damage, but still...)
It has been a not easy week. It gas been the kind of week that makes me doubt everything. But the fruit I picked up a few weeks back for my next EDM were going soft. It was the right thing to do this morning, centering in its own way. Why pencil? Not sure. It is what I grabbed, maybe because I have been scratching in cartoon panels in pencil now and again. Just a rough sketch and a memory of what daily sketching offers and how it feels to sit in the quiet morning and draw.
See all that mess in the phone pic of the fruit? I call that honesty in blogging! Sure. I could have shown you a beautiful bokah-laden photo of the fruit on a simple background. But this is the nitty-gritty folks.
(This is Everyday Matters prompt 24--draw a piece of fruit. The next few coming up on the list are odd "draw x or whatever you like" ones. But first draw a drinking glass.)
Yesterday was our middle school robotics group's first competition. All the other schools at the event were high school level, so we went knowing that it was "for the experience" and, possibly, to open their eyes and to inspire them to what is possible in robot design. It was my first time seeing VEX robots in action. I knew a good bit about this year's Sack Attack challenge from my work at Science Buddies. But I haven't been involved in the robotics club at all. (He's at that age!) So it was interesting to see what they had done and what others had done, given the same challenge and design and game objectives.
Once I decided to go, I responded to the query for a photographer. If no one else had offered, I said, I would shoot the event. "Are you a professional photographer," was the reply.
You know how I responded in my head!
I explained that I don't have the best camera (wish I could afford an upgrade) and that I am not a professional... but that I know what I am doing and have experience. How else do you respond to that question when you are an amateur, a hobbyist, someone for whom photography is one of many, many half-studied and loved creative pastimes?
So I went. I felt self-conscious. I shot.
And... I failed.
I was so disheartened this morning to pull up the day's photos and find that though things looked fine on-screen while I was shooting... the lighting indoors was more of a challenge than I had realized. Far too many shots are less crisp than I would like. The kids were constantly in motion tinkering with the bots, and so there are far too many with blur (of hands). Ugggh. Just so disappointing. And I hate to even show the set. When I told the robotics member... he, too, was disappointed. That was interested... that's the kind of comment that sends me wondering... disappointed because he will be embarrassed they are not great? Disappointed because he wanted to be able to show off what I could do? I just don't know.
How many times can I wish for a different reality -- on that would bring a camera upgrade? Every time I think we are back on track, the ground falls away again, and I find myself scrambling to keep perspective on whether or not I can even make ends meet. A camera is not a necessity.
Maybe next time I should just say no (or not volunteer).
I was not blogging or podcasting last year when a similar moment happened. But that time... my shots turned out fine, fully of story and tone. That time... led me to go ahead and say yes this time.
It was a very long day. We planned to be there just a few hours, home just after lunch so that I could have an afternoon of sewing while the kids absorbed themselves in minecraft and the science fair display board sections were typed up (hopefully not in that order). But at 4PM, the qualifying rounds were just ending. It was a very long day of standing around and, mostly, waiting and doing nothing.
I was so tired when I got home, I did something really indulgent and odd, something I used to do when I was 20-something. I had buttered popcorn and chocolate-covered toffee for dinner. There ya go!
It is January 28. Just a few more days in the month are ticking away. As the first month of the year passes, there are several things I am hoping to complete, manage, share that will help get me firmly started on this year in terms of the notes I made of daily or monthly or yearly creative goals for 2013. It is not looking good, but I think there is still some possibility of putting a few things firmly in place. If January slips away, it is too easy to call the year a loss. So I am determined even if more than my share of busy at work and getting over some kind of flu.
You have a good guess as to what one of my "goals" for the month was, right?
For the moment, I am going to post this list, started last week and sitting here waiting to be pushed out, of things of recent note in my Facebook updates (and in open windows on my computer):
- Doodles? Tangles? A Zentangle follower? Check out this open call -- and submit your tiles! Note the Feb 15 deadline. Do it! (As my oldest would say... "Come on peoples!") @CreateMixedMedia
- Someone else recommended Wonder by R.J. Palacio to me recently (or asked if we had read it). Seeing a Chapel Chronicles mini-review reminded me that I want to take a look at this one!
- Check out Tammy Garcia's journal prompt cards in her Etsy shop. Need a nudge? Or know someone who does?
- Awesome library photos... some libraries I would love to see and sit and read or write in. My library is way less than cool aesthetically. This is an eye-opening reminder to the beauty of books and space.
- A new book and a list of books to check from Claire Vanderpools. (What I said when I saw it: "When I first read her list of recommendations, they felt 'too' classic. But looking closer... I think this is an interesting list (w a few token exceptions). Do you have favorites that appear here or ones you would like to read or have your middle readers read?")
- Super cool small fabric globes.
- Geeky whimsy: ice globe lanterns @MAKE.
- On my list to watch: Mathematical Impressions: Can You Turn a Rubber Band into a Knot?
- "Warning to Children" by Robert Graves -- It's a poem I did not know, but it's a poem my oldest recently chose for analysis and as a basis for writing his own poems in his humanities class. I like the poem very much. (And if you have a Minecraft player... there's a ring of that in here!)
- I am an EverNote user... I thought this video on their career page was excellent.
I may need a brigade to ping me at night so that I manage to find my way to a computer, to words, to notes, and then... to the microphone. Not that desperate yet. But the days are ticking away!
A pointless photo, but after making my second full cup, I was thinking about a meeting I had this week. I typically manage to keep a low meeting profile, but before our once-a-month in person staff meeting this week, I agreed to a pre-meeting with a young scientist to talk about social media. She does not live in the Bay Area but was staying in Union Square for this (rare) city-based meeting. I don't spend much time in the Financial District or South of Market, so I poked around online to try and find a coffee shop near our main meeting location. Ultimately, Starbucks was easy to figure and count on. We met there... And she had a tiny hot chocolate. I downed my venti and then when we got to our main meeting, I welcomed the opportunity to refill my cup from an available carafe. Me and the other 40-somethings, I guess.
My young scientist explained that she has watched a parent who drinks two cups a day and knows it is in her genes and doesn't want to do that. Oh spare me! Like an ancient sage or an old tortoise, I told her there are way worse things you can do than drink coffee.
I am suddenly drinking more coffee than ever before (at home), and I still pass out in exhaustion each night before I manage to find any 'me' (creative) time.
"Coffee may be my one remaining luxury in life," I told the group around me. "I am definitely not going to begrudge myself my coffee!"
Drink it or don't. But spare the rest.
Here, I am hoping for some kind of quasi-normal (for me) weekend... which I hope means some time to work on something. I always hope :) I have spent too much time already this morning savoring my alone time and
watching the darkness fade around me into light as I browsed, played my morning games, evaluated some app options, and did some math as part of planning a 2013 collaborative yearlong project. Time now to move into the day... which means the kids are now up.
(Posting from mobile app... Still working out kinks with getting photos to work this way in this template. Would love a new template. Like the look of this one but a bad choice from code side.)
I have been wanting to try this list widget... to see if it will help me move things from here to there... from the void to the blog. There used to be segments in the podcast (way back in the beginning) that were random assortments... maybe not quite this random though! Anyway, a few things on my mind to share. If you think this is chaotic... you should see me in person!
- A Kiss Before You Go: An Illustrated Memoir of Love and Loss (Started it in the car today. Danny will always be one of the most inspiring voices for me. This is a hard book to read... but already it is beautiful....)
- Rainbow igloo (LOVE this so much; Science Buddies post coming!)
- LED lights (Magical; and ties to a memory of a very special and cool room at the hospital last December -- the All-Star Room, with its absolutely amazing ceiling of blinking lights... a starfield of sorts)
- A glimpse of "Ode to Joy" on the design wall (shared at Facebook)
- A glimpse (literally) of my "daily" project for this year (shared at Facebook)
- Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker (Saw these in the Apple store. Pretty cool gadgetry!)
- Cancer Made Me a Shallower Person: A Memoir in Comics (In my stack. I was given a new stack of memoirs and graphic novels for inspiration. Thank you!)
- Fresh Quilting: Fearless Color, Design, and Inspiration (Bright and colorful designs!)
- Intuitive Color & Design: Adventures in Art Quilting (Inspired! And inspiring!)
- Lamy Safari Apple Green (Lovin' the color of this Safari. Thanks, Mom!)
- Jetpens (Enough said. This was my best discovery of the holiday shopping season! I could spend forever browsing there!)
- Pentel Tradio Energel, Green (Gave these in various colors as gifts. LOVE them. Tradio Stylio body with a gel inner. Woohoo! Smooth. Seriously.)
- Uni Alpha-gel Shaker Mechanical Pencil (We had never heard or used "shaker" pencils before; very cool concept! And the gel grip on this model is nice. Look at Jetpens for easy ordering.)
- OtterBox Defender Series (Probably really need an Otterbox. In my haste and scrambling today to detach from work and get to a pickup, I dropped my phone as I got in the car. Yikes.)
- Green Mountain Coffee, Dark Magic (Current favorite!)
- Filexec 4 x 6 Inch Index Case (Helping me keep stuff together!)
- Oxford Poly Index Card Guides (Seems like I need these.)
- The Truth About Love (Gotta love P!nk.)
No Fear of the Blank Page Here.
This was a bit ago... after we spotted a Townsend's Warbler (yellow and black with mask!) for the first time in a bush across from the house as we were going to the park to make a "first" YouTube video about folding paper airplanes. Once we were all done, I created the opportunity for this--having brought both the little journal and my nifty new set of Stabilo 88 pens. They are pretty irresistible! He's got a mouth (and hand) full of nuts, but I'll match his "Go Giants!" note with a cheer of my own. And... yes... I matched his journal note with one of my own. Luckily I had a blank journal in my bag. It is one I had planned to use for Zentangle patterns... but this was arguably the right use and the right moment! (Both the pens and the Moleskine Volant in green were gifts for a creative--and colorfully organized--New Year. LOVE both. Volants come in lots of colors...)